TODAY IN BASEBALL TAKES US TO WASHINGTON, D.C. ON FEBRUARY 21, 1969. Ted Williams returns. The Hall-of-Fame slugger was lured back to baseball on this date in 1969 to manage the Washington Senators . This will be a challenge. The greatest hitter of all-time leading a struggling expansion franchise that had yet to finish a season with a winning record.
The Senators lost at least 100 games in four of its first eight seasons. Remember this was the new Washington Senators, a 1961 expansion team after the original Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins.
Williams knew it would be a difficult task, telling the Associated Press (AP), “This may be a long, hard grind for a while.” And what about when he has to deal with a young player wound as tight as he was in his younger days? Would he tolerate a player with a temper, “If he can hit like Ted Williams, yes.”
Williams’ presence brought immediate results. The franchise had its first winning season in 1969, Williams first year as manager. They finished the season 86-76, but it was back downhill after that.
The Senators lost 92 games in 1970 and lost 96 in 1971. Attendance got so bad the team moved to Arlington, Texas in 1972 and became the Rangers.
That first year in Texas the Rangers finished with a record 54-100, the worst year of their history. The headline again could be, “Ted Williams Returns,” but this time he returned to fishing and hunting. His baseball managing days were over.