The Swing and the Mythology of Ted Williams: PBS doc to air 7/23/18

bankshot1

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Reminder as the Sox square off against the Machado-less Os on Monday night 7/23

PBS airs American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” at 9pm (metro NYC)

check local listings JIC
 

RoDaddy

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Lots of great old-time footage. The close ups and break downs of his swing were pretty amazing. But man, from the locker room shots, he was kinda scrawny for a bigtime power hitter
 

JimD

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What a phenomenal hour. Growing up a baseball fan in Boston, I learned about Ted Williams almost by osmosis and remember my dad always talking about how he was his favorite ballplayer as a kid. This film really humanizes Ted and brings nuance to the almost mythical figure he has become, illuminating what a complicated person he truly was. For example, I had no idea that his mentioning of of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and the Negro Leaguers was such a big deal during his HoF induction speech in 1966. I'm amazed that I've gained a renewed appreciation for Williams after watching this.

Of the talking heads, I thought that Ben Bradlee Jr., Claudia Williams and especially Joey Votto brought the most to the table, and I'll never complain about including the great Leigh Montville. Bob Costas and Wade Boggs felt superfluous by comparison. Votto's appreciation and enthusiasm really jumped off the screen - what a shame that his career is going almost unnoticed in Cincinnati.
 

Marbleheader

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I was mildly disappointed. It was ok but I was hoping for a little more. At least they didn't have Shaughnessy.
 

JimD

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I tend to agree with Marbleheader here. Anybody know why Votto was in there? Did he mention some kind of connection to Williams I might have missed?
Assuming Votto was there because they wanted a current major leaguer. I thought he was great - supposedly he went for a taping that was expected to last 20 minutes and ended up going on for over an hour.
 

Al Zarilla

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What a phenomenal hour. Growing up a baseball fan in Boston, I learned about Ted Williams almost by osmosis and remember my dad always talking about how he was his favorite ballplayer as a kid. This film really humanizes Ted and brings nuance to the almost mythical figure he has become, illuminating what a complicated person he truly was. For example, I had no idea that his mentioning of of Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and the Negro Leaguers was such a big deal during his HoF induction speech in 1966. I'm amazed that I've gained a renewed appreciation for Williams after watching this.

Of the talking heads, I thought that Ben Bradlee Jr., Claudia Williams and especially Joey Votto brought the most to the table, and I'll never complain about including the great Leigh Montville. Bob Costas and Wade Boggs felt superfluous by comparison. Votto's appreciation and enthusiasm really jumped off the screen - what a shame that his career is going almost unnoticed in Cincinnati.
All the shots with Ted batting barehanded were a cool, if small flashback to the past, at least for me. As for “skinny Ted” I think he filled out during his WWII stint and had plenty of muscle from then on.

Ted’s influence in getting Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson into the HOF was mentioned in another SOSH thread about Ted this year.

I really liked the show also, even though I’ve read so many books and watched some documentaries about him. The show did have pictures and footage I’ve ever seen though, those alone made it worthwhile watching.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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I tend to agree with Marbleheader here. Anybody know why Votto was in there? Did he mention some kind of connection to Williams I might have missed?
Assuming Votto was there because they wanted a current major leaguer.
Votto is Ted's closest comp among current players in terms of approach, he's led the NL in walks and OBP at least 6 or 7 times.

I thought this was common knowledge, it's too bad he's been buried on crappy Cincinnati teams his whole career.
 

charlieoscar

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All the shots with Ted batting barehanded were a cool, if small flashback to the past, at least for me.
Who wore gloves back then? Anyhow, aren't there a couple of players on this year's club who don't wear them...Swihart and somebody they called up?
 

MakeMineMoxie

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In the MLB Now! interview yesterday, Brian Kenny asked Votto what he would ask Ted if he could speak to him now. Votto answered that he'd like to ask Ted how he adapted to getting older & still keep his effectiveness as a hitter (Votto is in his age 34 season) Apparently, Votto has pretty much memorized The Science of Hitting.
 

JimD

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Votto is Ted's closest comp among current players in terms of approach, he's led the NL in walks and OBP at least 6 or 7 times.

I thought this was common knowledge, it's too bad he's been buried on crappy Cincinnati teams his whole career.
I knew Votto is a great hitter of course, but didn't put two and two together to realize that he is the closest we have today to Ted. Seems like a missed opportunity there - should have put him in a batting cage demonstrating some things, or better yet put a few other current and former great hitters there with him to help make the connection for viewers.
 

Bergs

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Votto is Ted's closest comp among current players in terms of approach, he's led the NL in walks and OBP at least 6 or 7 times.

