January 23, 2020

“Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators, the Last Winning Season”

December 11, 2008 by · 3 Comments 

The author’s second book, Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators: The Last Winning Season, is scheduled to be released by McFarland Publishing on February 24, 2009.

Days before the President threw out the first pitch of the 1968 season, Martin Luther King was assassinated. Rioting broke out across the country, but in Washington the scars were especially deep, delaying Opening Day. The Senators had been on the upswing behind Frank Howard and manager Gil Hodges, but after the riots the team fell apart and once again there was talk that the nation’s capital was just not a baseball town.

The next year—1969–three remarkable personalities came to Washington: Richard Nixon, Ted Williams, and Robert Short. Few missed the play that Short was making, buying the Senators at a low ebb, but when he hired Ted Williams to manage the team all bets were off. Everyone in town was infatuated with the legendary hitter upon his return to the game, not the least of which was Richard Nixon, the new president. No one could have foreseen, however, that Williams would be able to turn around the cellar dwelling Senators.

The statistical analysis of how Ted Williams rehabilitated the lowly Senators, the anecdotes of the players about their new manager, and the remarkable history of 1969 populate the pages of this book. Woodstock, men walking on the moon and the worst days of the Vietnam War provide the back drop for a wonderful baseball story. But the baseball history itself is remarkable. The pitching mound was lowered five inches at the beginning of the season and the strike zone officially reduced by 40 percent. Pitching had dominated the mid-sixties, but no longer.

The offensive surge that began in 1969 marks the beginning of the modern era of the game. Baseball was losing popularity and the new offensive surge was supposed to power the game back to its pre-eminent status. The efforts of new Commissioner Bowie Kuhn seemed successful at year’s end, but attendance did little to indicate the game was back. Kuhn held elaborate celebrations of Professional Baseball’s Centennial year. The best players of the first 100 years were selected and Richard Nixon feted the honorees and All-Stars at the White House.

But ultimately it was all about Ted Williams. Whether it was the All-Star Game or the pennant races, he was in the middle of much of the year’s history. He bonded with his players and made an impact on many of them that lasted a lifetime. Their stories about their manager are the best parts of this book. The book concludes with the story of the Senators and their manager who left for Texas with Bob Short.

Endorsements:

“Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators does not hit a false note on Ted Williams and digs into interesting aspects of the team and Williams as their manager. It is good work.” —Bill Nowlin, author of numerous books on Ted Williams, including Ted Williams at War, and Vice President of the Society for American Baseball Research.

“Ted Williams and the 1969 Senators is very interesting, well researched, and well written.” —Mike Epstein, first baseman for the 1969 Senators baseball team.

“Ted Williams and the 1969 Senators brings back that time so vividly. I remember it so well, it’s amazing.” —Dick Bosman, 1969 Senators pitching great and current pitching coach for the Tamp Bay Rays.

Comments

3 Responses to ““Ted Williams and the 1969 Washington Senators, the Last Winning Season””
  1. Dan Crivello says:

    Looks like another book just went on my Christmas wish list

  2. Ken Voytek says:

    Bravo for the author. I expect it to be a bestseller. I suspect the author suggests that 1969 was special and it was indeed. I know folks who will buy it but given the economy, they are holding back waiting for big discounts and it being made available at WalMart!

  3. Gary Rosenthal says:

    Growing up in Maryland in the 60s, I rooted for the Senators. Now as I grow older I root for the Nationals, but my heart still lies with the Senators. What a great year 1969 was for baseball in DC. Hondo hitting .296, Brinkman .286 and the team ending up 86-76. I can’t wait to read the book. Curse you author. I wish I had written this book myself.

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