Family fighting over Williams remains
BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox officials are in Milwaukee this week on a recruiting mission, trying to round up participants for a star-studded memorial service to honor Ted Williams.
Part-owner Tom Werner and executive vice president Charles Steinberg will meet with baseball officials and any current or former stars they see at the All-Star game. Their message: The more, the merrier when it comes to honoring the Splendid Splinter.
''Who on the century team wouldn't you want to have there?'' Steinberg said Sunday as he waited for his plane. ''We'd like to see all of the stars of Red Sox history, and we'd like to see all of the great stars of baseball history who can get there that day.''
The Boston Red Sox announced that they will celebrate Williams' life on July 22 with two memorial services at Fenway Park that will include baseball's all-time greats, ordinary fans and the family that continues to fight over what to do with his remains.
Though the details are still being determined, the team has decided to hold one free event in the morning to allow fans to pay their respects at the ballpark and another ticketed event in the evening with the proceeds going to Williams' favorite charity, The Jimmy Fund.
Initial plans are for the morning event to allow fans to file into the ballpark, perhaps walk on the warning track and stand in left field, where Williams played from 1939-60 except for the five years he served in World War II and Korea. Steinberg said the team is considering draping Fenway's famous left-field Wall with a giant replica of Williams' No. 9 jersey, and playing a video on the scoreboard that would take fans through his career.
''It's a chance for the fans to reconnect with their hero,'' Steinberg said. ''It's a way for them to pay their respects in a real way.''
At night, the team would bring out baseball's biggest stars. Plans are to invite Williams' colleagues from baseball and the military and other baseball notables, such as members of the 500 home run club.
All three of Williams' children have been invited, Steinberg said. The team is hoping the events will be free of any acrimony even though Bobby-Jo Ferrell, Williams' daughter with his first wife, said she will seek a court injunction on Monday to stop her half brother, John Henry Williams, from trying to have their father's body or DNA frozen.
''I will rescue my father's body,'' she told The Associated Press late Saturday night. ''Me and my attorney are working on that.''
Williams, the last major league hitter to hit .400 or better, died at the age of 83 in a hospital near his home in west-central Florida on Friday. According to his wishes, no funeral will be held.
Ferrell did not return a call seeking comment Sunday. But she has said that a ''very important person'' at Hooper's Funeral Home in Inverness, Fla., said that her father's body had been moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Friday.
She would not identify the person.
''My father's body was put on a plane yesterday with people from Alcor,'' she said, referring to Alcor Life Extension Foundation, a cryonics company. ''I'm imagining they were trying to keep it quiet.''
A spokeswoman for Alcor said the company has a policy against commenting on ''patients.''
John Henry Williams has not returned repeated calls seeking comment. Ted Williams' attorney, Eric Abel, did not return a phone call from the AP seeking comment Sunday but had previously refused to confirm or deny that cryogenics was a possibility.
Dwight Hooper, vice president of the funeral home, has declined to comment on whether the body was still at the funeral home because the family has requested privacy.
Ferrell said her brother brought up the idea of freezing their father's body, or a part of it, after his health took a turn for the worse last year. She told him she was against it, calling it immoral and not what her father would have wanted. The Associated Press