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I don't often get to blog about two of my favorite pursuits -- baseball and reading -- but John Updike's death gives me the chance. Updike was a prolific writer, and his works include novels, poetry and literary criticism -- much like another great American, Edgar Allan Poe. But Poe never covered a baseball game.

Yesterday, I re-read "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," Updike's classic magazine piece on Ted Williams' last game at Fenway Park. Published in October, 1960, in The New Yorker, it does have a few purplish moments, which I attribute mainly to a half-century of age. But from the opening lines, he grabs you with his decriptive language: "Fenway Park, in Boston, is a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark. Everything is painted green and seems in sharp focus, like the inside of an old-fashioned peeping-type Easter egg."

He perfectly captures Williams, a Red Sox legend, at rest and at work. "Williams' conversational stance is that of a six-foot-three man under a six-foot ceiling. ... 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."

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That story is the perfect counterpoint to a snow-covered Baltimore. And I bet you get a chill when Ted gets his last homer. That is Updike's genius at work.

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