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ESPN: Ted Williams


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http://espn.go.com/espn/feature/story/_/id/12799493/ted-williams-legacy-preserved-daughter-claudia-williams

We were talking about him at the Hangout Night last evening and I saw this.

TED WILLIAMS HATED his childhood home, leaving before graduation the same as Claudia, never going back. His lifelong feud with the press began when a writer asked rhetorically in a column what kind of boy didn't go home in the winter to visit his mother. How could he be expected, then, to create a family when he despised his own so much?

On the day his only son, John-Henry, was born, Ted was salmon fishing in Canada. He'd been retired for eight years. That night, like always, he wrote in his fishing log. Ted wrote about the water temperature (70-72 degrees), his friends who came up to fish, and details of the trout and arctic char he caught while casting for salmon. He never mentioned a pregnant Dolores, and he never mentioned the boy.

To the public, he was a success, but to himself, he was a failure, consumed with shame and regret. Bobby-Jo came into the world first, in the middle of his career. When she was young, he got so mad at her that he spit a mouthful of food in her face. Ted drove her back to her mom's house in Miami once, and when they arrived, it transpired that Bobby-Jo had forgotten her keys, and Ted, raging, kicked her out of the car and left her standing alone there in the dark, exactly as his mother had done to him.

Instead of Bobby-Jo becoming the first Williams to graduate from college, which Ted wanted as desperately as he wanted to hit a baseball, she got pregnant. Rather than tell her father, she slit her arm from the wrist to the elbow. She entered a psych ward, which he paid for, and got an abortion, which he paid for, and when her scars taunted him -- physical proof that he'd become his mother -- he paid for plastic surgery too. He couldn't buy her peace. Doctors diagnosed manic depression, and she moved from booze to pills, cheating on her husband with the neighbor and giving herself another abortion with drugs and alcohol. Doctors gave her electroshock therapy. She threw plates and knives. Her voice turned childlike whenever she spoke to him, a thin "Daddy." She asked for money and begged for help. She never held a job. At the funeral for Williams' longtime girlfriend, Louise Kaufman, Claudia recognized her half-sister, Bobby-Jo, whom she'd never met, simply by seeing a familiar wave of fear register on Bobby-Jo's face at the sound of Ted's voice: He boomed in the next room, sucking up all the oxygen, and two women, born 23 years apart, flinched.

"You must be Bobby-Jo," Claudia said.

"Claudia?" she replied.

Ted talked with Bobby-Jo moments later.

"Hi, Daddy," she said.

"Are you still smoking?" he asked.

"I'm down to one pack a day," she said.

"Jesus," he said, then he walked away.

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I never saw him play but my dad said the three best players were Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, in that order.

My Dad also. And a lot of older guys I've worked with over the years. "Ted Williams was the best I ever saw."

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I never saw him play but my dad said the three best players were Willie Mays, Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle, in that order.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PVBN5hYdj5E" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Hitterish.

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Just another confirmation to me that the great ones are often messed up people, which has a direct effect on why they are great (i.e. they put up with the sacrifices needed to be "the greatest"). Maybe I've seen too many Inside the Actor's Studios, but a surprisingly common theme in interviewing those Oscar winners and such is a broken household.

Mickey Mantle was sexually abused as a child. Willie Mays had to deal with the obvious black/white issue but there may be more I don't know about.

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Just another confirmation to me that the great ones are often messed up people, which has a direct effect on why they are great (i.e. they put up with the sacrifices needed to be "the greatest"). Maybe I've seen too many Inside the Actor's Studios, but a surprisingly common theme in interviewing those Oscar winners and such is a broken household.

Mickey Mantle was sexually abused as a child. Willie Mays had to deal with the obvious black/white issue but there may be more I don't know about.

I like to think of Jazz performers as proof of that axiom as well.

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Ted Williams had a career .482 OBP.

Shakespeare never wrote a tragedy so harsh.

Truth is often stranger than fiction.

Williams is often thought to have been the best pure hitter ever but he considered himself a better pilot. Just think of the numbers he could have produced had he not been away at war.

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Truth is often stranger than fiction.

Williams is often thought to have been the best pure hitter ever but he considered himself a better pilot. Just think of the numbers he could have produced had he not been away at war.

Jim Brown might have been better at lacrosse.

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Truth is often stranger than fiction.

Williams is often thought to have been the best pure hitter ever but he considered himself a better pilot. Just think of the numbers he could have produced had he not been away at war.

We were pretty lucky.

orioles_legends_celebration_statues_by_professormegaman-d5mlj4c.png

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Just another confirmation to me that the great ones are often messed up people, which has a direct effect on why they are great (i.e. they put up with the sacrifices needed to be "the greatest"). Maybe I've seen too many Inside the Actor's Studios, but a surprisingly common theme in interviewing those Oscar winners and such is a broken household.

Mickey Mantle was sexually abused as a child. Willie Mays had to deal with the obvious black/white issue but there may be more I don't know about.

John Lennon abandoned (and abused) his son Julian, and his wife (Julian's mommy), Cynthia.

Lennon himself was abandoned by his father when he was a child, and was raised by his aunt.

Thank goodness that Cynthia was a great mom to Julian, and he turned out to be nothing like his father, with the exception of being an excellent musician in his own right.

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