by Steve Jones

The Power of a Resolution
Steve Jones
Jeremiah 35

Ted Williams - Baseball legend Ted Williams was one in a million, widely considered the most ''gifted'' hitter of his time. In the public imagination, Williams was almost a god among men, a ''superhuman'' endowed with a collection of innate physical gifts, including instincts. But all that innate miracle-man stuff - it was all ''a lot of bunk,'' said Williams. He insisted his great achievements were simply the sum of what he had put into the game. ''Nothing except practice, practice, practice will bring out that ability,'' he explained. ''The reason I saw things was that I was so was [super] discipline, not super eyesight.''

As a boy, he wasn't interested in watching his natural abilities unfurl passively like a flower in the sunshine. He simply wanted to be the best hitter baseball has ever seen, and he pursued that goal with appropriate ferocity. A boyhood friend recalled, ''His whole life was hitting the ball. He always had that bat in his hand. And when he made up his mind to do something, he was going to do it or know the reason why.''

At San Diego's old North Park field, two blocks from his modest childhood home, friends recall Williams hitting baseballs every waking hour of every day, year after year. They describe him slugging balls until their outer shells literally wore off, swinging even splintered bats for hours upon hours with blisters on his fingers. A working-class kid with no extra pocket change, he used his own lunch money to hire schoolmates to shag balls so that he could keep swinging. From age six or seven, he would swing the bat at North Park field all day and night, swing until the city turned off the lights; then he'd walk home and swing a roll of newspaper in front of a mirror until he fell asleep. The next day, he'd do it all over again. Friends say he attended school only to play on the team. When baseball season ended and the other kids moved on to basketball and ...

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