Ted Williams squares off against Carlton Fisk in the third round 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.
4. Carlton Fisk Carlton Fisk’s career began with a bang, when he became the first unanimous Rookie of the Year after hitting .293 with 22 homers and a .909 OPS in 1972. The Vermont native spent eight full seasons with the Red Sox. In 1974, he suffered a major setback when a home plate collision resulted in major reconstructive knee surgery. He was told he’d never step on a field again, but bounced back to hit .331 in 1975. That’s when his magic really kicked in. Fisk led Boston to the World Series and — in the defining moment of his career — rocketed a 12th-inning pitch down the left-field line at Fenway Park in Game 6 against the Reds. As Fisk moved toward first base and waved it fair, it miraculously bent and hit the foul pole to force Game 7. The Red Sox lost the game, but the team named the pole after him in 2005 — 24 years after he left the team as a free agent. During his Red Sox career, Fisk averaged 20 homers and 70 RBIs per season. He owns the 10th-best slugging percentage in club history (.481), caught a major league record 2,226 games over 24 career seasons and was an 11-time All-Star. He is one of just 16 catchers in the Hall of Fame.