Tag Archives: Teddy Ballgame

Baseball Hall of Fame’s loss is the Museum of Bad Art’s gain


It’s official: My creepy, ghoulish $11 oil painting will NOT be joining Ty Cobb’s wooden dentures or Curt Schilling’s bloody sock in Cooperstown.

Here’s the letter I received from the curators at the National Baseball Hall of Fame:


After purchasing this painting at an estate auction for Ted Williams’ third wife, I conducted an unscientific, nonbinding poll about which museum most deserved “Portrait of a Woman in Agony” as a donation. The Ted Williams Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida edged out the Museum of Bad Art (MOBA) in Boston by a 36-33 percent margin.

Because the poll is nonbinding, and reliable reports that Ted Williams’ family is not fond of my writing, I have no guilt whatsoever going the MOBA route.

MOBA, which is devoted to preserving “Art Too Bad to Be Ignored,” secured the donation this week after extensive e-mail negotiations between me and curator-in-chief Michael Frank — who recently authored a spectacular coffee table book. There will be a formal acceptance ceremony at a major MOBA art show this spring (Details TBA).


At left is the Claudia Williams painting, which will join artworks such as the “Mana Lisa,” a beardstubbled version of the original, at the cherished Boston institution.

I will also be donating the Baseball Hall of Fame rejection letter and the art auction’s certificate of authenticity, should any authenticity issues ever arise.

It should be noted that MOBA does NOT accept just any piece of horrific art. Just like the snobby art museums, they have standards and claim to reject more than 80 percent of the paintings offered to them.

“The pieces that we look for would never hang in a museum or commercial gallery, yet they have some quality that draws you to them — or perhaps grabs you by the throat and won’t let go.”

“As a rule we do not accept:

1. Works painted on velvet.

2. Paint-by-Number

3. Any of the well-known kitschy motifs (dogs playing cards, big-eyed kids and all that) unless they break new ground in a startling way.”

Keep your eye on this space for upcoming details about the gala affair celebrating “Portrait of a Woman in Agony.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame keeps rejecting Jim Rice, the most feared hitter of my generation. So I suppose, it’s not a shock that they turned down this precious slice of Americana. No hard feelings, though. I hope to revisit Ty Cobb’s dentures soon.


Filed under Museum of Bad Art (MOBA), Sports

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