Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Arthur Griffin: Ted Williams, The Splendid Splinter @ The Cambridge Homes

From The Wall Street Journal.
by William Meyers
January 16th, 2010

My older brother, Leonard, idolized Ted Williams. Growing up in Providence, R.I., in the 1940s, and a good schoolboy baseball player himself, Leonard regarded Williams with something like awe. He wasn't the only one. Arthur Griffin, a longtime sports photographer for the Boston Globe, was asked by Kodak in 1939 to try its newly developed color film; he used that 4-by-5-inch film to shoot pictures of Williams. In 1939 Williams was Rookie of the Year—young, personable and eager to oblige the press. (Later his relations with the press and his fans would sour.) The color pictures Griffin took show the Splendid Splinter in various stages of his incredibly accurate swing.
Griffin also took black-and-white pictures with his 35mm camera of Williams in the outfield leaping for a ball—his feet high off the ground, his body twisted but relaxed, and a great smile on his face. There is a picture of the Fenway crowd, all the men wearing Panama hats or straw boaters; the women, too, wearing hats. A large-format color picture of Williams at rest is a quintessential portrait of a young man for whom things are going well. In 2002, when Williams died, Sports Illustrated used one of Griffin's 1939 color photos for its cover.

Arthur Griffin: Ted Williams, The Splendid Splinter
The Cambridge Homes
360 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA
Through February 7th.

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