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here lies ted, there lies his head

If you've been imagining Ted Williams resting comfortably in his afterlife, floating in a pool of liquid ice, silently waiting for the day when they find a cure for what ailed him and bring him back to life, think again.

Ted is going to be one very unhappy fellow when they drain the liquid nitrogen from his tank and yell "Welcome Back!" See, Ted's head will not be attached to his body. Not only that, his head has a few extra holes in it.

If you remember, John Henry, Williams' son, had his father's body sent to Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics lab, after Ted's death. John Henry thought that someday scientists would find a way bring the dead back to life.

Sports writer Tom Verducci uncovers the sad truth about Williams and Alcor in the current Sports Illustrated.

The silver can containing Williams' head resembles a lobster pot and is marked in black with Williams' patient I.D. number, A-1949, according to the SI story. Williams' head has been shaved and drilled with holes. Verducci also reports that, before the head was placed in its present location, it was accidentally cracked as many as 10 times due to fluctuating storage temperatures.

This does not bode well for Ted's future life.

Seriously, this is a pretty sad turn of events for what was already a convoluted, sad story that pits Johny Henry Williams and his sister Claudia against the rest of the Williams family. John and Claudia claim that Ted wanted to be frozen after his death. The rest of the family claims otherwise.

Even though John Henry's attempts at preserving his dad may be misguided and less than altruistic, he can't be blamed for the crass, shoddy management of Alcor.

John Henry had his dad's body flown to Alcor within hours after Williams died.

One witness [at Alcor] told [Sports Illustrated] that Williams' head was removed in "neuroseparation" surgery, even though John Henry had earlier indicated that he wanted a full-body suspension, and that "many people" snapped pictures of the famous patient during the operation.

And:

[A] board member and an adviser joked about "throwing [Williams'] body away," posting it on eBay or sending it in a "frosted cardboard box" C.O.D. to John Henry's doorstep, to persuade him to pay the bill.

Whether or not the claims that John Henry only wanted his father's DNA to be preserved so he could sell it, and he didn't care about the cryonics at all, remains to be seen.

Either way, this is a sad ending to the life of a legend. Ted (which conviently rhymes with head) will become the punchline to countless jokes, the butt of many limerics [ahem], and the joke-of-the-week for Letterman, Leno, etc. No matter how much even I joke about it, it still disturbs me to think of the head of Ted Williams, sitting in a lobster pot, shaven and full of holes. Someone needs to be held responsible for this.

If life were a Twilight Zone episode, Williams' headless body would be chasing John Henry and the management of Alcor through a dark forest right now.

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Comments

That's just really sad.

I just posted similar comments to my UConn pals.

Personally SI is the most pathetic player in this, rapidly trying to become the National Enquirer of sports publications. I mean, really, who cares?! Anyone who didn't think a cryogenic storage facility for the dead would be the biggest scam going is a complete and utter moron.

Did they think Ted would be treated with dignity and respect ? Did they think the process would be all scientific ? Come on! Nobody in their right mind actually believes anyone frozen after death will ever be "cured" and brought back, so what difference does it matter WHAT they do with the body ?

It is pathetic all the way around and SI is just feeding the pathetic frenzy surrounding it by taking in every shred of rumor and unfounded gossip by "former employees" as if it amounted to a real news story. SI should stick to real sports stories and forget the melodrama.

damn. wrong ted.

This is like, such fodder for "Futurama". I wonder if they did already.

Exactly what I was thinking, Eric.

Think I will go update my will with specific instructions. Almost bad enough to make you want to hear another Kobe story.

It's not just sad... it's undignified. Here's a man who gave up some of the best years of his playing days in order to serve this country in two wars, a guy who was a mentor to future generations of ballplayers... and thanks to his idiot offspring he can't even have a dignified death.

People have been saying for years that Walt Disney's head was cut-off and cryogenically frozen - go look it up on Snopes.

HBO ran a documentary series last year featuring various weird people (you know, everyday-guy-with-whacky-twist type thing) including the pioneer of the cryogenic "craft". Footage showed one volunteer having his innards scooped out, being shrink-wrapped, then put in the tank. With head.

Gruesome, and expensive, but also voluntary.

Still, you have to ask: did none of these people ever see Donovan's Brain?

I met Ted Williams twice as a child and he was an asshole each time, so I don't feel too much sympathy. At least they waited for him to die before drilling in his head.

First, this is just ghastly. Second, very strange to be reading this while it's on TV. :)

"It's not just sad... it's undignified. Here's a man who gave up some of the best years of his playing days in order to serve this country in two wars, a guy who was a mentor to future generations of ballplayers... and thanks to his idiot offspring he can't even have a dignified death."

In fairness, one of those offspring was fighting the use of cryogenics, but she ran out of money for legal expenses and had to stop fighting. Very unfortunate.

There will be jokes, but ultimately the legend of Ted Williams is too transcendent to be eclipsed by the efforts of late night comedians.

Even if he was kind of a jerk. :-)

My first reaction on hearing about this was "Yuck!" Guess there's not such thing as respect for dead heroes anymore. Oops! This is a dysfunctional family issue isn't it. Too bad that the decisions weren't made by people who actually cared about the man.

My second reaction was "Oh, a bad plot line for Futurama." (I see I was not the first to notice that!)

Yeah, I saw the news report on TV this morning, then watched an episode of Futurama. All I can think of is Leonard Nimoy's head talking to Ted Williams' head.

I simply cannot take this seriously, but that's possibly because I actually met some of these moonbats at a WorldCon and listened to a panel on cryogenics. My companion was a fellow SF fan who also happens to be a doctor.

I don't know if you folks realize this, but they fill your veins with antifreeze after you die. Yes, honestly. Antifreeze. Their HOPE is that someday in the future, doctors will be able to repair the damage done to the body by freezing.

It's a sophisticated scam. And legal. That's what bothers me.

Uday and Qusay got better treatment.

But is it the green anti-freeze or the orange anti-freeze?
What if they get it mixed-up?

Greetings,

Has anyone seen the photo of Ted's Head that was put online by the director. I can't seem to find anyone who actually has seen it. It was on Freeted.com, but it was pulled off....imagine that. Maybe I'm just morbid, but I'd really like to see it. Okay not maybe, I am morbid, and sick, but I still want to see it.

-jack