It was fifty years ago today- Saturday January 18th, 1969- the Washington Senators named a baseball immortal- the greatest hitter who ever lived- Ted Williams aka Teddy Ballgame as their new manager. The 50 year old Williams would spark new interest in the Senators. The Senators had never had a winning season since coming into the league in 1961 [ don’t confuse these Washington Senators with the original Washington Senators who left Washington and became the Minnesota Twins } In 1968 they finished last in the 10 team league American League with a 65-96 record. In Ted’s first season they would improve by 21 games going 86-76 and Ted was named American League Manager of the Year. It would be the only winning season the Washington Senators had while in Washington. 1969 was an exciting year to be a Washington sports fan- not only had the Senators greatly improved but the Washington Redskins in early February would hire the great Vince Lombardi as head coach.
1969 would be Ted Williams high point as manager- he would manage for four seasons with the Senators/ Texas Rangers as they became in 1972- and each year got worse. His last season the first in Texas was 54-100. As time went on he seemed to lose interest. He was also a very strong personality and that didn’t go over well with some of his players. But that first year was a great success. Sadly, with Vince Lombardi- the Redskins would improve from 5-9 in 1968 to 7-5-2 under Lombardi- but he would only coach one season in Washington- dying of cancer on the eve of the 1970 season.