Ted Williams Died- 10 years ago today.

I remember where I was ten years ago on this day. I was in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I was at The Greystone History store [which would soon be out of business} they had the televison on. It must have been CNN. The greatest hitter who ever lived-Ted Williams had died at the age of 83. We knew he was in bad shape and the end was near. One of the first thoughts I had was- it is too bad he didn’t pass a day earlier. On the 4th of July. That would have been appropriate.

I can’t recall who said it but Ted Williams out John Wayne’d -John Wayne. He was the real John Wayne not the movie version. He was that man. His career numbers in baseball would be mind blowing had it not been for World War II and the Korean War- Ted missed three entire seasons- what would have been his prime years-1943-45 due to the second World War. He missed most of two seeasons due to Korea. He would have broken the RuthRecord, his hit totals-who knows how mnay he would have had-he possibly could have challanged the CobbRecord. Even missing all that time he had a career average of .344 and hit 521 home runs. 1839 RBI.

He was also the most interesting great player. Joe Dimaggio was boring. Ted Williams had an opinion on everything and he would tell you what it was. Nothing he liked to do more than talk about hitting a baseball. When I was eleven years old I first read “My Turn At Bat” his autobiography. I fell in love with Ted Williams then and along with Babe Ruth and Willie Stargell one of my 3 favorite players. I wish I had gotten to see him play.

Its a shame what has happened in the past ten years-especially right after his death. He was used by his son John Henry {who strangely died less than 2 years later} this whole having his remains frozen cryonically. John Henry used his father late in his life when Ted wasn’t well. Reading the stories really made me angry. It was sad seeing the great Ted Williams being reduced to a joke.

Ted Williams wasn’t the greatest all around ballplayer who ever lived. He was the greatest hitter who ever lived. I don’t care about the All-Star game anymore-haven’t for years but when they had the All-Star game at Fenway and they honored Ted before the game-I think it was 1999. The greatest moment in All-Star history.

Ted also made the most important speech in Hall of Fame history. When he was inducted in 1966 he talked of the need to honor the Negro League ballplayers in the Hall of Fame. A few years later that would happen.

Recommended reading on Teddy F. Ballgame.. his autobiography “My Turn At Bat” and Leigh Montville’s fairly recent biography is a great read. Ted was a complicated guy- which made him interesting.

One response to “Ted Williams Died- 10 years ago today.

  1. teddy was my favorite player. i knew that he was not doing well, and it was one of those things that i was just kind of waiting on. a few years earlier a friend of mine called me at work and said ‘hey did you see your boy died’ my first thought was williams, but it was payne stewart that died in that plane decompression and subsequent crash. williams was a great hitter, below average fielder, and while he was volatile, he did have a solid heart, he did a lot of things for the jimmy fund in boston.
    also overlooked is that williams was a great fisherman and hunter. solid american.

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