After a get-acquainted period in spring training and a half of season of getting to know Ted Williams, his techniques, his idiosyncrasies, his demand for the utmost effort every minute and his passion for perfection, the Senators appear ready to make a run at second place in the American League East. Williams has made his points, has about the best left and right balance in pitching and hitting that is available, and this is beginning to be his team. After a recent four-game winning streak, Ted agreed the club had been playing about as well as it could.
He was proud of the spirit. “They are heads up and hustling, the Senator’s manager said. “They’re alive. If we can hold this spirit, we might surprise somebody.” A super scout who has been following the Senators said he has seldom seen a ball club with so many pluses over the previous season. The scout went down the lineup, man for man, down the pitching, and over the bench, and with maybe one or two exceptions, all were pluses. The Williams influence had Frank Howard on a record home run pace. “Wait, wait, wait, wait for your pitch,” Williams pounded to Howard, and Hondo has the message.
Williams strongly defends his platooning as not only having the best possible lineup on the field for that day, but as a means of giving players a rest. Mike Epstein, Del Unser, Lee Maye, Jim French, and Bernie Allen are usually out against southpaw pitching, and Hank Allen, Tim Cullen, Paul Casanova, Brant Alyea, and Sam Bowens resting against right handed pitching. Williams spent two months scanning the waiver wire and attempting to make a deal for a left-handed hitter, and is delighted to have come up with Maye, who sometimes misses, but always swings the bat.
The Senators went to their Buffalo farm club for Bowens, who is not hitting. But Ted likes the way Bowens does everything else – runs, throws, played the outfield and bunts – and Williams believes Bowens’ hitting may come. When Williams’ psychology works, he is as happy as a kid. The other night he stood around the batting cage loudly bemoaning the fact that his seventh and eighth place hitters from the right side were not contributing much. Ed Brinkman is probably Williams’ biggest plus, with Epstein and Hank Allen next among hitters and Casey Cox, Dick Bosman and Dennis Higgins the biggest pluses among the pitchers. “Just terrific, just terrific,” Williams says of his shortstop, batting .290, making all the plays and keeping the spirit up. “The spirit is good, let’s keep it that way,” Ted keeps repeating.
– from The Sporting News, July 19, 1969