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September 30, 2003
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So how did it go? Just great! The M's beat Oakland 9 - 3, Jamie Moyer collected his 21st win, and Edgar Martinez — "Poppy," as we call him — may have batted in his last game. "It doesn't get any better than that," as I told my son, but since I have seen Roger Clemens pitch his 300th, and read John Updike's Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu, I have known, of course, that occasionally it does.
Updike's great passage recounts Ted Williams' last time at bat. "Understand," Updike recalled of that magical September 28, 1960, "that we were a crowd of rational people. We knew that a home run cannot be produced at will," but this "was one of the times, which you now and then find in sports, when a density of expectation hangs in the air and plucks an event out of the future."
Updike's two paragraphs describing Williams' achievement are gems:
I told my daughter-in-law Sunday, "If Edgar hits a homer" — it was the bottom half of the 8th — "he's almost sure to retire. If he doesn't, certainly we'll know soon." And so we're waiting.
Forgive me, but stylistically and substantively, this is one 60-year-old "Poppy" speaking.Permalink
Thank you for this memory of Ted Williams by Updike. We're having our own bit of baseball nostalgia here in Phillies territory — last season, last game, in our old stadium.
And happy birthday — both to Styles and to Yougotstyle!
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