Perhaps the saddest scene in Bradlee’s narrative is when young Williams and his brother were waiting on the porch at 10 p.m. for their parents to come home. It was a scene that was often repeated. His father was an alcoholic and his mother more concerned with her work at the Salvation Army than in raising her two sons.
His unhappy childhood may have affected his behavior as an adult. At least Williams found solace in baseball. His brother became a juvenile delinquent.
In one sense, it should be surprising that a perfectionist such as “the Kid” would focus on hitting yet ignore the fielding and base running parts of the game that make a complete ballplayer. But then, Williams’ whole life was a set of contradictions.
Whatever you make of the man, Williams had a remarkable life. Bradlee captures his essence for better or worse and his biography could easily become a classic.