Thorn: The Kid and the Babe

From SABR member John Thorn at Our Game on May 19, 2016:

Matinee-idol good looks; a lithe, powerful frame; offhand, unaffected charm; blistering intensity—that was the catalog of Ted Williams you formed in the first minute you met him. But there was more to the man, far more, so much of it visible beneath the thin skin that we were tempted to think we knew him, really knew what made him tick. We didn’t.

Once he was gone, the knights of the keyboard (Ted’s memorably derisive term for sportswriters) recalled his heroics and his frailties and tried to assign him his place in the history of baseball. Yet even in death Ted resists categorization: Was he our last classic American hero, in the style of John Wayne (who once said to Ted, “I only play the hero; you live it”)? Did he live the life he wanted, his way, without regret? How did he transform himself from Terrible Ted, the pincushion of the Boston scribes, to become patron saint of the game and paterfamilias to a new generation of stars? Did Ted mellow in his later years, or did he remain the same, always True North, while our compass needles slowly swung around to him?

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Originally published: May 19, 2016. Last Updated: May 19, 2016.