Ted Williams squares off against Bobby Orr in the semifinals of the Boston’s Biggest Sports Legend tournament.
1. Ted Williams Is there any baseball hero more beloved than Teddy Ballgame? His on-the-field honors are still unparalleled. He led the American League in batting six times, won two Triple Crowns and two AL MVP awards. Over his 21-year career, he batted .341 — the highest average of any player who played his entire career in the live-ball era. Plus, he never played for anyone except the Red Sox. Now that’s loyalty – something he also felt for his country. He forwent baseball twice to serve in the U.S. military, as a pilot in World War II (1942-46) and the Korean War (1952-53). The infield shift was practically pioneered in his name, and in his final career at-bat, he went out with a bang in front of the Fenway faithful, hitting his 521st career home run. He owns MLB’s best career on-base percentage and the second-best slugging percentage. “If I was being paid $30,000 a year, the very least I could do was hit .400,” Williams once said. Tough to argue with a Hall of Famer.
1. Bobby Orr Not many 12-year-olds attract professional hockey scouts, and not many 14-year-olds sign professional hockey contracts. But Bobby Orr wasn’t like most human beings. From a young age until the day he hung ‘em up, Orr was always a step ahead of the pack. Despite playing just nine full NHL seasons, Robert Gordon Orr is regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. The subject of one of the sports world’s most recognizable photos, Orr popped the game-winning goal to seal the 1970 Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues. It was the B’s first Cup in 29 years, and Orr took home a plethora of hardware, winning the Norris (best defenseman), Ross (top point scorer), Hart (regular-season MVP) and Conn Smythe (MVP Stanley Cup playoffs) Trophies that season. He went on to secure another Cup for Boston two seasons later and end his career with eight Norris Trophies, two Hart Trophies, two Ross Trophies and 915 points in 657 games played. The 1970-71 campaign turned out to be Orr’s most productive season as he scored 37 goals, had 102 assists and finished the year with a plus-124 rating — an NHL record that still stands to this day.