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Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero Paperback – March 15, 2005
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Montville's study offers insides accounts of Williams's obsessive development as a hitter and his constant struggle to perfect his swing (mistakenly called "natural" by sports writers with little understanding of his extensive preparation). The chapter on 1941, perhaps the greatest year in his career, draws on research and interviews never before published. Montville lets whole passages stand uninterrupted--from Williams's manager, Joe Cronin, from his teammate Dom DiMaggio, and from other players and baseball officials who tell the story of Williams's quest for a .400 batting average. The tale of the final day of the season (when he refused to be benched and went six for eight in a double header to jump from .39955 to his final total, .406) is as pulse-pounding as any thriller.
Alongside its essential focus on Williams's baseball life, the book also delves into his military service during both World War II and the Korean War, his passion for sports fishing, and his commitment to helping children through the Jimmy Fund. Finally, Montville devotes a chapter to the controversy after Williams's death, exposing the back-and-forth among Williams's heirs in the bizarre decision to freeze his body in a cryogenic warehouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Montville's biography makes a good case that Williams was, if not the greatest hitter ever to play the game, certainly among them. For his focused, scientific approach to hitting, Williams is unmatched in the history of the game. His life, marred perhaps by a temper and occasional immaturity that soured his reputation in Boston, is one of true sports greatness. Early in the book, Montville argues that Williams is less appreciated today than he might be because he played out most of his 19-year career in the era before televised highlights. But with Montville's efforts to capture first-hand accounts of Williams's achievements, The Splendid Splinter's legacy is assured. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Donald Gallinger is the author ofThe Master Planets
The strength of Montville's meticulously written book is that any random chapter is equally fascinating, whether it's about baseball, World War II or Korea, Williams' active role as a Sears spokesman and board member, his fishing life, or his prolonged demise. The baseball chapters are refreshingly free of prolonged statistical parsing. The accuracy of many anecdotes is left up to the reader; the book, as fits a popular biography, is not footnoted, and it seems as if Montville relies heavily on probably embellished stories from Williams' acquaintances and their children. This provides the same mythical air as in Creamer's book (and the Babe himself makes a ghostly cameo here as well).
For my money, though, the creepiest, and therefore most memorable, part of the book is the final three chapters, covering Williams' troubled final eight years. This equals the closing chapters of the Mo Berg book.Read more ›
The books starts out jumping all over the place, making the story hard to follow. But once it begins the chronological story of his life, the book is well written. Montville plainly writes of the childhood neglect that influenced Williams life. The absence of his parents is largely the reason he behaved so immaturely early in his career. He was not used to living with rules, so the structure of professional baseball was an adjustment that caused a talented player to spend an extra year in the minors. Ted's only focus was baseball during his youth and career. He always picked people's brains, learning from anywhere he could about hitting. His dedication made people take notice. It is also how he developed his philosophy of hitting. Winning triple crowns and hitting .400 were among his great achievements. He would have hit .400 more than once if batting average were figured as it is today with sacrifices and walks not hurting the average. John Wayne was an actor, but Ted Williams lived the role. He served his country during World War II and the Korean War. Had Williams not sacrificed those years for his country, we would surpassed Ruth's home run record and no doubt other records as well. Yet he is still recognized as the greatest hitter in baseball history.
During his career the media gave the public the impression that Williams was a bad apple. But during his late career and in retirement, the public saw otherwise. Williams did have a foul mouth.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the first book I have ever read about Ted Williams. All I knew of Ted was that he had served in 2 wars and according to many, the greatest hitter of all time. Read morePublished 6 months ago by TableRock55
I learned more about Ted Williams than I would have thought possible. A great insight.Published 9 months ago by RadioRob
really enjoyed it. The book even went into bizarre after death storyPublished 11 months ago by billp
Very well done in portraying Ted's life from beginning to end and after. In depth even re: important people in Ted's life but my favorite parts were those in which Ted was central. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Laramie
I was a radio sportscaster in the Washington, DC market thru out the 1970s. 1970, when Ted Williams was manager of the Senators, I had a exclusive interview with his 2nd wife... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Donald A. Newbery
Have always been a Ted Williams fan. This book goes into detail regarding many facets of Ted's life that I was previously unaware of. Read morePublished 17 months ago by benredbone