Ted Williams's Son- Giving the Kid His Due
July 29, 2002
John-Henry Williams slept in his father's bed just after the Hall of Fame baseball player died. John-Henry's slumber likely occurred after he had made the final arrangements to execute the controversial plan of suspending his father's body, upside down, in liquid nitrogen.
John-Henry & Ted
John-Henry was controversial before his father's death on July 5. He has been depicted as greedy and ruthless, belligerent and insecure. He is frequently portrayed as a parasite living off the fame and fortune of his famous father. Ex-employees of the Ted Williams household in Florida paint a picture of an old man being manipulated by an opportunistic son.
Former business associates have also vilified John-Henry. He is the self-appointed guardian of all things Ted Williams and in that role, he has played hardball with memorabilia dealers. A series of companies set up by John-Henry to deal in Ted Williams's memorabilia have gone bankrupt or closed. One sports memorabilia dealer who describes himself as a John-Henry ally told a reporter, "He's probably one of the most disliked people I know." Others around Ted Williams expressed concern with John-Henry. Notably Ted's longtime girlfriend, Louise Kauffman, who according to published reports, grew to dislike and distrust the son before she died in 1997.
John-Henry's half-sister, Barbara Williams Ferrell, thinks the freezing of her father's body is really another business opportunity for John-Henry to make money. Ferrell believes John-Henry plans to sell authentic Ted Williams DNA. She believes her father really wanted to be cremated, not frozen. Manuel Herrera, a 2nd cousin of Ted Williams's whom John-Henry lived with briefly in 1989 told a reporter that John-Henry told him that his dad would ''give me anything I wanted'' and that he, John-Henry, was waiting for Ted to die so he could ''get all his money.''
In Hitter, his 1993 biography of Ted Williams, Ed Linn writes, "The relationship with his son has transformed Ted. On that everyone is in complete agreement." Linn wrote that Ted's newfound relationship with his son had had a positive effect, on both men. The son was the apple of the father's eye. Jeffrey Boyer, a medical doctor specializing in cardiology who treated Ted Williams has said that through the efforts of John-Henry, Ted Williams made it through the last eighteen months of his life. Dr. Boyer told a reporter, "''If I ever get that sick, I hope my own kids are that attentive.'' Ted Williams, like his own father, was mostly absent from his son's early childhood. As a young teenager, John-Henry felt a need to establish a closer connection to Ted. By the time he finished college, armed with a degree in marketing, John-Henry was ready to become his father's soul mate and business partner.
Ted & Son, c.1982
Is John-Henry Williams an opportunistic and greedy man, diabolical in his plotting to make a living off his famous father or is he a loving son, dedicated to protecting his father's legacy and motivated not by life's material rewards, but by more psychological and spiritual issues?
A research panel of Cosmic Baseball Research Alliance (COBRA) scholars has been assembled and is already at work attempting to answer the question.
- Joseph P. Kahn, "John-Henry- The Kid's Only Son." The Boston Globe, 7/21/2002.
- Ed Linn, Hitter- The Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams. Harcourt Brace, 1993.
- Raja Mishra, "Questions Raised on Williams's Final Years." Boston Globe, 7/11/2002.
- Scott Bernard Nelson, "On Money Matters- A Chip Off the Old Block." The Boston Globe, 7/21/2002.
- S.L. Price, "Rounding Third." Sports Illustrated, 11/25/1996.
- Mike Schneider, "Long, Complicated History for Teddy Ballgame and Son." Associated Press, 7/12/2002.
Pisces Beat Beats
July 24, 2002
Amid rumors that there are about to be some major changes the Overleague's bottom-dwelling Paradise Pisces played like the old days and defeated their arch-rivals, the Dharma Beats in a cosmic baseball game played today in Dharma. It was a see-saw affair with several lead changes until Fats Domino, jazz pianist and firstbaseman smacked a grand slam homerun in the seventh inning to finish the Beats off for good.|
The Pisces are far enough out of first place so that the rest of the season might end up being more experimental than manager Kurt Cobain might have liked. Rumors are bouncing off the walls. Some say G.M. Chelsea Clinton is on the way out, other gossip suggests Cobain will be gone soon. Nothing is official and it's unlikely anyone would get canned after a game like the Fish played today.
