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For those who are unaware, last night PBS aired an excellent documentary in their American Masters series on Ted Williams.

 

The link to this can be found here. Its a little under an hour long, so don't expect anything too immersive, but PBS crams a lot of information into the hour, and there's a lot of stuff included in the doc that most people may not know about him.

 

All in all its one of the best sports docs I've ever seen. This humanizes one of the most mythical figures in sports and should give the audience a great sense of who he was as a person.

 

No punches are pulled in this documentary either, and it lays out all of his pros and cons for all the world to see.


Here are the biggest takeaways I got:

 

Ted Williams was half-Mexican

 

I only learned this about Williams roughly a year ago, but it's understandable when you consider the lengths Williams went through to hide this. He almost never spoke of his childhood which was quite troubled. His mother worked tirelessly for the Salvation Army to help others, but more or less ignored her son. No question Williams was ashamed of or at least embarrassed by his heritage and probably was a big reason why he became such an advocate of Negro Leaguers being in the Hall of Fame, which Williams helped open the door for.

 

Ted Williams was kind of a dick

 

This is not nearly as much of a secret to anyone that knows his story, but Williams is definitely in that category of athlete that is best appreciated from afar. He seemed to have a need always to be the alpha in any relationship which would help explain why so few of his friends were fellow teammates and why he was married and divorced three times. He really couldn't handle criticism of any kind, which was more what led to his rocky relationship with the media than anyone "having it in for him" which did come about but only later in his career. He had a very short fuse and would constantly complain to anyone who would bother to listen about how he had been screwed over by the media and how the fans underappreciated him.

 

Ted Williams tried to get out of serving in the military

 

People often romanticize about how eager the greatest generation was to serve in WWII and defend our country's honor, but the reality of the situation as you would expect is entirely different. Ted did everything he could to try to get out of serving in WWII and only relented when the Navy gave him a deal to finish out the 1942 season before joining. They didn't have high expectations for Williams, but as everyone knows Williams surprised people with his piloting skills and quickly became an instructor. Williams never saw any combat duty in WWII but was set to be deployed to the Pacific for his first tour right as the War was coming to a close.

 

Ted Williams served in Korea because he tried to make money out of being in the reserves

 

Again what history has said about this and the reality of the situation are two entirely different things. After the War, Williams found out that he could make a few extra dollars by staying enlisted as a reserve without having to see any active duty. This worked for several years until the Korean War came about and the reserves were called into action.

 

Like WWII Williams did everything he could to get out of it, even penning a letter to then-Senator John F. Kennedy asking him to have his deployment revoked. Kennedy refused, and Williams was forced to serve. Unlike WWII, Williams did see combat action in Korea and performed spectacularly in duty, flying dozens of combat missions and successfully crash-landed his plane in one mission.

 

Ted Williams was the Albert Einstein of hitting

 

Like Einstein, his genius can only be appreciated in hindsight. The "launch-angle" philosophy of hitting originates with Ted Williams. He was the first hitter ever to figure out that you were more likely to get a hit out of a hard-struck ball hit in the air than putting the ball on the ground and prove it through the numbers.

 

The idea of a lighter bat and the importance of hand speed also originates with Williams as does virtually every other modern hitting technique being taught today. In a lot of ways, you can also consider him one of the pioneers of the sabermetric revolution. He was utilizing stats in ways to refine his hitting that teams didn't start doing until the late 90's. He was decades ahead of everyone else’s approach to the plate.

 

Ted Williams was a terrible manager

 

Not really touched too much on in the documentary, but this can be attested to anyone that played under him or knew anything about his time as a manager. As knowledgeable as Williams was when it came to hitting, he was virtually clueless when it came to understanding or explaining any other facet of the game and reflected his one-dimensional approach to the game during his playing career.

 

He didn't know how to handle players well. Like a lot of great athletes, he struggled to understand why everyone wasn't as dedicated of a player as he was during his playing career and didn't know what to do with players of that ilk.

 

If Williams had come up today he would have insisted on playing in the American League and being a full-time DH. Anything about baseball that didn't involve hitting was seen as a waste of time through Ted's eyes.

