As quoted in "Here's the Pitch" by Frank Finch, in The Los Angeles Times (June 5, 1958), p. C2
A man has to have goals — for a day, for a lifetime — and that was mine, to have people say, "There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived."
My Turn at Bat : The Story of My Life (1970), p. 7
Variant: All I want out of life is that when I walk down the street folks will say, "There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived".
A kid copies what is good. I remember the first time I saw Lefty O'Doul, and he was as far away as those palms. And I saw the guy come to bat in batting practice. I was looking through a knothole, and I said, "Geez, does that guy look good!" And it was Lefty O'Doul, one of the greatest hitters ever.
Williams is one batter I thought would break my lifetime batting average of .367. If he'd learned to hit to left, Ted would have broken every record in the book.
Ty Cobb, as quoted in "Here's the Pitch" by Frank Finch, in The Los Angeles Times (June 5, 1958), p. C2
For my money, Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all-time. I'd take him over Ruth, I'd take him over Cobb. I'd take him over Cobb because of the combination of power and average. I'd take him over Ruth because with Ruth, you can only speculate about what he would have done in the modern era. Ted Williams hit .388 at the age of 39 in 1957. He was what few of us ever become; he was exactly what he set out to be. He said he wanted to be able to walk down the street some day and have people say "There goes the greatest hitter who ever lived". And if they don't say that, it's only because they don't know what they're talking about.
If we were choosing sides and every player was in the pool my first pick would be Whitey Ford and my second would be Ted Williams. Beyond that there would be just too many and I would be afraid of leaving somebody out. Besides, with Whitey on the mound and Williams in the lineup, the rest of the team wouldn't much matter; we'd still beat just about anybody.
Mickey Mantle, as quoted in The Greatest Team of All Time: As Selected by Baseball's Immortals, from Ty Cobb to Willie Mays (1994), compiled by Nicholas Acoccella and Donald Dewey, p. 120