A confluence of various things caused me to read more than one – three, to be precise – fantastic profiles of over the hill baseball players this week. I offer them to you for your long weekend, so take advantage of the office printer.
For those Meanderers who don’t know an infield fly from a suicide squeeze – or, better yet, don’t care to know – fret not. These articles aren’t really about baseball. Here’s the evidence.
Gay Talese on Joe DiMaggio:
During their honeymoon in Tokyo an American general had introduced himself and asked if, as a patriotic gesture, [Marilyn Monroe] would visit the troops in Korea. She looked at Joe. “It’s your honeymoon,” he said, shrugging, “go ahead if you want to.”
She appeared on 10 occasions before 100,000 servicemen, and when she returned, she said, “It was so wonderful, Joe. You never heard such cheering.”
“Yes, I have,” he said.
John Updike on Ted Williams:
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 hoard of shared memories. It falls into three stages, which may be termed Youth, Maturity, and Age; or Thesis, Antithesis, and Synthesis; or Jason, Achilles, and Nestor.
Tom Verducci on Sandy Koufax:
DiMaggio, baseball’s other legendary protector of privacy, was practically Rodmanesque compared with Koufax. DiMaggio was regal, having acquired even the stiff-handed wave of royalty. We watched the graying of DiMaggio as he played TV pitchman and public icon. Koufax is a living James Dean, the aura of his youth frozen in time; he has grayed without our even knowing it. He is a sphinx, except that he doesn’t want anyone to try to solve his riddle.
I prefer them in the order listed above, but they all touch on a remarkably similar theme: the lion in the winter, Shakespeare post-Macbeth, Hanson post-Mmmbop, Favre post-retirement(s). What does one do, indeed, when one has conquered this planet in every worldly sense and must confront the rest of one’s life? I told you it wasn’t about baseball.
Oh, a decent set of writers helps too.