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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ted Williams at bat: "expectation, intention, and execution", April 30, 2010
By 
This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
"Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" is John Updike's loving tribute to the character and craft of Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. First published in The New Yorker magazine a few weeks after Updike sat in the stands of Fenway Park watching Williams' final at bat on September 28, 1960, the essay has over the years attracted the highest praise from trustworthy observers. Some of these accolades appear in the Editorial Reviews section above. The praise is accurate and deserved.

If you follow baseball and care about its storied past, or admire the writing of John Updike, then you will enjoy reading this piece. If you happen to belong to both camps -- if you're an Updike fan AND a baseball fan -- then put this at the top of your list of must-reads.

The question is whether you should spend your money on this particular setting of "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu." The article is available online where it can be read for free on several websites, including that of The New Yorker. In book form the piece has been much anthologized. It appears alongside contributions from the likes of William Carlos Williams, Don DeLillo, and Stephen King, in the elegant 721-page hardcover volume, Baseball: A Literary Anthology. It can be found in The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond (paperback), edited by Jeff Silverman, where it hides amongst 30 fiction and nonfiction pieces from a motley crew of writers such as Doris Kearns Godwin, Pete Hamill, Ring Lardner, P.G. Wodehouse, Vin Scully (on Sandy Koufax), and Abbott and Costello (whose "Who's on First" comic routine is gloriously reprinted in its entirety). The essay joins a broader array of sports pieces recently assembled in The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks) where Updike shares space with Malcolm Gladwell (who writes about failure in sports), Martin Amis (on tennis personalities), and John McPhee (on Bill Bradley's basketball career). And for those of you with deeper pockets, book dealers offer collectible copies (at $500 or more) from an edition limited to 300 copies signed by the author in 1977; link here: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.

The answer to why you might choose to buy the Library of America's slim volume of John Updike on Ted Williams comes down to personal preference, convenience, sentimentality, maybe even aesthetics. The essay is special because it succeeds on so many levels. Its pages offer a sharp character study. It lyrically captures a moment of grace. It imparts an essential moral lesson. To use the hackneyed metaphor, it is a small gem. Think of Duke Ellington's description of Ella Fitzgerald: "beyond category." The quality-conscious publishers at The Library of America respect good writing and have taken care to design the book, simply as a physical object, to be a pleasing product to hold in your hands.

Three photos of Ted Williams grace the book: one is in color on the jacket (you see it pictured here on Amazon, above). The second, in black and white, is used as the frontispiece and shows the slugger ascending to the Fenway field on his final day. The third photo is near-sepia in color and is spread horizontally across the front and back boards, freezing in time his celebrated swing -- and making this hardback look just as fine with or without its jacket. Inside, the main essay from 1960 (with a dozen fact-laden footnotes Updike added a few years later) is, of course, the big draw. This text (33 pages in this wide-margined edition) is flanked by a three-page Preface, written only weeks before Updike died in 2009, and a meandering nine-page Afterword that served as an obituary for the ballplayer who died in 2002. The preface and afterward may strike you as workmanlike exercises -- common stones wildly outshone by the diamond at the center of the book.

Bottom line: if you're looking for a gift for someone open to the call of baseball and its emotional and intellectual appeal, this is a good choice. The book would also be a classy gift for a reader who's read Updike's novels and short stories but is unaware that the author penned, at the start of his career, one of the best nonfiction essays ever written.

While you are considering your options, check out the 35-second video of Ted Williams' last at bat at Fenway Park on September 28, 1960 which is available for viewing online (Google the words, YouTube Williams last time at bat). If you watch the video, pay close attention as Williams rounds third and heads for home. At that moment the cameraman pans up to show the crowd in the stands behind third base, the very section where John Updike was on his feet joining in the "beseeching screaming" that rocked the stadium. The video is too fuzzy for you to spot him. But Updike's there, absorbing the moment -- and starting work on his own piece for the ages.

(Mike Ettner)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Godliness of Ted Willams as Portrayed by his Disciple, John Updike, June 29, 2010
By 
Ted Marks (Phippsburg, ME, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
For any baseball aficionado, but especially for Boston Red Sox fans, the Library of America has just published a sacred tomb: a reprint of John Updike's famous New Yorker article on Ted Williams' last game for the Boston Red Sox.

Updike's reporting on Williams and his love-hate relationship with Boston, its sportswriters and Red Sox fans is a classic.

Even better, this edition also includes some nifty footnotes by the late Updike, written only months before his death last year, as well as excerpts from an article Updike wrote on Williams for Sport Magazine in 1986 and the obituary Updike wrote for the New York Times Magazine, marking Williams' death in 2002.

Updike's writing on Williams is a treasure trove for baseball fans that could be reasonably described as a holy grail on one of the greatest baseball players of all time. This is a book that should sit on every fan's bedside table to be read and reread even as baseball battles its drug addictions and overpays its current stars. It restores one's faith in the national past-time. Williams was, quite simply a classic. As is this book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Williams & Updike Go Back to Back, June 25, 2010
This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
I heard Updike's famous essay read before I read it myself. I listened to it again on the day Updike died. Thank God he was there at Fenway that day when Williams exited the stage of baseball. His account of the game is sheer poetry; a simultaneous dissection of the psyches of Williams and his fans. And now at last it is bound and covered as it should have been long ago. I already regard my copy as an heirloom, a memorable summary of the day when the paths of an MVP and a Pulitzer Prize winner crossed forever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "A perfect fusion of expectation, intention, and execution", February 26, 2012
By 
Note: This product page features the limited edition of Updike's famed essay, published in 1977 by Lord John Press, Northridge, California, in an edition of 300 copies signed by the author. This territory belongs to serious book collectors with deep pockets, as a collectible copy may cost a hundred dollars or more, depending on condition. A trophy to be sure, and one that would make a classy gift for any reader who has enjoyed Updike's novels and short stories but is unaware that the author, at the start of his career, produced one of the best nonfiction essays ever written. For those of you on a more limited budget, fear not -- Updike's essay has been reissued as a stand-alone work in a fine, modestly priced edition from the Library of America: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (2010).

"Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" is John Updike's loving tribute to the character and craft of Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams. First published in The New Yorker magazine a few weeks after Updike sat in the stands of Fenway Park watching Williams' final at bat on September 28, 1960, the essay has over the years attracted the highest praise from trustworthy observers. The praise is deserved.

If you follow baseball and care about its storied past, or admire the writing of John Updike, then you will enjoy reading this piece. If you happen to belong to both camps -- if you're an Updike fan AND a baseball fan -- then put this at the top of your list of must-reads. What explains its enduring appeal? I think the answer lies in how, within a small compass, it contains so much. Its pages offer a sharp character study. It also lyrically captures a moment of grace. In the end it yields an essential moral lesson. To use the hackneyed metaphor, it is a small gem.

So, which setting of "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu" fits your budget and preferences? The article is available online where it can be read for free on several websites, including that of The New Yorker. In book form the piece has been anthologized frequently. You can find it alongside contributions from the likes of William Carlos Williams, Don DeLillo, and Stephen King, in the elegant 721-page hardcover volume, Baseball: A Literary Anthology. It can be found in "The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond" (paperback), edited by Jeff Silverman, where it hides amongst 30 fiction and nonfiction pieces from a motley crew of writers such as Doris Kearns Godwin, Pete Hamill, Ring Lardner, P.G. Wodehouse, Vin Scully (on Sandy Koufax), and Abbott and Costello (whose "Who's on First" comic routine is gloriously reprinted in its entirety). Link here: The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond. The essay joins a broader array of sports pieces recently assembled in The Only Game in Town: Sportswriting from The New Yorker (Modern Library Paperbacks), where Updike shares space with Malcolm Gladwell (who writes about failure in sports), Martin Amis (on tennis personalities), and John McPhee (on Bill Bradley's basketball career). Then there is the Library of American edition mentioned previously.

While you consider your options, this diversion might be of interest: A 35-second video of Ted Williams' last at bat at Fenway Park on September 28, 1960 can be viewed on YouTube (Google the words, YouTube Williams last time at bat). If you watch it, pay special attention as Williams rounds third and heads for home. At that moment the cameraman pans up to show the crowd in the stands closest to third base, the very section where John Updike was sitting and, at that instant, was on his feet joining in the whole stadium's "beseeching screaming." The video is too fuzzy for us to spot him among the witnesses to Ted Williams' glorious piece of work. But Updike's there, absorbing the moment, his mind already starting work on his own piece for the ages.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, July 8, 2014
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This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
Good short story. Easy reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic piece of baseball literature!, June 30, 2014
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This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
A great read for Red Sox fans and for all baseball fans !
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hub Fans is one of the great peices of spots writing ever to be penned and printed, April 25, 2014
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This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
This "book" a New Yorker magazine essay written by John Updike prior to his being a published novelist captures a magnificent moment in time - Williams' last at bat at Fenway. It illuminates the man, the athlete, the greatness and the flaws in gorgeous language. I have so far ordered 30 of these and give them out as gifts to clients and friends who love the game regardless of their team affiliation. I keep buying they so as to never run out of stock. This is a treasure.
Barbara Pickens
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4.0 out of 5 stars A writer's lament of the game, April 15, 2014
By 
R. DelParto "Rose2" (Virginia Beach, VA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
Spring always inspires with new beginnings, flowers in bloom, but also yesterday’s experiences. John Updike writes all these elements and more in his short story and memoir of September 28, 1960. Updike’s memoir of watching the legendary Ted “the kid” Williams’s last game at Fenway Park as the Boston Red Sox played against the Baltimore Orioles. Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu is a re-publication of an article that originally appeared in the New Yorker in October 1960 but now appeared during the time of its publication, 2010 to commemorate 50 years after that historic moment in baseball history. For baseball aficionados or the curious, the story resonates and marks of a new horizon of Camelot and the 1960s and the end golden age of America’s past time turning over to a new generation of players and events.

The book and memoir specifically is a personal account on the part of Updike’s love of the game that began as it does with many, as a child that continued well into adulthood. This shows within the opening passages of the book that is touching and succinct with only 47 pages of reflections and reminisces, especially, Updike recollects that moment in September when Williams walks on the field and the reaction that he observes from fans sitting right next to him of young and older fans from all walks of society and play by play of the game; this is displayed in the last ten pages of the book. Although the account is meant to be a detailed account, footnotes are also included to reprint an interesting biographical byline of the man and baseball player that began his careers at a young age of 18 years old and decided to call it a day by 42 years old.

For readers that have touched upon so-called baseball literature by writers such as Bernard Malamud and his book The Natural or the legendary poem by Ernest Thayer “Casey at the Bat: The Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888,” this story may also be placed slightly in the category. Much similar to writers that interweave their love for music or art, this is an interesting story that laments of the young at heart moments of adolescence that never grow old in adulthood, especially for the game of baseball.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Piece, October 6, 2013
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Its called the best piece on baseball ever written for a reason. Most read for baseball fan others will enjoy as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I've read this story before and still enjoy it., February 11, 2013
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This review is from: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams (Hardcover)
A man among men who is considered the greatest hitter of all time, a great loss to the baseball world.
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Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams
Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams by John Updike (Hardcover - April 29, 2010)
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