Having already delivered an outstanding first couple of seasons at the big league level, Ted Williams' 1941 season was even better. This .406 average in 1941 was the last time a major league player has hit over .400 for a season and when Williams passed away in 2002, the Red Sox renamed Fenway Park's 600 Club to the .406 Club in honor of the slugger and his historic 1941 season.
Record: 84-70, 2nd in American League
Manager: Joseph E. Cronin
Ted Williams' performance in 1941 guaranteed that the hitter's name would forever be remembered in New England and throughout baseball. In spring training, Williams suffered a slight fracture of his ankle while sliding into second base but he played on it all year long. It was said that the injury actually improved his batting because he favored the ankle, perhaps subconsciously, and held back a fraction of a second giving him a little longer to see each pitch.
On July 8, Williams came to the plate in his second All-Star Game with the American League down by one run, 5-4, with two men on base but with two outs in the ninth inning. He clouted a dramatic game-winning home run, and galloped and leapt around the bases at Detroit's Briggs Stadium. He always said it was his greatest thrill in baseball.
Throughout the 1941 season, Williams flirted with a .400 average but on September 28, he entered the final day just beneath the mark at .3996. Some insisted that his average would be rounded up to .400 and advised Williams to sit out but the Splendid Splinter knew that .3996 wasn't quite .400. That day, in a doubleheader at Philadelphia, Williams went 6-for-8 to lift his average all the way to .406. Since then, no one in Major League Baseball has ever hit above .400 for the season. Williams' 1941 on-base percentage of .553 was the best single-season mark ever achieved until Barry Bonds surpassed it in 2002.
On July 25, 1941, another Red Sox player reached a milestone when Lefty Grove won his 300th game. Grove also carried a streak of consecutive victories at Fenway Park from the 1940 season into 1941, reaching 21 consecutive home wins early in the 1941 campaign.
Williams drove in 120 runs and scored 135, while Jimmie Foxx (105 RBIs) and Dom DiMaggio (117 runs) were offensive standouts as well. The team ERA improved by almost three-quarters of a run (4.19), as Dick Newsome won 19 games and Charlie Wagner went 12-8 with a 3.05 ERA. The Red Sox climbed back to second place (84-70) but finished 17 games behind the Yankees.
On June 27, 1941, Fenway Park hosted two amateur baseball games including one between Massachusetts State Officials and Boston City Officials. Boston Mayor Maurice Tobin pitched for Boston while Massachusetts Governor Leverett Saltonstall played first base for the winning team that represented the Commonwealth.
|1941 Non-Red Sox Baseball At Fenway Park|
|June 11||Norwood High 11, Chelmsford High 7|
|June 11||Braintree High 2, Brockton High 1|
|June 12||Somerville High 13, Reading High 3|
|June 12||Haverhill High 12, Wakefield High 4|
|June 27||Boston Park League All-Stars 2, Army Base 0|
|June 27||Massachusetts State Officials 6, Boston City Officials 3|
The Chicago Bears came to Fenway Park in September 1941 to play in the annual College All-Star game to benefit the local American Legion. A month later, Boston College, coming off their undefeated 1940 season, returned to Fenway Park.
|1941 Non-Baseball Events At Fenway Park|
|May 25||War Memorial Service*|
|September 11||Chicago Bears 26, College All-Stars 3|
|October 11||Clemson 26, Boston College 13 (Football)|
|October 18||Boston College 26, Manhattan 13 (Football)|
|October 25||Boston College 14, Georgetown 6 (Football)|
|November 1||Boston College 31, Temple 0 (Football)|
|November 8||Boston College 26, Wake Forest 6 (Football)|
|November 15||University of Tennessee 14, Boston College 7 (Football)|
|November 22||Boston College 19, Boston University 7 (Football)|
|November 29||Boston College 14, Holy Cross 13 (Football)|
*Started in the 1910s, a late May memorial service coinciding with the Memorial Day weekend was often held at Fenway Park through the mid-20th Century.
On the day that former Boston College coach Frank Leahy was named "Coach of the Year" by the New York World-Telegram for his revitalization of Notre Dame, 40,000 filled every corner of Fenway Park to watch his former team play Holy Cross. Despite being outclassed by Holy Cross for much of the afternoon, heavily-favored Boston College managed to tie the game on a last-minute, 22-yard touchdown run by fullback Ted Williams, who earned cheers from the Fenway crowd usually reserved for his Red Sox namesake, who had an historic 1941 baseball season. Frank Maznicki, who had blocked a crucial kick a little while earlier, then added the game winning point-after, sending the Eagles to a 14-13 victory.