5 September moments from Teddy Ballgame's historic 1941
By Cash Kruth
It's been 75 years since Ted Williams became the last man to hit .400.
To put Williams' .406 average into perspective, only 13 times since 1941 has someone reached .370 -- a pedestrian-sounding mark compared to the Splendid Splinter's historic season.
Tony Gwynn's .394 average during the strike-shortened 1994 season is the closest anyone has come to Williams. George Brett's '80 season (.390) and Rod Carew's '77 campaign (.388) are the next best.
It's yet another testament to the greatness of Williams. But while his 1941 season continues to live on in baseball lore, it wasn't always a given he would finish above .400.
Here's a look at five memorable September moments that helped Williams finish with his hallowed .406:
The final day
The Red Sox closed the 1941 season with a doubleheader on Sept. 28 at Philadelphia's Shibe Park against the A's. Williams, who hadn't had a multi-hit game in a week, entered with a batting average of .3995.
He opened Game 1 with a single in the second, then homered in his second at-bat before knocking out two more singles. He went 4-for-5, also reaching on an error, to push his average to .404.
Williams wasn't done. He went 2-for-3 in the second game -- including hitting a double that broke a loudspeaker -- before ending his season by flying out, leaving him with a .406 average.
Refusing to sit
Williams' final-day heroics were put in motion the day before, when he reportedly refused to sit out the season's last three games -- a move that would have preserved his average at .401. He went 1-for-4 that day, leaving him at .3995. For record-keeping purposes, it would have rounded up to .400. That meant Williams would still have been the last man to hit .400. But .406 has a much better ring to it.
September starts with a bang
Not only did Williams hit .406 in 1941, but he also led the Majors with 37 home runs. Three of them came in a Sept. 1 doubleheader against Washington. Williams crushed two homers in Boston's 13-9 victory in Game 1, then hit another in the second game, a 10-2 win. His batting average stood at .410 when the day was done.
High-water September mark
Taking April out of the equation because of a small sample size, the highest Williams' batting average reached in 1941 was .436 on June 6. By July 11, it was down to .398 and eight days later stood at .393 following a twin bill against the Browns in St. Louis.
Williams came roaring back, however, and sat at .413 after a Sept. 10 win over the Tigers in which he went 2-for-4 with a walk and three RBIs.
We have "slump" in quotes because we realize it's bordering on nonsense to use such a word to describe any part of Williams' season. But, in the context of his historic campaign and chase for .400, a .268 average (11-for-41) over a 13-game span from Sept. 12-27 has to qualify.
That dropped his average from .413 to .3995, setting the stage for his memorable performance on the season's final day.
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.