Ted Williams, the Boston Red Sox revered and sometimes reviled "Splendid Splinter" and baseball's last .400 hitter, has died at age 83.
Williams, who suffered a series of strokes and congestive heart failure in recent years, was taken Friday to Citrus County Memorial Hospital "where he was pronounced deceased," said sheriff's department spokesman Lt. Joe Eckstein.
He underwent open-heart surgery in January 2001 and had a pacemaker inserted in November 2000.
The Hall of Famer always wanted to be known as the greatest hitter ever, and his stats backed up the claim.
A two-time MVP who twice won the Triple Crown, Williams hit .344 lifetime with 521 home runs — despite twice interrupting his career to serve as a Marine Corps pilot in World War II and the Korean War.
He had 145 RBIs as a Red Sox rookie in 1939 and closed out his career — fittingly — by hitting a home run at Fenway Park in his final major league at-bat in 1960.
Williams' greatest achievement came in 1941 when he batted .406, getting six hits in a doubleheader on the final day of the season.
Williams contended his eyesight was so keen he could pick up individual stitches on a pitched ball and could see the exact moment his bat connected with it.
He also asserted he could smell the burning wood of his bat when he fouled a ball straight back, just missing solid contact.
Highlights of Ted Williams' Career
1939: As a major league rookie, hit .327 with 31 homers and 145 RBI.
1940: Raised his average to .344.
1941: Hit .406, an achievement not touched since, and also led the league with 37 homers, 145 bases on balls and a .735 slugging mark (total bases divided by at-bats).
1942: Won baseball's Triple Crown: best in hitting (.356); homers (36); and RBI (137).
1942-45: Service in World War II.
1946: Led Red Sox to the pennant, hitting .342 and finally winning the Most Valuable Player award.
1947: Won his second Triple Crown: .343 average, 32 homers and 114 RBI.
1948: Led the league in hitting, .369.
1949: Second MVP award; hit .343 with 43 homers and 159 RBIs.
1952-53: Service in Korean War.
1957: Led the league in hitting, .388.
1958: Led the league in hitting, .328; was oldest man ever to do so.
1969-71: manager, Washington Senators
1972: manager, Texas Rangers.
Career record as manager: 273 victories and 364 losses, a .429 mark.