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Fifty Years Ago Tuesday, Ted Williams Ended His Career With A Home Run

Fifty years ago today, Ted Williams stepped up to the plate and deposited the pitch into the Red Sox bullpen in right field. It was the final at-bat of his 19-year major league career.

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The home run prompted John Updike to pen his famous "Hub fans Bid Kid Adieu."

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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.

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