What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now?
When legendary Red Sox hitter Ted Williams died on July 5, 2002, newspapers reviewed the stats, compared him to other legends of the game, and declared him the greatest hitter who ever lived. Richard Ben Cramer, Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed biographer of Joe DiMaggio, decodes this oversized icon who dominated the game and finds not just a great player, but also a great man.
In 1986, Richard Ben Cramer spent months on a profile of Ted Williams, and the result was the Esquire article that has been acclaimed ever since as one of the finest pieces of sports reporting ever written. Given special acknowledgment in The Best American Sportswriting of the Century and adapted for a coffee-table book called Ted Williams: The Seasons of the Kid, the original piece is now available in this special edition, with new material about Williams's later years. While his decades after Fenway Park were out of the spotlight -- the way Ted preferred it -- they were arguably his richest, as he loved and inspired his family, his fans, the players, and the game itself. This is a remembrance for the ages.
Read an Excerpt
August 30, 1918
July 5, 2002
Even in the last years of his life -- even as America and the sub-nation of baseball hungrily re-embraced him -- I knew I could provoke surprise (and more than a few arguments) when I said that Ted Williams was not just a great ballplayer, he was a great man.
Reputation dies hard in the baseball nation, and in the larger industry of American iconography. Even at the close of the century, forty years after he'd left the field, there still attached to Ted a lingering whiff of bile from the days when he spat toward booing Fenway fans. And there were...
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