Splendid Splinter on PBS

(Above photo source: PBS)

As the Red Sox battle the Yankees for the 2018 American League East crown, PBS will revisit the life and career of one of Boston’s – indeed, baseball’s – greatest players.

Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” is an American Masters documentary that will air on PBS stations this Monday, July 23, at 9 pm ET (but check local listings). It will then stream via pbs.org/americanmasters and on PBS apps starting July 24.

Williams was called “The Kid,” “The Splendid Splinter” and Teddy Ballgame.” But as the documentary’s title suggests, Ted would settle for nothing less than “the greatest hitter who ever lived.”

The film, which honors Williams’ 100th birth year (he died in 2002), reviews his remarkable on-the-field achievements. For example, he is the last player to hit over .400, finishing with a .406 average in 1941. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.

But the doc also goes beyond the stats, exploring Williams’ Mexican-American background, his service during World War II and the Korean War, and his “deep rage over his mother’s virtual abandonment of him and his younger brother.”

Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” includes interviews with Ted’s daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee, Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angell, and broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg.

Also, Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Wade Boggs, three-time All-Star Jim Kaat, and current Cincinnati Red and former National League MVP Joey Votto talk about how Williams has influenced their careers.

Mad Men’s Jon Hamm narrates the documentary, which is co-produced by Nick Davis Productions and former Red Sox All-Star David Ortiz’s Big Papi Productions.

“Ted Williams was a fascinating, complicated man and this film really covers all the issues he was dealing with on top of baseball,” said Ortiz.

About Larry Greenberg

A former local beat reporter and film critic, co-founder Lawrence Greenberg has more than 25 years’ experience as a writer and public relations executive.

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