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Red Sox unveil Williams statue
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04/16/2004  5:02 PM ET
Red Sox unveil Williams statue
Sculpture honors Ted's devotion to stricken children
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
A statue of Ted Williams stands along the right-field side of Fenway Park. (Stanley Hu/AP)
BOSTON -- Ever since 1941, when he hit .406 -- still the last Major Leaguer to hit .400 or better -- Ted Williams has been a larger than life figure inside Fenway Park. Now, he's larger than life outside it, too.

An 8-foot, 6-inch-tall statue of Williams mounted on a four-foot granite base was unveiled Friday afternoon outside Gate B of Fenway, located behind the right-field line. The structure, which weighs 3,380 pounds, depicts Williams holding a bat over his left shoulder while he places his cap on the bald head of a cancer-stricken child.

Williams made a tradition of visiting children at the Jimmy Fund Clinic of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino proposed the idea of a statue after Williams' death on July 5, 2002.

"It's so important to remember some of the individuals who made the city what it is today," Menino said Friday.

Menino, along with Williams' former teammates and close friends Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr, unveiled the statue, pulling the tarp off it at the count of "strike three."

"This statue will stand sentinel at Fenway Park and I hope it becomes part of the park's folklore, like the cherished Green Monster and Pesky's Pole," Menino said.

During the ceremony, Doerr recounted the story of the Red Sox's pennant-clinching 1-0 win at Cleveland in 1946, when Williams was criticized for not attending the celebratory banquet. He had gone to a hospital to visit a sick child instead.

Pesky found the statue to be an appropriate tribute.

"I think it's a beautiful gesture. Of course, it looks exactly like Ted," he said. "I looked at his face. I swear to God, if he'd have moved, I'd swear he was alive."

When asked if he thought the pose was one Williams would have chosen, Pesky didn't hesitate. "He's got a bat in his hand, hasn't he?" Pesky answered.

Two more of Williams' former teammates -- six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove third baseman Frank Malzone and infielder Ted Lepcio -- were joined in the crowd by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, president/CEO Larry Lucchino and former CEO John Harrington as well as Franc Talarico and A. Hank Evanish, the sculptor and benefactor of the statue, respectively.

Evanish, a flight-school pupil of Williams' in the Marines, also funded an identical sculpture that stands outside the Ted Williams Museum in Hernando, Fla.

Boston humorist Dick Flavin served as the master of ceremonies and performed "Teddy at the Bat," an adaptation of Ernest Lawrence Thayer's "Casey at the Bat" featuring Williams and his teammates. Flavin first delivered the poem at Williams' house on October 23, 2001.

"He loved it," Flavin said. "I saw him several times after that, and every time I'd see him, he'd ask me to do the poem again."

During his recital, Flavin narrated Williams doffing his hat in response to cheers before saying, "I'm making that part up."

Williams never doffed his cap during his 19 years with the Red Sox.

In contrast to Thayer's original, Flavin's version finished with an ending appropriate for Williams, who homered in the final at-bat of his career.

"Somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout," Flavin intoned. "And they're going wild at Fenway Park, 'cause Teddy hit one out!"

Alan Ginsberg is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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