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A Baseball Story for All Star Night

Posted by Radatz on July 11, 2017 at 10:00 PM


I grew up with a guy we called Ghost. He was red-haired and freckled, and had to avoid sun or turn into a lobster, hence "Ghost." He went to BC undergrad, then law school. He spent a lot of time in Boston. In fact, the front page photo when the Red Sox won the pennant in 1967 (when we were still in high school) featured him and others holding Jim Lonborg on their shoulders. Two years later at Woodstock, he would manage to somehow end up on the album cover. He's clearly visible, back mostly turned, with his bright orange hair. I hadn't seen him since the early 90s when he moved away, and heard recently that he'd passed away too young.


Now to the point. He had accumulated all sorts of lore about Boston sports from his years there, a sample of which crossed my mind tonight, and I thought I'd relate it for you. It's a goodie, and I've never read it anyplace else. It is a Ted Williams story. What else? I thought of it while watching the All Star Game.


Williams was always at odds with the local sportswriters. One off day the usual gang of hounds were at the park to sniff for stories, and got into it with Williams. "How well do you really see the ball" he was asked. He replied "I can tell if I hit the ball on the flat or on the seam." This drew the usual laughter, and finally they went to the plate with a pine-tar-blackened bat and someone threw him ten pitches to hit. With each crack of the bat he'd yell "seam" or "flat", the pine tar leaving a mark. When it was over, he'd called 9 correctly. The other one was marginal. The writers had to admit he'd proven his point.


But the best was reserved for last. Whether Ted was serious or just jabbing the wounded writers one more time is a topic for conjecture, but he added the following: "Now I'm going to tell you something you wouldn't have believed before. I can see the ball compress against the bat!"


No one argued with him.


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11 Comments

Reply Ark_Razor
10:39 PM on July 11, 2017 
Greatest pure hitter ever. Maybe Cobb was better.
Reply Ferociousjane
11:04 PM on July 11, 2017 
I'll have to share that story with my dad when I see him. He'll love it.
Ghost sounds like he might have been the inspiration for the film Forrest Gump!
Reply vapor5
6:10 AM on July 12, 2017 
Maybe Cobb or Hornsby were equivalent to Ted in hitting but no one was better
Reply the immortal scurds
12:38 PM on July 12, 2017 
john olerud was a better hitter than all of them.
Reply the immortal scurds
12:40 PM on July 12, 2017 
i totally believe he could see the ball flatten. and the dude does sound like gump! good one fj
Reply Ferociousjane
6:38 PM on July 12, 2017 
Isn't Olerud the one who always wore a batting helmet or something?
Reply Radatz
11:07 PM on July 12, 2017 
And he was versatile too (Williams, not Olerud). Called "the best wing man I ever had" by his squadron leader in Korea (none other than John Glenn). Had to stick that in.
Reply Ark_Razor
3:32 AM on July 13, 2017 
Ferociousjane says...
Isn't Olerud the one who always wore a batting helmet or something?


Aneurism while at Washington St. Wore the helmet as precaution after that.

Rad: Next time I'm in BOS, I want to stay here

www.nhl.com/news/hotel-suite-in-boston-honors-bobby-orr/c-2903724
00?tid=281396148
Reply the immortal scurds
9:09 AM on July 13, 2017 
Ferociousjane says...
Isn't Olerud the one who always wore a batting helmet or something?


yes, thats him. sweet swinging hof 1st baseman for the jays. he flirted with the magical .400 av for awhile. nobody took my bait. i will have to set my hook again.
Reply Radatz
12:04 PM on July 13, 2017 
Olerud could have been even better than he was without his gruesome affliction. Didn't it occur (or recur) during his MLB career too?
Reply Radatz
8:17 PM on July 13, 2017 
Ark_Razor says...
Greatest pure hitter ever. Maybe Cobb was better.

Cobb hated what Ruth had done to the game, and refused to join. Finally one day in St. Loo in 1925 he told a reporter he was going to show everybody something. He dropped his split grip on the bat and hit 5 homers in 2 games. Then he went back to hitting his way.

Besides his lifetime average, he also hit over .300 for 23 years in a row. And oddly, when asked who the greatest hitter was in 1930, he said it was Babe Ruth :) I'm not aware of a later quip about Williams except for one where he excoriates him for not hitting to left when teams put on the Williams Shift.

I found a ton of quotes by/about him, btw:
http://www.baseball-almanac.com/quotes/quocobb.shtml