Results tagged ‘ ted williams ’

Thank you Ted Williams:

March 3 is special to me.  On this day in 1997 I was having breakfast at Dodgertown inVero Beach.  I had just retired from managing the year before and was getting used to life outside of the dugout. 

As I was going about the normal spring training day, talking to players, signing autographs for fans and looking forward to Opening Day, the PR director, Derrick Hall, told me that I have an important phone call.

He took me to the press box at Hollman Stadium and gave me the phone.  It was Ted Williams.

“Tommy,” he said in his blustery voice.  “I thought I was the only guy inCooperstownwho loved you, but it turns out that everybody loves you.”

“Congratulations, Tommy.  You are being inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

When he said that to me I started to cry.  I never thought I would be in the Hall of Fame, even though I gave everything I had to the Dodgers and baseball.  And to get the call from Ted, a man who I idolized and respected so much, made it one of the most important and memorable days in my life.

Thank you Ted for making that call to me.

Since I’m in Boston I have to talk about Ted Williams:

Since I’m in Boston none other than the great Ted Williams comes to mind.  I was in Toronto and for a dinner honoring a young hockey player by the name of Wayne Gretzky.  I was making my remarks when I looked in the audience and saw Fergusun Jenkins and Ted Williams. The emcee had failed to introduce them, so I made a point to.

As I said Ted’s name he looked at me and motioned for me to call him in his room after the dinner.  I did so and came up to visit with him.  While we were talking he told me that he has always been a huge fan of Frank Sinatra since I knew him well.

“Why don’t you tell him yourself,” I said.

I looked at my watch and it was 3:00 a.m. in Toronto, but I knew Frank was at home in Palm Springs and certainly wasn’t sleeping at midnight.  I picked up the phone and called Frank.

“Francis,” I said.  “I have someone who wants to say hello to you.”

I gave the phone to Ted and he went on and on to Frank about what a huge fan he was, how much he admired him and how I always spoke so highly of him.

As it turns out, frank was telling Ted the same thing.  Talk about the mutual admiration society; I had the greatest singer of all time talking to the greatest hitter of all time, and everybody was happy.

Both Frank and Ted were truly amazing men.  I am so fortunate to have been friends with both of them.  As an Italian, or just a music lover, Frank was more than just an entertainer; he was special.  He had more than a great voice; he had stage presence that made you feel like he was singing just to you.

As a baseball lover, Ted was best hitter who ever lived.  He hit for power, and he hit for average.  And believe it or not, he hit .406 in 1941 and didn’t win the MVP.  Of course 1941 was also the year DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games.  Joe of course was a hero too for baseball fans and Italians….