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Williams became the last player to date to finish the season hitting over .400, collecting six hits on the season’s final day to ensure the mark after he came into the doubleheader batting .3995.
On the year, he also set an all-time mark with a .553 on-base percentage, and a personal-best .735 slugging percentage; neither of those numbers would be surpassed until the steroid era.
But he performed an impressive about face into the 2010s, hitting over .300 with power over three straight seasons and, in 2013, became a spiritual leader for both team and city when he led the Red Sox to their third championship under his presence and helped Boston heal from the wounds of the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings in April—memorably telling Red Sox fans and the world during the team’s first homestand after the attacks: “This is our f**king city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom!
Overall, he slumped through the early 1970s, but later revived his play as the team came back to life with young stars Jim Rice, Fred Lynn and Dwight Evans; he knocked in 100 RBIs in back-to-back seasons (1976-77) and, in 1982 as he approached his 43rd birthday, was hitting well above .300 before cooling off late in the summer.
Upon his return from Korea, Williams showed that he wouldn’t be slowed despite advancing age.
After turning 39 in 1957, Williams batted .388—his highest average since his fabled .406 of 16 seasons earlier—and hit .328 a year later to became the first player ever to win a batting title after turning 40.
Known for his routine of spitting on his batting gloves and slapping them together between every pitch (until baseball’s pace-of-play rules threatened to put an end to it in 2015), Ortiz put up voluminous numbers at his peak, forming a devastating one-two punch with Manny Ramirez that helped make history when, in 2004, the two became the first pair of teammates since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in 1931 to each hit over .300 with over 40 homers and 130 RBIs in the same year.
On his own, he launched a Red Sox-record 54 home runs in 2006.
In 2016 at age 40, Ortiz had a career finale for the ages—batting .315 with a major league-leading 48 doubles, 38 home runs and an AL-high 127 RBIs.