• Charlie Day delivers a commencement address during the Merrimack 2014 Undergraduate Commencement. Photo by David Barron, Merrimack College

  • Claudia Williams is shown with her late father, baseball legend Ted Williams, in this photo from her new book, ‘Ted Williams, My Father.’

  • Claudia Williams' book Ted Williams, My Father.

  • Photos from Claudia Williams' book Ted Williams, My Father. John-Henry and Claudia surprise their father by throwing out the ceremonial first pitches on Ted Williams Day, 1991, at Fenway Park.

  • (Georgetown, MA? On behalf of the Scrivanos family, the local Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman visited the local Georgetown Dunkin’ Donuts shop at 66 E Main St this weekend where he took pictures with hundreds of fans and enjoyed Patriots-themed donuts. Edelman interacted with the employees and crew during his time at the shop. The Dunkin’ Donuts Mascot and a New England Patriots Cheerleader also made special appearances. Photo Courtesy RF/Binder

  • Charlie Day delivers a commencement address during the Merrimack 2014 Undergraduate Commencement. Photo by David Barron, Merrimack College

  • (Boston, MA, 051614) New England Patriots wide receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola visited Fenway Park on Friday May 16, 2014. Photo by Michael Ivins/Boston Red Sox

  • (Boston, MA, 05/18/14)Paul Stanley of the rock band, Kiss, is seen at a book signing at the Prudential Center Barnes & Noble on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

  • (Boston, MA, 05/18/14) Paul Stanley of the rock and roll band, Kiss, is seen at a book signing at the Prudential Center Barnes & Noble on Sunday, May 18, 2014. Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

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The children of Red Sox legend Ted Williams “didn’t truly believe at the time” they sent their father’s body off to a cryonics lab that they would all “awake from suspension and be reunited” at some time in the future, his daughter writes, but they did it because they couldn’t bear the thought of losing the Splendid Splinter forever.

“It is no different from holding the belief that you might be reunited with your loved ones in heaven,” Claudia Williams says in her new book, “Ted Williams, My Father.” “Our father knew we needed something to hold onto for hope and comfort and when we missed him the most, and if cryonics was the answer, then the solution was simple.”

Williams’ book reveals for the first time the reasons behind Claudia and her brother John Henry Williams’ explosive decision to send Teddy Ballgame’s remains to a cryonics lab in Arizona. The decision sparked a media frenzy and an ugly legal battle with Williams’ oldest daughter, Bobby-Jo Ferrell, who insisted her father’s final wishes were to be cremated and have his ashes scattered in the waters off the Florida Keys.

“I can tell you that my family chose cryonics out of love,” Claudia writes. “No one would spend over $100,000 and subject themselves to public outrage and ridicule for someone they don’t dearly love. There was no ill intent or devious plan. … It (cryonics) was like a religion, something we could have faith in.”

Born 11 years after the Splendid Splinter hit his last home run, Williams details her lifelong efforts to please a father who was mostly absent, often difficult and clearly preferred her older brother John-Henry. The two were the children of Williams and his third wife, Dolores ?Wettach, a former Miss Vermont and a Vogue model. They divorced three years after Claudia was born.

The Kid’s daughter and John Henry grew up on a farm in Vermont, and saw their father rarely until they were young adults, but both she and her brother constantly tried to win his attention and affection. Claudia says she had a harder time because she wasn’t a boy.

She describes a bitter relationship with their older half-sister, Bobby-Jo.

In the book, Claudia describes how she and her brother became their father’s caretakers and protectors in his final years. Although there were allegations that they were keeping Williams a prisoner in his home, and John Henry was forcing him to sign thousands of pieces of memorabilia, Claudia insists that her father had the best of care and only signed when he wanted to sign. She said they were a close and loving family in Williams’ final days.

Claudia defends her brother throughout the book, even though she admits that he sued her shortly before their father’s death when she tried to sell some autographed baseball bats in order to finance the purchase of a home. When Williams died, she writes, she and John Henry weren’t speaking. (They put their differences behind them when their father passed away and remained close until John Henry’s death.)

Claudia said she believes that what they did with their father’s remains should have been a private family matter. She said she and John Henry never spoke out at the time because of that belief.

“We were silent when perhaps we should have screamed,” she writes.

In the end, Claudia said, she hopes her father is remembered for what he did on the baseball diamond and his service to his country during the World War II — not the controversy that followed his death. That controversy, she said, stymied plans to hold a memorial service for Ted Williams’ fans following his death.

“I hate that I feel forced to explain why we chose to preserve our family cryonically,” she writes. “Quite frankly, it is no one’s damned business. It is a private family matter. … This decision was made by a family who loved and respected each other. It is not a science-fiction film.” File Under: The Cold Hard Facts.

 

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