Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero” as Want to Read:
Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  2,116 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
He was The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. One of the greatest figures of his generation, and arguably the greatest baseball hitter of all time. But what made Ted Williams a legend – and a lightning rod for controversy in life and in death? What motivated him to interrupt his Hall of Fame career twice to serve his country as a fighter pilot; to embrace his fans ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published March 15th 2005 by Anchor (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ted Williams, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ted Williams

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Carol Storm
Sep 13, 2016 Carol Storm rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book on baseball legend Ted Williams, though the book Williams wrote, MY TURN AT BAT, is probably just as good.

Leigh Montville is a fine writer, but I really don't envy him taking on this huge project. When you think about it, Babe Ruth retired from baseball in 1935 and just seemed to quietly fade away. He was dead not long after World War II. But Ted Williams, as Montville says, lived a whole life after baseball -- and a lot of really painful, ugly, shocking stuff went on in that lif
Jaime Contreras
Oct 02, 2016 Jaime Contreras rated it really liked it
This is a revealing biography for baseball and Ted Williams fans. Ted Williams was a complex man who could be classified as a good man but he had a temper. He was not a prima donna because he said he was the best hitter in the history of baseball because it was the truth. He was blunt and honest to his detriment. He said what was in his heart.

Much is revealed about the man by learning of his childhood. He had a difficult childhood by his athleticism carried him through tough times. He did not h
Apr 23, 2013 Gerry rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, sports
A great book, a storied and some times troubled life - I simply have no criticism of this book. I read this for the sake of a friend and an interest in the game of baseball. From a historical point of view this book holds interest of a sport time frame that has gone by. I have to admit that as a hockey guy I was pleased to see that Ted Williams had a friendship and fishing time with Bobby Orr the Hockey Hall of Fame player of the famous 1972 Stanley Cup team. I truly enjoyed the fishing stories ...more
Jan 25, 2011 Joe rated it liked it
A good biography of a weird dude. In reality, nowhere near the legend you might think he was.
Jason Russell
Mar 12, 2012 Jason Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
(Written in 2004)
There are few names in baseball that evoke reverence (and perhaps disgust) like the name Ted Williams. Teddy Ballgame was truly one of the game’s greats. Depending on who you ask, he was easily one of the three or four greatest to play the game. There have been a lot of books about or even by Williams, and this is one of the best.

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero vividly captures the complex, combative Williams from his rough childhood all the way to his death and
May 23, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
I am drawn to Ted Williams for his single-minded dedication to his vocation. He was a man who cared almost exclusively about accomplishing one thing: being the best hitter in baseball. Until his retirement from the game, his whole life focused on perfecting his craft. He saw his calling clearly and built his life around it. I cannot help admire his certainty of self and his dedication (perhaps obsession), even while recognizing the costs it entailed. His success is legendary.

Jeanne gave me this
Daniel Lowder
Aug 11, 2009 Daniel Lowder rated it it was amazing
Ted Williams is my hero. Not because he was a perfect example of how a man should conduct himself through life, but because he achieved such a high degree of accomplishments in spite of his personal shortcomings.

Leigh Montville does a wonderful job of personally connecting the reader with the subject, through the myriad of highs and lows of his long and ridiculously eventful life. Through the fractured childhood, the awkward growing periods, the realization of the mammoth potential, we are given
Sep 05, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it
I heard his name. I have seen the numbers, but now I met the man. I got the full story. I thought the author did a great unbiased view.

So much information that i learned i thought was most interesting:

- he was born and raised in San Diego (lucky!).
- there was hardly any baseball in southern california at the time
- he had a few high impact mentors
- he had a near perfect swing from an early age
- His mother was big into salvation army and lived a binary view of this world. often left to be at home
Gary Mesick
Mar 16, 2015 Gary Mesick rated it liked it
I love Ted Williams. We was, as the subtitle says, my hero. When I was young, both "My Turn at Bat" "The Science of Hitting" were favorites. And so I wanted to like this book. And I did like this book. I just didn't love it.

I did learn more details about his playing life and his military record. And these things raised my esteem for him. Then the book told me things I didn't know--mostly about the infighting in his family. And, frankly, I didn't care to know it.

