The Dinkler-Tutwiler Hotel
Birmingham 3, Alabama
Received your letter + certainly do remember your name but might find it hard picking you out. I certainly do remember Camp Marston (wish I was that young again).
On our way through the south on our Spring Taining jaunt. play in Ala., Tenn., N.C., Tex., Okla., etc. Sure be glad to get this thing started.
Inclosed find the autograph for Jeff.
Thanking you for writing.
The letter was written to Robert Henderson, principal of a grammar school in Phoenix AZ. Though undated, library research on the Red Sox Spring Training schedule shows it to have been written March 30, 1952. They were headed to Memphis (the game was rained out). Ted went instead to Jacksonville to report for his Apr 2 health exam prior to being forced back into the Marines for the Korean conflict (he had already served in World War II).
When they were about fifteen years old Bob Henderson and Ted Williams served as life guards at Camp Marston (YMCA summer camp) near San Diego. The senior life guard was Art Linkletter.
Bob had written Ted on behalf of "Jeff", a kid at the Phoenix grammar school whose hopes for an athletic career had been dashed by a crippling illness. He requested, and got, an autographed ball for Jeff. Some more detective work on my part revealed "Jeff" to be Jeff Kiehl, of Tacoma WA. By the time I contacted him he had retired as sports editor for the Tacoma News-Tribune and was owner of Dobson's Soccer Plus sporting goods store in Tacoma. When I called him, he was thrilled about the letter; he told me he still had the baseball Ted had signed, that it was his proudest possession. Jeff is since deceased.