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Lit Fans Bid Scribe Adieu: John Updike, 1932–2009

A sad day for American letters, and America generally, with the passing of author John Updike. The hero of his great Rabbit series was a basketball player, but Updike knew his baseball as well, and gave us one of our most memorable—and best titled—pieces on the national pastime: Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu. Our cap is doffed. 

6 replies on “Lit Fans Bid Scribe Adieu: John Updike, 1932–2009”

a very sad day.
“My mind mocks itself as I strive to pray,
to squeeze from a dried-up creed
enough anaesthetizing balm
to enroll me among sleep’s tranced citizenry,
who know no void nor common sense.

– from “Song to Myself”

That is one of the best written baseball stories I have ever read.
Excellent link on a very sad thread, YF.

Like a feather caught in a vortex, Williams ran around the square of bases at the center of our beseeching screaming. He ran as he always ran out home runs—hurriedly, unsmiling, head down, as if our praise were a storm of rain to get out of. He didn’t tip his cap. 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.
That paragraph has never failed to give me chills.

OMG, I’m right in the middle of the third Rabbit book (like, I was reading it this morning)…it’s a good read, more lyrical/stream-of-consciousness than I’m usually into, but great use of language, great insight into people’s inner thoughts. Clearly the work of a talented writer.
Sorry to see this day, and it IS a great piece of sportswriting.

“But immortality is nontransferable.”
I have, for years, tried to figure out exactly what he meant by this. I know what he’s getting at, but what did he mean exactly? Perhaps I’m over-thinking it.
Nobody writes like this any more.
Any of your every read any of John Lardner’s sports pieces? It’s all out of print. THAT guy was unbelieveable, too.

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