Ted WilliamsAugust 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 heartbroken hundreds...