AMERICAN MASTERS: Ted Williams: ‘The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived’
Airs Monday, April 1, 2019 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Friday, March 22, 2019
Credit: Courtesy of Bill Swank, Baseball Historian
—Features Exclusive Footage of Williams’ Final Game—
Narrated by Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Jon Hamm, documentary features exclusive never-before-seen footage of Williams’ final game and includes new interviews with Bob Costas, Wade Boggs, Ben Bradlee Jr. and Joey Votto.
During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames - The Kid, The Splendid Splinter and Teddy Ballgame, but the only nickname that he wanted was “the greatest hitter who ever lived.”
In that pursuit, he combined his preternatural gifts with a fierce work ethic to become widely regarded as one of the greatest ever to play the game of baseball and in the process elevated the science of hitting in ways still emulated today.
The new documentary explores not only the Baseball Hall of Famer’s remarkable on-field accomplishments but also his complicated relationships with his family, teammates, press, fans and himself.
AMERICAN MASTERS "Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” premiered on PBS in honor of Williams’ centennial (Aug. 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002), and marks the first baseball subject in the series’ 32-year history.
Through never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with those who knew and studied Williams, including his daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee, Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angell and award-winning broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg, the documentary demonstrates the power of the heroic myth-making culture in which Williams flourished.
Lesser-known topics explored in the film include Williams’ Mexican-American background, his experiences serving during World War II and the Korean War, and his deep rage over his mother’s virtual abandonment of him and his younger brother.
This film also looks at the legendary player’s impact on the game of baseball and his relevance in the almost 60 years since his retirement, highlighted by Williams’ iconic achievement — he is the last player to hit over .400, finishing the 1941 season batting .406.
Former players including Baseball Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Wade Boggs, three-time All-Star Jim Kaat, and current Cincinnati Reds first baseman and former National League MVP Joey Votto share how Williams’ philosophy, commitment to greatness and approach to hitting influenced them in the film.
“Ted Williams was a fascinating, complicated man and this film really covers all the issues he was dealing with on top of baseball,” said David Ortiz, the recently retired Boston Red Sox 10-time All-Star and executive producer for Big Papi Productions. “Mr. Williams is such a part of baseball and Boston even today. This is a great project that really looked at his whole life and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
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An Albert M. Tapper Production in association with Nick Davis Productions, Major League Baseball, Big Papi Productions, and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s AMERICAN MASTERS for WNET. Nick Davis is director and producer. Michael Kantor and Albert M. Tapper are executive producers. David Ortiz is executive producer for Big Papi Productions. Nick Trotta is executive producer for Major League Baseball.
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