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What If Ted Williams Hadn’t Missed Three Seasons During WWII?

Ted Williams’ career numbers look like something out of a video game on “easy” mode.  Williams’ career line of .344/.482/.634 with a 1.116 OPS is indicative of a perennial MVP season.  His 521 home runs, 2,654 hits, and a yearly average 190 OPS+ puts Williams in the company of the greatest hitters of all time.  Williams holds the second highest all-time slugging and OPS (behind only Babe Ruth).  He is 18th all-time in home runs and 14th all-time in RBI.  But here’s the kicker, “Teddy Ballgame” missed his age 24, 25, and 26 seasons to military service.  That’s three years of possible prime production.  Times have indeed changed.  Williams made $30,000 in 1942 and $40,000 when he returned to baseball in 1946.  In today’s era, where a blister can lead to a 15-day DL stint, Ted Williams missed three years of his career to serve his country in World War II.  As a “seam-head” and “stat-nerd” I just had to know what Williams career numbers might have looked like had he not forfeited three seasons to serve in the military.

To calculate the three missed years, I made a conservative estimation based on Williams’ three prior seasons to WWII, and three succeeding seasons following the war.  Obviously I’m not going to project him to hit over .400 again, and I will also subtract games missed due to possible injury.  I will list Williams’ actual stats alongside his projected stats.  I will also list where Williams ranks all-time, and where he would rank had he not missed the three seasons.  I will only be projecting counting stats i.e. home runs, RBI, runs scored.  Batting Average, OBP, OPS, etc.  are already reliable and accurate statistics.  So nerdy baseball fans rejoice and enjoy!

Runs: 1,798 (19th) Projected Runs: 2,191 (4th) All-time leader: Rickey Henderson 2,295

Hits: 2,645 (73rd) Projected Hits: 3,191 (15th) All-time leader: Pete Rose 4,256

Doubles: 525 (40th) Projected Doubles: 630 (10th) All-time leader: Tris Speaker 792

HR: 521 (18th) Projected HR: 608 (9th) All-time leader: Barry Bonds 762

RBI: 1839 (14th) Projected RBI: 2,190 (3rd) All-time Leader: Hank Aaron 2,297

BB:  2,021 (4th) Projected BB:  2,411 (2nd) All-time leader: Barry Bonds 2,558

Total Bases: 4,884 (21st) Projected TB: 5,859 (5th) All-time leader: Hank Aaron 6,856



  1. jason jason April 28, 2014

    That is very interesting! Thanks for this.

  2. bwburke94 bwburke94 April 28, 2014

    Don’t forget, he also fought in the Korean War.

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