Found: Ted Williams’ Self-Proclaimed Heat Map



Ted Williams didn’t play during the Heat Map Era. He also didn’t play during the Internet, Grunge, Civil Rights, Designated Hitter, or David Bowie Era. But Mr. Williams still understood the idea behind heat maps. The above (embiggenable) image is of a display at the Hall of Fame museum, in which Williams estimates his batting average based on pitch location.

I have yet to visit the Hall of Fame, but when I do, I will certainly seek this display out. I’ve tried to come up with something humorous or insightful to say about this, but everything I come up with pales in comparison to just how cool this thing is. Just imagining Ted Williams dictating a batting average for 77 different balls — splitting some vertically, some horizontally, because that inch and half matters — delights me. We don’t have Pitch F/X data with which to compare this, and I honestly don’t care. Comparing it to facts would ruin it somehow. This isn’t so much a factual chart as it is a peek inside the head of one of the smartest hitters the game has ever seen.

It’s a glorious thing, and it will be my misshapen computer wallpaper for a while.

(image via the digital mind meld known as Reddit)

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David G. Temple is the Managing Editor of TechGraphs and a contributor to FanGraphs, NotGraphs and The Hardball Times. He hosts the award-eligible podcast Stealing Home. Dayn Perry once called him a "Bible Made of Lasers." Follow him on Twitter @davidgtemple.

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I guess he got a lot of pitches right down the middle in 1952-53.