John Updike passed away last week and as a great American writer we are blessed with some baseball words such as the one below. Written in 1960 commemorating Ted Williams' last appearance in Boston it goes beyond for me what a ballplayer is really about. The trials and tribulations, the statistical highlights, the dog days of summer, and the ever battle between fame and fortune with the fans and writers.
"For me, Williams is the classic ballplayer of the game on a hot August weekday, before a small crowd, when the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill. Baseball is a game of the long season, of relentless and gradual averaging-out. Irrelevance - since the reference point of most individual games is remote and statistical - always threatens its interest, which can be maintained not by the occasional heroics that sportswriters feed upon but by players who always CARE [was italicized]; who care, that is to say, about themselves and their art. Insofar as the clutch hitter is not a sportswriter's myth, he is a vulgarity, like a writer who writes only for money."
John Updike -Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
Hit the link to read the whole article. Also came across this tidbit which I think I have probably read a million times but with spring training fast approaching it is always interesting to remind us baseball lovers that our game is not just old, but classic.
"The first semi-official baseball game was played, on Elysian Fields, between the New York Knickerbocker Club and the New York Nine on June 19, 1846. This was almost certainly not anything close to the first baseball game played — baseball, in some form, probably goes back dozens, and maybe even hundreds of years — but this game was probably the first played under the Alexander Cartwright rules, which makes it probably the first semi-modern game played. Baseball, it is fair to assume, was not invented by any one person. It evolved over time. But this is probably as close as we will get to a starting point, and anyway Hoboken has a MUCH stronger claim to baseball’s beginning than Cooperstown."