On Sept. 28, 1960, Ted Williams homered off Baltimore’s Jack Fisher before 10,454 fans at Fenway Park. It was the last at-bat of his career.
He ran around the bases with his head down and didn’t tip his cap. As the great John Updike wrote so memorably:
Though we thumped, wept, and chanted “We want Ted” for minutes after he hid in the dugout, he did not come back. Our noise for some seconds passed beyond excitement into a kind of immense open anguish, a wailing, a cry to be saved. But immortality is nontransferable. The papers said that the other players, and even the umpires on the field, begged him to come out and acknowledge us in some way, but he never had and did not now. Gods do not answer letters.
When Williams went back out to left field, manager Pinky Higgins sent Carroll Hardy out to replace him. “That’s horse(bleep),” Williams uttered as he jogged back.
He never played again, deciding against going to New York for a three-game series to end the season. The Sox had already been eliminated.
If you’re interested in more, you can read Updike’s historic piece from the New Yorker “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu.”
Or, better yet, buy the commemorative book celebrating Updike’s story. I have a copy and it’s a great keepsake, something to treasure if you’re a baseball fan.
If nothing else, pause and think a little bit about Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived.