Williams was married three times and had three kids (two daughters and a son). He was so into his own thing that he missed all three of his children’s births because he was off fishing. He once told a prospective bride that she would be his third priority behind baseball and fishing. He was distant, unfaithful and an absentee father, yet his wives, girlfriends and kids all remained devoted to him.
Even in death Williams could not escape controversy. His son became a convert to Cryonics, the freezing of bodies after death with the hope that technology will eventually bring them back to life. Williams had always said he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered at sea, but he ended up frozen. His son had power of attorney and either did or didn’t convince his father to go along. That has never been settled.
A man with such a fascinating life certainly makes a great case study. Ben Bradlee Jr., a diehard Red Sox fan and journalist, undertook the task over a dozen years ago. The end result is his just published 800 page biography, “The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams.”
To say it’s the definitive work would be an understatement. Bradlee looks at all elements of Williams’ life, from his little-known Mexican heritage and upbringing in San Diego to his astounding career and feuds with the Boston media. Bradlee reveals the slugger’s bitterness with being recalled to active duty in Korea after serving for three years during WWII.
Bradlee talks about the devotion of teammates and friends who either never saw or simply ignored Teddy Ballgame’s illustrious temper. And he focuses on the relationships he had with his wives, girlfriends and children who always clung to him. Williams clearly radiated a certain charm.