Contraction, Expansion or Not
July 23, 2002
At the June 28 Board of Directors meeting the contraction/expansion debate reared its head once again. A few board members favor expansion, a few favor contraction and a few favor the status quo.
The proponents of expansion point to the ever-increasing number of team creation/affiliation requests the CBA receives. Not just individual teams but whole leagues have petitioned to join the CBA. Most recently the Krafft-Ebing League, an association of teams representing various sexual dysfunctions, has asked to join. That petition is likely to be denied, at least in the short term, according to sources on the Board.
Those who argue for contraction cite the ever-increasing costs of maintaining the league. There is a high administrative cost, especially in the technically intensive roster and statistical divisions. Contraction partisans point out that much more detailed and focus work could be produced if there were fewer than the current 24 teams.
Finally, there are those whjo argue that the status quo is satisfactory. The current structure has been in place for a nmber of years and seems to work adequately enough.
While unlikely, it is possible that the Board of Directors will decide one way or another by the time of the Fall Meetings in October.
News & Information Plate Redesign
July 22, 2002
Welcome to the newly redesigned News & Information Plate. The redesign project was under the direction of Ann MacKenzie who has also just been named News Editor of the Cosmic Baseball Association. A graphics design team headed by longtime CBA graphic artist Jessica Numata began working on the new layout for the news plate last March.
MacKenzie joined the staff of the Cosmic Baseball Association in early June as a news writer. Prior to coming to the CBA she was a senior editor at the New England Lesbian Reporter, a monthly publication out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. MacKenzie studied journalism and photography at Columbia University. She is working on an exhibit of her photographs for the Henry Miller Club and declares that she has no free time to pursue her interest in Victorian erotic literature.
May Williams Player Plate Published
July 21, 2002
May Williams is the starting leftfielder for the Motherland Mothers, a team in the Cosmic Baseball Association's Underleague. She was also the mother of two sons. One was a rebellious delinquent who spent some time in jail, reformed himself and died of leukemia at the age of 39. The other son was the last Major League Baseball player to hit over .400 in a season and a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Known as "Salvation May" and as the "Tijuana Angel" May Williams spent most of her life serving the fallen in her capacity as a soldier in the Salvation Army. She died in 1961, one year after her oldest son, Ted, retired from playing baseball.
May Williams is an original member of the Motherland Mothers. She joined the team when it was created in 1999.
Season 2002 Summer Rookie Draft
July 20, 2002
The five top prospects in the Cosmic Rookie Nomination Pool were drafted today during the Cosmic Baseball Association's annual Summer Rookie Draft. The players drafted today will be eligible for team rosters during the 2003 cosmic playing season.
To nominate a cosmic baseball player please visit the Nomination Plate. Virtually anybody or anything can become a cosmic baseball player.
