Born in 1918 in San Diego, Williams was a latchkey child from a broken home, raised by a mother more dedicated to the Salvation Army than to her two sons, and by a father who spent more time away from home than in it. Williams found salvation by doing the one thing he loved most: hitting baseballs. In his rookie season with the Red Sox, where he would spend his entire career as a player, Williams batted .327, socked 31 homers and led the league with 145 RBI.
Over the next 21 years, despite losing five seasons of his prime to active service as a U.S. Marine Corps pilot, Williams hit 521 home runs, twice captured the Triple Crown, and became the oldest man ever to win a batting title. He finished his career with a .344 lifetime batting average, was the last man to hit over .400 in a full season, batting .406 in 1941, and was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.