American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived”

THIRTEEN’s American Masters Presents the Exclusive U.S. Broadcast Premiere of Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” Monday, July 23 on PBS in Honor of  Baseball Hall of Famer’s Centennial

Narrated by Emmy- and Golden Globe-winner Jon Hamm, documentary features exclusive never-before-seen footage of Williams’ final game and includes new interviews with Bob Costas, Wade Boggs, Ben Bradlee Jr. and Joey Votto

Watch the trailer at pbs.org/americanmasters

(June 7, 2018) During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames – The Kid, The Splendid Splinter and Teddy Ballgame, but the only nickname that he wanted was “the greatest hitter who ever lived.” In that pursuit, he combined his preternatural gifts with a fierce work ethic to become widely regarded as one of the greatest ever to play the game of baseball and in the process elevated the science of hitting in ways still emulated today.

The new documentary from THIRTEEN’s American Masters, co-produced by Albert M. Tapper Productions, in association with Major League Baseball, David Ortiz’ Big Papi Productions and Nick Davis Productions, explores not only the Baseball Hall of Famer’s remarkable on-field accomplishments but also his complicated relationships with his family, teammates, press, fans and himself. American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” premieres Monday, July 23 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) in honor of Williams’ centennial (August 30, 1918 – July 5, 2002), and marks the first baseball subject in the series’ 32-year history. The film will be available to stream the following day via pbs.org/americanmasters and PBS apps.

Through never-before-seen archival footage and in-depth interviews with those who knew and studied Williams, including his daughter Claudia Williams, author/journalist Ben Bradlee, Jr., veteran baseball writer Roger Angell and award-winning broadcasters Bob Costas and the late Dick Enberg, the documentary demonstrates the power of the heroic myth-making culture in which Williams flourished. Lesser-known topics explored in the film include Williams’ Mexican-American background, his experiences serving during World War II and the Korean War, and his deep rage over his mother’s virtual abandonment of him and his younger brother.

Narrated by Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor Jon Hamm, American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” also looks at the legendary player’s impact on the game of baseball and his relevance in the almost 60 years since his retirement, highlighted by Williams’ iconic achievement — he is the last player to hit over .400, finishing the 1941 season batting .406. Former players including Baseball Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Wade Boggs, three-time All-Star Jim Kaat, and current Cincinnati Reds first baseman and former National League MVP Joey Votto share how Williams’ philosophy, commitment to greatness and approach to hitting influenced them in the film.

“Ted Williams was a fascinating, complicated man and this film really covers all the issues he was dealing with on top of baseball,” said David Ortiz, the recently retired Boston Red Sox 10-time All-Star and executive producer for Big Papi Productions. “Mr. Williams is such a part of baseball and Boston even today. This is a great project that really looked at his whole life and I’m proud to be a part of it.”

Launched in 1986 on PBS, American Masters has earned 28 Emmy Awards — including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special — 13 Peabodys, an Oscar, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards and many other honors.  To further explore the lives and works of masters past and present, American Masters offers streaming video of select films, outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources and more. The series is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET and also seen on the WORLD channel.

American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” is an Albert M. Tapper Production in association with Nick Davis Productions, Major League Baseball, Big Papi Productions, and THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC’s American Masters for WNET. Nick Davis is director and producer. Michael Kantor and Albert M. Tapper are executive producers. David Ortiz is executive producer for Big Papi Productions. Nick Trotta is executive producer for Major League Baseball.

The film will be available on DVD and Digital Download July 24 from PBS Distribution.

Major support for American Masters is provided by AARP. Additional support provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Rosalind P. Walter, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Ellen and James S. Marcus,  Judith and Burton Resnick, Vital Projects Fund, Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and The André and Elizabeth Kertész Foundation and public television viewers. Support for American Masters – Ted Williams: “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” is provided by Harvey and Andrea Rosenthal and the Michael and Helen Schaffer Foundation.

Websites: http://pbs.org/americanmasters, http://facebook.com/americanmasters, @PBSAmerMasters, http://pbsamericanmasters.tumblr.com, http://youtube.com/AmericanMastersPBS, http://instagram.com/pbsamericanmasters, #AmericanMastersPBS

About WNET

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station and parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21. WNET also operates NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings. WNET’s groundbreaking series for children and young adults include Get the Math, Oh Noah! And Cyberchase as well as Mission US, the award-winning interactive history experience. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Theater Close-Up, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the daily multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. In addition, WNET produces online-only programming including the award-winning series about gender identity, First Person. Through multi-platform initiatives Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America and Peril and Promise: The Challenge of Climate Change, WNET showcases the human stories around these issues and promising solutions. In 2015, THIRTEEN launched Passport, an online streaming service which allows members to see new and archival THIRTEEN and PBS programming anytime, anywhere: www.thirteen.org/passport.

About Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball (MLB) is the most historic professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the U.S. and Canada, representing the highest level of professional baseball. Major League Baseball is the best-attended sport in North America, and since 2004, MLB has enjoyed its best-attended seasons in the history of the game, with each regular season eclipsing the 73 million mark. Now led by Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr., MLB currently features record levels of labor peace, competitive balance and industry revenues, as well as the most comprehensive drug-testing program in American professional sports. MLB remains committed to making an impact in the communities of the U.S., Canada and throughout the world, perpetuating the sport’s larger role in society and permeating every facet of baseball’s business, marketing and community relations endeavors. With the continued success of MLB Advanced Media and MLB Network, MLB continues to find innovative ways for its fans to enjoy America’s National Pastime and a truly global game. For more information on Major League Baseball, visit www.MLB.com.

About Albert M. Tapper Productions

Producer of the Peabody Award-winning documentary “Broadway Musicals: A Jewish Legacy” as well as the hit documentary film, “Broadway…The Golden Age,” which played in theaters across the country, Al Tapper is a successful author, composer, lyricist, television producer and entrepreneur. Tapper has written five off-Broadway musicals. His show, “An Evening at the Carlyle,” which played at the Algonquin Theater in New York City, was chosen by United Press International as “the hit of the season.” Tapper has authored five books including “A Guy Goes Into a Bar,” and the novella “Conversations with Max.” Outside of the entertainment field, Al has made venture capital investments in financial institutions, medical and sports products.

About Big Papi Productions

Established by ten-time MLB All-Star and three-time World Series Champion David Ortiz, Big Papi Productions creates uniquely engaging content. Through a variety of projects in digital, documentary films, and scripted and unscripted television, Big Papi Productions aims to share authentic, meaningful stories, central to the company’s mission. Past work includes ESPN Films’ digital documentary “David Ortiz: The Last Walk Off,” as well as “The Big Papi Network” on go90, both of which showcase Ortiz’s signature combination of humor and dedication. Ortiz’s most recent work aired in early 2018 on the Fusion network, a division of Univision; “Big Papi Needs a Job” followed David around as he learned new jobs at the suggestion of others.

About Nick Davis Productions

Founded in 2001 by award-winning filmmaker Nick Davis, NICK DAVIS PRODUCTIONS has produced over 70 hours of award-winning television for A&E, Bravo, Lifetime, History Channel and more. Among production highlights are the acclaimed cycling documentary Blood, Sweat + Gears for the Sundance Channel, two seasons of Making News for the TV Guide Network, A&E’s New York at the Movies, hosted by Meryl Streep, Rebuilding Ground Zero for the Discovery Channel, and the Hugo-Award series Stories of the Innocence Project. Nick Davis also produced and directed the acclaimed independent feature film 1999 and Jack: The Last Kennedy Film, an Emmy Award-winning two-hour biography for CBS. Davis is the third generation of his family in the entertainment business – his father Peter Davis made the Academy Award-winning documentary Hearts and Minds, and his grandfather Herman J. Mankiewicz wrote Citizen Kane with Orson Welles.

 

 

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Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams is the subject of a new “American Masters” documentary. Credit: Courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams is the subject of a new “American Masters” documentary. Credit: Courtesy of National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Ted Williams. Credit: Getty Images

Ted Williams and Claudia Williams. Credit: Claudia Williams

Ted Williams being given a pin. Credit: National Archives

Ted, John Henry, and Claudia Williams. Credit: Claudia Williams

Ted Williams looking up, in the midst of fly fishing. Credit: David Marlin Photography

Ted Williams looking out at the water, back to camera. Credit: David Marlin Photography

Ted Williams fishing. Credit: David Marlin Photography

Ted Williams looking down at rod on the water. Credit: David Marlin Photography

Ted Williams at Lane Field, bat over shoulder. Credit: Courtesy of Bill Swank, Baseball Historian

Ted Williams and doctor sitting. Credit: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund

Ted Williams and John Wayne. Credit: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund