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The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams | [Ben Bradlee Jr.]

The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams

Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea.
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Publisher's Summary

At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves - and that his fans have been waiting for.

Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him - and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.'s grand biography reveals.

Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America - and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter's box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not.

The Kid is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee's marvelous book clears the fences, too.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Ben Bradlee Jr. (P)2013 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Bradlee's sumptuous biography details an extraordinary American life while showing us how that life morphed into legend. The Kid reads like an epic, starting before Williams's birth in 1918, outlining his Anglo and Mexican heritage growing up in Southern California, and continuing after his death in 2002 to the present. Bradlee has given us the fullest exploration yet of his monumental ego and the best explanation for his vast inferiority complex....The book is packed with great moments." (Boston Globe)

"What distinguishes Bradlee's The Kid from the rest of Williams lit is, its size and the depth of its reporting. Bradlee seemingly talked to everyone, not just baseball people but Williams's fishing buddies, old girlfriends, his two surviving wives and both of his daughters, and he had unparalleled access to Williams family archives. His account does not materially alter our picture of Williams the player, but fills it in with much greater detail and nuance....Bradlee's expansiveness enables his book to transcend the familiar limits of the sports bio and to become instead a hard-to-put-down account of a fascinating American life. It's a story about athletic greatness but also about the perils of fame and celebrity, the corrosiveness of money and the way the cycle of familial resentment and disappointment plays itself out generation after generation." (New York Times Book Review)

"Superb....Ted Williams hated what he considered invasions of his privacy, but perfectionist that he was, he would probably have to concede that the work ethic that underpins The Kid is exemplary. Mr. Bradlee, who was a reporter and editor at the Boston Globe for 25 years, spent 10 years researching and writing this book; he interviewed about 600 people and seems to have read everything about and by Williams. But research alone doesn't make The Kid a first-rate biography. The author was able to organize the great mass of data into a lucid and readable whole and-most important-bring his subject and the people around him to provocative and stormy life. When I began reading this book, I thought that only baseball fans would find it interesting. But after finishing The Kid, I suspect that even those indifferent to the sport might find its human drama absorbing." (Time)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Tim United States 04-18-14
    Tim United States 04-18-14 Member Since 2011

    I don't write book reports.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beyond the Diamond"

    A friend of mine suggested that I should read about the legendary baseball player, Ted Williams. I'm not into the sport at all and reading about athletes or celebrities doesn't interest me. I'm not a media hound and can careless about stats, but reading about "The Kid" immediately caught my interest. I managed to finish the book in six days, while my friend has been pacing along for four months. Of course I'm getting the information in audio, but that is still over 35 hours of listening and paying attention.

    Ted Williams could be the most interesting man in the world besides being the best player in baseball. I pretty much fell asleep when Ben Bradlee Jr. laid out his baseball career and stats, but I was so interested in his life. Like how he fought in two wars and became a pilot in the Korean War. He was a very generous to strangers, charities, and especially kids with Cancer and forming the Jimmy Fund, but he was a bastard with his wives and children.

    His behavior is not uncommon with superstars even today. They treat strangers better than their own family, maybe it's a sense of pride or being in the public, but Ted Williams was a modest man when he gave so much to others in need.

    The death of Ted Williams is a weird story. Unlike his wishes, the family decided to freeze his head in a cryogenics lab. He is frozen in time and maybe the Kid will be back and will be teaching on how to play ball. Maybe we will see him on a phone application and his mind will still be coaching.

    At the end of his life, I couldn't help feeling sorry for the guy. His estate was ruin by his son, John Henry, which later died from leukemia. John Henry took advantage of his father's wealth and fame and tarnish his name, but like the great baseball player that his father once was, many fans will always see Ted Williams as "Splendid Splinter."

    I highly recommend this book, even for those who doesn't like baseball like myself.

    As another season of MLB just started, I wished that I was more involved with the sport, but I never had any interest in sitting through nine innings or keeping stats on my favorite player. I didn't even collect baseball cards when I was a kid, but I'm really glad that I read about Ted Williams way beyond the diamond.

    There is one major flaw in the audiobook. If you decide to download this book from Audible, you can't download the pdf companion. I've contacted Audible and Hachette Audio and they haven't resolved this issue yet. The audiobook does not reference back to the pdf file, but it would been nice to see what was missing.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    slippernw 01-21-14
    slippernw 01-21-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Engrossing"
    Would you listen to The Kid again? Why?

    Having heard about the focus and determination of "the kid" in the book, "The Genius In All Of Us", I was intrigued. I am not a baseball fan, but found this book presented a hardworking, but damaged, youth and how that life with its sad beginning and tragic family manipulation played out publicly through the game of baseball and fame.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The well detailed history and research of a fascinating life.


    What does Dave Mallow bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    There are so many details in this long story that I do not believe I would have stuck with the book. But having it read to me by such a competent performer made it compelling and memorable.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Ted was just a human being.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bob 02-03-14
    bob 02-03-14 Member Since 2011

    I have an excruciatingly long commute. Listening to books is about all that has kept me from falling into the abyss. History and bios only

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    "The story of a great ball player and flawed man"

    When this book came out I was excited as a Red Sox fan and a history buff. I was not disappointed. Long, rich story of a man whose life bridged many of historical milestones of the last century. I would highly recommend.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-01-15
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-01-15 Member Since 2015

    Faced with mindless duty, when an audio book player slips into a rear pocket and mini buds pop into ears, old is made new again.

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    "TED WILLIAMS"

    There is a whiff of guilt in spending 35 hours listening to Ted Williams’ life story. It is the same guilt one feels when watching a sport’s event, going to a movie, seeing a theater production, or visiting a museum. But, when good stories are well written, actors fully engaged and human interest stimulated, a viewer/listener’s time is pleasurably (if not) well spent. Ben Bradlee, Jr’s writing, Dave Mallow’s narration, and Ted Williams’ life story are near perfectly executed, thoughtfully engaging, and revelatory.

    Ben Bradlee’s experience, as writer and editor of the Boston Globe, perfects the story of “The Kid”, the biography of baseball’s last full season “.400 plus” batting average player. Some say Williams is the best hitter ever to play. Dave Mallows narration sounds like a sports caster’s reflection on the mercurial personality of a baseball legend. The complexity of human nature is amplified in revelatory facts about a talented kid growing to manhood.

    In the end, Bradlee’s adoration of Williams is uncloaked. Bradlee shows the generous nature of a complicated superstar, a human being that at once makes cold calculations about insults from the press while hiding personal contributions of time and money to childhood charities. Bradlee tells the story of a baseball player that rarely questions an umpire’s call; makes friends with working people rather than the rich and famous, and risks his life for his country in two wars when safer alternatives are available. “The Kid” is a pleasure to lovers of the game and to audio book listeners.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara PLACITAS, NM, United States 01-08-15
    Barbara PLACITAS, NM, United States 01-08-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Did not hit it out of the park for me"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    I felt that I learned a lot about Ted Williams but had to perservere through a lot of boring stuff to get there. For example, all the tedious information about the sports writers did not add anything to the biography as far as I could see. I'm not a huge baseball fan so the play-by-play description of some of the games was more information than I needed.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    I quit listening a couple of hours before the very end because it became depressing. The son's exploitation of his famous father was more than I could stand.


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    Not if the movie was as long as the book


    Any additional comments?

    Ted Williams was an incredible athlete. Gaining an appreciation of his amazing accomplishments was worth the time. He was also a tortured man who probably suffered from some form of mental illness. After reading the book, I wish I could have met him but I certainly would not have wanted to be married to him.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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