Another Sunday night is upon us and the weekly shows are here.
Before the shows, I saw a tiny bit of the AAA All Star game. Former Sox Farmhand Brad Baker was pitching, and Peter Gammons said that Baker was *the* top prospect in the Red Sox organization. Baker was one of the players traded for Alan Embree. I haven’t heard anyone else say definitively that Baker was the Sox top prospect.
FOX25’s Sports Sunday started with notification of the Red Sox celebration of Ted Williams scheduled for July 22. This was followed by coverage of the loss to the Tigers today. Though a tough loss, the team feels good right now. Nomar says they’re “in a good spot”, Varitek says they “have the weapons to win this thing.”
A ballpark update was next. “Reid between the lines” with Dr. Charles Steinberg says they’ve spent this time studying the park, studying what happens in various circumstances, rain etc. While they’re in the process of determining the future of the park, they’re making “immediate fix ups”. Trying to straddle the lines of good taste in figuring out new things to add. NL as well as AL scores? A sponsor name on the scoreboard? Fans want the charm, but deserve the “creature comforts”.
“Highlights” of the naked streaker at the mens Wimbledon final preceded talk on Tony Conigliaro. A background story on him, led the league in homers at age 20, fastest to 100 homers in history. His good looks, skills on the field and blossoming music career captivated the region. Then was beaned. Won comeback player of the year in ’69. Major heart attack in 1982. Died at age 45. The point of bringing this up now is the movement to have his number 25 retired. Tony C is one of us, Sterns says. Richie Conigliaro came in studio to talk about his brother, he said he was a pretty cocky kid, when he first came up, Tony said he could be better than Ted Williams, which shocked his brother. He changed “cocky” to confident. Richie can’t believe what John Henry Williams is doing with his dad. Said that his brother Tony “loved women”, all three of the brothers did actually. Remembered a time when Tony stopped going with a girl, and Billy started dating her and that this necessitated a family meeting to clear things up. Richie has named his son Tony Conigliaro II. You can go to votefortonyc.com to express support for having the number retired.
Stern’s “Last Blast” was about Tony Cs’ number needing to be retired because “he’s one of us”. He says this is a no-brainer. The show ended with the Tribute to Ted. Starting from the Ted Williams museum. Clips from Don Mattingly, Jason Gambi, Ernie Harwell, Enos Slaughter, and Dan Duquette.
WB56’s Sports Zone had the Sox coverage as well as the Ted Williams memorial information. Jack Hynes, someone who was around during the Williams era, narrated a tribute to Ted’s life. An extensive, detailed look, including events from the past decade, including his visit to the Louisville Slugger factory.
Jimmy Young hosted NECN’s Sports Late Night. Red Sox highlights were followed by news of the Ted Williams plans as well as news about the fight over Ted’s body. Williams’ eldest daughter Bobby-Jo has sworn to stop the freezing and she and her lawyer are making preparations.
Yankees highlights led off the second segment. Clips of Torre praising the Red Sox, saying Pedro is the best there is, Urbina is having a great year, and bringing in Wakefield with that butterfly pitch is a great mixup. Torre says the Sox will be right there all the way. NECN also had extensive coverage of the streaker at Wimbledon.
More on Ted Williams followed the actual Wimbledon tennis highlights, this part talked about his years in the military. Lou Gorman, Johnny Pesky commented on his service record. Artist Armond LaMontagne recalled created the Ted Williams statute for the Hall of Fame he created out of a block of wood. Williams cried when he saw it, his reason was that he would be joining his hero Babe Ruth as having a statue in the Hall of Fame. LaMontagne noted that Williams died between July 4th and the All Star Game…country and baseball.
Next segment was soccer. A wrapup of the World Cup. Jimmy Young is very proud that NECN waves the flag of this wonderful international game.
WBZ’s “Sports Final” was from the New England Sports Museum archive, on a set put together for the show, a celebration of his life with many items collected over the years. Bob Lobel said they need to talk about the things that have happened over the last couple days with the controversy over his body. Dan Roche reported in from the Ted Williams musuem in Florida. Roche had a fascinating interview with Bobby-Jo, Ted’s eldest daughter. She says the idea of freezing the body is “crazy”. Once she objected, JHW cut her off from the family, citing that she wasn’t a “team player” and that he would have her arrested if she showed up. She has not spoken with JHW since the death. She is outraged, sick and wants everyone else to be sick as well. Ted wanted to be cremated and his ashes spread over the Florida Keys. JHW said there would be a lot of people who would want to buy Ted’s DNA, that there would be a lot of “little Ted Williams running around” and that he wanted to bring back Ted in 100 years to play baseball. Her husband called it disgraceful and immoral. She’s only been estranged since she raised the objections over this freezing issue a year ago. Another time, WBZ will have more of the interview in which she shares memories of her childhood, and being around the ballpark as a little girl.
David McCarthy, a former NH state trooper and friend of Ted’s, a trustee to JHW and Claudia, says it was common knowledge what Ted William’s wishes were originally. His knowledge/opinion of John Henry, is that he loves his father so much he can’t let go, wants to see him.
