Fitton Field, Worcester, MA, April 14, 1939 – Red Sox rookie Ted William’s first at-bat in the state of Massachusetts is in an exhibition game against Holy Cross, and the tall lanky 20-year-old showed why the expectations for him are so high by hitting a grand slam in his first at bat and scoring four Hall of Famers – Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr and of course himself – to cap a five-run first inning.
And it didn’t get any easier for the Crusaders of Holy Cross as they would manage only five hits in the 14-2 defeat, though all would have a wonderful tale of playing against the great Ted Williams to tell their grandchildren someday.
For the Red Sox there was some measured revenge as the Crusaders nine did upset them the previous spring 3-2.
Six days later Williams would make his Major League debut in Yankee Stadium, in that game he went one for four with a double against Yankees right-hander Red Ruffing, but the Red Sox lineup could muster six other hits in a 2-0 loss.
Williams would deliver in 1939 the promise he showed on that cold and blustery April day at Holy Cross by hitting 31 home runs and leading the majors in runs batted in with 145 while hitting .327 for the year.
-Ron A. Bolton