Season 2002 Summer Rookie Draft Selections
Team: Wonderland Warriors
Nomination by: Alex
Date Born: November 15, 1891
Date Died: October 14, 1944
Field Category: Military: Field Marshal
Born in the small Würtemburg town of Heidenheim near Ulm, the son of a local schoolmaster, Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel became one of the most respected military men of his time. (A)
Team: Alphatown Ionians
Nomination by: Brian Zimmerman
|Date Born: June 21, 1905
Date Died: April 15, 1980
Field Category: Philosophy
Describe Other Field Category: Literature
Sartre's life is a tireless and devoted journey to the perfection of his theories, he was a romantic rationalist. Sartre, however, was also one of the leading figures of existentialism, a philosophy which stresses the meaninglessness of existence. (BZ)
S. CLAY WILSON
Team: Bhutan Vanguards
Nomination by: Hillel Wright
|Date Born: 1941
Field Category: Art
Other Field Category: Underground Comix
One of the early Zap Comix artists. Created such memorable characters as Ruby the Dyke, The Checkered Demon, Captain Pissgums the Pirate, the Hog Ridin' Fools, the Polka Dot Demon. (HW)
GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON
Team: Eden Bohemians
Nomination by: Alicia Aho
|Date Born: May 29, 1874
Date Died : June 14, 1936
Field Category: Literature
Chesterton wrote in any genre that seemed to catch his fancy: fiction, poetry, theology, biography, and both journalistic and critical essays. He was fond of cigars, was 6'4'' tall, and weighed approximately 300 pounds. (AA)
Team: Delta Dragons
Nomination by: Gibby Vendettuoli
|Date Born: June 18, 1942
Field Category: Music
Was a member of rock band the Beatles from 1957-1970; then became lead singer and member of rock band Wings from 1971-1980. He mainly plays bass guitar, drums, and piano.(GV)
Shoeless Joe Jackson Remembered
July 16, 2002
"Shoeless" Joe Jackson was born 113 years ago today in Pickens County, South Carolina. Jackson is most famous for being on baseball's so-called "banned" list for his involvement in the 1919 Black Sox gambling scandal. The recently departed Ted Williams, among many others, believe Jackson ought to be given his due and admitted to the Hall of Fame. Babe Ruth said that Jackson was his inspiration. Some consider Shoeless Joe to be the purest of the pure natural baseball hitters.
Joe Jackson, 1908
The debate about Jackson's fitness to be in the Hall, much like the more recent controversey over Pete Rose, continues.
In memory of Joe Jackson we present his official Major League Batting Record.
Donna Stone Named Mothers' Manager
July 15, 2002
Donna Stone, the make-believe mother of a make-believe family in the make-believe town of Hilldale has been named manager of the Motherland Mothers, a Cosmic Baseball Association team. Stone replaces Cecile Roniger Reich, the real-life mother of the psychologist Wilhelm Reich. Cecile Reich had managed the Mothers since the start of the 2000 season. The change in field management obviously has something to do with the sad fact that the Mothers, who compete in the Underleague, have a 38-64 won-loss record and are 31 games out of first place.
Donna Stone first appeared on the nation's television screens when The Donna Reed Show premiered on Wednesday evening September 24, 1958. Played by the actress Donna Reed, Donna Stone was the wife of a pediatrician and the mother of two American teenagers. The popular series lasted eight seasons (274 episodes.)
The 1950s mother was a stay-at-home woman who kept the kitchen floor spic and span, cooked and washed, took the lead in raising and nurturing the children, and kept herself attractive for her husband. Donna Stone was all that and more. It remains to be seen whether this very fictional, ideal character, hatched in the minds of dream-weavers and marketeers, can help the struggling Mothers win on the fields of cosmic baseball.
Arch Ward Award Renamed by MLB
July 8, 2002
Arch Ward, Sports Editor of the Chicago Tribune is credited with creating Baseball's All-Star Game in 1933 to coincide with the city's World's Fair exposition. In 1962, in his memory (Ward died in 1956) the All Star Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) was first awarded and named for him. In 1970 the Arch Ward Trophy became the Commissioner's Award and in 1985 Major League Baseball went back to calling the All Star MVP award the Arch Ward Memorial Award or the Arch Ward Trophy.
The Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (July 8, 2002 9:36 a.m. EDT)
Baseball's All-Star MVP award will be
named after Hall of Famer Ted Williams,
who died last week at age 83. The first
winner of the Ted Williams Award
will be picked after Tuesday night's
game at Miller Park, Major League Baseball
In 1990 Thomas B. Littlewood wrote a biography called Arch: A Promoter Not a Poet- The Story of Arch Ward (Iowa State University Press. Ames, Iowa. 1990). Ward was an influential journalist. He wrote for the Tribune's venerable "In the Wake of the News" column, organized an alternative to the National Football League (All-American Conference, 1946-1949) and generally wielded his power widely. He was also, according to Littlewood, something of a womanizer. In addition to his wife, Ward also had mistresses and paramours befitting a man of great power and influence. In many ways, Arch Burdette Ward typified the kind of journalist that the young and feisty Ted Williams came to resent. Of course, Williams did not dislike all sportswriters; only those that picked on him. And we do not know if Arch Ward ever did pick on Ted. In a review of Littlewood's book Jerry Gems writes,
"Ward's contacts covered the political spectrum, from Senator Joe McCarthy to the Kennedy clan...[He] delighted in challenging the hegemony of the Eastern press. Lacking literary style and polish (a promoter, not a poet,) Ward often thought out loud in his newspaper column, excoriating losers, dispensing advice, and airing dirty laundry to a national audience."(Reference: Journal of Sport History. Vol. 17, No. 3. Winter, 1990: Gems.)
