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Ted Williams, My Father: A Memoir Hardcover – May 13, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“In her forthright, uncompromising but loving memoir Claudia Williams recalls life with her famous father…Few sports figures have attracted as many authors as Ted Williams; there are Ted books aplenty. But this memoir truly stands out, simply because it offers insights no other author could.” (Boston Globe)

From the Back Cover

Candid and unforgettable, a daughter's story of family, devotion, and growing up with the greatest hitter who ever lived

Claudia Williams first heard the crowds of Fenway Park scream her father's name two decades after he retired from the game. The world knew him as Ted Williams, The Kid, and Teddy Ballgame; at age ten, Claudia only knew him as Dad. Their life together had little to do with Triple Crowns and batting titles—instead their world consisted of casting fishing lines in New Brunswick, cross-country road trips, and squabbling at "feeding time."

Now, in this tender and surprising memoir, Claudia, Ted Williams's last surviving child, recounts her time with one of baseball's brightest stars, offering a rare glimpse inside the Hall of Famer's life after he hung up his spikes. With a fresh insight, she presents an unexpected portrait of Ted Williams as more than the greatest hitter to ever live, but also as a flawed man with a kind heart. Having the larger-than-life and often intimidating "Kid" as a father was tumultuous, but never boring, and along with her older brother, John-Henry, Claudia learned to navigate their father's hot temper and eccentricities to get to know the great man beneath.

Though Claudia grew up in her brother's shadow, she proved herself as an athlete and a daughter, ultimately becoming her father's caretaker and confidante. Their relationship evolved throughout her life, but they eventually formed a bond built on love, respect, and loyalty that both she and her brother shared. Opening up for the first time about the rumors that her family faced during Ted Williams's final years as well as his controversial choice to be cryogenically preserved after his death, Claudia details the full story behind her father's decision, showing that, rather than an impulsive act in his last days, it was the product of extensive family discussion that addressed his doubts about organized religion and his struggle with the end of life.

Filled with personal stories of his strengths and weaknesses, accomplishments and regrets, Claudia's poignant account tells the story of a complicated man and the family he loved. Complete with sixteen pages of photos, Ted Williams, My Father is a love letter to Claudia's lost dynasty and her greatest hero, Ted Williams.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (May 13, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062259563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062259561
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #831,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Albert B. Cassidy on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am the estate executor for Ted and, tragically, for his son John Henry. I was also honored to call both men my friends. Knowing who Ted was both in and out of the spotlight, I can say that this book tells his family’s fascinating story exactly the way I saw it. From the incredible success of Ted’s baseball career to the difficult personal struggles this family faced, Claudia tells this story beautifully, insightfully and, at times, with brutal honesty. From the time Ted retired from baseball to his death in 2002, he was a constant in my life. I grew up during the 60s at the Ted Williams Baseball Camp, which my family owned with Ted and where he would spend summers coaching baseball. In 1970 my parents moved us to Winter Haven, FL where the Red Sox held their spring training, and Ted quickly became a fixture at our home; grilling steaks and telling stories for hours in the evenings. We became business partners in the 80s, purchasing orange groves and motels, some of which we still owned together when he passed away. Our friendship was quite close, to the point that Ted was comfortable enough to talk about his personal life in detail, one which revolved around his children, Claudia and John Henry. A parent couldn’t have loved or been prouder of his kids than Ted was. The three of them shared a close and strong family bond. As siblings, no one could come between John Henry and Claudia, and their devotion to their dad was second to none. Ted would confess that he never stopped loving their mother, Dolores, and what a great job she did with their children. In her book, Claudia explains in great detail what it was like to grow up in this intriguing family. Throughout his life, Ted never missed an opportunity to brag about Claudia, who he called his “little princess.” I know how impressed he and John Henry would be with Claudia for telling this story, and how proud they both are of the woman she’s become.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By James Manos on June 15, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is not secret that I choose Father's Day to write my review of a book I have read not once but twice. I was 10 years old when Ted Williams retired. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York I was a Yankee and Met Fan and only knew him as "The Splendid Splinter" who played for the hated Red Sox. I saw him several times at Yankee Stadium; "The House That Ruth Built" as my Uncle a NYPD Cop took me to see "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived." I realized many years latter how their personalities and lives paralleled each other.

Baseball is a game where you are judged by yours stats: 2 Time MVP, 6 Time Batting Champion, 17 Time All-Star and 2 Time Triple Crown Winner. A lifetime .344 Batting Average with 521 Career Home Runs and a .482 OBP. The last MLB player to hit .400 when in 1941 he hit .406. All this while serving 3 years in the Navy and Marine Corps for WWII and 2 years in the Korean War.

I am reminded of Matthew 7.1 "Do Not Judge or You Will Be Judged." Ted Williams had flaws, a complicated man who sometimes took the English language to another level. Often impatient with an explosive temper. "Who among us does not have flaws? Who does not bear scars? Each of our journey's unique. Our adversities leave upon us lasting marks. They show us all that we have overcome. Life; a constant struggle, and choosing not to give in, we rise above."

Claudia Williams wrote this book to clarify many misconceptions but more importantly to honor her father who she dearly loved. She wanted people to know her father as she did; not the baseball player, fisherman or Marine. Like my Uncle, Ted Williams was a perfectionist on and off the field who hated mediocrity, and was overwhelming on every level. He played The Greatest Game on Earth and in Life.

In Ted Williams My Father Claudia "Hits For The Cycle."

Before you judge read her book!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jim Prime on June 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I have read virtually every book written about Ted Williams and have even written a couple myself. Ted and I coauthored Ted Williams’ Hit List and spent a significant amount of time together at his fishing camp in New Brunswick, Canada and his home in Hernando, Florida. We also spent countless hours talking on the phone. I considered him a friend and had reason to believe that he held me in some regard. But did I know Ted? Not really.

By the very definition of a memoir Claudia Williams’ book about her father is personal and unique. No one else could have written it. Through my contact with Ted, I had met or interviewed by phone many of the principals talked about in the 307 pages of Ted Williams: My Father: John-Henry, Lewis Watkins, “Buzz” Hamon, Louise Kaufman, George Carter, President George H.W. Bush, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr, among others. I saw things and heard things and formed my own opinions. I agree with Claudia in some of her assessments and disagree about others. Her perspective was shaped by intimate events and relationships that I could never be privy to. That’s what makes this book such a compelling read. She is the insider – the only surviving insider, at that - and the rest of us are outsiders trying desperately to look in. And yet even as an insider there is a feeling of alienation that comes through in Claudia’s writing. Her loyalty and admiration for John-Henry is fascinating and real, as is her loyalty and devotion to her mother. And her relationship with Ted Williams is as poignant as it is unfulfilled. She doesn’t shy away from showing a very vulnerable side, a side that sought Ted’s approval and, most emphatically, his attention and his consideration. In later years of Ted's life, she was able to secure the relationship she sought.
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