SI Vault
August 20, 1956
There has never been a major league ballplayer like Ted Williams. No one has ever, for so long, attracted so much adulation for his prowess while earning so much censure for his personal gestures and attitudes.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
August 20, 1956

Ted Williams Defies His Critics

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

"It wasn't until he became Williams the $80,000 and $100,000 salaried ballplayer that he began to indulge himself in such peccadilloes as grounding to the second baseman and walking to the bench without taking a token stride to first base."—JOHN DREBINGER, N.Y. TIMES, 8/9/56

" Williams...doesn't command the same dominance over the other players he used to enjoy.... Piersall was blunt about his criticism of Williams' fielding. 'I ought to get two salaries,' Piersall said. 'I'm covering both fields.' "—SHIRLEY POVICH, WASHINGTON POST, 8/9/56

"It was bush, of course. There is no other way to characterize Williams' moist expression of contempt for fans and press."—RED SMITH, N.Y. HERALD TRIBUNE, 8/10/56

"By suspending him [Frick] would make people aware that old Ganglelegs [ Williams], by his actions, is really a bum."—DON WOLFE, TOLEDO BLADE, 8/9/56

"No grown man in full possession of his faculties would make the vile gestures that he made on one occasion."—DAVE EGAN, BOSTON DAILY RECORD, 8/9/56

" Ted Williams should do himself a favor. He should quit baseball before baseball quits on him."—HAROLD KAESE, BOSTON GLOBE, 8/8/56

" Ted Williams, great though he be, must learn that he is not more important than baseball, the Red Sox or the American League."—BILL LEE, HARTFORD COURANT, 8/8/56

That is what they have been saying about Ted Williams. What is Ted's unvarnished reaction? JOAN FLYNN DREYSPOOL, whose CONVERSATION PIECE with Williams (Aug. 1, 1955) pleased his many admirers, went back to him last week to get it. Here (only a few adjectives having been censored) is his uncompromising defense:

They're interviewing psychiatrists now on me.... I am the spitting cobra.... I never had any trouble in any other town, only Boston. I know that 90% are for me without question, but they have such an element of writers up there—and I'm not saying all of them, just four or five. They wish they could knock me down to where I was begging for mercy. Well, they'll never see that.

"The big thing is that the writers in any town educate the fans to their reactions pretty much. You can go and write about Andy Gump and praise him for a week, and before you know it the fans will be clapping for him; or you can write nasty things about him and the fans will boo him.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4