Your humble scribe is old enough to have seen Ted Williams play at Fenway Park. He was–pretty much–the only reason to pay to see the Red Sox in the fifties–long before the Impossible Dream gave birth to Red Sox Nation. So, to see this incredible interview with Ted (The Lost Interview of the Great Ted Williams, 1997) was a revelation. To watch the hero of that era speak openly (plenty of “f-bombs”) and without malice about playing the game and dealing with his challenges is riveting.
Even at his advanced age, you can sense the pure joy that fills him as he casually chats about the rivalry with Joe DiMaggio, or his embarrassment at being too demonstrative after his All-Star home run in Detroit, or the pressure of being expected to break Babe Ruth’s home run record. To me, the most pointed moment is when he challenges the idea that, had he had the opportunity, he would have bolted the Red Sox for more money. No, says Ted, his “loyalty to the Yawkeys” would have prevented that. Amazing stuff.
Bob Lobel, who performed this “lost interview”, is at turns probing and patient as he coaxes Ted to open up on a range of issues never before confronted on camera. The only criticism is that the whole thing is too short–between 20 and 30 minutes. It leaves you hungering for more. I whole-heartedly recommend this.