Tag Archives: Leigh Montville

Beyond Crappy Bosses: Favorite Obscure Tidbits Mined from the New Terry Francona Book

Literary Overdose? Red Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Literary Overdose:  Sox Dominance on my Bookshelves.

Based on my stockpile of baseball books, my home could be turned into the Red Sox Library of Congress. A quick snapshot of the Boston volumes on my shelves:

* Idiot by Johnny Damon.
* Deep Drive by Mike Lowell with Rob Bradford.
* Big Papi by David Ortiz with Tony Massarotti.
* Now I Can Die in Peace by Bill Simmons.
* Why Not Us? by Leigh Montville.
* Ted Williams by Leigh Montville.
* Watching Baseball by Jerry Remy.
* Have Globe, Will Travel by Bill Lee and Richard Lally.
* Red Sox Where Have You Gone?  by Steve Buckley.

That doesn’t even count all my other baseball books like Designated Hebrew by Ron Blomberg and Dan Schlossberg, and Big Hair & Plastic Grass by Dan Epstein. If unauthorized autobiographies for Orlando Cabrera, Randy Kutcher and Jack Brohammer ever come out, you can be sure I will be first at the book signings.

How many books about the Terry Francona Red Sox can one guy really read? I leaped on the ex-manager’s memoir as soon as it came out because I felt he was unceremoniously treated like crap and scapegoated on his way out of Boston. I was thrilled when I saw this billboard in Kenmore Square, only a few steps away from the Popeye’s Chicken restaurant favored by Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and John Lackey:

Ballsy Billboard for Francona's Revenge

Ballsy Billboard for Francona’s Revenge

Yet, although I’ve always respected Terry Francona, he’s always bored me. Over the years, his press conference answers were straight out of the Bull Durham Cliche School and he cared more about keeping peace in the clubhouse than speaking his mind.  It’s definitely worth the $17 — less than a Fenway bleacher seat — to “listen” to him let loose on his unappreciative bosses and the occasional player (read: MANNY) who treated him like crap.

As is often the case, the big revelations in the book were leaked before the publicity tour, but I found the minutia fascinating. A few favorite snippets:

1. At the 2007 World Series, security at the Colorado Rockies park refused to believe that diminutive Dustin Pedroia was a Major League ballplayer:

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

Page 193 (Click to enlarge)

2. Pete Rose was a Mean Boss:

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

Page 243 (Click to enlarge)

3. A Burned Down Bridge Can’t Be Burned Any Further:

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

Page 342 (Click to enlarge)

4. You Never Know What You’ll Overhear in the Verizon Wireless Store: 

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

Page 333 (Click to enlarge)

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Slaughtered by the Splendid Splinter: Why did Ted Williams’ hunting trophies go so cheap?

A dead animal killed by Ted Williams is not worth any more than a dead animal killed by me or you.

A dead animal killed by Ted Williams is not worth any more than a dead animal killed by me or you.

Red Sox obsession would dictate, that in New England anyway, a dead animal killed by Ted Williams would be a lot more valuable than a dead animal killed by a non-celebrity hunter.

That’s not what happened at yesterday’s estate auction from Dolores Wettach Williams, the third wife of Teddy Ballgame who was a former Miss Vermont and Vogue magazine fashion model.

She was also unhappily married for nearly every moment of her 1967-73 run with Ted, according to Leigh Montville’s fascinating book, “Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero.” Montville claims that Williams only married the fashion model because he had gotten her pregnant.

But back to these insanely low taxidermy prices.

North American decapitated deer have recently sold on eBay from a low of $46 to a high of $3,350. My deer-hunting neighbor, Dave, tells me the 8-point buck head in his living room cost him $450 to stuff.

You mean to tell me that the African buffalo ashtrays that Williams had sent to his Texas Rangers manager office are worth $330 less than Neighbor Dave’s wall trophy? Or comparing heads to heads, that a Williams-slaughtered 8-point buck is worth $160 to Neighbor Dave’s $450?

The cape buffalo killed by Ted sold for $550. Another decapitated African buffalo that hangs in a New York Stock Exchange social club has a $1,200 pricetag. No way those rich stockbrokers have more celebrity value than the Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived.

Baseball nuts just must not want carcasses hanging next to their Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis posters.

I’m all for hunters who eat the meat, but I’m willing to bet that Ted never had Zebra stew or Kudu casserole. And there’s something excessively smug about these posed “conquest” safari photos that accompanied the auctioned beasts:

Ted kills a Greater Kudu in 1972

Ted kills a Greater Kudu in 1972

Ted kills an African cape buffalo in 1972.

Ted kills an African cape buffalo in 1972.



Dads, pay attention to your kids. If you get lazy about it, consider the case of Ted Williams, who reportedly did not show up to the hospital for the births of son John-Henry and daughter Claudia.

Claudia wound up churning out gloomy-themed oil paintings that focus on death, death, death and death. Her work reminds me of a scene from the brilliant professional wrestling documentary, “Beyond The Mat.” Jake the Snake’s daughter keeps scrawling the word “Hate” in her diary to express anger at her usually absent father.

Most of her paintings went unsold to a snickering audience. And the auctioneers mockingly offered to toss in complimentary cups of hot chocolate to anyone who’d make any bid on her stuff. If I were in Claudia’s shoes, I would rather burn my work than have it subject to this level of ridicule. Lucky for her, she wasn’t present for the bidding.

Here’s a creepy oil painting that didn’t sell despite its pseudo-intellectual title, “A Momentary Lapse of Reason.”


The auction catalogue says it is an example of “modern surrealism” and is inspired by Picasso.

It cautiously avoids the words “depressing,” and “suicidal,” two themes to keep away from your fireplace mantel.

Toward the end of the auction, I couldn’t resist plunking down $11.50 on this beauty, which the auctioneer sneered was a knockoff of a Star Trek alien:


The picture is inspirationally titled, “Portrait of a Woman in Agony.” Hallmark cards will be banging on Claudia’s door any minute.

I have bold philanthropic plans for this painting. It’s either headed for a museum or my office Yankee Swap/ White Elephant party. And only you can decide its fate.

Click here to vote on where “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” will cheer up humanity next.

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Filed under Overpriced Souvenirs, Red Sox Schlock