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The large, left-field shoes of Ted Williams have proved, so far this season, a snug fit for a 23-year-old, 185-pound six-footer named Faye Throneberry who returned to the Boston Red Sox this spring after two years in service. With the incomparable Ted sticking to his fishing in Florida, Throneberry has made even the most rabid Williams admirers concede that all is well in left for the present. Items: Throneberry's batting average of .323, his 17 runs batted in, his sparkling defensive play, his great throwing arm.
In appearance, Throneberry reminds some people of Marlon Brando and others of Montgomery Clift, but he reminds himself of nobody but a Memphis-born boy named Faye Throneberry. He makes a particular point of that because he has studiously avoided thinking of himself as a Ted Williams replacement. "I try not to think of Ted at all," drawls Tennessee Faye. "When the season opened, I knew Jensen and Piersall had center and right sewed up. So I figured I'd just hustle and do the best I could and not worry."
Hasn't it been any strain at all, filling in for Ted?
"Nope," said Throneberry, "there's never any strain when you're getting those base hits. I'm glad I started hitting good right off, though. Those wolves in Fenway Park can get on you pretty fast. But when I started hitting pretty good, they were for me. They've been real nice."
Can he keep up the pace?
Throneberry shifted his cud of tobacco and shook his head.
"Let's face it," he said, "the days of the .400 hitter are gone. I got nowhere to go but down. But I'm not worried about a slump. What I do in a slump is like Stan Musial. I bunt my way out. I just start draggin', usually once in a game anyway, until I start getting those blows again. One time, when I was with the Sox in '52, I dragged nine times before I got thrown out."
Throneberry, married and the father of a six-months-old daughter named Sherry Lee, doesn't bother to correct people who call him "Thorneberry." Boston Manager Mike Higgins does, and, of course, so does Casey Stengel. Casey is interested in the family because the Yanks have Faye's brother, Marvin, on their farm club at Denver. "I just hope," says Stengel, "this Thorneberry's brother can hit a ball as far as he can."