The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams
At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves–and that his fans have been waiting for. Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals
At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves–and that his fans have been waiting for.
Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him–and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.’s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America–and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter’s box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not.
THE KID is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee’s marvelous book clears the fences, too.An Amazon Best Book of the Month, December 2013: In an age of performance enhancing drugs and a culture of wealth and deceit in professional sports, it’s refreshing to revisit the feats of one of baseball’s best: the last man to hit .400 in a season, with a lifetime .344 batting average, who played remarkable baseball until age 40 and who reigns as the best all-around hitter in history. What sets this exhaustive exploration apart from other Ted Williams biographies is the author’s finesse at maintaining a fan’s enthusiasm for his remarkable subject while confronting the warts-and-all reality of an imperfect hero. Boston Globe reporter-editor Ben Bradlee Jr. admits at the start that Williams was, indeed, “my hero.” Still, Bradlee never shies from dark side of the Williams myth: the insecure immigrant’s son; the imperfect father and husband; the raging hothead, who flaunted his disdain for the press and a few teammates. Bradlee spent a decade investigating every detail of Williams’s 83 years–and beyond. He even uncovers gruesome tidbits about the strange aftermath of Williams’s death in 2002, when his body was taken to a cryonics facility, his head severed and then frozen inside a Tuperware-like container. Passionately researched and artfully told, this is much more than a sports story; it’s the sprawling saga of a talented, tenacious, tumultuous, one-of-a-kind American man. –Neal Thompson
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