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Terry Hughes

October 2, 2008
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I finished re-reading Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums for the half-dozenth or so time on the long commute home from work last night. This reading of the book, which I don’t think measures up to Kerouac’s opus, On the Road, but which has what I find to be an extremely touching sincerity and a frail, delicate beauty all its own, was colored by my reading, immediately beforehand, of Jack’s Book, an oral biography of the author that concludes by charting his long sad retreat from the guileless embrace of life that colored his early years and his greatest prose. He died a bloated housebound wino watching television in the afternoon, crippled by fame and bitter and tired of life at the age of 47. I knew this already, but had never seen it so intimately described, with the words of those close to him, so this time when I read Dharma Bums, a book that ends, literally, with him coming down from a mountain, I couldn’t help but sadly see the clues to his eventual ruin everywhere. He is, in that book, already starting to drink too much. More generally, there is something in his version of buddhism, as opposed to the always-engaged-with-life buddhism of the co-star of the book, Japhy Ryder (the poet Gary Snyder), that speaks of a deep wish to negate the pain of the world by negating the world. Hints of a return-to-womb mentality, a curl-up-and-die mentality. The beauty of the book comes in the tension between the author’s growing wish to pull the plug on the Whole Cosmic Show and his deeply felt love for all creatures great and small, his sincere attempt to love every inch of this world as if it were heaven already arrived.

The book ends with him coming down from the mountain, but since I know that what happens after that descent is a sad reversal of the zen saying, quoted in the book, “when you get to the top of the mountain, keep climbing,” I want to focus on the beginning of the book, which I mentioned yesterday, Kerouac’s stand-in Ray Smith noticing and drawing out the thin little St. Theresa bum. When you stop noticing the people and things in the margins of life, you might be on your way to a general creeping darkness, the world disappearing from your weakening grasp. So here is the marginal Terry Hughes, who played a few games for the Red Sox in 1974. Does anyone ever mention him in the litany of Red Sox names? Has anyone ever asked him if he’s got a special prayer? Also, why so glum, Terry? And where did you get your haircut? And whither goest thou in the fading October light with your droopy features and baggy eyes?

* * *

Some more random thoughts about my Bosox. If in April I was told the following, I would have assumed I’d not be staying up past my bedtime to watch playoff games in October:

1. The starting pitcher who dominated all last season and into the playoffs is going to be hurt a lot and will be generally less effective, then at the very end of the year he will sustain an oblique injury.

2. The older veteran starting pitcher who once again came up big in the playoffs last season is not going to be able to pitch a single game all year, with or without a bloody sock.

3. The all-world lefty slugger is going to be out for over a month with an injury that will linger the rest of the year, noticably reducing his effectiveness.

4. The all-world righty slugger is going to start tanking it half way through the season, leading to a huge ugly controversy that ends with him being traded.

5. The right-fielder who will pick up the slack for the injured all-world lefty slugger will himself get injured and miss a lot of time.

6. The reigning World Series MVP will get injured and miss a lot of time and look aluminum-walker-worthy when he returns.

7. The starting shortstop will get injured midseason and miss the rest of the year.

8. The reliever from Japan who was such a huge part of the team’s bullpen success in 2007 will be much less effective.

9. The kid pitcher who threw a no-hitter and looked so promising in 2007 will be absolutely awful.

10. The rookie outfielder who was so electrifying in the World Series will look fairly ordinary and have long stretches where he won’t be able to get on base.

11. The team captain will hit like he’s blind and crippled.

12 comments

  1. 1.  I didn’t realize that Terry Hughes played enough to get a baseball card. I recall reading a Red Sox program and seeing his name and Kim Andrews name and being confused.


  2. 2.  There’s something downright disorienting about reading your thoughts on current events in baseball. They are every bit as artful and valid as your ruminations on the Gods and ghosts of the past, however.

    I am certain that the above was meant as a compliment.

