A golden anniversary

September, 26, 2010
9/26/10
9:26
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The 50th anniversary of Ted Williams’ final at-bat with Boston Red Sox will take place on Sept. 28.

Williams hit a home run in his final AB in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Orioles’ Jack Fisher at Fenway Park. Nine seasons after his playing career was over, Williams served as manager of the Washington Senators in 1969; that’s when current Red Sox manager Terry Francona first met the baseball legend.

“When I was growing up, I used to hear my dad talk about him. He always said he was the greatest hitter that he’s ever seen,” Francona said. “I met him when I was a kid.”

Francona’s father, Tito, was a major leaguer and was playing for the Atlanta Braves in 1969. He gave his young son strict instructions.

“My dad made me walk over to their dugout,” Francona remembers. “I was 10. He told me, ‘Go introduce yourself to him and tell him who you are.’ Years later [my dad] said, ‘I wanted you to shake [the hand] of the greatest hitter who ever played.’”

Francona has a picture of Williams and his father when his dad was 18 and playing in an All-Star game in New York. When Francona’s dad played his first big-league game in Boston, Williams came over to the visitor’s dugout at Fenway Park to say hello, and the two posed for another picture.

“They’re pretty cool pictures,” Francona said.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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