Student Reporting

Ben Bradlee, Jr. brings legacy of Ted Williams to Northeastern University

By: Madigan Chrystie—

For many Bostonians, baseball has a profound effect on their lives. Their love for the sport begins in childhood and only grows stronger as they get older. For writer and reporter Ben Bradlee Jr., this is exactly what happened during the 10 years that he spent researching and writing his new biography of Red Sox great Ted Williams.

“He dominated this town, really like no other professional athlete has since. Not Bobby Orr, not Bill Russell, not Tom Brady,” said Bradlee, a former editor and reporter at The Boston Globe. Bradlee spoke about his book, “The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams,” at Northeastern University on Jan 29.

Bradlee’s lively and spirited talk, sponsored by the School of Journalism, was filled with anecdotes such as the time the baseball hero accidentally hit a spectator with his bat in a fit of rage. Bradlee also discussed the player’s dedication to the Jimmy Fund, which helps children with cancer. Bradlee said his goal was “not to skimp on the baseball” but to focus more on what truly interested him: the “non-baseball aspects of his life.” A fan said after Bradlee’s talk that in all his years of following Williams and reading about him, he had never come across a biography as extensive and in-depth as Bradlee’s work. “The Kid” runs to more than 800 pages.

The event rounded out with a Q&A session at the end, during which Bradlee explained his personal writing process in a more detailed manner, shedding light on the passion he had for the subject and making it clear just how far he went to gather the information he deemed necessary to have before starting to write.

Despite anger and family issues the ballplayer had throughout his life, which are heavily discussed in the biography, Bradlee said, “the lasting image of Ted will be one of youth, hitting .400, forever ‘The Kid.’” University Libraries, the Center for the Arts at CAMD and the University Bookstore also sponsored the event.

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Madigan Chrystie is a student in Prof. Dan Kennedy’s Journalism 1 class.