I guess that's what bothers be ab
Donald Gallinger
Jun 16, 2008 Donald Gallinger rated it it was amazing
Leigh Montville's biography of Ted Williams is exhaustive in its analysis of one of baseball's greatest hitters. At times childish and self-absorbed, but always focused upon his art, Ted Williams emerges as a troubled genius in this wonderful book. Some of the anecdotes about Williams' intensity evoke a character who loves a few things in life to obsessive delight while ignoring almost everyone and everything else. An absolute master in the science of hitting a baseball, Williams loves his ...more
Paul Miller
I was worried because this same author's book on Babe Ruth was only 'ok' - however, turns out that he grew up in Boston, worked for the Globe, so the topic of Ted Williams is clearly in his wheelhouse. Great read! You'll learn about Ted's Mexican American upbringing, being a Marine fighter pilot, all the travails with the press in Boston, Sears, fishing, .... and finally his body being frozen by his crazy, nutty kid John Henry. Not a likeable character to me, but definitely a fascinating one. A ...more
Aug 24, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
Leigh Montville's life of Ted Williams is a brilliantly written and eye-opening biography, filled with details that are harrowing and heartwarming, and which ultimately provide a very human look at a man who was larger than life. There was much more to Teddy Ballgame than baseball, starting with the fact that he was Latino. I highly recommend this book to baseball fans looking to expand their understanding of one of the great figures of the game.
Jason Cote
Feb 04, 2014 Jason Cote rated it liked it
Good biography, dragged a little at times but overall it was complete and well written. It is clear the author is a Ted Williams fan, but really, are there any baseball fans who aren't? This book gives great insight into the life of Ted, I just wish there had been a longer focus on his playing career.
Jul 30, 2011 Dan rated it liked it
Another great baseball read. I read a biography he wrote about Babe Ruth and really liked it so I went for this one too. Here's what I knew about Ted before the book: a really great hitter, head is cryogenically frozen. It was very interesting to learn about his life and baseball prowess. His baseball career is over by the middle of the book and rest is basically about fishing, but whatever.
Mar 19, 2015 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
One of a very, very few sports biographies I've read that actually reads like a good, entertaining book. It is a full portrait of Williams, warts and all, although the very unsympathetic portrayal of his son John-Henry seems a bit one sided.
Stan Shelley
Sep 27, 2014 Stan Shelley rated it it was amazing
This was a marvelous biography. Montville did not hold back on the negative stuff, nor did he dwell on it. There were many references to old ball players, which I loved. And many interesting details that I did not know. The writing was in a casual style which seemed appropriate.
Tim Snyder
Mar 19, 2014 Tim Snyder rated it liked it
A well balanced and complete biography that captures all of Ted's contradictions. It was fun to read and provided insights into some of the great moments of baseball history and many of the back stories.
Oct 13, 2013 Cindy rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball, biograhpy
I had no idea what a pain this athlete was to those around him. How sad that a man of such greatness is shrouded in all the mire.
John Cloward
Jul 30, 2015 John Cloward rated it it was ok
This book could have been half as long. A lot of really boring details. It took me forever to read as I continually lost interest.
Paul Frandano
Apr 28, 2014 Paul Frandano rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: great-wo-men, sports
The Kid. The Splendid Splinter. Teddy Ballgame. "The Greatest Hitter of the Modern Era." There's really nothing left to say about Ted Williams that hasn't been said in triplicate, somewhere, sometime. He was not a very likable guy, mistreated his wives, most of those around him, sportswriters (natch, those "Knights of the Keyboard"), Bostonians (ptoo!), but was kind to children, and especially the Jimmy-Fund kids - going strong after 60 years, the Jimmy Fund supports Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer ...more
Jul 23, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, biography
Eye opening, revealing, strange, sad.

I thought this was an excellent book about Ted Williams...a book that surprised me in not only addressing the things I did know, but more about the things I didn't know. Leigh Montville pulled no punches in writing this biography which not only showed Ted Williams as a player who could back up his talk with his bat; but also showed the darker sides of the last man to hit over .400 for a major league season.

It was the off-the-field exploits of Williams that su
Jun 25, 2008 Kurtbg rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, sports
The great Ted Williams. He would have been the greatest, no doubt, if he hadn't spent 5 years of his prime to fight in 2 wars. what creates a great hitter?

