With the official end to the 2014 baseball season last night I thought today would be an appropriate time for this book. By the way congrats on another World Series win Giants fans. As a Phillies fan, I can only imagine how cool three championships within five years is. This year baseball fans all over the nation bid farewell to Derek Jeter. Some say it was an overblown farewell and others felt it appropriate. Whatever your position on the matter, it was the end of a career, that many of us will never see the likes of again. Every so often the end of a baseball season coincides with the end of a storied career. Todays book looks at such an event.
Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
By John Updike-2010 Library of America
It goes without saying that Ted Williams was an all-time great. Perhaps even the best all around player ever. New York fans will probably disagree with that last statement, but whatever your feelings, you have to easily admit he was one of the greatest. Teddy Ballgame was the face of the Boston Red Sox for many, many years. The team was a perennial cellar dweller and this was before the birth of the Red Sox Nation. The man as a player, put up incredible career numbers in spite of losing several years to military service on more than one occasion.
When you think of great baseball writers, I for one never have never thought immediately of John Updike. As far as I can tell this is his one significant writing about the sport. What you get out of this book is a fan’s perspective of Ted Williams final game. It essentially shows the lack of fanfare surrounding his final days at Fenway.
Updike walks you through all the activities going on in the park from the time he entered the park to the start of the game. You get information about his surroundings and some of the people in his vicinity. As one would expect you get the game details and also the author’s take on the relationship between the fans and Williams. Finally, you get the description of the final at bat, the final home run and the essential death of Williams career when the game ended.
I found this book to be very interesting. If anything it came across as a very long essay as opposed to enough material for a book. It moved through each topic very quickly and could have easily given some more in-depth analysis on the subjects. The book is only 47 pages, which honestly I did not think anyone could write anything about Ted Williams in under 100 pages.
Overall it is a very quick read and probably something avid baseball readers would enjoy. It is not something that you learn a great deal from but if you were not in Fenway that day, you can at least enjoy the experience of Ted Williams last game. It is also interesting to see how the end of a career was handled over 50 years ago. Good or bad, times have changed. This book shows that in terms of how we as fans hero-worship, its a totally different ball game.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Library of America