Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kid.

'The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived' would have been 93 years old today. The fact that the great Ted Williams was born in 1918 always seemed to have a wry irony about it—at least until 2004. He was a natural almost from the start, and were it not for his mother wanting him to stay close to his San Diego home, he would have been scooped away by bonus money from the Evil Empire. Perish the thought!

On this anniversary of the Splendid Splinter's birth, it's worth revisiting the best book ever written about him: Leigh Montville's "Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero". It has all the warts and all the wonder of the man who represented Red Sox baseball for his entire career. Montville is one of the best writers ever produced by the tight-knit little coterie of Boston sports journalism. It is a compelling read—even for a second or third time. Where else would you find out about how Ted—before games—would occasionally shoot pigeons on the field from behind the bullpen wall at Fenway? And nowhere else will you find a long, intimate interview with Ted's second wife about the ups and downs of life with a mercurial superstar.

With all of his run-ins with media and fans, Ted was always focused on one thing—hitting a baseball better than anyone. That usually meant good things for the Boston Red Sox.

Happy birthday, Kid.