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Ted Williams Speaks Out on Red Sox Prospects

Mar. 12, 1964 - “Rico Petrocelli is the most advanced of the young Red Sox players — Tony Horton is the best hitter — Tony Conigliaro (right) is at least two years away.”

This was the gist of the opinions of Ted Williams (left) after a week in Scottsdale, Ariz., during which he has been coaching the young hitters.

“Petrocelli can hit the tough pitch,” Williams said. “He’s a good low-ball hitter, and in the tough situation, the pitcher is pretty likely to come in low.”

“What did he hit last year in the minors?” Ted asked. He looked at a roster which said “.239 at Reading, Pa.”

“How big is the ballpark at Reading?” Williams asked. He looked through the records. “The wind must blow in there all the time,” he added with a faint smile.

“I think Rico will be a good player for the Red Sox. He’ll hit around .285. He’s maybe a year away. Italian boys [Petrocelli was 20 last June] mature early.”

Williams discussed Horton. “Horton looks like he could be a real solid hitter. He knows enough not to try to pull everything. That’s one thing I try to tell batters. If they are not natural pull-hitters, forget about it. Some of them, after facing big league pitching for a few years, become pull hitters without deliberately trying.”

Williams labeled each of four players — Conigliaro, Petrocelli, Horton, and Gage Naudain — “a hell of a prospect.”


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