The Ted Williams celebrity doll is a GI Joe made by Hasbro in 1999 as part of their GI Joe Classics Edition. The doll is titled Ted Williams Korean War Fighter Pilot.
While Williams is mostly known for baseball as a prolific hitter and outfielder for the Boston Red Sox in the 1950’s, this doll commemorates the 5 seasons he left baseball to serve in World War II and the Korean conflict as a Marine Corps pilot. The Ted Williams doll is fully decked out as fighter pilot but comes with a baseball bat and ball as a nod to “The Kid’s” .406 season batting average.
From the box:
If baseball aficionados were asked to make a list of the best hitters of all time, Hall of Famer Ted Williams would undoubtedly appear at the top of many of their lists. Ted Williams–a professional baseball legend and war hero–has left an indelible legacy. He shone as the spark of the Boston Red Sox™ and became one of the outstanding batters in modern day baseball. Ted remains the last hitter to bat over 400 and is credited with a long list of achievements that would make the Mighty Casey envious. He began is career with a boom in 1939, leading the League in RBI’s and receiving rooking of the year honors; he ended it with a bang by slamming a home run in his farewell at bat. But home plate was not the only place where Ted was explosive; he directed quite a few ‘booms and bangs’ as a fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War.
When the United States entered World War II, Williams turned down several offers to sit out the war in relative comfort as member of a service baseball team. Possessing a burning desire to earn his wings, Ted joined the Marines and began training as an aviator. The excellent coordination Williams exhibited at the plate and on the field transferred well to the cockpit–the Kid was a natural pilot. At flight school he broke all the records in reflexes, coordination, and visual-reaction time, and he was equally skilled with his fighter’s six ‘pianos'(machine guns) which he played like a symphony orchestra. He was such a gifted pilot that instead of being sent into combat, Ted was made an instructor. It was not until 1945 that he finally got his wish to be transferred to a combat wing. He was in Pearl Harbor awaiting orders to join the China fleet when the war ended.
Ted returned to baseball in 1946 when he paced the Red Sox™ to their American League™ pennant and was voted the Most Valuable Player by the Baseball Writers Association. He continued his outstanding baseball career before his country would need him again in 1952. The Kid was thirty-three years old, he was married and a father, but he reentered the service as a pilot in the Korean War. He flew in a squadron whose operations commander was John Glenn. It the last half of those missions, Ted served as Glenn’s wingman–in itself a testament to the Kid’s flying prowess. In thirty-nine missions Williams had two planes shot out from under him in action. One of those episodes nearly cost him his life. During a strike on a troop encampment near Kyomipo, Ted’s F-9 jet was hit, burning out the radio, landing gear, and most of the plane’s instruments. With the help of his fellow Marines, Ted navigated his fiery craft to the nearest landing strip and touched down–without wheels–at about 200mph. Because of his skill and courage, Ted survived. It was only because he was out of fuel that his plane did not blow up as soon as he hit the runway. The next day, he was in the air again on another mission.
Ted would finish his service in 1953 and immediately return to baseball. He proved his tenacity by winding up the season hitting .407 for thirty-seven games, with thirty-seven hits including thirteen home runs. Had it not been for five years of military service during his prime playing years, Ted might have broken Babe Ruth’s career home run record of 714. However, for Captain Williams, his time as a Marine was not a sacrifice, but an opportunity to serve the country he so dearly loved.
It goes without question that Williams earned his place among the greats, and he did it with a style all his own, up to the very last time he swung at a pitch. A sports legend, an ace combat pilot, and a champion of his country. Ted Williams is truly a great American hero.
Ted Williams played his last game on September 28,1960 and died at the age of 83 in 2002.