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Ted Williams: A Baseball Life Paperback – 11 Feb 2000
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"A hitter's perfection consists in failing only 60 percent of the time. Williams did that in 1941, batting .406. . . . Michael Seidel's rounded biography . . . suggests, delicately, why, in spite of his virtuosity at the plate, he does not belong on any all-time all-star team. Overflowing with childlike ebullience, Williams would exclaim in the batting cage, 'I can't stand it, I'm so good.' He was-at bat. But as baseball people never tire of saying, and Williams quickly tired of hearing, the greatest players do five things well-run, throw, field, hit, and hit with power. . . . Still, as a pure hitter Williams was in a class by himself." -- New York Times Book Review
"There have been dozens of books on the Splendid Splinter over the years; Seidel's is one of the best at capturing the many facets of Williams' mercurial personality and the rhythms of Boston society during his years as baseball's finest hitter." -- The USA Today Baseball Weekly 2000 Holiday gift guide
"Williams, perhaps baseball's greatest hitter, was a controversial figure during his playing years. . . . [Seidel] researched contemporary records and interviewed Williams's acquaintances for this book. Many of Williams's cohorts had few positive things to say about the legendary ballplayer. However, Seidel manages to keep his account balanced, painting a larger picture of the nature of baseball in the 1940s and 1950s. . . . Seidel's work should stand the test of time as an accurate, even-handed portrait." -- Library Journal
Michael Seidel is a professor of English at Columbia University, and the author of several books including "Streak: Joe DiMaggio" and the "Summer of '41".See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Personally, I don't get a lot out of detailed accounts of baseball games from a half a century ago. Some of it is interesting, but Seidel does a season by season exposition and throws a lot of stats out there. It tended to blur together, and I often lost the thread. The most interesting parts where the accounts and testimony from Williams and his contemporaries. Overall, I am glad I read it, but I'd only recommend it to hard core baseball readers or Williams' fans.
Ted Williams probably was the greatest hitter that ever lived, but his personality marred his relationships with the Boston media, sometimes his team mates, and his own family.
I do have a few criticisms however. The book is called A Baseball Life, and that is the authors focus. Ted Williams was an intensely private man whether the author out of respect for Ted Williams or lack of investigation gives very little information on his private life. We learn some things about his family such as his mother was an ardent salvation army worker, yet we know nothing of how Ted Williams felt personally about spiritual matters. We also are denied any information on his relationships with his wife Doris or his daughter. The last chapter stops without little mention of his business interests or his managerial stint in the late 60's. Despite these ommissions, Ted Williams A Baseball Life is an exciting, informative look at perhaps the greatest hitter that ever lived yet at the same time considered by others a selfish egotist. When Joe Dimaggio was asked "what do you think of Ted Williams?" His reply was "greatest lefthanded hitter that ever lived?" " "What do you think of Ted Williams as a ballplayer?"
"greatest lefthanded hitter that ever lived".