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Baseball legend Williams dies at 83

Ted Williams (1918-2002)

Gammons: He could smell the wood burn

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Ted Williams dies at 83

 Splendid Splinter
Ted Williams talks about his battle for .400.
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 Greatest hitter
Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller remembers Ted Williams as the greatest hitter he ever faced.
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 Hometown hero
Ted Williams takes a walk down memory lane to his childhood home of San Diego.
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 Remembering Ted Williams
Remembering Ted Williams.
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 Red Sox favorites
Nomar Garciaparra will remember Ted Williams as a friend.
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 Boston legend
Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy describes what the loss of Ted Williams means to Boston.
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 Remembering Ted Williams
ESPN's Peter Gammons looks back at the life of Ted Williams.

 Remembering Ted Williams
ESPN's Beano Cook shares some of his favorite memories of Ted Williams.
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 Remembering Ted Williams
ESPN's Jayson Stark believes .406 will always belong to Ted Williams.

Friday, July 5, 2002
Glenn: 'No one more dedicated to this country'
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- To former Sen. John Glenn, Ted Williams was a great wingman during the Korean War -- and a pretty good ballplayer, too.

Ted Williams
Ted Williams took time out of his MLB career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and the Korean conflict.

"There was no one more dedicated to this country and more proud to serve his country than Ted Williams,'' Glenn said Friday while on vacation in the Chesapeake Bay, hours after hearing of Williams' death.

Williams, who recently had suffered a series of strokes and congestive heart failure, died Friday in Florida of cardiac arrest. He was 83.

Williams flew with Glenn on about half of his combat missions, protecting his plane from enemy fire.

The former astronaut recalled that Williams showed dedication and pursued perfection both as a baseball player and as a fighter pilot.

Soon after he started flying combat missions, Williams' plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire, Glenn said. The landing gear wouldn't go down, and he had to crash-land his burning plane.

"Well, obviously that shakes anybody up,'' Glenn said. "But he went right back to flying again. He wasn't going to chicken out on something like that.''

Williams, baseball's last .400 hitter, left the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 1942 season to enlist as a pilot in World War II. He did not return to the majors until four years later.

He continued to serve as a Marine Reservist and was called to serve what Glenn called "very active'' combat duty in Korea in 1952.

"He never complained about that,'' Glenn said. "But if he had stayed in baseball, he would have broken even more records than he did.''

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