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AMERICAN MASTERS: TED WILLIAMS, THE GREATEST HITTER WHO EVER LIVED

What to know: Expertly dives into the story of baseball great Ted Williams.
Recommended age 10-18
60 minutes
DVD
PBS DISTRIBUTION
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AMERICAN MASTERS: TED WILLIAMS, THE GREATEST HITTER WHO EVER LIVED cover image
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This nicely-paced American Masters program, narrated by actor Jon Hamm, expertly dives into the story of baseball great Ted Williams, who played for the Boston Red Sox in the 1940s and 50s. Archival footage is interspersed with interviews with sportscasters, family members and Williams himself to present a well-rounded portrait of the ball player's complicated adult life. Dedicating himself to the science of batting, Williams earned his nickname while displaying a difficult personality that put him at odds with family, friends and the press. The tightly-structured program does an admirable job of covering other major areas of his life, most notably his time in the military that culminated with him becoming a celebrated fighter pilot during the Korean War. The hour-long show excels at presenting Williams' return to the game after the war as well as the day he bowed out from his career on an awe-inspiring note by hitting one last home run. Along the way, the program documents his stubbornness in refusing to tip his hat to the crowd whenever he hit a home run, finally doing so in a ceremony years after he retired. The show should have great appeal to baseball fans though many may wish for a more in-depth description of Williams's science of batting. The DVD includes extras in the form of four short but illuminating stories about Williams that help round out the portrait. Warning: Contains some strong language. Recommended for ages 14 to 18 and older. 4 out of 5 stars. Reviewed by Mike F., KIDS FIRST! Juror
During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames - The Kid, The Splendid Splinter and Teddy Ballgame, but the only nickname that he wanted was "the greatest hitter who ever lived." In that pursuit, he combined his preternatural gifts with a fierce work ethic to become widely regarded as one of the greatest ever to play the game of baseball and in the process elevated the science of hitting in ways still emulated today. Through never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with those who knew and studied Williams, including his daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee, Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angela, and award-winning broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg, the program demonstrates the power of the heroic myth-making culture in which Williams flourished. Lesser-known topics explored in the eh film include Williams' Mexican-American background, his experiences serving during World War II and the Korean War, and his deep rage over his mother's virtual abandonment of him and his younger brother.
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