- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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"It's the best way I can relieve my tension, to spit at them, and I am only spitting at 10% of them. It's something that happens, and I'll probably do it again.
"When I first came up to Boston  I was a big immature kid—not that I'm not still immature in lots of ways, but then I was enthusiastic about everything.
"That first year I hit more home runs than any left-hander ever hit over the right field fence in Fenway Park, and every time I hit a home run I tipped my hat out to here. Nobody ever tipped their hat the way I did. They all cheered me then. But that winter when I went to Minneapolis to stay instead of going home to California, they began attacking me in the press.
"I was never very happy at home, and it was the first chance I had to stay away, so I took it.
"The next year they moved the right field fence back, and I didn't hit so many home runs. Then they started to boo me. The minute I wasn't delivering to their satisfaction. Who cared how I felt when I didn't hit? I'm the guy who's trying to do it, who wants to do it. So when I saw how they acted I stopped tipping my hat, and I haven't tipped it since.
"Every chance they got they jumped on me. Even when I came back from Korea, when the mayor proclaimed a Ted Williams Day, a sportswriter wrote, 'What do we want with a Ted Williams Day? What has he done to deserve any recognition?
"Two years ago I was going to quit. I was in the railroad station in Baltimore. A fellow came up to me. 'What's this I read about you wanting to quit?' he told me. 'You can't quit now. There are too many things you can do yet.' And he rattled off a whole list of records for me to shoot for—things I never even had thought of. A couple of days later he sent me a chart with everything figured out. So I changed my mind.
"I've had a reason for everything I've ever done in baseball.
"If I can finish out the season without expectorating again at those guys in the press box, I'll consider it the greatest accomplishment of my sports career."
So there is the argument between Ted and his critics. There can also be an argument about how much harm, if any, Williams has done to the game. Post-expectoral curiosity has attracted extra dollars into baseball's till. If the Fair Name of the national pastime has been besmirched, that could be costly indeed, but it was apparent that the immediate cash value of the spitting incident to the Red Sox was going to be much greater than the record-equaling $5,000 fine they are collecting from their great slugger. The next day, for a midweek game against the sixth-place Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox played before a near-capacity 30,338, a large majority quite evidently there not to watch baseball but just to see if Ted would spit again. And at week's end, the fascination began to affect others. During a game at Yankee Stadium the public-address system was only too happy to remind all those present that coming in early this week were the Boston Red Sox—"and Ted Williams."