Underneath this foul-mouthed, outdoorsman, SOB who could hit for nothing one is inclined to think what drove such a man.
Having a mother who would rather sing and play with the Salvation army then raise children and an alcoholic father who abandons you can lead to some seruis issues with abandonment and lack of self-worth. At a young age Ted wa
David Lucander
Oct 26, 2015 David Lucander rated it liked it
Shelves: baseball
A pretty okay book about a pretty neat book. Like Stan Musial: An American Life and Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend, this book is by a sports writer doing history. As such, there's not a lot of sophisticated critical analysis about much of anything, but there's countless quotes from hundreds of people who were associated with Ted Williams.

I wish there was more on how Boston fans and ownership felt about Williams, because there's lots about how he and the media clashed. Did Mexican Americans o
Mar 13, 2012 Brad rated it really liked it
Indulge me, at the start of this book review on Leigh Montville's Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero, to send a personal message to the author. Mr. Montville: When using an abbreviated word as an adjective, there is a proper rendering. Let's use the word "stinking." As in, "This stinking guy..." To abbreviate this word properly as an adjective, you simply remove the "G" and add an apostrophe. "Stinkin'." Pretty simple. Not "Stinken," which for some reason you continually chose. At ...more
Leon Lee
Sep 10, 2013 Leon Lee rated it it was amazing
the best book I read in a long time... This book ( in my opinion ) is a 6 star book.
I am just a regular red sox fan, and I didn't know much about Ted williams before I picked up this book. All I knew was that Ted Williams was a great player for the red sox, ( and pretty much the best in MLB history ) and I wanted to learn more about him. This book looked pretty interesting, so I started reading, and I had no regrets of EVER starting it. Ted Williams was a angry man; he had very short temper, bu
Mar 06, 2008 ES rated it it was amazing
Quite possibly the crudest mouth on a person who ever walked the city streets of Boston...and that's saying something. Coincidentally, Ted Williams lived a life so generous and adventurous that while you are reading his story you will feel ashamed for not living as compassionately. Imagine if Michael Jordan signed up as an Air Force pilot for the Iraq war at the height of his athletic ability? Essentially that's what the last man to ever hit for above a .400 average did for his country. Ladies ...more
Oct 20, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
I liked this book alot. He was such a complicated guy. He did what he wanted to do, all the time. That's fascinating in of itself. This book is about the man's life and he found himself in two wars, on top of the world, scraping bottom, misunderstood, enraged, used, arguably abused as an old man, and alot more. It's really amazing how important this guy was to New England. He was the closest thing to a legend that has existed in my lifetime around where I grew up, and I mean that quite ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Quinndara rated it liked it
I am not certain that a three-star rating is fair. The author gives a readable, detailed account of Ted William's life. I thought Leigh Montville gave too much detail to Ted's marital and sexual relationships. He did, however, portray a shame-based personality, who could get away with tantrums, anger episodes, and un-heroic displays because he was a star. He was also a misogynist with no motivation to understand or remedy his anger. I tired of reading about his life-long anger. He had his good ...more
Stone Guthrie
Jun 26, 2012 Stone Guthrie rated it it was amazing
I picked up this title at my local library not knowing what to expect. What Ihad got was a masterpiece all on its own. The story of a Hall of Fame player is not all you had gotten, instead a message of honesty and integrity from Ted himself. Sure he wasnt a perfect person but is anybody? This story goes deep on his relationship between fans,family and lovers. What really stood out to me was the tradegy he had to cope with while out on the field.Also while in his prime of hitting he served two ...more
Cindy Elmore
Nov 22, 2016 Cindy Elmore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
This is an excellent book. I listened to this book and will miss having "Ted" with me each day.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Stan Musial: An American Life
  • Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
  • Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
  • Cobb: A Biography
  • Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
  • My Turn at Bat: The Story of My Life
  • Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend
  • The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
  • Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy
  • Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
  • Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams
  • The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship
  • The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
  • Feeding the Monster: How Money, Smarts, and Nerve Took a Team to the Top
  • Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain
  • The Long Ball: The Summer of '75 -- Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played
  • The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca and the Shot Heard Round the World
  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
Leigh Montville is a highly respected sportswriter, columnist and author. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut.Montville is married to Diane Foster and has two children. He lives in Massachusetts and is an ardent supporter of the Boston Red Sox.
More about Leigh Montville...

Share This Book