|''HIT LIKE ME OR I'LL CRACK YOU ONE.''|
|TED WORKED WONDERS WITH HIS MAIN PUPIL.|
THE FRONT PAGE
- This was Ted Williams' first year as manager and he made an immediate impact, guiding the Senators to an 86-76 record, the team's only winning season in Washington. He had a profound effect on first baseman Mike Epstein, who had his best season, with career-highs in homers (30), RBI (85) and average (.278).
THE BACK PAGE
- Epstein did his damage in only 403 at-bats and had never hit more than 13 homers coming into the season. In '69, Washington finished third in average (.251) and fifth in homers (148).
- Ted choking up on the bat? Showing how to hit to the opposite field? Love to know what point he was trying to make here.
- Williams always preached swinging at strikes and not settling for the pitcher's pitch. In '68, Epstein walked only 48 times in 385 at-bats. In '69, he increased that to 85, and if you don't think that discipline was the single most important factor in his breakout, you don't know anything about hitting.
- Also increased his on-base percentage to .414, and that number was helped by getting hit by 10 pitches, which continued a trend; he had been hit 19 times in the previous two seasons and would be hit 21 times in '70-'71.
- Earned the nickname ''SuperJew'' because of his left-handed power.
- Runs Mike Epstein Hitting, continuing Williams' love of teaching. "He was always a keen student of hitting,'' Williams is quoted on Epstein's website. ... "I'm a tough guy to please and impress, but I believe Mike comprehends and teaches the science of proper hitting as skillfully as anyone I have run across in all my years in baseball.''