This Day In History: September 28

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On September 28, 1941, the last day of Major League Baseball's regular season, the Boston Red Sox’s Ted Williams gets six hits in eight at-bats during a doubleheader in Philadelphia, boosting his average to .406. He becomes the first player since 1930 to hit .400. "I guess I'll be satisfied with that thrill out there today," he tells the Boston Globe about hitting .400. "... I never wanted anything harder in my life." 

In addition to his .406 batting average—no major league player since Williams has hit .400—the left fielder led the big leagues with 37 homers, 135 runs and a slugging average of .735. 

Williams, nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter” and “The Thumper,” began his big-league career with the Red Sox in 1939. In 1942, Williams won the American League Triple Crown, for highest batting average and most RBIs and home runs. He won the Triple Crown again in 1947.

In 1946 and 1949, Williams was named the American League’s Most Valuable Player, and in June 1960, he became the fourth player in major league history to hit 500 homers. He was selected to the All-Star team 17 times.

Williams, who spent his entire career with the Red Sox, played his final game on September 28, 1960, at Boston’s Fenway Park. He homered in his final at-bat, giving him 521 for his career.

Williams retired with a lifetime batting average of .344, a .483 career on-base percentage and 2,654 hits. His achievements were all the more impressive because his career was interrupted twice for military service: Williams was a Marine Corps pilot during World War II and the Korean War and as a result missed nearly five MLB seasons.

Williams, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, managed the Washington Senators (renamed the Texas Rangers in 1972) from 1969-1972. In 1984, the Boston Red Sox retired his No. 9 uniform number. 

Williams died of cardiac arrest at age 83 on July 5, 2002, in Florida. In a controversial move, his son sent his father’s body to be frozen at a cryonics laboratory.