Thursday, October 17, 2013

Andrew Selkirk -- The Old Ball Game

A one-time cellist with various radio orchestras, Selkirk began a business arranging packaged radio programs until severe financial reverses left the 37 year old on the verge of bankruptcy.  Forced to send his wife to live with her mother, Selkirk was scheduled to vacate their Chicago apartment at 180 East Delaware on September 7, 1934.  That morning, he handed the bellboy two notes, one addressed to the manager of the building instructing him to break down the door of the apartment and to notify his wife, and the other to his wife explaining the deed.  Selkirk then fired a bullet into his brain.

To his wife, he wrote:  "Terese Dear:  These are the last and honest words of a soul in turmoil.  For what has happened to us I am entirely to blame.  Living, I am of no use to anybody, not even myself.  I want you to put all of this tangle out of your mind and begin anew.  Good luck, and I wish you a new and better deal."  In a message found at the scene dated August 7, Selkirk left a whimsical verse epitah addressed to a female friend of the family:  "Dear Honey:  Since we got into this argument, let's have a lot of fun, shall we?  What do you think of this paraphrase as an epitaph:

'Here lies the last work of Andy Selkirk;
For him life held no terrors;
He lived like a fool and died like a fool;
No runs, no hits, some error.
But no one left on bases.'

To get the full significance of the above you should listen to two full baseball broadcasts from beginning to end.  Yours in martyrdom, hi-de-hi, Andy."

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