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Why did Robert Redford become a Red Sox fan?

Actor Robert Redford
Actor Robert Redford Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

There were no major league baseball teams in California in the 1940s when Robert Redford was growing up in Santa Monica. So the 79-year-old actor became — and remains to this day — an ardent rooter of the Red Sox. While chatting up his new film, a live-action reimagining of the Disney animated feature “Pete’s Dragon,” in which he plays a crusty old storyteller, Redford took a moment to talk about the Sox. Why’d he like the team? “Because of Ted Williams,” he said. “Ted was my hero when I was a kid. He was from California, and I was from California. He was left-handed, and I was left-handed. And I wanted to be a professional ballplayer.” That didn’t happen, of course, but Redford did play Roy Hobbs — a fictional version of Williams — in the 1984 film “The Natural.” It’s no coincidence that Hobbs wore No. 9 (the Splendid Splinter’s number) and hit a home run in his final at-bat (as did Teddy Ballgame). But he has followed the Red Sox long after Williams retired. “I realized there was more to [the Sox] than just Ted Williams. I had the joy of my life a few years ago when I sat behind the catcher at Fenway and they beat the Yankees.” Spoken like a true fan.