A profile on the life and career of the legendary major league baseball player.
Ted Williams escaped a childhood of neglect on the baseball field, channeling himself single-mindedly to master his swing and make a name for himself. He did so immediately after joining the Boston Red Sox in 1939, breaking batting records within a couple of seasons, and insisting for the rest of his life that he be referred to at any public event by the epithet that doubles as the film’s subtitle. Davis explores Williams’ troubled background, the son of an alcoholic salesman and photographer father and a Mexican-American Salvation Army volunteer mother who typically left her children at home while she tried to save souls in Tijuana. Playing in an era of discrimination, and ashamed of his Mexican heritage, Williams kept this background a secret, though he later spoke out publicly in support of inducting Negro League players in the Baseball Hall of Fame. While hewing close to the PBS strand’s typical approach of talking head interviews with family members, experts, and admirers, mixed with archival footage, Davis’ film offers a compelling look at the outspoken, larger than life athlete, who maintained a contentious relationship with both the press and fans due to his prickly personality and ego during his two decades on the diamond – providing even viewers uninterested in baseball with a reason to watch.