Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.
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November 26, 2007 |
Post to the Host:
I recently read Leigh Montville's biography of Ted Williams. In it I discovered that Williams spent a year playing for the Minneapolis Millers prior to making the majors. During that time, he fell in love with Minnesota. He would frequently return in the off-season to hunt and fish all over your fine state. Is there any chance he ever happened to wander into Lake Wobegon? What would the residents have made of him?
Williams did play for the Millers back when they were a Red Sox farm team and I remember seeing him towards the end of his career, when the Sox came to Minneapolis to play an exhibition game. The Splendid Splinter sat in the dugout as the fans peered down at him there on the bench and speculated whether he would come out to bat, or perhaps even tip his cap, and in the 9th inning he did came out to pinch-hit and got a fat pitch and whacked it over the wall and trotted around the bases. He looked good, trotting. That was the only time I saw him and then, not long after, I read John Updike's splendid homage to Williams in The New Yorker, "Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu," a title I remember well forty-five years later. I never heard of Williams coming to Minnesota. I had thought he preferred deep-sea fishing off Florida, where he lived. But who knows? Minnesota has tens of thousands of lakes and the great man could've driven up to one, rented a boat, and had himself a splendid day on the water and nobody the wiser. Had he wandered into Lake Wobegon, somebody would've recognized him for sure maybe Art at Art's Baits, or Dorothy at the Chatterbox Cafe and that person would've guarded his privacy assiduously. Mr. Williams would've sat in splendid isolation and picked out his bait or enjoyed his grilled cheese sandwich and nobody would've asked for his autograph. The person who recognized him would want to be the ONLY person to know that Ted Williams was in town, and then once he was gone, that person would've told everybody. They would've said, "Naw, you're pulling my leg." And the person would've said, "He was here. I talked to him. He was a nice guy. I don't care if you believe me or not." That's how that would work.