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On July 5, 2002, Ted Williams passed away, but his memory lives on. His autograph was highly marketed in the 1980s and part of the 1990s while Williams was a fixture on the sports memorabilia show circuit. His signature remained relatively consistent from the 1960s, until 1994, when Williams had the first of his two strokes. Following his first stroke, Williams was unable to successfully execute a signature on a baseball, only signing flats and bats. Because of the curve of the baseball, Williams could no longer successfully sign his name on a sphere.
Ted Williams' signature was always unmistakable, large and graceful. There wasn't a time in his life that Williams didn't feature a large, every-letter signature. From his early days with the Boston Red Sox through his retirement and post-baseball career, he featured one of the most attractive autographs. During periods in his life, specifically in the 1940s and 1950s, a clubhouse attendant would sign his name on team baseballs. In addition, most of his mail correspondence sent to him during the season was outsourced to a proxy signer. In the 1950s, the Boston Red Sox clubhouse man, Johnny Orlando, was famous for signing Ted Williams' name.
Williams' autograph can be found on any number of baseball-related memorabilia, including bats, photographs, baseballs, jerseys, 3x5s and cards. A word to the wise about Ted Williams; in the 1990s, forgers took advantage of the general public and started to forge Williams' signature in huge quantities. It is said that there are more fake Ted Williams' signatures than real ones. Williams, who signed memorabilia as part of Upper Deck Authenticated for a short time, also signed memorabilia for a family-owned business. That company, which was run by his son at the time, was originally called Green Diamond Sports, Inc. and then became known as Ted Williams Family Enterprises later on. There were rumors within the hobby that a percentage of those autographs may have, in fact, been signed by his son and not by Ted Williams himself. When buying a Ted Williams autograph, make sure proper authentication accompanies the piece.
Theodore Samuel Williams (1918-2002) is unquestionably one of the game’s greatest hitter of all-time. Williams remains the last player in the Major Leagues to hit over the .400-mark when he batted .406 in 1941. The Splendid Splinter played his entire career in left field for the Boston Red Sox (1939-1942, 1946-1960), and lost 5 years during the prime of career due to military service. Early on and throughout his career, Williams stated that he wanted to be remembered as, “There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.” The Kid, as he was also dubbed at the beginning of his first spring training, twice won the Triple Crown (1942, 1947) and Most Valuable Player awards (1946, 1949), was a six-time American League batting champion, hit 521 home runs and retired with a lifetime batting average of .344 over his 19-year career. He prophetically became one of the greatest hitter to ever live. Ted Williams hit his 521st (and last) home run at Fenway Park in his final at-bat of his career. Theodore Samuel Williams was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.