The passing of John Updike today reverberated across all corners of American culture, and in the sports corner of that culture, it meant more to the Red Sox than any other franchise (Rabbit Angstrom’s high school hoops team excluded). The opening lines of Updike’s famous essay about Ted Williams’s final at-bat, “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu,” did as much for the mythology of Fenway Park as any piece of writing. Surely you’ve read it. If you have not, please, click the link.
Bob Ryan wrote a terriffic column about the essay last year, which summarizes the piece more eloquently than this space could. Red Sox president Larry Lucchino released this statement today in the wake of Updike’s death:
“The Boston Red Sox join literary lovers of all backgrounds in mourning the loss of the great writer and Massachusetts resident, John Updike. For Red Sox fans in particular, a read of his essay, ‘Hub fans bid Kid Adieu’, which was inspired by Ted Williams’ last game, may serve as a fitting way to pay homage. The first few lines of this famous essay were inscribed on the walls of the Reception Area in our Front Office in 2002 and serve not only as a tribute to the ballpark he described, but also to the magnificent style in which he captured it. He will be missed.”