For Sale: Rangers Jersey Worn by Team's First Manager, Some Dude Named Ted Williams

Categories: Sports
TedWilliamsRangers.jpg
Courtesy Heritage Auctions
Spent the better part of last night re-re-re-re-re-reading Mike Shropshire's Seasons in Hell, about the '73 to '75 Texas Rangers, which wasn't really the worst team in baseball, though it makes a great story. (The '74 Rangers finished second in the AL West, behind Oakland, which went on to win the World Series with a roster that included Reggie Jackson, Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue, Bert Campaneris and Sal Bando -- no slouches.) Those were the years during which I went to my first games at Arlington Stadium; there's a reason Toby Harrah and Joe Lovitto remain among my favorites to ever wear the team's uniform.

Dad says we went to a few games during the Rangers' first season in Arlington, after the Senators moved from D.C.; I would have been 3, so I don't remember. I do know why Dad wanted to go, though -- to see in person Ted Williams, the Rangers' first-season skipper. Teddy Ballgame lasted but a season here after the move to Arlington. Writes Shropshire, Williams "had not, despite the rumors, been driven babbling into voluntary confinement at the nearest madhouse by the habitual flair of the Rangers for less than mediocre public display." Instead, Williams hated the Texas heat. Besides, the players didn't much like him anyhow; one told Shropshire that "Ted couldn't understand why everybody couldn't hit .400 like he could."

As the Rangers vie or the first title in team history tomorrow night (tonight's contest has officially been rain-delayed), Williams's tenure as Rangers skipper is little more than a forgotten footnote to most, at best a reminder of the first of many awful seasons to come. Nevertheless: I see that in its coming sports auction, our cross-the-street neighbor is offering what it's dubbing "arguably the most desirable and significant artifact relating to the Texas Rangers franchise available to the collecting community," a Rangers home-white jersey worn -- and signed -- by Ted Williams, who can be seen here in a for-sale photo taking a swing in a Rangers uni during a home-run hitting contest at Fenway. Says the auction house:
While any Ted Williams jersey carries enormous collecting appeal, this specimen worn three decades after his greatest season is unquestionably his most noteworthy non-playing days representation. By virtue of its managerial status, one could effectively argue that this is the very first Texas Rangers jersey, period. That fact alone establishes the shirt as one of the most historically significant to be offered in recent memory, even without its connection to one of the game's all-time greats.
Right now, the bidding is at $5,000. That's too cheap.
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11 comments
Dallas_BK
Dallas_BK

I bought the photo, it's going up in my office this afternoon.  Thanks to RW for the heads-up.

cactusflinthead
cactusflinthead

The take away info is that Ted of the frozen head was a wienie. Can't take the heat? Tell that to Rodgers Hornsby. I'd still pony up the cash for it though. I was trying to remember this afternoon some rather rotund bullpen pitcher the Rangers had back in the mid to late 70's that my dad heaped scorn and derision upon. It was my first realization that no matter how good Ferguson Jenkins or any other starting pitcher might be if the pitcher that followed was a big bunch of suck we were liable to lose. 

Oak Cliff Clavin
Oak Cliff Clavin

Isn't there a photo of Teddy Ballgame flipping the bird as he walked out of old Ranger Stadium or have I just made that up in my mind? 

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

You aren't a Ranger fan if you haven't read Seasons in Hell...great read, I read it every spring training..

I reckon if I was rich like Cubes, I'd be pimping this shirt to the P-word, if'n in fact there happens to be a P-word.

Halldecker
Halldecker

Ted had what might have been the most forged autograph in MLB history.

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

I submit that the most historic jersey is David Clyde's ...

Still hoping that Nolan will do the right thing and get David Clyde signed to a coach's contract for the 27 days he needs to get a MLB pension...

Shorthop
Shorthop

The wienie enlisted in the Navy in 1942.

Rogers Hornsby is hiya spell it.

Steve 'Fookee' Foucalt might be the reliever you are thinking of.

ifunowhatimean
ifunowhatimean

I have a David Clyde game worn #32 Jersey from1973, his rookie year, made by Wilson size 42.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

It would have been a nice gesture by the Rangers to have him throw out the first pitch for one the World Series games too. The man pretty much saved the franchise in the early days.

Hopefully they'll give serious thought to having him do that for the season opener next year.  

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Not sure about whose is the most historic jersey in Rangers history -- hell, Cruz and Beltre have one apiece going into Cooperstown this week alone. But we most certainly do agree about the latter comment.

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