|The Splendid Splinter back in 1999. (Getty Images)|
Friday, we passed along the Tigers' plans to have players remain sharp by scrimmaging instructional league players on Sunday and Monday. Saturday, former ESPN anchor Keith Olbermann -- who maintains a blog on MLB.com's blog network -- tells the interesting story of Ted Williams and the 1946 Red Sox.
The basics are that the 1946 Red Sox had a long layoff before the World Series and brought in a collection of American League All-Stars to play against. And the Hall of Famer Williams was plunked on the elbow by an errant Mickey Haefner knuckleball. Williams would play through the pain in the World Series, but he only went 5 for 25 (.200) with no extra-base hits, and the favored Red Sox lost in seven games.
During the regular season, Williams was the AL MVP, having hit .342/.497/.667 with 37 doubles, eight triples, 38 homers, 123 RBI and 142 runs (seriously, what a ridiculous line -- almost a .500 OBP? Insane). So it's pretty easy to see the pain made a difference (Olbermann writes that Williams later admitted as much).
The whole blog post is worth a read and I'm not about to sit here and copy/paste it. So go check it out, if interested. Bonus: Olbermann doesn't mention politics.
One item to mull over: If something similar happens to Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers lose the World Series behind a lackluster Miggy stat-line, there will be an awful lot of second-guessing, fair or not (and I'd say not, as I like the scrimmage idea).