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Saturday, May 28, 2016

THE WORK ETHIC OF TED WILLIAMS

One of the problems with young athletes today is that when they see the best they believe in large part that they have achieved greatness naturally -- though their talent.  The great ones can at times make it look easy. I spend a lot of times sharing stories of hard work and sacrifices of sports finest with my teams so that they hopefully realize that greatness comes with a price and that it must be earned.

One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball is Ted Williams.  What made him great was a tremendous desire to be the best.  In the book "The Kid" written by Ben Bradlee, Jr., there was a story of someone who told Ted when he was young that he went to see too many movies and that it might strain his eyes.  Ted stopped going to the movies.

In 1936, Ted signed a minor league contract with San Diego.  Here is story from the book:

Frank Shellenback (William's manager) was impressed early on by Williams's work ethic, drive and determination.  After home games Ted would ask Shellenback for a couple of old baseballs.  When the manager asked what he did with them, Ted said he used them for extra batting practice after dinner at the park near his house. Shellenback found that hard to believe, having seen Ted come in to Lane Field at ten in the morning for extra hitting in addition to the regular workout every day.  As Shellenback told the Boston Herald's Arthur Sampson in 1949, one evening he drove to Williams's neighborhood to investigate and saw the rookie "driving those two battered baseballs off over the field.  Ted was standing close to a rock which served as home plate.  One kid was pitching to I'm.  A half dozen others were shagging drives.  The field was rough and stony.  The baseball I had given him were already showing signs of wear.  The stitching was falling apart.  The covers were rough as sandpaper.  Blood was trickling from Williams's hands as he dripped a chipped bat.  But he kept swinging.  And hitting.  Ted made himself the great baseball players he is today."