KIDThe 2013 Major League Baseball season kicked off the other day and I for one could not be happier. First, the return of baseball means it’s spring, even if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Second, it means my beloved Red Sox, the reigning World Champion Boston Red Sox that is, are back on the field.

As a Red Sox fan, and more importantly as a fan of baseball history in general, I have long admired Ted Williams, perhaps the best technical hitter ever to play the game. Mr. Williams was not only an icon of baseball, he was a complicated man off the field and his life story is one of great interest.

The relatively new book, The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee, Jr., is far from the only book out there about the Splendid Splinter, but is perhaps among the best and for sure the most honest and candid about this complex man.

About The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee, Jr.: “At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves–and that his fans have been waiting for. Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him–and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.’s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America–and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter’s box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not. The Kid is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee’s marvelous book clears the fences, too.”

The Kid is a compelling life story of one of baseball’s all-time greats and is of interest to fans of the game and the man of course. However, Ted Williams’ story is also the tale of the life of a major cultural figure that spanned the last century and shines a light on who we were – are – as a people and a reflection of our collective past.

The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee, Jr. is available from Amazon and other fine book retailers.