Baseball Great Ted Williams' Treasures to be Auctioned; Daughter Speaks on Cryonics Controversy

Auction of baseball great Ted Williams' memorabilia set to begin in late April.

ByABC News
April 9, 2012, 1:14 PM

April 10, 2012— -- It is an auction that will make sports memorabilia collectors gasp in anticipation and scream with joy. For sale, for the first time ever, are items from the personal collection of Red Sox great Ted Williams -- possibly the greatest hitter who ever lived, an American legend and American hero, but also an American enigma.

"I know this might sound biased -- I am his daughter and he was my dad -- but he was an amazing man, amazing," says Claudia Williams, 40, in an interview with ABC News at Boston's Fenway Park. This is one of the only times she has spoken to the media since the controversial death of her father nearly 10 years ago.

The auction, scheduled for April 28 at Fenway, features the Splendid Splinter's 1949 Most Valuable Player Award (valued at $250,000), his Hall of Fame induction ring ($50,000), even a ball given to Ted Williams by Babe Ruth (valued at $200,000).

The ball was the only autograph her father ever asked for; it's inscribed,"To my pal Ted Williams, From Babe Ruth."

"And,'' said Claudia Williams,"great story behind this ball is that particular saying, 'To my pal,' (it) so influenced my dad at the time that every time he signed a ball to kids, he would sign it 'Your Pal, Ted Williams.'"

PHOTOS: Ted Williams' Personal Collection Goes to Auction

In a way, Claudia Williams hopes the sale of these heirlooms will help turn focus to the rich life of the baseball great, rather than his death.

"I think it's more of a reflection of the person themselves if they choose to remember Ted Williams for what happened or what his family chose to do together after his death," says Claudia Williams, who now works as a physical therapist in Florida.

It was what the family chose to do that made headlines in the summer of 2002. After the death of Williams that year, his body was taken to Arizona to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. The company preserves bodies at ultra-cold temperatures -- 321 degrees below zero -- in the hope that someday medical science may be able to cure what killed them, and that the bodies can brought back to life.

"We did this together because it made us feel like it had something of hope," says Claudia Williams, "That's all. A hope."

She points out that her father had a life-long obsession with science. Indeed, he authored what is considered one of the definitive blueprints for baseball success, "The Science of Hitting."

"My dad was a man of science," Williams says. "He wasn't a religious man. I can't apologize for that. He didn't believe in god. He believed in science."

She believes ridiculing their decision is like attacking someone's religious faith.

"It's not unlike a choice of religion," she says. "I wish that could just be appreciated for that simple fact alone."

Claudia Williams says she shares her father's infamous mistrust of the media, and resents the spate of coverage and tidal wave of jokes that came at her father's expense.

"I do take it personally," she says, "I am fiercely protective of my family."