    In other news, I was recently pulled from my Saturday afternoon torpor by the promise of baseball card vendors at my local mall. I took the bait, but soon disregarded the handful of tables as being chock full of shiny, overpriced inserts and random vintage cards that I could just as easily pick up on the cheap from eBay. Then I checked out a display on the bottom floor of the mall and found…

    An entire table’s worth of long boxes of 1970s Topps. 5 for $2, 20 for $7, 100 for $30. Regrettably, my baser, more miserly instincts kicked in and I limited myself to 25 cards from this glorious 1975 set. But I was simply mesmerized as I rooted through that box, carefully selecting my meager bounty. Here were the Cardboard Gods, passing through my very own hands: Ken McMullen, Carmen Fanzone, Ben Oglivie, Dennis Blair. Ultimately I passed most of them up for cards that held more personal significance: the unfathomable sight of Rick Dempsey in a Yankee uniform, the slightly more fathomable sight of Davey Johnson as an Atlanta Brave, Mike Marshall (chosen out of an appreciation for all things Ball Four).

    I should try to track down that vendor, and get my 100 cards. Or 200. We’re talking about thirty cents a card here. I could kick that skinflint version of me from a few weeks in the past.


  3. 3.  Terry Hughes’ wasn’t completely useless, he was once involved in a trade that included fellow Cardboard God John Curtis!


  4. 4.  1 : Confusion over ballplayers named Terry and Kim reminds me of the time some friends and I were drawing names of New York Rangers players out of a hat (the holder of the name who scored the team’s first goal of the season won the beer money we’d pooled) and my friend Charles got a little-known Czech winger named Valeri. “I got a girl,” he said.

    2 : It’d be hard for me not to go nuts on such a table, but then again I’m a huge cheapskate.

    3 : Right. Also in that trade were two very evocative names from my youth, Reggie Cleveland and Diego Segui.

    You wouldn’t guess it from his hard-worn anonymous face, but Hughes was a phenom when he was younger, or he must have been: he was the second player taken in the 1967 amateur draft. Something must have soured somewhere between point A and point B, however. But as the back of this card states, Hughes found triumph along the way, as a member of three AAA championships.


  5. 5.  2 That’s John Duffield Curtis III to you, mister.

    2 I have a friend whose parents did and still do live in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and they took in players for the short-season Pittsfield Red Sox of the NY-Penn league. Their boarder was Carmen Fanzone. They said he was a terrific young man. Years later, I slept in the same pull-out sofa bed as the young Carmen Fanzone.


  6. 6.  You have an uncanny knack of digging out baseball cards of people I didn’t even know existed — and I always thought I knew the dark corners of the Baseball Encyclopedia pretty well.
    If I didn’t know better, I would think you were creating these guys yourself in Photoshop.

    That mustache ain’t working for Terry Hughes.
    That’s a parking-lot-attendant-who-wishes-he-was-Sonny-Barger mustache.


  7. 7.  Re: JK It’s always intrigued me how far off you can see the coming of the bloated housebound wino watching tv—a practiced doom detector could probably note its presence from the beginning but it comes sharply into focus w/ Dharma Bums, Desolation Angels, & Big Sur where the war between curl-up-and-die & always-engaged-with-life is in full desperate swing. Great, thoughtful writing Josh.


  8. 8.  5 : “Years later, I slept in the same pull-out sofa bed as the young Carmen Fanzone.”

    Sir, I stand before you in awe. (Really.)

    6 : “If I didn’t know better, I would think you were creating these guys yourself in Photoshop.”

    I assure you, I don’t have the imagination needed to create Terry Hughes.

    7 : Yeah, I remember Desolation Angels as having a heart-breaking downward trajectory. I haven’t had the heart to read Big Sur yet. The period it covers is referred to at length in that oral biography I mentioned, Jack’s Book, and Kerouac comes across as being lost, in great pain, and even (in terms of demonizing his prospective 4-year-old stepson and demanding that the kid be sent far away to boarding school) cruel.


  9. This is one of the first cards i got in my early years of collecting. For whatever reason, the Topps cards shipped to NE Ohio didn’t have any of the big BOSOX stars, who at that time, I didnt really know of. Yaz who? Fisk?

    In May of 1975 I thought Terry Hughes was the MAN of Boston as my whole collection of cards at that time for boston consisted of Terry Hughes and Mario Guerrero.

    He looked just like the neighbor who lived next door to me for years, who I liked. So I had a certain fondness for Terry Hughes. For 4 months I thought for sure, in my imaginative mind, that Mr Hughes was holding down the hot corner in Boston.

    I eventually picked up a Rico Petrocelli card and learned there was more to Boston then Terry Hughes.

    I never saw Hughes in the box scores, but assumed he must have had some vital role in 1975. I see now, he didnt even play in 1975 for the Red Sox.

    Apparently the Cards regretted get rid of this ‘hot prospect’ and wanted him back. They purchased him from the Red Sox.

    I see he played 1 game as a DH for the RedSox in 1974. WTF? These stupid tidbits of information i need to know!


  10. Well maybe you RedSox fans can shed some light on this as to why the decision was made to have our good buddy Terry Hughes DH. I found the game.
    August 6th 1974.
    22,756 screaming fans got to witness the Hot Hitting (at the moment .189) Terry Hughes bat 7th and play DH.
    The RedSox were in first place at the time, no doubt due to fine strategic moves like this.
    The redsox had already won the first game of a doubleheader against the Brewers. So I guess Darrel Johnson needed to give some rest to his starters in the second game.
    Hughes didnt’ respond well to the pressure of being a DH and preceded to go 0-4 with 2 strikeouts. He also lined out to SS and grounded out to third.

    He couldn’t even spell Rico Petrocelli at 3rd. Rico played both games of the twinbill at 3rd. I suppose Darrel wanted Terry to focus solely on hitting. Eight games later, Terry finally got to play again, batted ninth and played 3rd while Rico P played DH. He responded well with the much needed rest from the stress of being a DH and went 1 for 3. A sharp single was to CF off Frank Tanana.

    Another 9 days later Hughes got to play again and went 0-3 batting ninth and the sox still in first, dropped 2 in a row.

    It wasn’t until 24 games later that Terry got to play again. This time as a late inning defensive sub for Mario who was PH for by Rice. The RedSox lost again. That huge lead they had in first place a month ago, evaporated and they were now 3GB behind in the 3rd place.

    Surprisingly Johnson decided to start Hughes at 3rd batting ninth against the first place orioles on sept 20, 1974. Terry went 0-2. He drew a walk in the 7th. In the 9th. Rice PH for Dick McAuliffe ending the game. No word on whether Terry would have batted next in this important game.

    At 4 GB against the orioles with 11 games to go, the nod went to Hughes to play 3rd and bat in the comfortable 9th position. He went 1-4 as the Sox lost.

    The RedSox moved to 79-74 with a win over the yanks moving the 3.5 back of Bal. Hughes goes 1-4 batting ninth striking out 3 times.
    He plays again the next night, batting 8th going 1-4 with single off Gura in the heat of the pennant chase.

    In game 156 he came on late in the game and got HPB. No word on if there was a brawl. I would like to imagine that that incident sparked a brawl as a fired up Hughes stormed the mound and john hiller to let the league know boston is NOT giving up yet. He scored that inning on another CBG Bob Montgomory single.

    Liking the fire Hughes brought to the team, Johnson starts Hughes again and he goes 1-3 with a BB as the Sox win.

    Game 160 and the SOX officially out of it, Hughes plays 3rd bats 7th and goes 0-3 with to K’s.
    Game 161 he goes 1-2 batting 7th and playing 3rd
    Game 162 he goes 1-4 with a K. His last official AB a ground out to 3rd.

    Wow the RedSox let the season get away. It appears perphaps RicoP was injuried late in the season?

    Anyway, I don’t know how much you RedSox fans attribute the demise of your season to Terry Hughes. But he clearly played a part : )
    5K people saw Hughes last game game on 10.2.1974
    Were you one of them?


  11. The white smudge on his lip on the card shown makes it look like he was smoking a cigarette.
    Did you know on the back of his card, it says
    “Terry played on 3 AAA championships”

    I see one terry hughes card for sale on ebay….going price 2.99!!
    In additon to the facsimilie sig on the card, it has sig in blue by terry.
    The signatures are not the same though.

    Other Terry Hughes cards appear to be going for .49, so his autograph is worth 2.50! I am sure the stories he could tell are priceless :)


  12. I didn’t want to leave Terry Hughes on a sad note, so here is probably his happiest moment

    Saturday, June 29, 1974 1:06PM, Cleveland Stadium
    Attendance: 10,220, Time of Game: 2:28

    He had pinch ran for petrocelli, stayed in the game, and then on his first AB, SMASHED a towering drive over the outfield wall for his one and only home run. Rick Miller was on base and joined in the jubilant celebration at the plate. I’d like to imagine he had some Fisk body language willing it to stay fair and make it over. Perhaps Fisk learned that move from Hughes. Only 10K or so people know for sure



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