 

Ted Williams was an extremely charitable person

 

He would frequent hospitals with sick children, show up to fundraisers to raise money and donate money to retired ballplayers who had fallen on hard times.

 

Williams did not want this to be made a big deal of, which is why so little has been written about it, but for every story written about how wonderful and charitable Babe Ruth was with kids, one could have been written about Ted Williams.

 

There's much more to uncover in the documentary and I'll be happy to answer any questions people may have about Williams as best I can.

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22 hours ago, LMU said:

So, does the Milwaukee strikeout meter just skip the third K when Hader's pitching like buildings skipping the 13th floor?

 

If he was a devout Christian, they could change it to flaming crosses, to show how not only how pious he is but the hot streak he's on, striking out batters.

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Zach Britton to the Yankees.

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A's vs. Yankees in the Wild Card Game would be fun........Billion Dollar Yanks vs. The $5 A's

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The Blue Jays fire sale is officially on; and their first buyer is the Colorado Rockies.

 

The Jays traded RP Seunghwan Oh to the Rockies for OF Forrest Wall (COL's No. 13 prospect), 1B/IF Chad Spanberger (COL's No. 24 prospect), a PTBN, and cash considerations.

 

The Jays are also close to dealing J.A. Happ to a playoff-contending team, with the Yankees and Brewers in the running to land him.

 

2 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

 

 

Working for the IronPigs, I'll miss Matt Provence (their radio announcer) going "KER-PLOUFEE!" every time he hit a home run.

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16 hours ago, DNAsports said:

When someone asks why you hate the shift 

 

Di7FE6tUYAAlODQ?format=jpg&name=large

Rays did that a week or so ago too....

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17 hours ago, DNAsports said:

When someone asks why you hate the shift 

 

Di7FE6tUYAAlODQ?format=jpg&name=large

 

I have no problem with that.  Strategy is strategy.

Then, again, I think NBA teams should be able to play any kind of defense they want, with no illegal defense/defensive three second violation.

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On 7/24/2018 at 9:51 AM, pmoehrin said:

Ted Williams was a terrible manager

 

Not really touched too much on in the documentary, but this can be attested to anyone that played under him or knew anything about his time as a manager. As knowledgeable as Williams was when it came to hitting, he was virtually clueless when it came to understanding or explaining any other facet of the game and reflected his one-dimensional approach to the game during his playing career.

 

He didn't know how to handle players well. Like a lot of great athletes, he struggled to understand why everyone wasn't as dedicated of a player as he was during his playing career and didn't know what to do with players of that ilk.

 

If Williams had come up today he would have insisted on playing in the American League and being a full-time DH. Anything about baseball that didn't involve hitting was seen as a waste of time through Ted's eyes.

 

From what I have seen/read, everything you say is true.  That said, the Senators improved from 63-98 to 86-76 in his first season (1969) . . . only to win 70, 63 and 54 games the following three years.

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On 7/24/2018 at 8:51 AM, pmoehrin said:

For those who are unaware, last night PBS aired an excellent documentary in their American Masters series on Ted Williams.

 

The link to this can be found here. Its a little under an hour long, so don't expect anything too immersive, but PBS crams a lot of information into the hour, and there's a lot of stuff included in the doc that most people may not know about him.

 

All in all its one of the best sports docs I've ever seen. This humanizes one of the most mythical figures in sports and should give the audience a great sense of who he was as a person.

 

No punches are pulled in this documentary either, and it lays out all of his pros and cons for all the world to see.


Here are the biggest takeaways I got:

 

Ted Williams was half-Mexican

 

I only learned this about Williams roughly a year ago, but it's understandable when you consider the lengths Williams went through to hide this. He almost never spoke of his childhood which was quite troubled. His mother worked tirelessly for the Salvation Army to help others, but more or less ignored her son. No question Williams was ashamed of or at least embarrassed by his heritage and probably was a big reason why he became such an advocate of Negro Leaguers being in the Hall of Fame, which Williams helped open the door for.

