Impact On Ted Williams

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Register to read the introduction… Williams, the best hitter in the history of baseball, was wildly popular at the time. Williams had won two of the last four Most Valuable Player awards in the MLB and was fresh of his 1949 MVP campaign (Montville p. 148). He also was placed in high regards after serving as a pilot in the Marines during World War II. However, once Williams returned from World War II, he was placed on inactive reserves. Williams and the public had largely forgotten about his status as an inactive reserve until the advent of the Korean War in 1950 had caught the Marines unprepared and in need of pilots (Montville p. 152). Many baseball fans were beginning to grumble about the possibility of the best player in the game being called for service. Then, it happened, Ted Williams was called to report for active duty on January 9, 1952 (Montville p. 152). Williams’ agent, Fred Corcoran, issued an initial statement that he claimed came from Williams: “I’m no different from the next fellow. If Uncle Sam wants me, I’m ready” (Montville p. 152). However, it was highly unlikely that Williams said anything of that nature, as he was livid. Williams believed that his war ended in 1945, and this was not his to fight (Williams p. …show more content…
However, Mantle is in a different category all his own when compared to Williams and Mays. This is because Mantle never actually served in the war as he was classified by the draft board as 4-F, otherwise known as physically unfit or unable to perform (Honig p. 72). Mantle was willing and claimed he felt it was his duty to serve, but a condition known as chronic osteomyelitis, or inflammation of the bone in his left leg, left him physically unfit in the eyes of the draft board (Honig p. 72). Regardless of diagnosis, the classification was met by the public with scorn and disbelief (Hirsch p. 144). The question of the public became how could someone who could hit, throw, and run like Mickey Mantle be physically unfit for anything, especially serving in the military? The media and public backlash was so intense, the Yankees personally asked the draft board to review Mantle’s case twice more, believing that the negative publicity they were getting from the incident would not be as bad as losing their best player for two years (Honig p. 73). However, in both reviews, Mantle was given the 4-F tag again and was unable to serve. The scrutiny and backlash continued to come at Mantle. On a daily basis Mantle began to receive hate mail and heard cries of “Coward” and “Commie” during games (Hirsch p. 144). However, before the end of the season, all seemed to be forgiven by the public as Mantle blossomed into one of the best players in the game. After leading the Yankees to a World Series championship in 1951, 1952, and 1953- while also being named an all-star in every one of those seasons- everyone seemed to forgive Mantle for not serving and it was hardly ever brought up again. Mantle went on to be named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year, regardless of sport, in 1956, less than 5 short years

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