It was that airing of dirty laundry that Williams most resented. His problems with the press began just after his rookie season when his parents were separating. The press chided him for not returning to California to be with his family. He was perhaps cajoled into enlisting in the Navy during World War II. He had a draft deferment because his mother May was dependent on him. There was ridicule. Williams enlisted. Other private behavior was criticized publicly. He was on a fishing trip when his first child was born. The press nagged him for that. The rap on Williams was that he was a me-first, selfish soul...on and off the field. His guts in the seat of a jet fighter during the Korean War and his enduring contribution to help fight cancer in children are but two examples of very unselfish behavior. There are reasons why Ted Williams grew to mythic proportions before he died. Legends, distorted by fame, are complex.
Arch Ward was famous enough to have at least one biography written about his life. And important enough to baseball to have a trophy named in his memory. Even so, the irony of replacing the journalist's name with the baseball legend's name is worth noting.
The All-Star Game was Ted Williams' venue in any case. He performed much greater baseball heroics in the eighteen All Star Games he played in than he ever did in the one World Series he played in. (William's World Series batting average is .200, which is the same as Babe Ruth's 1918 World Series average when he pitched for the Red Sox. The importance of 1918 is that Williams was born that year and it is the last time the Red Sox won a World Series. Williams was 13 days old when the Red Sox won the sixth and deciding game against the Cubs in Fenway Park on September 11,1918.)
Williams holds a number of All Star Game records including Most Runs (4), Most Runs Batted In (5) and Total Bases (10) in a Game. He holds the career record for most Walks in All Star Game competition (11) and most career RBIs (12).
What does it mean to have excelled in All-Star Games but not in the World Series? We will leave that issue for another time.
Now, we would like to suggest that the All-Star Most Valuable Player Award be called the Williams-Ward Trophy to better reflect the influence both men had on the sport of baseball and the All Star Game. After all, humble man that he wanted to be, when Williams is thawed out in a generation or so he might likely be embarrassed by Major League Baseball's announcement today.
Ted Williams Dies
July 5, 2002
Hall of Fame baseball player, Ted Williams, died this morning of cardiac arrest in Florida. He was 83. Elected to the Hall in 1966, on the first ballot, Williams is considered by some baseball enthusiasts to be the sport's all time greatest hitter. In nineteen seasons he compiled a .344 career batting average. His 1941 batting average of .406 remains, like Joe Dimaggio's 56-game hitting streak of the same season, one of the sport's most exceptional feats.
Williams played an above average left field but he was most known, feared and admired for his prowess at hitting baseballs. His autobiography (as told to John Underwood) is entitled My Turn at Bat (1969); with Underwood he published The Science of Hitting (1970) and a 1993 biography by Ed Linn was called Hitter: The Life & Turmoils of Ted Williams.
He was born into a poor family in San Diego, California. His father was an absent alcoholic and his mother devoted her life to charity work with the Salvation Army. Williams' escaped his background by playing what was then America's great national sport. He was a star high school baseball player. Out of high school in 1936 he was drafted by the new San Diego Padres, then a team in the Triple A Pacific Coast League. The San Diego organization sold him to the Boston Red Sox. After a year in the minors in Minnesota, Williams arrived in Boston in 1939, a tall, lanky, "kid" not yet twenty years old.