 

Ted Williams was kind of a dick

 

This is not nearly as much of a secret to anyone that knows his story, but Williams is definitely in that category of athlete that is best appreciated from afar. He seemed to have a need always to be the alpha in any relationship which would help explain why so few of his friends were fellow teammates and why he was married and divorced three times. He really couldn't handle criticism of any kind, which was more what led to his rocky relationship with the media than anyone "having it in for him" which did come about but only later in his career. He had a very short fuse and would constantly complain to anyone who would bother to listen about how he had been screwed over by the media and how the fans underappreciated him.

 

Ted Williams was an extremely charitable person

 

He would frequent hospitals with sick children, show up to fundraisers to raise money and donate money to retired ballplayers who had fallen on hard times.

 

Williams did not want this to be made a big deal of, which is why so little has been written about it, but for every story written about how wonderful and charitable Babe Ruth was with kids, one could have been written about Ted Williams.

 

There's much more to uncover in the documentary and I'll be happy to answer any questions people may have about Williams as best I can.

I watched this and was disappointed that it wasn't two hours instead. There was so much more information to go through that couldn't be dealt with in 55 minutes. I'd have liked more info on his rivalry with DiMaggio which was only glossed over. As soon as his daughter tried to justify the cryogenics thing I shut off mentally.  I did like that he told the press to leave him be when he's at the hospital, though that would have meant the ones that missed out most would be the kids. They backed off though so he kept going. 

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2 hours ago, leopard88 said:

From what I have seen/read, everything you say is true.  That said, the Senators improved from 63-98 to 86-76 in his first season (1969) . . . only to win 70, 63 and 54 games the following three years.

 

 

That was his first year managing the club, and everyone got excited because it was the first competitive team Washington had fielded in over two decades. A HOF rookie manager as the catalyst for that success was a straightforward narrative to tell, and that's what got written.

 

The reality was it was a mediocre team that just happened to have half a dozen guys who had career-best seasons. Those types of teams never last more than a season or two, and that's what happened there.

 

In fairness, I don't think any manager could have done much with the Senators. They didn't have the firepower to keep up with teams like Baltimore, Detroit, Minnesota, and Oakland who were the dominant AL teams at the time, but having Ted Williams as a manager didn't do them any favors.

 

Williams could and would talk hitting all day with people, but he quite frankly did not care about any other aspect of baseball. Pitchers were treated mainly as afterthoughts on his clubs.

 

You're not going to find a person who played under him with anything bad to say about him, because nobody is going to talk trash about Ted Williams. Guys were star struck, and from what I can gather his approach was pretty laid back. He gave guys a lot of independence to do what they wanted and was by no means a tyrant. He was just incompetent.

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17 hours ago, DNAsports said:

When someone asks why you hate the shift 

 

Di7FE6tUYAAlODQ?format=jpg&name=large

This isn't the shift.  This is bases loaded, nobody out, anything out of the infield ends the game, oh $#!+ strategy.

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On 7/26/2018 at 1:56 PM, MJWalker45 said:

I watched this and was disappointed that it wasn't two hours instead. There was so much more information to go through that couldn't be dealt with in 55 minutes. I'd have liked more info on his rivalry with DiMaggio which was only glossed over. As soon as his daughter tried to justify the cryogenics thing I shut off mentally.  I did like that he told the press to leave him be when he's at the hospital, though that would have meant the ones that missed out most would be the kids. They backed off though so he kept going. 

 

DiMaggio cared a lot more about the rivalry than Ted did.

 

As thin-skinned as Williams was, DiMaggio was even worse. Any perceived slight was treated as an insult to his character. He would end friendships over someone merely showing up late to dinner, because who are you to stand up Joe DiMaggio?

 

Williams could be challenging to deal with, but DiMaggio was just a straight up ahole who is competition with Pete Rose and Reggie Jackson for the title of most arrogant great player to ever step foot on a baseball diamond.

 

Both thought they were the best of their generation, but Joe was the only one to make a point of it. The "greatest living ballplayer" thing is no joke. You had to introduce him like that or he wasn't coming.

 

Williams cared about the rivalry, but I think he was more interested in the marketing opportunities that went with associating yourself with Joe DiMaggio than anything else. There are hundreds of photos of the two of them together during their playing careers even though there's no evidence the two were ever that friendly with each other.

 

Even though Williams was the most marketed baseball player for anyone outside of New York, baseball pretty much revolved around New York City during that time. It was a damn near impossible for anyone playing outside of New York to gain any National exposure. Nobody was writing a hit song about Ted Williams, so he had to be a little thrifty to achieve the same type of National foothold that Joe had, and it wasn't like DiMaggio wasn't getting anything out of the association either.

 

But Williams did not measure himself directly against DiMaggio the way Joe measured himself against Ted.

 

The cryogenics stuff I kind of feel bad for his family over. Their feelings seem to be along the lines of we have the money for it, so why not at least try it? Who’s to say what’s right or wrong to do with someone after they’ve died?

 

I think people were a little too eager to make light of the fact that someone just died. I didn't find any of the jokes to be particularly all that funny, and most I felt were done in poor taste.

 

The charity work Williams did can't be understated. He did a ton of work with the Jimmy Fund, and it was a big deal of Tom Yawkey and later his wife Jean to take care of that charity and Williams was in a lot of ways the spearhead of that effort for many years.

 

He did not want to come off as though he was doing this just so that he could have positive stories written about him in the press but I also don't think he wanted an image of himself looking vulnerable to come out either.

 

In hindsight, he probably should have been more public about the amount of charity work he was doing as it would have given more attention to those causes, but what he did what he did and that cannot and should not be glossed over or downplayed. He touched a lot of lives both during and after his playing career in ways that went above and beyond anything that was required of him.

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It could have been worse, he could have needed surgery, he could have been out for the season, but...

 

Oh good lord, I feel sick to my stomach. ?

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So nationally, what are people saying about the First Place Philadelphia Phillies?  They're kind of devoid of personality and have a wackadoo for a manager, and they're not getting much love around here - Chase Utley got a standing O when he came in to pinch hit for the opponent in the 13th inning of a critical tie game! - and there's usually cheers for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles throughout the games, including critical moments in close games,  but I'm just curious if others are looking at the First Place Philadelphia Phillies as a legit pennant contender.

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5 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

So nationally, what are people saying about the First Place Philadelphia Phillies?  They're kind of devoid of personality and have a wackadoo for a manager, and they're not getting much love around here - Chase Utley got a standing O when he came in to pinch hit for the opponent in the 13th inning of a critical tie game! - and there's usually cheers for the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles throughout the games, including critical moments in close games,  but I'm just curious if others are looking at the First Place Philadelphia Phillies as a legit pennant contender.

They aren’t contenders. The cubs have a better roster and manager and just got even better with the cole hammil trade. They are nothing more than a winner of a weak division of anything.

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28 minutes ago, dont care said:

They aren’t contenders. The cubs have a better roster and manager and just got even better with the cole hammil trade. They are nothing more than a winner of a weak division of anything.

 

Fair enough, I'm inclined to agree.  Of the games I've watched, I haven't seen anything that makes me think that they can win a 7-game series against the top teams.

 

Aaron Nola seems to be a legit ace, and one of the top 3 or 4 pitchers in the league, but he can't pitch more than 2 games in a series.  The others are too inconsistent.

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On 7/24/2018 at 8:51 AM, pmoehrin said:

For those who are unaware, last night PBS aired an excellent documentary in their American Masters series on Ted Williams.

 

The link to this can be found here. Its a little under an hour long, so don't expect anything too immersive, but PBS crams a lot of information into the hour, and there's a lot of stuff included in the doc that most people may not know about him.

 

All in all its one of the best sports docs I've ever seen. This humanizes one of the most mythical figures in sports and should give the audience a great sense of who he was as a person.

 

No punches are pulled in this documentary either, and it lays out all of his pros and cons for all the world to see.


