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.
[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.