March 31, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 95  

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Letter from the Edge: Williams

On the DL
David Lee

Sports Editor

Dear John Henry Williams: you’re dead.


Gazette File Photo
I’D LOSE MY HEAD IF IT WASN’T ATTACHED. John Henry Williams (above) — the son of Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams — recites Simon Phoenix’s Demolition Man credo. Luckily for Ted, his head is stored safely in a cryonic jar.

This is not just an idle threat; rather, it’s a statement of fact. You died recently from leukemia. Usually I let the dead rest in peace. However, since you stated in your will that you wanted to be cryonically frozen at the same facility as your father — the late Ted Williams of Boston Red Sox fame — I decided to send you this letter, hoping one day you’ll read it with a grin on your half-frozen face.

This letter is a bit late — you died nearly three weeks ago. I guess it won’t really matter in the long run, but I thought I’d tell you anyways. Sorry I didn’t write earlier; I’ve been too busy with living my non-cryogenic life.

Never mind the whole debacle of your family’s in-fighting about your dad’s corpse. I’d rather write about your own baseball career, cut short by injury. It’s easy to point to nagging injuries as an excuse (see: Kelly Gruber), but it takes a real person to admit he’ll never be the player his dad was. It’s obvious you respected Ted’s knowledge — you had his head frozen in the hopes that one day that knowledge could be extracted.

If that ever happens, it’s likely to make a big splash for baseball. Suddenly everyone will be hitting .400 and the game will enter a period of offensive glory not seen since today’s widespread steroid usage.

But that just begs another question: why you didn’t want your body stored near your dad’s head? Ted Williams was one of the all-time greats, and I’m sure you could have learned a lot about hitting through osmosis. Or the lab techies could have hooked your cryo-vats together, facilitating cryo-chats.

Did you ever see Vanilla Sky with Tom Cruise? He was cryogenically frozen, too, though the character’s reasons were more shallow than yours. He was frozen because his face was messed up worse than Mike Tyson’s, whereas you wanted to be frozen because... well, who knows.

Cryogenics can be fun — Demolition Man showed us that, if nothing else — and I guess if you do end up reading this, you’ll have had the last laugh. But it’s likely it’ll be some sort of robot laugh emanating from your robot body. At least there’s something cool about you and your dad potentially returning to life: any fist fights that ensue could see your respective heads pop off like a real-life version of “Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots.”

Unholy abomination or otherwise, I’d pay to see that.



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