There are two Eephus pitches that stand out in Red Sox history.
The first is a sad tale for us Bostonians. In Game 7 of the 1975 World Series, with the Sox up 3-0, Bill "Spaceman" Lee took the mound and offered up three Eephus pitches to Tony Perez. The last one didn't work, and Perez sent the ball out of the park for a two-run shot that would have made the difference in ending the "curse" 30 years earlier.
But this series is about great moments, not terrible ones, and the All-Star Game, not the World Series.
So let's talk about Ted Williams and 1946. Freshly back from World War II, Williams had rejoined the Red Sox and gotten right back into the swing of things--pardon the phrase--hitting .347/.512/.693 in the first half of the season to earn his fourth All-Star selection.
Meanwhile, Pirates pitcher Rip Sewell had been working his way through the National League to the tune of a 3.36 ERA. And, for the last four years, had been peddling his unique Eephus pitch--he called it "the Blooper"--to NL hitters, who couldn't do much of anything with it. To that point, despite starting well over 100 games with the Eephus in his arsenal, Sewell had not allowed even one home run off it.
Enter Ted Williams at the 1946 All-Star Game in Fenway.
By the time the two men faced off in the eighth, the game was all-but-over. The American League was already up 8-0 after the first seven innings, and that was in no small part due to Ted Williams. He'd walked in the first, coming around to score on Charlie Keller's homer, and then provided a long ball of his own to straight-away center off of Kirby Higbe in the fourth. One inning later, and he brought home another run off Higbe with a single before reaching base with another base knock in the seventh.
So he was doing pretty well.
He came to the plate for the final time in the eighth with Sewell on the mound, and he knew very well what was coming. Sewell had told him before the game he was going to throw the Eephus, and true to his word, in came the first one. Williams fouled it off. Two more came to little event, Sewell threw his fourth, and Ted Williams did what he always did best: hit it hard, and hit it far.
It was the only time Sewell would ever allow a home run off his infamous Blooper, and as Ted Williams rounded the bases, Sewell let him know the only reason he managed it was because Sewell had told him it was coming.
Partially true, yes. But that's not the whole story.
In actuality, the reason is probably because Williams took a different approach. As the pitch came in, Williams got a running start, stepping out well in front of the batter's box when he took his mighty swing. Cheating? Technically. But all we're left with is the memory of Teddy Ballgame hitting the ball like no one else could.