Posts Tagged ‘The Washington Post’

Ted Williams Hits His Final Home Run

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

When a lanky native of San Diego hit a home run on September 28, 1960, it was not, perhaps, the most significant happening in his career—and certainly not the most significant happening in world affairs during the ninth month of the 60th year of the 20th century.

Ted Williams won two MVP Awards, the Triple Crown, and The Sporting News Major League Player of the Year Award seven times.  His career statistics include 521 home runs, .344 batting average, and .634 slugging percentage.  On that late September day, for the last time, Williams donned his Red Sox uniform, heard the cheers from the Fenway Park denizens, and went yard in his last at bat in the major leagues.

Legendary sportswriter Shirley Povich of the Washington Post noted that the excellence of the Red Sox slugger negated any revelatory aspects of the milestone.  “It shouldn’t have been surprising.  Williams has been making a commonplace of the dramatic homer ever since he came into the majors,” wrote Povich.

Still, an emotional charge laced the moment as Williams placed a period at the end of a 22-year career, all in a Red Sox uniform.  Nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter” for his batting prowess, Williams understood the impact of the home run.  “The first thing he did after the game was to send the home run bat to Tom Yawkey upstairs by bat boy Bobby Sullivan.  Then he hung around and soaked up praise and adulation, the admiring glances of those who would not approach, the warmth of a winning clubhouse—as he never would again,” wrote Harold Kaese in the Boston Globe.

Nonetheless, Williams did not tip his hat to the crowd.

About three weeks after Williams’s last game, The New Yorker published John Updike’s account in its October 22, 1960 issue; “Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu” stands as a model of baseball writing.  It is an honest appraisal of the dynamic fostered in the Red Sox legend’s adopted city.  Updike wrote, “The affair between Boston and Ted Williams has been no mere summer romance; it has been a marriage, composed of spats, mutual disappointments, and, toward the end, a mellowing of shared memories.”

Additionally, an unparalleled work ethic, according to Updike, set Williams apart from his peers.  “No other player visible to my generation has concentrated within himself so much of the sport’s poignance, has so assiduously refined his natural skills, has so constantly brought to the plate that intensity of competence that crowds the throat with joy,” opined Updike.

Invoking the theory of ceteris paribus—all things being equal—Williams’s home run might have been in the 600s rather than the 500s had he not served his country during World War II.  A hero for his service as a pilot, Williams did not play professional baseball from 1943 to 1945, losing three years in his prime.  When Williams returned in 1946, he showed no signs of slowing down—MVP Award, .342 batting average, and 123 RBI.  Additionally, he led the major leagues in walks (156), slugging percentage (.667), on-base percentage (.497), and runs scored (142).

A version of this article appeared on www.thesportspost.com on December 16, 2015.

Thursdays at 10

Sunday, October 18th, 2015

RemingtonFor nearly 30 years, from 1981 to 2009, NBC defined quality television programming in the 10:00 p.m. time slot.  Hill Street Blues debuted in 1981 and changed the production of television drama.

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The Larry Sanders Show

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

RemingtonWith Stephen Colbert entering the late night talk show wars, audiences have another choice to wind down their day.  Late night, a programming block invented by NBC with Broadway Open House in 1950, spurred a slew of hosts.

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Aaron Sorkin and the White House

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

RemingtonBefore he became the architect of the fictional Bartlet presidency on The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin wrote the 1995 film The American President.  Sorkin’s story depicts the end of President Andrew Shepherd’s first term.  Shepherd, a democrat, is a widower with a teenage daughter; his wife died before the campaign.

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Ad Men

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

RemingtonPrime time television offers a plethora of advertising agencies.  Bewitched boasts McMahon & Tate with Darrin Stephens, a good-natured, smart, creative advertising executive with a wife who’s a bit bewitching.  Some sources use McMann as the spelling of the first partner’s name.

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When Colonel Potter Was a General

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

RemingtonM*A*S*H had a terrific roster of guest stars during its run from 1972 to 1983 on CBS.  Ron Howard.  Laurence Fishbone.  Andrew Duggan.  Rosalind Chao.  Dennis Dugan.  Blythe Danner.  James Cromwell.  Leslie Nielsen.  Gwen Verdon.  George Wendt.  Mary Wickes.  Susan Saint James.  Shelley Long.  Mary Kay Place.  Edward Herrmann.  Andrew Dice Clay.

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Bush, Gore, and the 2000 Presidential Election

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

RemingtonHBO’s 2008 tv-movie Recount dramatizes the events surrounding the controversial Florida votes in the 2000 presidential election.  A complex tale involving arcane election law, Recount benefits from an all-star cast portraying the proceedings that Americans watched in real time for more than a month on cable news channels.

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The Height Plight of Warren Coolidge

Friday, April 17th, 2015

RemingtonA lesson about being thankful for individuality is embodied in BMOC, an episode of The White Shadow.  The episode’s title is, of course, an acronym for the phrase Big Man on Campus.  It accurately describes Warren Coolidge, the star center for the Carver High School basketball team, the focus of The White Shadow, a CBS show that aired in prime time from 1978 to 1981.  The White Shadow revolved around a white ex-NBA player coaching a team composed of minorities.

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Double Dribble: The Story of “The White Shadow” (Part 5 of 5)

Friday, January 10th, 2014

The White Shadow revealed Ken Reeves’ back story in the two-part Season 3 premiere episode Reunion.  Reeves’ Bayside High School Class of 1960 holds its 20-year reunion, furnishing the trigger for Reeves’ return to old friends, lost loves, and family in Queens, New York.  Buchanon’s promotion to Principal upon Willis’ move to Superintendent of Schools in Oakland adds to Reeves’ stress before his trip starts.

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How Edgar Rice Burroughs Created Tarzan

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Six letters.  _ A _ _ A N.  Clue:  He is considered a superhero but he has no superpowers.  He is the protector of a dangerous, labyrinthian jungle envorinment and its citizenry.

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