Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero

Written by:
Leigh Montville
Narrated by:
Scott Brick

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
January 2004
21 hours 12 minutes
He was The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. One of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend – and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? What motivated him to interrupt his Hall of Fame career twice to serve his country as a fighter pilot; to embrace his fans while tangling with the media; to retreat from the limelight whenever possible into his solitary love of fishing; and to become the most famous man ever to have his body cryogenically frozen after his death? New York Times bestselling author Leigh Montville, who wrote the celebrated Sports Illustrated obituary of Ted Williams, now delivers an intimate, riveting account of this extraordinary life.

Still a gangly teenager when he stepped into a Boston Red Sox uniform in 1939, Williams’s boisterous personality and penchant for towering home runs earned him adoring admirers--the fans--and venomous critics--the sportswriters. In 1941, the entire country followed Williams's stunning .406 season, a record that has not been touched in over six decades. At the pinnacle of his prime, Williams left Boston to train and serve as a fighter pilot in World War II, missing three full years of baseball. He was back in 1946, dominating the sport alongside teammates Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr. But Williams left baseball again in 1952 to fight in Korea, where he flew thirty-nine combat missions—crash-landing his flaming, smoke-filled plane, in one famous episode.

Ted Willams's personal life was equally colorful. His attraction to women (and their attraction to him) was a constant. He was married and divorced three times and he fathered two daughters and a son. He was one of corporate America's first modern spokesmen, and he remained, nearly into his eighties, a fiercely devoted fisherman. With his son, John Henry Williams, he devoted his final years to the sports memorabilia business, even as illness overtook him. And in death, controversy and public outcry followed Williams and the disagreements between his children over the decision to have his body preserved for future resuscitation in a cryonics facility--a fate, many argue, Williams never wanted.

With unmatched verve and passion, and drawing upon hundreds of interviews, acclaimed best-selling author Leigh Montville brings to life Ted Williams's superb triumphs, lonely tragedies, and intensely colorful personality, in a biography that is fitting of an American hero and legend.
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BJ Strickland

I'm only mildly interested in baseball but my parents built a house in Ted's Citrus Hills subdivision in 1992 & I've passed the sign for his baseball museum a number of times. He was an interesting man with a lot of rough edges & some not-so-pretty parts to his personality. But he was a baseball phenomenon, unquestionably. This book does a nice job of sketching his life, highlighting some areas that he deliberately left quiet such as his charity work. The anecdotes are interesting as is his military service. The uproar over his death & son John Henry's claim he wanted to be frozen make the son sound like a true sociopath - but he also showed a lot in common with his famous father & died young himself about the time this book was published. The clips of interviews with TW at the end are a good addition. If you accept some bias by the author, it is a good read.

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Very Enjoyable account of Ted's stormy career. I enjoyed listening a great deal and learned alot. Ted's fame was a little before my time so I have always been intrigued by him but did not have any facts to learn about him. This novel was educational but was also entertaining in that it was presented similar to a baseball game. Very fun. Highly recommend for baseball fans.

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Daniel Wainwright

I enjoyed the story of this Legend's life. His early years in baseball and the Wars was very interesting and quite fascinating. Unfortunately, because of his own personality and his seemingly greedy family he was not able to enjoy his fame and notority in retirement. The last chapter about his kids battle over the Cryogenics was quite sad. The audio clips from Williams' interview with the author was very insightful and interesting.

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Dennis Francis

Very strong work about a complicated man. I learned about the borderline abuse he suffered at the end by his son. It's noteworthy that portions of an interview with Williams are included at the end.

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
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