Friday, December 21, 2012

Final At Bat for the Ages

Well, according to the Mayans, today is suppose to be the end of the world. So, I decided to write about what is perhaps the most famous last at bat of a career in Major League history. The author of this at bat was Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams on September 28,1960.

Ted Williams once said early in his career that is main goal is to walk the streets and have others say "there goes the greatest hitter to ever lived".  Williams, to many, accomplished this goal. Despite missing most of five seasons due to his military service in World War II and the Korean War, he hit .344 with 521 home runs and knocked 1,839 runs for his career. Williams won 2 triple crowns and 6 batting titles, the last in 1958 at the age of 40.
Despite all these accomplishments, Williams had a tumultuous relationship with the media and the fans. During his rookie year, he was booed by his hometown fans. He then vowed never to tip his cap to the crowd for rest of his career.
For his final game, he played in front of a sparse crowd at Boston's Fenway Park. He came up to bat in the eighth inning for the final time and knocked a 1-1 pitch from Baltimore's Jack Fisher in the Red Sox bullpen for a home run. As Williams was rounding the bases, the Boston faithful cheered on and hoping they would get acknowledged by the Red Sox great. It never happened.
Author John Updike was in attendance on that day and was inspired to write his only sports story.  For the New Yorker, he wrote the essay, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" . In it, he said about Williams snubbing the fans for the final time: "Gods do not answer letters". Here is a link to the essay :

Here is Curt Gowdy's radio call of the at bat:

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