Last week it was Selena Roberts and her A-Rod expose. Today it's Jeff Pearlman and Roger Clemens. Earlier this year, future Hall of Famer Joe Torre's The Yankee Years drew its share of controversy and criticism. Baseball and baseball books used to be a lot more fun. Pulitzer Prize-winner David Halberstam's The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship is one of those books, in part because it's written about four men who played during that time.
Those four men — Ted Williams, Dominic DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr, and Johnny Pesky — did more than play baseball together, and Halberstam crafts a book that takes readers on the diamond and beyond. Baseball made them teammates, but this story doesn't end when Ted Williams hit his 521st home run in the final at bat of his career in 1960, or when Doerr, Pesky, or DiMaggio hung up their cleats. They shared the highs and lows that are part of the beauty of baseball at a time when the game was the crown jewel of American sports; America loved baseball, and baseball — with the occasional exception of Theodore Samuel Williams — loved America back. Halberstam's story doesn't end there. In fact, it doesn't really even begin there.
The Teammates opens with Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and their friend Dick Flavin making the decision to travel to Florida to visit an ailing Williams one last time before he passes. Plans for the visit happened shortly after September 11, 2001, and no one was eager to board an airplane. DiMaggio, at this point in his 80s, was having a tough time selling his wife, Emily, on a solo roadie from New England to Florida so the younger Flavin stepped forward and then Pesky signed on to share the journey. Doerr wanted to make the roadtrip with his teammates and friends but was living in the Portland, Oregon area and caring for his wife, Monica, who was weakened by multiple sclerosis and two strokes.