Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky were all members of the famed 1940's Boston Red Sox. Their legendary careers led the Red Sox to a pennant championship and ensured the men a place in sports history. David Halberstam, the bestselling author of the baseball classic Summer of '49, has followed the members of the 1949 championship Boston Red Sox team for years, especially Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky. In this extremely moving book, Halberstam reveals how these four teammates became friends, and how that friendship thrived for more than 60 years. The book opens with Pesky and DiMaggio travelling to see the ailing Ted Williams in Florida. It's the last time they will see him. The journey is filled with nostalgia and memories, but seeing Ted is a shock. The most physically dominating of the four friends, Ted now weighs only 130 pounds and is hunched over in a wheelchair. Dom, without even thinking about it, starts to sing opera and old songs like 'Me and My Shadow' to his friend. Filled with stories of their glory days with the Boston Red Sox, memories of legendary plays and players, and the reaction of the remaining three to Ted Williams' recent death, The Teammates offers us a rare glimpse into the lives of these celebrated men-and great insight into the nature of loyalty and friendship.
As baseball legend Ted Williams lay dying in Florida, his old Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio piled into a car and drove 1,300 miles to see their friend. Another member of the close-knit group, Bobby Doerr, remained in Oregon to tend to his wife who had suffered a stroke. Besides providing a poignant travelogue of the elderly Pesky and DiMaggio's trip, David Halberstam's The Teammates goes back in time to profile the men as young ballplayers. Although it is enlightening to learn about Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio, the leader of the group and star of the book is Williams. Halberstam portrays the notoriously moody and difficult Williams as a complex man: driven by a rough childhood and a fiercely competitive nature to become perhaps the greatest pure hitter of all time while also being a magnetic personality and loving friend. While there is nothing exceptionally unusual about old men who have stayed friends (plenty of people stay friends, after all), baseball gives this particular relationship a unique makeup. Unlike most friendships, that of Williams, Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio was viewed all summer long by hooting, hollering Red Sox fans. As such, their bond is forged both of individual accomplishment, win-loss records, numerous road trips, and, since they played for the Red Sox, annual doses of disappointment. Halberstam, author of Summer of '49 and October 1964 is the ideal writer to tell two equally intriguing stories, both rich in America's pastime. Although he occasionally drops himself into the narrative, one expects that of Halberstam and gladly accepts it in exchange for the highly readable exposition infused with poetic majesty that has become his trademark. --John Moe