Here's What Really Happened To Ted Williams' Head

Ted Williams, a man who many consider to be the greatest baseball hitter of all time, had an eye for putting the bat on the ball consistently. He is the last person to hit .400 for a season, and it has been 80 years since he achieved that in 1941, per Baseball Reference. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966, according to the Hall itself.

So now the legendary batter's head is separated from his body and both of them are sitting in liquid nitrogen storage in Arizona, per CBS News. No, this is not something from Frankenstein. It's science, and it is an attempt to possibly revive the Hall of Famer in the hopefully not-too-distant future.

It all began when Williams' son John-Henry became interested in cryogenics in 2001 and he learned about the company called Alcor Life Extension Foundation. There is still some speculation whether John-Henry pushed his father to do this or if Ted really wanted it done, per Some people say that it was the slugger's wish to be cremated. But he wound up having the procedure done when he passed away in 2002, age 83, per Britannica. Alcor froze both Ted Williams' head and body cryogenically (via CBS News). They think it will preserve his body until future doctors can cure and revive him.

Ted Williams was beloved in baseball well beyond his retirement

There are three options for being frozen. People can just have their head preserved, their whole body preserved, or both of them separately. John-Henry chose the third for his father, according to Deadspin.

The process was intricate. First, they had the deceased Ted sent from Florida to their Arizona laboratories. There was a narrow window of time, and they had him packed with ice to keep him cool on the trip. After laying him on an operating table, they infused his body with a solution that would keep ice crystals from forming during the preservation. His body was drained of blood and water; those were replaced with more protective solution. They drilled two holes in his skull to prevent swelling. Then the fun part: The staff cut the head off and placed it in a container separate from the body. These containers are called Dewars, and the liquid nitrogen in there is -321 degrees Fahrenheit, as Deadspin chronicled. 

Besides the family drama about whether Williams really wanted to have this done, there have been stories about how Alcor has been possibly mistreating the containers that store Williams, per ESPN, but nothing was done and his body and head are still there.

Ted Williams belongs to Boston, even now. There is a Ted Williams Tunnel. His uniform number, 9, will never be worn by another Red Sox player (via MLB).

Boston still remembers Ted Williams

The most visible reminder, though, can be seen by people who get to Fenway Park before a game and they look to the right field bleachers. They will see a lone red seat among a sea of green ones. That marks the longest home run hit in the ballpark's history, and it came off WIlliams' bat, according to the Boston Globe

Williams did not have an easy relationship with Boston. He regularly feuded with the media and he ignored fans during his last at-bat at Fenway, keeping his head down as he circled the bases after homering. It was a moment chronicled in John Updike's timeless New Yorker piece, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," from 1960. Time healed the wounds, and he returned to Fenway in 1999, some 33 years after his Hall of Fame induction. It was the All-Star Game, and the reception was tremendous. He was supposed to throw the first pitch, but that was delayed due to the current superstars of the game swarming him, acting like children themselves, wanting one moment with the legend, reported NBC Sports

He died three years later, and there are no gravestones to mark his passing, no burial. Instead, he is in an Arizona facility in two separate containers, waiting to see if he can be brought back to life. Perhaps baseball will still be around when that day does come. Then he can tell a whole new generation about the game.