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Ted Williams

Age: 83

, left-handed hitting outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, whose passion for hitting was unrivaled, as were his results; his career .344 batting average is sixth-highest since 1900, and he remains the last player to average .400 in a season; compiled .406 average (185 for 456) in 1941; won American League batting title six times; won AL Triple Crowns in 1942 (.356-36-137) and 1947 (.343-32-114); two-time AL MVP; his 521 career home runs place him 12th on the all-time list (fourth among left-handed batters); third all-time in walks (2,019) and first in on-base-percentage (.483); played in 18 All-Star Games; won six American League batting titles, including one at age 39 (1957) and one at age 40 (1958); hitting success attributed to his painstaking research and practice, plus superior eyesight (measured at 20-10 in 1942); missed all or part of five seasons due to military service as a pilot in WWII and the Korean War; a hero to a generation of fans in the 1940s-50s, he was both a booming giant of patriotic, John Wayne-like bravado and a kindhearted philanthropist devoted to the Jimmy Fund—a Red Sox charity for children with cancer; nicknamed, The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame; wrote best-selling "The Science of Hitting" with John Underwood in 1971; hit home run in final at bat in 1960, immortalized in John Updike article, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," in the New Yorker; after retiring he became renowned fisherman, who was reportedly to fly casting what…he was to hitting; inducted into National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966; suffered several strokes in the 1990s; underwent open heart surgery in 2001. He died of cardiac arrest.

Died: Inverness, Fla., July 5

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