The Teammates
The Teammates
The Teammates, a documentary produced by ESPN, will run very close to the themes presented by David Halberstam; a story of friendship of four men born of a particular era on the West Coast, each with ties to the Pacific Coast league, that would span more than 60 years. Our story begins not so differently from the book in presenting the idea to drive to Florida for a final visit with a dying Ted Williams by Dominic DiMaggio. In an almost nostalgic manner, the period that they lived and became friends is introduced with tales of hours spent on trains talking and playing games while they traveled from one city to another. Punctuated by each with the memory of the first time they met.

David Halberstam, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were each interviewed. And in the case of the latter three, opened their lives to us so we could film them today. Each provided photographs and home movies when available that is being used in addition to historical film and photographs that has been collected.

David Halberstam's interview and copy from the book gives the viewer an opportunity to see another side of the Ted Williams usually portrayed. He is a man who lived his life independently, outside of the laws of convention: the real John Wayne. Layers of personality are peeled back to expose a jovial, giving person as well as a dark volatile man, followed by the realization of the patience and understanding necessary to be Ted Williams' friend. At a point in Ted's life when he reveals some of his childhood scars to Bobby Doerr, it is only then that Bobby begins to truly understand who Ted Williams really is. Halberstam thoughtfully explains the feelings of love and respect toward Ted throughout all the teammates friendship.

During the long drive to Florida Dominic makes note that time was not spent listening to the radio, but rather reminiscing of days past and, of course, discussions of baseball. We bring some of these stories to life: Bobby Doerr tarpon fishing with Ted, Ted's 1941 All-Star game home run, Johnny Pesky's hit off Spud Chandler, Ted's batting clinic on the Rouge River, and losing the 1946 World Series.

Later in life it is Dominic DiMaggio who becomes the closest to Ted. He is there to dispel feelings of insecurity and failure at a moment of weakness, quickly pointing out his accomplishments and reason to be proud, and why he is proud of Ted. It is also Dominic that makes almost daily phone calls to a sick Ted Williams with game highlights of his beloved Red Sox, now unable to follow the media coverage himself.

In regard to Ted it was Johnny Pesky that said "It was like there was a star on top of his head pulling everyone towards him like a beacon, and letting everyone around him know that he was different and special in some way. And that we were much more special because we had played with him." Yet, they were more than just teammates, they were each other's friends. It is this final journey to say good-by to Ted Williams that brings us the sense that their mortality will forever be linked through a thousand box scores and long hours on trains together, through certain rare moments of pleasure and perhaps in the case of their baseball careers, even more shared moments of disappointment, but that they had been truly blessed to had been part of each other's lives.