The 50th anniversary of Ted Williams playing his final game led to a bunch of great stories being written and told about T.S. Ballgame. Dan Shaughnessy, who knew Ted well, has an excellent column today on it.
Here is my best Ted story:
When I was at UMass-Amherst, Sen. John Glenn came to campus to speak during one of his ill-fated bids for the presidency. At the time, I was covering news stories for the Daily Collegian and was granted admission to the press conference.
After all the political questions were asked, I walked over to the Senator, introduced myself and asked him about Ted Williams. The two were fighter pilots together in Korea.
“Son,” he said. “Ted Williams was one of the best wing men I ever had. His eyesight was so good that he could see the enemy planes coming before any of us could. He’d spot ’em coming and tell the rest of us.”
Sen. Glenn then told me a few great stories about he and Ted getting in dogfights. I forget the details, but here was a genuine American hero telling a dope kid from New Bedford about shooting down Commies with Ted Williams. It was about as good as it gets.
At the time, I wasn’t totally sure I wanted to pursue a career in journalism. But that was one of the days that clinched it. Old Ted Williams hated writers back when he played. But he’s part of the reason I’m covering baseball.