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In some ways, a Ted Williams movie already has been made. Robert Redford’s 1984 film, “The Natural,” paid more than token homage to Williams. Redford’s character, Roy Hobbs, wore the No. 9 - Ted’s number. He also hit third like Ted and batted left-handed like Ted. It was no coincidence.

“Redford was a big Ted Williams fan,” Underwood says. “He had all kinds of [Williams-related] things in the movie. In the end, he knocks out the [stadium] lights with a home run. Well, Ted knocked the [loudspeaker at Shibe Park] out when he got his last hit for .406. [The ball bounced back on the field, and Williams settled for a double.] Hobbs wanted to be the greatest player there ever was. Well, what Ted said in the autobiography I did on him was: ‘When I walk down the street, I want people to say, “There goes Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.’”

Redford even wanted Williams to be an on-set consultant for the movie, according to Underwood, and Ted was receptive to the idea. But when shooting was about to begin, “Ted called him back from the Miramichi River [in Canada] and said, ‘The fishing’s too good. I can’t do that now.’ That’s the way Ted thought. He’d rather be fishing than helping Robert Redford make a movie.”