I sometimes pay a little attention to baseball. It’s one of David’s passions, so I can hardly help myself. A few nights ago, we caught the end of an episode of Ken Burns American Stories on PBS. The subject was baseball and one segment featured Ted Williams—the best hitter of all time. I must admit that his hitting stats didn’t make much of an impression on me. I haven’t learned to interpret stats yet. But soon, like in all Ken Burns films, a close-up photo of Williams came on the screen, and I exchanged these words with David:
“I like his face. It’s a comforting face.”
“Hmm. You know his nickname?”
“The Splendid Splinter.”
And for some reason, that name made a grand impression on me. It is one of the best nicknames I’ve heard. Splendid. Splinter. Those words just snap together and form this kind of comic book, happy-go-lucky but dartingly forceful quality that really gets the point across. Like Williams hit the ball, I suppose.