“Gods Do Not Answer Letters”

TED WILLIAMS
****************
Good shot of Williams at the end of a HR swing at some point in the 1947 season.

On Wednesday, September 28, 1960, famous American novelist John Updike did a fairly ordinary thing, especially so for a New England guy and big fan of the Boston Red Sox. He decided to go see the club play their final home game of the season that afternoon at Fenway Park and, if what I’m given to believe was true, with no big designs upon doing a book, column, or article on the experience.

It turned out to be Ted Williams’ last game ever for the Boston Red Sox, one in which his bottom of the 8th solo home run to right field on a cold, damp and windy autumn afternoon would also stand forever as his last action as a major league hitter.

OK. So Updike went there to see the game, but he was a great writer to the bone. And writers never go anywhere or do anything without bringing that presence of mind and emotion with them. All it needs from there is a little jarring from external events and the muses that provide all the internal packaging of the written word, most authentically in ways that seem familiar, suddenly pour forth through the writer to the world in ways that are never to be forgotten.

“Gods Do Not Answer Letters” is such an expression. John Updike wrote it with muse support to explain why slugger Ted Williams, who was notorious for his disdain of fan support acknowledgement, had refused to come out of the dugout to tip his cap in gratitude to the fans who were tumultuously applauding the dramatic act of their anti-hero hitting a last home run in his last Fenway Park plate appearance – and possibly for all time – if he were to also now sit out the last three games that Boston was still on the hook to play from September 30 through October 2.

“Gods Do Not Answer Letters” is the explanation that Updike offered for Williams’ decision to ignore the fans in the article that he wrote for The New Yorker. But remember. Updike had not intended to write “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu”. There simply was no way that this dramatic game was going to fail in its successful efforts to interface with the writer presence of Hohn Updike and not become an article of some considerable erudition.

We’ll never know for sure. Maybe part to some to all of Ted Williams’ decision not to play the last three games in New York was part of – or all of – Teddy Ballgame’s ultimate tip of the cap to all the fans who pled in vain for his consoling and healing recognition after the last HR game of September 28.

By not playing in the last Yankee series, Ted Williams had taken all the fans who saw him hit that career homer on Sept. 28th in Boston with him to the walls of history – as the last fans to ever witness a Ted Williams home run. And suddenly I remember another, this time, well-known godly expression:

The Lord Moves in Mysterious Ways.

The Williams Last HR Box Score

Who took over for Ted Williams in left field for the Red Sox in those last three 1960 season games against the Yankees in The Bronx? Check out the first entry in the comment section that follows this column for the answer in case you do not already know and want to play with your mind for that name before it’s simply handed it to you.

A You Tube Look at the Last Ted Williams HR

Now watch this brief, intelligently stated coverage of Ted Williams HR # 521:

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

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9 Responses to ““Gods Do Not Answer Letters””

  1. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Question: Who took over for Ted Williams in left field for the Red Sox in those last three 1960 season game against the Yankees in The Bronx?

    Answer: It was future Houston Colt .45 Carroll Hardy. Hardy went 1 for 10 with a single as Ted Williams’ immediate last 3 games replacement in left field for the Red Sox in 1960. Boston lost all 3 games to New York, finishing the year with a 65-89 record.

  2. bobcopus Says:

    Thanks Bill.

  3. Anthony Cavender Says:

    The PBS program, “American Masters”, presented an hour-long program on Ted Williams last night. It was fascinating, especially the comments of his daughter.

  4. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    Bill:
    Reads and looks great…..those were the days, watch the film closely look at Williams’ stance and swing – nobody had a swing like that …..nobody

    PAC – STHS ’56

  5. Sumner G. Hunnewell Says:

    When I was growing up in Maine in the 1960s and 1970s, the collective baseball memory of Ted Williams was gone in my hometown. Everyone was speaking about this guy called “Yaz.” (But my very first baseball memory was when I got off the bus and came inside my mom said, “They’ve traded The Hawk.”)

  6. bhick6 Says:

    The photo at the top is known as Brearley’s Classic Swing, taken by photographer Dennis Brearley on Opening Day at Fenway Park, April 15, 1947. With everyone in the photo looking upward, it appears to be a home run shot, but Ted Williams’ hits that day were just a double and a single, so I’d guess that this one was the double. The catcher is Al Evans of the Senators and the umpire is Bill Summers. The pitcher (not shown) was Early Wynn.

    A reference for the Brearley photo is at:
    http://www.brearley.com/hunt_pressrelease_062813.asp.html

    Bill Hickman

  7. Larry Dierker Says:

    What does Hardy have to do with Yaz?

    • Sumner G. Hunnewell Says:

      Nothing! It has to do that when I was growing up in serious Red Sox territory, I never heard anyone talk about Ted Williams. I remember a kid down the street having a bunch of Ted Williams Fleer baseball cards and I had no idea who he was. In Little League I wore #9 and lamented that I didn’t wear #8…you get the idea.

  8. Mark W. Says:

    In the last game of the season, the Yankees won 8-7 on a 2-run homer by Dale Long in the bottom of the 9th, to extend their season-ending winning streak to 15 games. I listened on my transistor radio in my bedroom in our old home on Hermosa Street in San Antonio. Hardy went 1 for 4 and scored a run. I didn’t remember Hardy from that game, but I still can hear the call of Long’s game-winning homer. I don’t think I realized that Ted Williams had played his last game.

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