Here are the biggest takeaways I got:

 

Ted Williams was half-Mexican

 

I only learned this about Williams roughly a year ago, but it's understandable when you consider the lengths Williams went through to hide this. He almost never spoke of his childhood which was quite troubled. His mother worked tirelessly for the Salvation Army to help others, but more or less ignored her son. No question Williams was ashamed of or at least embarrassed by his heritage and probably was a big reason why he became such an advocate of Negro Leaguers being in the Hall of Fame, which Williams helped open the door for.

 

Ted Williams was kind of a dick

 

This is not nearly as much of a secret to anyone that knows his story, but Williams is definitely in that category of athlete that is best appreciated from afar. He seemed to have a need always to be the alpha in any relationship which would help explain why so few of his friends were fellow teammates and why he was married and divorced three times. He really couldn't handle criticism of any kind, which was more what led to his rocky relationship with the media than anyone "having it in for him" which did come about but only later in his career. He had a very short fuse and would constantly complain to anyone who would bother to listen about how he had been screwed over by the media and how the fans underappreciated him.

 

Ted Williams tried to get out of serving in the military

 

People often romanticize about how eager the greatest generation was to serve in WWII and defend our country's honor, but the reality of the situation as you would expect is entirely different. Ted did everything he could to try to get out of serving in WWII and only relented when the Navy gave him a deal to finish out the 1942 season before joining. They didn't have high expectations for Williams, but as everyone knows Williams surprised people with his piloting skills and quickly became an instructor. Williams never saw any combat duty in WWII but was set to be deployed to the Pacific for his first tour right as the War was coming to a close.

 

Ted Williams served in Korea because he tried to make money out of being in the reserves

 

Again what history has said about this and the reality of the situation are two entirely different things. After the War, Williams found out that he could make a few extra dollars by staying enlisted as a reserve without having to see any active duty. This worked for several years until the Korean War came about and the reserves were called into action.

 

Like WWII Williams did everything he could to get out of it, even penning a letter to then-Senator John F. Kennedy asking him to have his deployment revoked. Kennedy refused, and Williams was forced to serve. Unlike WWII, Williams did see combat action in Korea and performed spectacularly in duty, flying dozens of combat missions and successfully crash-landed his plane in one mission.

 

Ted Williams was the Albert Einstein of hitting

 

Like Einstein, his genius can only be appreciated in hindsight. The "launch-angle" philosophy of hitting originates with Ted Williams. He was the first hitter ever to figure out that you were more likely to get a hit out of a hard-struck ball hit in the air than putting the ball on the ground and prove it through the numbers.

 

The idea of a lighter bat and the importance of hand speed also originates with Williams as does virtually every other modern hitting technique being taught today. In a lot of ways, you can also consider him one of the pioneers of the sabermetric revolution. He was utilizing stats in ways to refine his hitting that teams didn't start doing until the late 90's. He was decades ahead of everyone else’s approach to the plate.

 

Ted Williams was a terrible manager

 

Not really touched too much on in the documentary, but this can be attested to anyone that played under him or knew anything about his time as a manager. As knowledgeable as Williams was when it came to hitting, he was virtually clueless when it came to understanding or explaining any other facet of the game and reflected his one-dimensional approach to the game during his playing career.

 

He didn't know how to handle players well. Like a lot of great athletes, he struggled to understand why everyone wasn't as dedicated of a player as he was during his playing career and didn't know what to do with players of that ilk.

 

If Williams had come up today he would have insisted on playing in the American League and being a full-time DH. Anything about baseball that didn't involve hitting was seen as a waste of time through Ted's eyes.

 

Ted Williams was an extremely charitable person

 

He would frequent hospitals with sick children, show up to fundraisers to raise money and donate money to retired ballplayers who had fallen on hard times.

 

Williams did not want this to be made a big deal of, which is why so little has been written about it, but for every story written about how wonderful and charitable Babe Ruth was with kids, one could have been written about Ted Williams.

 

There's much more to uncover in the documentary and I'll be happy to answer any questions people may have about Williams as best I can.

I read a very long biography called "The Kid" by Ben Bradlee, Jr., and it would agree with everything above.  The biggest thing missed was that his biggest passion was probably fishing.  In fact, he was arguably a world-class angler.  

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