Periodically, we’re going to look back in Boston Sports Media history and revisit some of the more infamous moments that this group has foisted upon the general public.
The left fielder of the Boston Red Sox is a brilliant hitter, with few peers in the history of the game. However, he hasn’t always cooperated with the media, and has been known on occasion to perhaps not go all-out on the field. Often categorized as “aloof” or “immature”, his accomplishments at the plate seem to be overshadowed by these characteristics. Some are sick of his act, and decry the negative example he sets for our youth.
We’re talking of course about Ted Williams.
Williams was a particular target of Boston Record columnist Dave Egan, who ripped Williams with a style and frequency that would make Dan Shaughnessy blush.
In 1952, Williams was headed to Korea for his second tour of combat duty with the Marines. It was his last game before heading out, and many showed up at Fenway Park to pay tribute to him. They were well aware that this might be the final game of his brilliant career, he could be injured or killed in the war, and no one knew how long the war might continue. By the time it was over, Williams might be too old to continue playing.
It was under these circumstances that Egan took aim at Williams for being a poor example for America’s youth. (Excerpted from the Ted Williams Reader.)
… Swings left-handed like Williams. Wears his pants long, like Williams. Plays the outfield, like Williams. And will not wear a necktie even when the occasion insists upon a necktie, simply because the great man will not wear a necktie.
The skies will not tumble down upon us, whether a boy wears a necktie or not, but I have the right and the duty to ask where Ted Williams is leading this boy. Does he also refuse to tip his cap, does he feel that even the most indecent gestures will be overlooked, so long as he can hit a baseball with a piece of wood? Is he a rebel against conformity, simply because the man after whom he models himself has successfully rebelled, and may he expect to be honored by the municipal big wheels at a later date, if he follows the pattern set by Williams?
It seems disgraceful to me, that a person such as Williams now is to be given the keys to the city. We talk about juvenile delinquency, and fight against it, and then officially honor a man whom we should officially horsewhip for the vicious influence that he has had on the childhood of America…
Williams has stubbornly and stupidly refused to recognize this responsibility to childhood. The kid has set a sorry example for a generation of kids. He has been a Pied Piper, leading them along a bitter, lonely road.
So on the day that Williams was leaving to serve his country and put his life on the line, Egan rips him because he prefers not to wear neckties. He’s worried that America’s youth will be tarnished because Ted Williams will not wear a tie.
Manny’s got it easy.