Ted Williams: "The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived" (2018)
This one-hour documentary by PBS will appeal to sports enthusiasts and baseball buffs, but Ted Williams (August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002) was much more than a ball player, both for good and ill. He was a cultural phenomenon. It's revealing that the sub-title of the film about "the greatest hitter who ever lived" is a quotation of Williams about himself. Experts might quibble, but it's probably true. Except for his almost five years of military service as a pilot in WW2 and the Korean War, he played his entire career for the Boston Red Sox (1939–1960). Williams was obsessed with hitting, to the exclusion of everything and anyone else in his life. Off the field success was far different. He openly hated the media. He infamously refused to tip his cap to his own fans. He loved to swear. He redefined rage and anger. Williams grew up in abject poverty in San Diego, and his parents never saw him play a single game of major league baseball. This film draws upon archival game footage, and interviews with his daughter Claudia, biographers, sports writers, announcers, baseball players, and even a fishing buddy. Everyone agrees on two things: Williams was an amazing hitter. He also, in his own words, "struck out as a father and husband." To cap off his stormy life, after Williams died, his son and daughter had his body frozen cryonically, against his stated desire to be cremated.