Indeed, Williams's legend remains intact. Sadly, it's the fate of his remains that has become complicated. On July 5, the day Williams died of cardiac arrest at 83, his son John Henry Williams, 33, reportedly shipped the body to a cryonic warehouse in Scottsdale, Ariz., to be frozen. Williams's daughter Bobby-Jo Ferrell, 53, insists the slugger wished to be cremated. "John Henry told my mother, 'We can freeze Dad and sell his DNA,' " claims Ferrell's daughter Sherri Mosley, 34. "This is disgracing my grandfather's name."
It is certainly a bizarre coda to a splendid career. Williams batted .344 over 19 seasons with the Sox, despite missing five years to serve in World War II and Korea as a pilot. In 1941 he hit .406—the last time anyone cleared .400. And he loved the game. "He was never late to the ballpark," says ex-teammate Johnny Pesky, 82. "He was a great hitter and a tough kid."
Williams's son had field dreams of his own and took up baseball at 33 (John Henry went 0-for-6 in the minors before fracturing a rib last month). Slowed by open-heart surgery in 2001, Williams saw little of Ferrell in his final days, due, says Mosley, to her rift with John Henry over his DNA plan. "My grandfather didn't live in peace the last year and a half," says Mosley, "and now, because of this, he hasn't even been able to die in peace."
Ted Williams would have liked the way the Red Sox fans honored his passing. At a home game on July 6, right before a moment of silence, the Fenway Park announcer proclaimed over the speakers, "Let us say, 'There goes the greatest hitter that ever lived.' "