am writing! the first attempt at starting the Billy Williams/Willie McCovey epilogue
I returned to my hotel in Syracuse this afternoon following a terrific induction ceremony for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and began writing. I envision Buck O'Neil's induction into the Hall as the epilogue to my dual biography of Billy Williams and Willie McCovey. O'Neil played a crucial role in saving Williams's career when the latter essentially left baseball and went home while in the minor leagues. Buck visited Billy, gently guided him toward returning, and the rest of Williams's Hall of Fame career is beautiful history.
I'm playing with the following two short paragraphs as the start of the epilogue. I am considering making a perspective change and telling the story of the weekend through my eyes as a first time visitor to induction weekend. Will I stick with that angle? Not sure yet. It worked reasonably well with Charlie Murphy, so I already lean that way. At any rate, here is my initial (completely unedited lol) attempt at stringing some sentences together for the epilogue.
I snapped the photo that accompanies this post during the Parade of Legends on Saturday evening. Billy Williams (Hall of Fame Class of 1987) waves to fans along Main Street.
On July 23, 2022, I steered a rental car into the parking lot of the brick United Methodist church building at the end of Glen Avenue in Cooperstown, New York. A kindly older lady, who sported a polo shirt and visor with a cord backing to protect her face from the screeching sun, greeted me with equal warmth. “It’s 92, 93 degrees. The same as in Florida!” she exclaimed. “You can’t even tell where you are when you wake up.” I didn’t want to pay to park, but being unsure of exactly where to go and what to expect traffic-wise I nonetheless forked over $30 to take an easy way out. My contribution to the collection plate negated by achieving sought after convenience, I suppose.
It was induction weekend at the National Baseball Hall of Fame – my first time attending – and I had hustled to the village from Syracuse after arriving there in the early morning hours due to several delayed flights, the last of which featured college basketball coach Jim Boeheim sitting near the front of the plane. If the airline wasn’t going to get Boeheim – the man nationally synonymous with the town – to Syracuse on time I could most certainly forget about it. However, the energy of the weekend – highlighted by the opportunity to sit down with Billy Williams to talk about Buck O’Neil on the eve of the latter’s entrance into the Hall – more than made up for lost sleep. I parked the car, grabbed my tan messenger bag, forgot to apply sunscreen, and headed into the heart of baseball history.