I thought this was common knowledge, it's too bad he's been buried on crappy Cincinnati teams his whole career.
That's 100% by choice. He hasn't been willing to waive his no trade clause, or he would have been on a contender years ago. He was pretty vocal in his dissatisfaction earlier this year, so that might change, but he's well on the wrong side of 30 and his contract is a beast ('19-'23 at $25M per...he'll be 39)
 

Al Zarilla

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Who wore gloves back then? Anyhow, aren't there a couple of players on this year's club who don't wear them...Swihart and somebody they called up?
Nobody wore gloves back then. If they'd shown DiMaggio or Mantle closeup without the gloves it would be nostalgic too. Google tells me that Ken Harrelson was the first to use a glove (golf glove at the time) in 1964. He was on the PGA tour for a while. Swihart doesn't use gloves, think you're right.
 

timlinin8th

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Votto was the surprise star for me as well. He came across as thoughtful and articulate far beyond what I would have anticipated.
Slightly off-topic from the Ted talk, but if you liked the Votto snippets in here, there is an episode of MLB Network’s Play Ball with him in it that is available On Demand right now. The show is geared to kids but in his he drops mad knowledge in about three minutes that is just mind-blowing. Dude is the Yoda of Hitting
 

EdRalphRomero

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Slightly off-topic from the Ted talk, but if you liked the Votto snippets in here, there is an episode of MLB Network’s Play Ball with him in it that is available On Demand right now. The show is geared to kids but in his he drops mad knowledge in about three minutes that is just mind-blowing. Dude is the Yoda of Hitting
Will check it out. Thanks.
 

Van Everyman

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I enjoyed this as well. A few observations:

1) Is there any doubt that Ted would’ve been a film maniac if he were alive today? The weighing and heating the bat thing stand out as obsessive even now.

2) Leigh Montville is a national treasure – but holy shit did he look terrible. Hope it’s just age and not illness.

3) The fishing stuff was kind of fascinating – Boggs’ comment about how it connects to patience and plate discipline was interesting to me.

4) I had forgotten he tipped his cap at Ted Williams Day in the early 90s. Age does funny things to us, I guess.

5) I loved how he made a special point out of mentioning how negro league players deserved to be in the Hall during his HOF speech – and the comment how civil rights was the one issue where he wasn’t “to the right of Atilla the Hun.”

6) The fact that he didn’t want to serve in WWII or Korea is something that gets lost in the “war hero” narrative. Also, the fact that he was good at military service—and as a teacher in the military—despite the fact that he didn’t want to be there.

It’s almost hard to imagine a player like Ted today – a cranky hitting savant who loves baseball and otherwise just wants to be left alone.
 

MakeMineMoxie

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Slightly off-topic from the Ted talk, but if you liked the Votto snippets in here, there is an episode of MLB Network’s Play Ball with him in it that is available On Demand right now. The show is geared to kids but in his he drops mad knowledge in about three minutes that is just mind-blowing. Dude is the Yoda of Hitting
Thanks, that was good. What an intelligent and likeable guy.
 

reggiecleveland

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Slightly off-topic from the Ted talk, but if you liked the Votto snippets in here, there is an episode of MLB Network’s Play Ball with him in it that is available On Demand right now. The show is geared to kids but in his he drops mad knowledge in about three minutes that is just mind-blowing. Dude is the Yoda of Hitting
There is Votto story circulating with Canadian baseball coaches, probably apocryphal, but shows his rep with his coaches.

The story is a new indoor cage was installed and young Votto was given the keys, or early access to try it out. When the owner game back after a few days they were annoyed the supplier had sent them used balls. Votto had taken so many reps that the balls were broken in. Hard to believe, buthis reputation is as a workaholic.
 

LoweTek

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I did think Claudia was great. She should write a book.
I did download Claudia's book after this and I'm just about finished. Highly recommended for some much more first-hand, personal and complex insights into Williams and his family dynamics.

P.S. Don't use my link to buy, just to review. If you decide to buy the book, go through the Amazon link at the top of the page. Nip will appreciate it.
 

Monbonthbump

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I also enjoyed the program but there was nothing new if one has read Bradlee's book. Thankfully I don't remember any quotes from "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" which Updike eventually tired of hearing. He never wrote another baseball piece and only ended up at the game because an anticipated tryst failed to materialize when the girl didn't show. And Claudia managed to explain the cryo thing as tastefully as possible. At least the tuna can wasn't mentioned.
 

Al Zarilla

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These things always manage to bring in previously unseen pictures and video. In this case, it was his parents and brother and some war videos I hadn’t seen. Also, interviews with his daughter, Montville, Votto and even Bob Costas’ contributions added to it. I also read Bradlee’s book.
 

mauidano

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There is color footage of Ted’s last game at Fenway that is new. It had been in some guy’s attic and desk drawer until recently.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The thing that got me unexpectedly was just some of the later life talking head footage of Williams.

Specifically it was the Sox cap he was wearing with those sorta plushy mesh side panels. That’s such a Boston Dad hat of my youth that I got knocked back by the sheer nostalgia of it.