The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Thumper, Teddy Ballgame

terrynever

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You're a Yankees fan, right?

I'm just trying to bask in the broadness of the respect for The Splinter. And yeah, that's a healthy take and not a bad idea.
I try to enjoy all the athletes. My dad taught me that in the 1950s. Ted's greatness extended thru 1999 because of his dynamic nature. They still tell a story around New England golf shops about Ted getting banned from a golf course near his old baseball clinic in Lakeville, Ma. Probably in the early 1980s. He was just larger than life. I was near him a few times in Pawtucket. Intimidating man. He owned every room he walked into. What kind of life is that, for a man who favored solitude?
 

reggiecleveland

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Nah. Jimmy Piersall already went nuts after seeing Anthony Perkins' impersonation in Fear Strikes Out.
Thank God that Lou Gehrig was already dead when Gary Cooper played him in Pride of the Yankees. Coop was so bad, they had him swing from his natural right side and then they flipped the film negative.
It's a whole thread -- Good, Bad and Ugly sports impersonations by Hollywood.
Wesley Snipes is the Ted Williams of bad sports form in film.
 

gtg807y

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Funny, reading through this thread at work and I realized I have pictures of three people in my office: my wife, our daughter, and the Splinter himself.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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He owned every room he walked into.
With one notable exception:

Supposedly they were once at an event of some sort, and Williams was off after a while ranting about something or other. When Ted got ranting about whatever the topic — whether it was baseball, fishing or the decline of the United States of America — there was no stopping him, no slowing him down. He was a runaway freight train, and whatever or whoever got in his way just got run over. That’s because Ted Williams was the biggest man in every room he ever entered …

“Ted,” John Glenn said at some point as the conversation grew a bit too loud and profane and fierce.

“Listen here I’m trying to finish this,” Williams said. “When I …”

“Ted,” John Glenn said again, this time with a little bit of bite in his voice.

And Ted Williams looked at his old friend. John Glenn was a few inches shorter than Williams, and his voice was considerably softer, and if he ever swore it sure as heck wasn’t in public. He was a square guy from Ohio who married his high school sweetheart, who once told the Mercury Astronauts to stop messing around on their wives, who once said after flying “To look out at this creation and not believe in God is, to me, impossible.”

Ted Williams looked at ol’ Magnet Ass, and he just stopped. He understood. For once, he was looking at the biggest man in the room.

“Awright,” he said quietly as he settled down. “I can’t compete with a bleeping American hero.”
http://joeposnanski.com/a-bleeping-american-hero/
 

fineyoungarm

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What has interested me is that, during their playing days, Joltin’ Joe was supposed to be the great guy and the Splinter the a’hole. WRONG.
 

joyofsox

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I reviewed The Kid on my blog in 2013. Bradlee spent ten years on the book. He interviewed more than 600 people and had access to Williams's private papers, letters, and journals. I recommend it without hesitation. I was particularly fascinated by the in-depth look at TSW's relationship with the media.
Williams's exuberance, color, and candor was music to the Boston press's ears, but a fundamental and irrevocable shift in Williams's mood towards the media occurred in his second season (1940). He got off to a slow start and was booed at Fenway Park ... In late May 1940, sportswriter Harold Kaese ended a column with the cheap shot that Williams had not visited his parents over the previous winter. "This was an unpardonable sin," Bradlee writes, "an unacceptable invasion of his privacy". Kaese's article turned "what had been a simmering feud with sportswriters into a vitriolic campaign that he chose to wage his entire career". Williams referred to the writers as jackals and more formally as the Knights of the Keyboard.

In August of that year, Williams vented to another writer for 20 minutes, listing all the things he couldn't stand about Boston: the fans, the press, the entire city. He said he had asked Yawkey - many times - to be traded. If free agency existed and every team made him the exact same offer, Williams said he would choose the Dodgers. "I know I'd be a hero in Brooklyn," he said. ...

Bradlee offers a detailed and fascinating history of the Boston media during this time and says the feud was "a conflict largely manufactured by Williams to fuel his drive to excel". Williams believed he hit better when he was angry, if he felt he had something to prove. ... [One] player noted that Williams read all of the city's dailies "just to find someone to get mad at". ...

In spring training one year, a reporter thought Williams seemed more approachable. "I'm always nice enough in the spring," Ted explained, "until I read what those shitheads write about me." ...

While the Boston sportswriters did their part to push Williams's buttons, Ted often created his own trouble with fans at Fenway. During the first game of a May 1950 doubleheader, Williams dropped a fly ball in left field and was booed. On his way back to the dugout, he gave fans two middle fingers. In the second game, he booted another ball and flipped the bird to all sections of the park. "I didn't mind the errors," he said afterwards, "but those goddamn fans, they can go fuck themselves."
Bradlee notes that during one game, a Boston sportswriter sat out in left field and heckled Williams himself, hoping to provoke a reaction.
 

Monbonthbump

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I agree with you that "The Kid" has to be the definitive work on Williams even though as I said in my Amazon review, it leaves one a little sad and wondering whether at the end Ted himself felt he had lived the life he had desired. But then, who does? In my case, his now almost invisible autographed photo hangs in my closet and I see it every day, and my first born son was named Ted.
 

charlieoscar

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Sep 28, 2014
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My life-long pursuit of baseball stats began back in the '50s when I tried to prove Ted Williams was better than Babe Ruth (Ruth may well have made the Hall of Fame if he continued just as a pitcher).

Anyway, there are a couple of things you all haven't mentioned about Williams. First, he narrowly missed winning a third Triple Crown in 1949. Going into the final game of the season, he was leading the league in batting with a .344 average; however, he went 1 for 4 and George Kell went 2 for 3, edging out Williams, .343912 to .342756.

Also, the next year, Williams was having one of his best years going into the All Star Game, batting .321/.466/.690/1.157 with 22 doubles, 1 triple, 25 home runs, and 83 RBI (70 games). In the first inning of the A-S Game, he ran into the wall making a catch of a line drive hit by Ralph Kiner and was out until Sept. 7. In his last 19 games (16 starts), he hit .303/.387/.470/.856 with 2 doubles, 3 home runs, and 14 RBI.
 

charlieoscar

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A picture I found of Williams about 40 years ago (not the best rendition because I took it with my cellphone through the glass in its mounting).

 

The Gray Eagle

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PBS will be airing a 2-hour film about Ted as part of their American Masters series. Entitled "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived," it will air on July 23.

American Masters on PBS will air a documentary on Ted this summer. It's co-produced by Big Papi productions and a lot of the commentary is by Ben Bradlee Jr. and Leigh Montville, who know his story so well.

It's targeted more to people who don't know all of Ted's story that well, rather than diehard fans who've read the biographies. But it will surely be worth watching.
Thanks for pointing this out to everyone else who has me on ignore! :D