Shaughnessy, McAdam joined Lobel, “sordid” is how McAdam described the last couple days. Has completely stripped the dignity from his father’s death. Shaughnessy thought the whole thing was a “radio show hoax” at first. When Dan talked to JHW yesterday, he didn’t want to talk about the situation. Dan warned him that he would be skewered in the papers. JHW said he couldn’t talk about it. Did not return a call today. Shaughnessy hopes that JHW is simply delusional and doesn’t want to let go of his father. Video from an Old timers game 20 years ago showed Ted hustling in full sprint to make a catch in left field. Lobel then ran down the club’s plans for memorializing Ted. Glenn Stout, co-author of “Red Sox Century” recalled how the Yankees were the first team to try to sign Ted in 1936. He went through the near-trade of Williams for Dimaggio, May 15th, 1941 Ted and Dimaggio both started the longest hitting streaks of their careers, Ted’s went 23 games, Dimaggio of course, went 56. They had a picture of Ted pitching in a game in 1950. Williams actually almost hit 3 “last at bat” home runs. Ted warmed up with Pumpsie Green, the Red Sox first African-American player before each game when green joined the club, to welcome him. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, he advocated the induction of Negro League players into the Hall. Lobel ran a commercial for Citrus Hill 20 years ago of he and Ted playing tennis, fishing, and golfing.
Alice Cook was in Milwaukee, caught up with first time all stars Shea Hillenbrand and Johnny Damon before the game today, as well as Derek Lowe. Damon wants to have his son run around on the field with him, and also said he is going to be a major league ballplayer as well. Lowe doesn’t know if he’ll be the starter Tuesday night, or not, but hopes he can.
A special “The Life and Times of Ted Williams” started off Sports Final OT. Classic pictures, radio clips from that final day of 1941 when Ted hit .406, his service record, account of crash-landing and escaping from a burning jet, Curt Gowdy’s call of his last at-bat were included. Then followed the show from 10 years ago with Larry Bird, Ted Williams and Bobby Orr. Williams career was first highlighted, then Orr’s, then Bird. Then the three of them were there, in studio, in front of Lobel. The first part was mostly them getting to know each other a little, talking about their experiences with each other. Williams said that he had followed the careers of Bird and Orr. Bird called baseball his first love, he called Ted “Mr Williams”. Ted called Orr “The Great one”. Orr talked about watching Bird play. Ted recalled Bobby’s skilled as a fisherman. Williams used to also fish in Indiana. The second segment of the program asked what makes them great players. Bird talked about the hard work, that he put a lot of time into it. Orr said though they’ve been blessed with talent, they still all really worked at it. Williams mentioned luck as a factor. Growing up in California, he could play baseball everyday. Said there hasn’t been a great baseball player born in Canada yet, though he mentioned “that kid, Larry Walker”. Growing up, Orr didn’t think much about being better then the other players too much, it was more about reaching the goal of playing the game they loved. Bird talked some about being the best player on the floor, there were times he could do anything he wanted. He said those times have decreased the last 3 or 4 years. All three agreed there was an element of fear in the game, they were all afraid, nervous, about not performing properly. Williams played much better when he was worried about a pitcher. When he wasn’t, he would go 0-4.
Next segment, Williams said he’s never heard a lousy word about Orr or Bird. They’re classy guys. Bird talked about looking up at Bobby Orr’s number every game during the National Anthem, and using it to motivate him. Knowing the greatness of Bobby Orr. Likewise, Orr has watched Larry a long time, his heart, desire, love for the game is unmatched. Williams told a story about talking with Sam Snead, that he had to hit a motionless ball, with a flat club, Ted had to face curveballs, knuckleballs, etc. Lobel brought up the fact that they all played in one town, (Except for Orr’s brief time in Chicago) they love Boston. If free agency had been available, Williams might’ve tried it after his first few season when the “Knights” were on him, but he feels extremely lucky to have played his whole career in Boston. Bird talked about a friend telling him that the Pacers wanted to make a trade for him, he packed his bags, waited for the call, and would’ve retired. Never would’ve played for another NBA team except the Celtics. When Ted played, there were 8 daily newspapers.
As the clock passed midnight it became December 7th, which is Bird’s birthday, he turned 36 that night. Orr and Williams sung “Happy Birthday” to him, Williams and Orr gave him signed jerseys, in fact they then all swapped signed jerseys. (“Here you go, Mr Williams” Orr said) Then they talked about their skills, anticipation is most important, being able to make blind passes, seeing the seams on the ball. Asked about the media, Williams said the controversy, the meanness of some of the sportswriters has helped build Boston sports. Bird said he’s never read an article the next day that told about the game the way he saw it. Sometimes they put their own stuff in there. Orr said they’re knowledgeable, can be tough, but the players give them the ammunition. Ted has never read anything bad about Bird or Orr. He took alot though, he did bring some on himself. Bird said there’s no sense in reading it everyday. You don’t run to read it, if it’s there, you might read it, but you don’t get caught up in it.
The final segment was about retirement. Williams felt fortunate that he had other interests outside the game, fishing, business, etc. Orr said Bird will need a year, year and a half to get over it, get used to it, needs to keep busy. Bird was looking forward to the retirement ceremony that was coming up. The hardest night was the one before he retired. If they could’ve have played their respective sports Orr and Bird said they would’ve loved to have played baseball. When Ted saw his statue, he had a tear in his eye because it was in view of Babe Ruth’s statue. They all said they’re very lucky, and say “Why me?” when considering their career. Williams feels lucky to have gotten out of the way of a Herb Score fastball a long time ago, still doesn’t know how he did it except for luck.
Caught a glimpse of Dennis Eckersley on Sports Extra on Channel 7. Derek Lowe isn’t much of a surprise to him, “He’s nasty”. He is afraid though, that the Red Sox might be one guy short. He was taking questions from people in the audience.