October 02, 2009
There are many types of baseball reports that you figure you might wake up to on a random morning.
A horror story about Ted Williams' frozen head being abused in a lab is not one of them.
In what can only serve as the latest and best argument against being put on ice after death, a new book alleges that workers at an Arizona cryogenics facility routinely abused the disembodied head of the Hall of Fame slugger and "gleefully" took photos of it.
Sadly "Frozen," written by former Alcor lab exec Larry Johnson, doesn't stop there with the gruesome details. According to the book, Williams head was "crudely" removed from his body by untrained workers and placed upon a tuna can for safekeeping. When his head stuck to the can, a worker reportedly hit it with a wrench to dislodge it.
It's a lurid and sensational story, but it's not as if this is a spur-of-the-moment attempt by Johnson to get his name in the news. He blew the whistle on Alcor back in 2003, citing "horrific" and "unethical" practices and a Sports Illustrated story by Tom Verducci that same year also detailed how Williams' body had been mishandled and mistreated.
Williams died in 2002 and his body was sent to Arizona by his son, John Henry (who died in 2004 from leukemia). It was a controversial move among other family members and Johnson tells the NY Daily News he hopes the book will lead to Williams' remains being cremated and spread along the coast of Florida, as was stated in his will.
At this point, I don't think there's anyone who would disagree. More than seven years after his death, it's time to let the Splendid Splinter finally rest in peace.