'It's just terrible'
Williams' body moved to cryonic warehouse in Ariz.Posted: Monday July 08, 2002 9:33 AM
Updated: Monday July 08, 2002 12:00 PM
ATLANTA (CNNSI.com) -- While the baseball world will honor the late Ted Williams at the All-Star Game in Milwaukee on Tuesday night, the Red Sox nation is giving his son John Henry the cold shoulder.
Ted Williams' body now resides in a cryonic warehouse at Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Scottsdale, Ariz., moved there by the son because, as Dan Shaughnessy, columnist for The Boston Globe said: "There are only two ways to think of this: Best case -- The son is in denial and thinks he can bring his father back to life. Worst case -- John Henry hopes to profit from prospective cloning or DNA distribution."
"Ted Williams was a private person in life, and in death he wished to remain private," Eric Abel, Williams' attorney, said in a statement. "He did not wish to have any funeral or funeral services."
Cryonics involves suspending the body in liquid nitrogen -- "freezing" the body -- in the hopes of reviving it in the future, or, at the very least using its DNA.
Karla Steen, Alcor's marketing director, said the company would not comment.
"It's just terrible," former Boston teammate Johnny Pesky told the Globe on Sunday. "Death is terrible enough, but you've got to have a little compassion. That's a goddamn shame. I hope [John Henry] thinks twice about this. It's just not a good thing."
Williams died of cardiac arrest Friday at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, Fla. He was a two-time MVP who twice won the Triple Crown. He hit .344 lifetime with 521 home runs -- despite twice interrupting his career to serve as a Marine Corps pilot in World War II and the Korean War.
"I think he was the best hitter that baseball has had," said Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, who played with Williams for 10 seasons. "He wanted to be the greatest hitter of all time, and he worked hard at that, but he was also a great teammate. He patted everyone on the back," Doerr said.
George Carter, a certified nursing assistant who cared for Williams for 10 years and was with him as recently as 2001, said, "I know Ted like a book. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread over the Florida Keys. He told me that many times. I would bet my life he wouldn't approve of this [cryonics]."
"I thought they were kidding when I heard that," said Carl Yastrzemski, who succeeded Williams in left field for the Red Sox in 1961. "I know I wouldn't want it for me."
The Globe reported Claudia Williams, John Henry's sister from Dolores Wettach, Ted's third wife, and Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell, his older half-sister from Ted's first marriage to Doris Soule, insist that their father's oft-stated desire was to be cremated.
"I will rescue my father's body. Me and my attorney are working on that," Ferrell said. She added that a restraining order was to be filed Monday.
"Ted wanted to be cremated," former teammate Johnny Pesky noted. "He was an atheist. He didn't believe in religion."