American Masters presents ‘Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived’

Discover the many sides of Baseball Hall of Famer and Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams in a documentary presented by “American Masters” on Sunday, July 7, at 2 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, 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.

This documentary from “American Masters” 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. “Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” 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.

Narrated by actor Jon Hamm, the documentary 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.

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