I think about baseball a lot. I love the numbers and the players and the culture of the game. Baseball may be the sport that has remained the most true in its original form, as far as the mentality of the players and it’s fans (barring Manny Ramirez/other assholes) goes and I like that.
So when I first found out about Lil Wayne going to jail at the peak of his celebrity, I immediately thought of Ted Williams joining the navy to fight in WWII during his most promising years as a baseball player. I’m not talking about the homeless man with a good voice, but Ted Williams the Boston Red Sox outfielder of the 40s and 50s. I hate that I need to specify that.
So then in the shower I was thinking about this comparison and came up with quite a few other similarities between the two men. Ted Williams was literally obsessed with hitting —the art and science behind the swing, the clinical nature needed to hit a fastball, curveball or slider. Williams is famously quoted as saying that he wished to be known as “The greatest hitter that ever lived.”
Remind you of anyone?
While Williams declaration may be a little less self-absorbed, you can’t ignore the similarities. Both Williams and Wayne are fully aware of their dominance in their respective jobs. So much so that they obsess over their craft. In the documentary on Wayne, “Tha Carter” which was shot around the time Tha Carter III was dropped, Wayne is shown constantly performing and working. In one scene he admits that he has no time for women or sex, just rapping. Fully absorbed in his craft, Wayne doesn’t take his proclamation lightly. He calls himself the best rapper alive for a reason. Williams was quite similar —often times practicing his swing while playing the field. He even wrote a book called “The Science of Hitting.”
In terms of output, both men are known for their constant and continued dominance in their fields. Part of the greatness in Lil Wayne is the amount of material he produces and at a constant rate. At the plate, Williams was just as consistent, hitting .340 or above 11 times in his career.
My favorite story about Ted Williams, which is one my Dad told me a few times, is of the last day of the 1941 season. Williams, up to this day was batting .3995 which would have been rounded up to .400. The Red Sox were set to play a double-header that day, and Williams was asked if he wanted to sit out, to ensure his .400 batting average. Williams opted to play in both games that day, and risk falling short saying, “If I can’t hit .400 all the way, I don’t deserve it.” Williams went 6 for 8 in his at bats that day and finished with a .406 average. He then screamed, FUCK THA WORLD! Williams is the last player to hit .400.
Now, this might be a stretch, but Williams’ choice to risk hitting .400 in order to stay true to himself can be compared to Weezy’s album, Rebirth. Stay with me. Rebirth, although not critically acclaimed, isn’t really about the music, but about the personal risk Wayne took in creating it. It’s an album where he painfully opens up about his fears and desires, all in the form of Rock music. Although, I wouldn’t call Rebirth as successful as Williams’ .406 average, it shows Weezy’s daring attitude, and confidence in his craft.
To my original point, that Williams and Wayne both took time off right at the peak of their career, it is important to note how they came back after being away. For Williams, his numbers after his three season hiatus are almost identical to his numbers before he was drafted. Even though he missed three seasons and countless at bats, his swing and patience at the plate did not change. This may seem trivial, but think of the way Tiger Woods looked after missing months of practice.
The real question then becomes how will Wayne rebound from his stint in lockup? It seems so far that he has rebounded fine, coming out with 6 foot 7 which is set to be released on Tha Carter IV and currently working on The Dedication 4. Time will only tell, whether Wayne comes back in true Williams fashion but I’m willing to bet on it.
Okay thats all I got. There might be like four people in the world who like both Ted Williams and Weezy F, but maybe they will stumble across this blog.