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Remembering an American Hero

July 09, 2002

Re "Baseball's Last .400 Hitter Dies," July 6: Ted Williams was controversial. You liked him or hated him.

In my youth, I took on additional chores around the house so I could muster up the 75 cents to walk to Fenway to see Williams. Herby K. and I sat in the right-field bleachers for more than 50 games. We saw Teddy hit many sky-high homers into the bullpen or into the bleachers. We saw him hit his 400th. We saw him spit at the press. We saw him round the bases and never tip his hat.

We loved our Teddy. He could do no wrong with us. He had an attitude, an ego and a temper. We didn't care. He was a perfectionist at everything he did. There were no drugs or steroids in his day. There were no instant replay and camcorders to assist with self-improvement. Heck, there was no TV for most of his career. He had to rely on his God-given skills and his personal commitment to excel to become the greatest hitter of all time.

His career was shortened by more than five years so that he could fight for his country in both World War II and Korea. He was very involved in charitable activities. His name is synonymous with the Jimmy Fund, a program in Boston that raised millions of dollars for cancer research.

He truly was the John Wayne of baseball. He is the one person whom all of us would march with during wartime.

I'm sorry that many of you are too young to have experienced Teddy Ballgame as Herby and I did.

Mark Kramer

Cambria

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Baseball was my first love. As a kid of 11 or 12, I'd play ball with my dad and he'd say, "Sis, if you were only a boy, I'd have you in the Yankees by the time you're 18." So, it was natural that Ted Williams was my hero, my idol. He dominated baseball during my youth. I could give out statistics and talk baseball to the best of the cognoscenti. And surprise them because, after all, I was only a girl. We've lost a great American, the greatest hitter of all time--an American original. We'll never see the likes of him again.

Joan Kerr

Torrance

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