Ted Williams' nephew appalled by Alcor's treatment of former Boston Red Sox grea

The New York Daily News/October 8, 2009

The nephew and namesake of Ted Williams says he is horrified by graphic stories in a new book alleging that his uncle's body was beheaded and grossly mistreated by Alcor, the Arizona company where Williams is stored in a freezer.

"If a mortician had done what is claimed to have been done to Ted Williams' body, they'd be up on charges," said Ted Williams, whose late father was the baseball hero's brother. After scanning through his copy of "Frozen," a tell-all by former Alcor employee Larry Johnson, the younger Williams says the company needs some kind of oversight.

"If even a quarter of that were true it would be pretty scary," Williams told the Daily News. "I'm not against cryonics. I'm against cryonics for Ted Williams…I don't think he would have accepted this."

Among many graphic accusations, Johnson claims an Alcor employee used a monkey wrench to batter the Splendid Splinter's frozen head and free it from a tuna fish can that was used for a pedestal. "Frozen" also accuses Alcor of experimenting with preservation chemicals on dogs – a charge that drew an angry rebuke from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals yesterday.

"Apparently, for decades, Alcor has been secretly tormenting dogs and other animals in freezing experiments that the company admits aren't even applicable to humans," said PETA vice president of laboratory investigations Kathy Guillermo.

The baseball legend's two California nephews, Ted and Sam Williams, joined their cousin Bobby-Jo Ferrell five years ago in a lawsuit challenging Alcor's justification for keeping Williams when his will requested cremation. A gag order prevents Ferrell – the hitter's eldest daughter – from discussing the matter, but the younger Ted Williams is not restricted, and he says he would happily cooperate with former Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who earlier this week expressed interest in helping out if family members of baseball's last .400 hitter resurrected their legal battle.

"He can work with me," said Williams, 58, a graphic designer in California. "If he really wants to help he needs to work with us."

Sam Williams, a reporter in northeastern California, declined to comment, but said he too was open to speaking with Piazza, who in 2004 reached out to Ferrell in an attempt to help her legal fight.

On Thursday, Williams took exception with a statement Alcor posted on its Web site, claiming the Williams family was upset by the media reports about the book. Williams informed Chapman that she only spoke for Claudia Williams, the hitter's youngest daughter and a supporter of the decision to place Williams' body in "cryonic suspension" – a decision that tore the family apart.

"You may speak of Claudia's feelings, but don't speak for anyone else in the Ted Williams family," wrote Ted Williams. "The entire Ted Williams family has been "horrified and shocked" and "greatly upset" since Ted Williams died and was shipped off to Alcor. Don't say the family is upset with Johnson's book, say Claudia is upset. You don't speak for any other Ted Williams' family members."

Hours after receiving the e-mail, Alcor changed the wording of the statement.

The younger Williams insisted that he is not against cryonics, and even thought it sounded "fascinating" when he first heard about it; he only believes that his uncle wanted to be cremated.

Williams was able to attend college at California Polytechnic State University because his uncle, then manager for the Washington Senators, paid his tuition bills. That fulfilled a promise the Splinter had made years earlier, when his brother David Arthur Williams (father of Sam and Ted) died of leukiemia.

"In many ways he was a surrogate father for me," said Williams. "Plus, I'm named after him, I gotta defend his standing in the world."

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