Williams' nineteen-year playing career, interrupted twice by military service, was not only distinguished statistically but also notable for its controversy. After a "honeymoon" rookie season in 1939, his relationship with the Boston sportswriters and fans became an intense love-hate tango. Williams refused to tip his cap after homeruns (he hit 521 of them) and he took to spitting towards the press box. Williams capped his career by hitting a homerun in his last at bat in 1960. True to form, he refused to tip his cap as he rounded the circuit for the last time.
After retirement Williams spent time doing what he loved most, fishing and hunting. He returned to baseball in 1969 as the manager of the Washington Senators/Texas Rangers. His lifetime managing record (.429)is closer to his 1941 batting average, the latter is remarkable, and the former is not. Williams also served as a batting instructor for the Red Sox.
His health began to decline in the 1990s as he suffered from several strokes. He did eventually return to Boston and tip his cap to the fans in 1991 at Ted Williams Day. In 1995, Boston honored Williams by naming a tunnel after him. But by far his most emotional moment in Boston occurred in 1999 when he threw out the ceremonial first ball at the annual All-Star Game in Fenway Park. On the field with current and past All Stars, Williams was clearly the center of attention, a god among boys of the game.
Dream of a Baseball Star
by Gregory Corso
I dreamed Ted Williams
leaning at night
against the Eiffel Tower, weeping.
He was in uniform
and his bat lay at his feet
--knotted and twiggy.
"Randall Jarrell says you're a poet!" I cried
"So do I!. I say you're a poet!"
He picked up his bat with blown hands;
stood there astraddle as he would in the batter's box
and laughed! flinging his schoolboy wrath
toward some invisible pitcher's mound
--waiting the pitch all the way from heaven.
It came; hundreds came! all afire!
He swung and swung and swung and connected not one
sinker curve hook or right down the middle.
A hundred strikes!
The umpire dressed in strange attire
thundered his judgment: YOU"RE OUT!
And the phantom crowd's horrific boo
dispersed the garoyles from Notre Dame.
And I screamed in my dream:
God! throw thy merciful pitch!
Herald the crack of bats!
Hooray the sharp liner to left!
Yea the double, the triple!
Hosannah the home run!
Cosmic Baseball Players Honored by President
July 1, 2002
The President of the United States, George W. Bush, announced the recipients of this year's Presidential Medal of Freedom. Three of the 12 honorees are members of the Cosmic Baseball Association.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation's highest civilian award. The award recognizes exceptional meritorious service. The medal was established July 6, 1945 by President Truman to recognize notable service in the war. On February 22, 1963, President Kennedy reintroduced it as an honor for distinguished civilian service in peacetime.
- Katherine Graham played for the Vestal Virgins (1987) and the Numidia Journals (1999). Graham is being honored for her contributions in the field of journalism.
- Gordon Moore was a founder of the Intel Corporation which manufactures microprocessors. Moore played secondbase for the Heartland Capitalists (1998-1999). Moore is being honored for his contributions to the technology revolution.
- Peter Drucker is a former field manager and the current owner of the Heartland Capitalists. Drucker is being honored as a pioneer in the field of business management.
Chronological History of the Executive Orders for the Medal of Freedom
Executive Order 9586, July 6, 1945 (Harry S. Truman)
The Medal of Freedom
Executive Order 11085 of Feb. 22, 1963 (John F. Kennedy)
Re-establishes the awarding of the Medal of Freedom
Sec. 2. Award of the Medal.
(a) The medal may be awarded by the President as provided in this order to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to (1) the security or national interests of the United States, or (2) world peace, or (3) cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.
(b) The President may select for the award of the Medal any person recommended to the President for award of the Medal or any person selected by the President upon his own initiative.
(c) The principal announcement of awards of the Medal shall normally be made annually, on or about 4th July of each year; but such awards may be made at other times, as the President may deem appropriate.
(d) Subject to the provisions of this Order, the Medal may be awarded posthumously.
Executive Order 11515 of Mar. 13, 1970 (Richard M. Nixon)
Secs. 3-6 removed.