Ted Williams’ goal was, as the subtitle suggests, to be the greatest hitter who ever lived.
His career was legendary, even though, for several seasons at the peak of his abilities, it was interrupted by military service in World War II and Korea. He was able to capitalize on dramatic moments; he hit home runs in his first game upon returning from World War II, in his last game before reporting for duty in Korea and again when he returned. And of course he hit one for his last major league at-bat. Williams was a complex and difficult personality, but Tavares chooses to focus on these larger-than-life heroics, telling of Williams’ desire to be the best at everything he attempted and the joy he felt when he accomplished his goals. The language is rich in imagery, with short, action-packed sentences. The free-verse text is either separated on a sepia background framed in red, or laid over the illustrations. Commanding watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations depict Williams in action as a boy, a major-leaguer and a Navy pilot. Tavares captures him well in his Red Sox uniform, with his unique swing and home-run trot.
A baseball hero and an American hero, the last player to hit over .400 in a season; here, Ted Williams is introduced to a new generation of baseball fans. (author’s note, statistics, bibliography) (Picture book/ biography. 6-10)