NEW YORK - JULY 17: Members of the New York Yankees 1950 World Series championship team stand during ceremonies prior to the start of the teams 64th Old-Timer's Day before the MLB game against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 17 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jack Kerouac was living in Richmond Hill, New York, a neighborhood in Queens, when he sat down to type a letter to his friend Neal Cassady on October 6, 1950. Cassady and Kerouac had traveled the country together for years, and the writer's old friend would soon be immortalized as the character Dean Moriarty in Kerouac’s novel, "On the Road," which the author was already two years into the process of writing at that point. Kerouac had already completed his first novel, "The Town and the City," and was editing it for publication later that year when he sat at the typewriter to write to Cassady. "First let me say that I have been digging the World Series," Kerouac wrote, "…and the tones of the various announcers."
The New York Yankees, led by manager Casey Stengel, shortstop Phil Rizzuto and center fielder Joe DiMaggio were playing Del Ennis, Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts and the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1950 Series that Fall. Kerouac was taking it all in on the radio as explained in the letter. "This morning I did the World Series the honor of getting up early and blasting ahead of time," Kerouac wrote, "There’s an announcer from Philly called Gene Kelly who is an exact replica of John [Clellon] Holmes (that is, dig John as a radio announcer), with the same way of being proud of his verbs and so on, like a groundball is hit, he’ll say…'a slow, twisting, weak roller' as if baseball was the significance of life in itself, the things that happen in it representing in symbols of action, the symbols of (twisting) despair in the ‘modern world.’"
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