Updike ted williams essay

He is still heralded for his amazing eyesight, which translates on the field into the reason why he is most remembered—as the last person to hit. Assuming he had not been injured, Williams, who walked a great deal, would have amassed another 2, or so additional at bats. Despite this, he still finished his career with home runs—tied for eighteenth all-time, but tied for twelfth on my personal list—the last one coming majestically on the final at bat of his career.

At a pace of one home run every Each individual can create their own list of all-time greats, but regardless of where Williams specifically falls, it will be somewhere very near the top. His greatness cannot be debated, nor can the aplomb with which a truly great writer captures it. Dave Moyer is the author of the novel Life and Life Only and several published shorter works.

Roger Angell

The former college baseball coach is currently a superintendent in a Southeast Wisconsin school district and a faculty member for Aurora University. A beautiful book. Can be read easily in one sitting, and really should be.

Review: Brilliant Specialists

Written by Updike about attending Ted Williams' final game in , the book simultaneously demonstrates the greatness of baseball, Ted Williams, and sports writing when it's done well. In fact, and this is a widely held opinion, this essay is easily one of the greatest pieces of sports writing America has seen. May 26, Sam rated it it was amazing. A lovely little read; halfway between an essay and memoir, or in another way, an ode. Jun 25, Barbara rated it really liked it Shelves: read , non-fiction.

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This is a nice little book that contains an essay that originally appeared in The New Yorker in October Sep 13, Jack Silbert rated it it was amazing. Maybe I'm getting a little better at reading slim volumes based on essays when I'm supposed to. I intended to read it when the holidays rolled around—but I forgot. So I had to wait another year. WIth Hub Fans… , I bought it at the end of the baseball season, which was the 50th anniversary of Ted Williams' final game, the event commemorated in this lovely book.

Reading it immediately mi Maybe I'm getting a little better at reading slim volumes based on essays when I'm supposed to. Reading it immediately might've been the thing to do, but, you know, I have quite the on-deck circle. But, looking for something new to read earlier this week, I'm very glad this caught my eye. We're getting into that Bart Giamatti baseball-is-designed-to-break-your-heart time of year, and that added poignance—and perhaps that I'm now the exact age that Williams was in this book—really made for an ideal reading experience. As a kid baseball fan, all I really knew of Hall of Famer Ted Williams is that he was perhaps the greatest hitter who ever lived.

The last man to hit. That's all you need to know as a kid. And perhaps all you need to know as an adult, but that's another essay for another time.

As an adult baseball fan, I learned another fact: Williams was kind of a jerk. And then the final fact: He was cryogenically frozen and his head was chopped off. This book, though really just an expanded essay, fills in a lot of holes. For example, it turns out Williams was always a jerk. And yet, as you've no doubt experienced, life is more complicated than that. Updike sheds light on Williams' complex relationship with the fans and particularly the media. It was a vicious cycle where they were unkind to him, he was brusque with them, so they were unkind to him, and so on. And my kids'-sports background never let me know how awful the Red Sox were in Williams' final years.

His final game, with a lineup filled with minor-league call-ups, is played in front of a mostly empty Fenway Park. It puts everything in a melancholy context, and really humanized Williams for me. It's a beautifully written essay. Though Updike was clearly a fan, he never gushes. It's spare, clean writing, with just enough heart, and art, to turn it into something wonderful. You really feel like you're sitting next to Updike at the ballpark on an chill, overcast September day, hoping against hope that something momentous will happen. In this handsome reissue, Updike's New Yorker essay is paired with a second essay, culled from two Williams profiles Updike later wrote: for Sport magazine in , and a New York Times obit from So first we get Williams' baseball death and then his actual one—though Williams might have argued which was more crucial.

Updike, too, was older, and it makes for a nice contrast. Indeed, Updike's January preface to the book is, I believe, his final published writing—he died that same month. So mortality adds yet another level to the original essay. But we can always return to that moment from a half-century earlier: a man, a ballpark, and the fitting end of a quest for perfection. Jan 04, Pam rated it really liked it. Both the sports nut and the avid literature fan in me hesitate to write this post. I suppose, every now and then, I should open myself up to a little bit of friendly confession, though.

The confession is as follows. Fabulous little place where I usually find a good philosophy book or new novel. On the last day of , however, while paying for a Biscuit book for Kai, I spotted something on the display shelf at the front counter that I had never seen before. It was a teensy, tiny little volume by John Updike on Ted Williams. I also have a nearly seven year old whippet mix, Teddy. Oh, yes, that sure is Teddy for Ted Williams.

Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams | The Nile | TheMarket NZ

I did not, however, expect it to be terrible. For once, I managed to assume correctly, and loved it wholeheartedly. Mar 06, Ed rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , baseball. Thanks dad! It's funny reading the reviews on the back cover, nearly all by sports writers, nearly all claiming Updike changed with this one essay the way sports writers write. Of course, this essay appeared in , so if this is true I didn't get the 'before' picture.

The unfortunate thing, of course, is that this means lesser writers are trying almost all t Thanks dad! The unfortunate thing, of course, is that this means lesser writers are trying almost all the time to write equally moving and poignant columns mostly about lesser achievements by lesser athletes. I have seen one or two really embarrassing examples of this in the last year or so But it's good that they are trying! I really liked it, and Updike's obit of Ted Williams as well though he could have left the fawning on Barry Bonds out of it.

I only give it 4 stars instead of 5 because it's too short! Just like the best baseball games I've watched I could read writing like this on this topic for ever and ever. Makes me look even more forward to Mike Royko's articles on Chicago baseball which I'm sure I will encounter when I start his collections soon sooner now!

Jul 28, Simone added it. I don't know what it is that makes authors write so lyrically and elegantly about baseball, but this is a fine example of that. The essay published in this commemorative edition is accompanied by the author's preface, written shortly before his death in , and a final short piece that summarises another short biographical piece and the obituary Updike wrote on Williams's passing.


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The essay itself is also annotated by the author, which works well as a present-day commentary on Updike Gorgeous. The essay itself is also annotated by the author, which works well as a present-day commentary on Updike's early writing and additional details about Williams's character, but occasionally adds more to the text than the reader would wish, the text being perfect, already, on its own.

Oct 07, Aaron Choi rated it it was amazing Shelves: sports. It is an essentially lonely game. No other player visible to my generation concentrated within himself so much of the sport's poignance, so assiduously refined his natural skills, so constantly brought to the plate that intensity of competence t "But of all team sports, baseball, with its graceful intermittences of action, its immense and tranquil field sparsely settled with poised men in white, its dispassionate mathematics, seems to me best suited to accommodate, and be ornamented by, a loner.

No other player visible to my generation concentrated within himself so much of the sport's poignance, so assiduously refined his natural skills, so constantly brought to the plate that intensity of competence that crowds the throat with joy. Mar 05, ej cullen rated it liked it. Uber smart, as usual, from Updike. This is an early work. Updike's words always soar like wild birds, but here, I think he's a bit stilted, trying to out-Fitzgerald Scott Fitzgerald, something like tossing nasty splitters to the little league kids.

The great Williams whose body is frozen, presumably so that he can come back again to physically haunt left field in Fenway when the medical profession discovers how to do it, wanted Updike to write his biography. Check system status. Toggle navigation Menu. Name of resource. Problem URL. Describe the connection issue. SearchWorks Catalog Stanford Libraries. Hub fans bid kid adieu : John Updike on Ted Williams.

Updike, Williams, and Baseball Mystique

Responsibility [John Updike]. Imprint New York : Library of America, Physical description xiii, 47 p. Online Available online.

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