Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, July 8, 2002 3:55 pm

Filed under: Sad — Lex @ 3:55 pm

Last week, former Boston Red Sox star Ted Williams died at age 83. In a stellar career — one all the more remarkable because he lost 5 1/2 years of it to military service in World War II and Korea — Williams clearly achieved the goal he set for himself before his career began: He became the greatest hitter in the storied history of baseball.

I’ll spare you the stats in case you don’t follow baseball, but know this: they bear out that he became what he had sought to become. Moreover, he served his country not just honorably but heroically in two different wars. At what cost in terms of his achievements in baseball? For one thing, he might well have broken Babe Ruth’s career record of 714 home runs a decade and a half or so before Henry Aaron did it.

In person, Williams could be an irascible ass, particularly to journalists. During his career, he also didn’t care much for the fans, although that attitude mellowed as he aged. But no matter how much of a jerk he could be, he certainly doesn’t deserve to have his reputation — and his earthly remains — exploited like this.

His son, John Henry, apparently has a long history of this. Even if you grant that father and son were not close when the son was young and that this latest enterprise is just one more pathetic attempt to close the enormous emotional gap that must have existed between them — and that would be a most charitable view — John Henry’s behavior is hard to understand, and even harder to tolerate.

In all fairness to John Henry, however, apparently — and sadly — no one has the legal authority to prevent him from doing what he plans to do. All we can do is hope that no one tries to buy what he’s selling, and that he will eventually think better of this decision and let his dad rest in peace.

God knows Ted Williams has earned it.

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