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03/13/2011

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Bill Lewers

Dear Judy,

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my book: Six Decades of Baseball: A Personal Narrative and for the effort you expended in writing your very thoughtful review.

Many of your observations (even those that made me a bit uncomfortable) were right on the money. I confess that the first thing I did after reading your review was to get a count of the number of times the words “remember” and “recall” appear in the text. I will not reveal the exact number here but suffice to say it is rather large. On a related note, one of the things I noticed during my multiple proof reading sessions with the text was my tendency to repeat the same words and phrases over and over again. I suspect this is a common problem among rookie authors. I spent quite a bit of time trying to rectify that but apparently with only partial success.

Another fair observation concerns the question of whether an ordinary fan’s narrative would generate much interest beyond the author’s own immediate circle of family and friends. I will confess that from time-to-time during the writing process I would ask myself “Who am I kidding? Who out there is going to want to read this stuff?” Always the same answer would come back - “I will, and for now that will have to suffice.”

On one point I will vigorously defend my work and that is on the treatment of Ted Williams who you seem to feel I dismiss with the observation:

“Much has been written about his last at bat home run at Fenway Park. While it was certainly a nice way to go out, I do not think I paid it that much mind.”

In an earlier chapter I describe many of the thrills that the Splendid Splinter provided me, especially that grand slam homerun he hit in September, 1957 at Yankee Stadium in the midst of his string of 16 consecutive base reaching at bats. References to other Williams’s heroics that I witnessed are sprinkled throughout the chapters that cover the 1950s. Ted Williams was one of the few players I saw who could electrify a crowd just by entering a game and he was one of my baseball heroes.

My recollection though is that by the time the 1960 season was winding down I was ready to move on. In writing the book I tried to reflect on the events as I perceived them at the time as opposed to how we might regard them today. Getting a homerun in his last at bat was indeed a nice way to finish and I don’t wish to trivialize it but at the same time I did not regard it as the mythic happening that John Updike and others have bestowed on it. As there were only some 10,000 fans in the park, I’m not sure the city of Boston regarded it that way either. I have many special memories of Ted Williams but his final exit is not one of them.

Mostly though I just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog (I especially enjoyed the “Red Sox vs Mets” entry) and to thank you for letting my book occupy a little corner of it.

Sincerely,

Bill Lewers

watching the game

Bill,

You make a convincing case for the Ted Williams exit, and I'm pleased to have this opportunity to revisit and re-think that event in light of your vigorous defense. Thank you. I hope many other readers will enjoy your unique baseball portraits and the richness of your story as I did!

all the best,
Judy

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