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Picks and Pans Review: Ted Williams

updated 05/10/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/10/2004 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Leigh Montville

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Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams was born to do one thing: slug a baseball. After that, according to this lengthy bio, he was largely an unloved and unloving guy. The last man to bat .400 (.406 in 1941), Williams did two wartime tours as a flying ace but was a no-show at the births of all three of his children, slogged through three icy marriages and routinely ditched his wives to go on safari in Africa. Perhaps fittingly, his offspring left him in a deep freeze. After his remains were turned over to a cryonics facility in Arizona, Williams's head wound up stuffed in a high-tech refrigeration can.

Montville, a former Sports Illustrated scribe, does his best reporting in the final chapter—he got a cryonics technician to admit that his firm was seeking a celebrity cadaver to put their business "on the map"—though at times he dumps too much research on us. Still, this is a comprehensive look at a gargantuan life.

NOVEL

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