Monday, March 4, 2013

There Goes Ted Williams

There Goes Ted Williams:  the Greatest Hitter who Ever Lived
by Matt Tavares
Candlewick, 2012.  Unpaged.  Biography

     This splendid book aptly sums the "Splendid Splinter," Ted Williams, only player ever to finish a Major League season batting over .400, and a war hero as well. Baseball fans will know of Williams' exploits on the field for the Boston Red Sox (yay!), but who knew that the Yankees tried to get him first only to be put off by Ted's mother who wanted him closer to home so he first played professional ball for the San Diego Padres, then a minor league team. Ted enlisted in the Navy during World War II and trained as a fighter pilot where he made it through advanced pilot training and was waiting for orders when the war ended.  Back to baseball, and then back to war as he is called up as a fighter pilot in the Korean war.  On his first combat mission his plane is hit by enemy fire.  If he ejects, he will probably break both legs, ending his baseball career.  He decides to crash-land, hitting the landing strip at 225 miles per hour.  He skids 9,000 feet with everything but the cockpit on fire.  When the plane finally stops, Ted jumps out and lives to tell the tale.  But when he comes back home, can he still play baseball as an "old" man?  You betcha!  Text is great.  Pictures are great.  Play ball!

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