“What was it like to pitch to the greatest hitter who ever lived? Now we know.”
New York Journal of Books
“…the soul of Facing Ted Williams is the stories, and those, like the sweet swing of a Ted Williams’ home run, are delightfully satisfying.”
“A very enjoyable and revealing view—both literally and figuratively—of perhaps the greatest hitter of all time. Even ‘The Splended Splinter’ probably would have been impressed by Dave Heller’s prodigious amount of research.”
“As the author of several books on Ted Williams, with a couple of more in the wings, Facing Ted Williams is an idea I wish I’d had.”
“A penetrating inside look at the 'Splendid Splinter' from those who played against him. Facing Ted Williams is a must-have for fans of baseball’s Golden Age.”
“Now we have something new: A series of reminiscences from the players who battled the great No. 9. . . . In Facing Ted Williams, Dave Heller did yeoman’s work tracking down a range of players, from perennial all-stars to guys whose cup of coffee in the Show was more like a shot of Joe. . . . [A] worthy accessory to the Williams portion of the baseball shelf.”
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“In this ambitious and engaging project, Heller set out to get the truth straight from the players’ mouths. . . . What also emerges through Heller’s dogged efforts is a scrapbook-style look at the way the game was played in the 1940s and '50s…”
“There's a neat book out called 'Facing Ted Williams' that's worth checking out if you're a Red Sox fan, Williams fan or just a fan of players talking about baseball from the old days…a fun project by Heller, something different than the standard biography.”
Teddy Ballgame rightly deserves his self-selected title as the “Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.” Fans still debate what his lifetime stats might have been had he not lost thousands of at-bats while serving in two wars. His greatness has resulted in many books devoted to his career, notably Ed Linn’s Hitter: The Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams, and countless in-depth articles including many negative ones. The value of this new book is in the unabashed discussion of Williams’s passion for the game, beginning with Wade Boggs’s foreword and culminating with an afterword by veteran sportscaster Bob Wolff. In between, Heller (sports web producer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) arranges the content by position, with an array of pitchers offering their thoughts, followed by catchers, then infielders and a small number of outfielders, all of whom responded to his call for contributions. Great pitchers such as Bob Feller and memorable players such as Yankees’ third baseman Bobby Brown discuss Ted’s well-known determination not to bunt or hit to left field to defeat the famous shift. Along with contributions by the big names are reminiscences of players who enjoyed the proverbial “cup of coffee in the bigs.” The result is a fast-paced yet not superficial discussion of the National Pastime’s best hitter.
VERDICT Essential for baseball fanatics, this should also be perused by fans of all ages.—Gilles Renaud, Cornwall, Ontario
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