John Updike died yesterday at the age of 76. My favorite piece of his -- my favorite piece of sportswriting ever -- was on the final game of Ted William's career:
Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu
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.
NYTimes: A Relentless Updike Mapped America’s Mysteries
Obituary: John Updike, a Lyrical Writer of the Ordinary, Is Dead at 76
The New Yorker: John Updike Short Story Archive