"And you can't
quit playing ball either," Woolf said. "Even though you can afford it,
you'll be an emotional wreck if you quit now. It's only April. There's a whole
season to go. You can't sit through it without going nuts."
going to retire. If I can't play for the Red Sox I don't want to play for
were playing Cleveland that day. Before the game I walked under the stands to
the visiting team's locker room to see Dark. The Cleveland players were
great—they crowded around to shake hands and tell me how glad they were I was
with them. When we reached Alvin's office, he said, "Man, am I glad to see
you! You can mean a pennant for us."
said, "you're my best friend in baseball. I'd rather play for you than
anyone. But I've got to explain this to you personally. I don't want you to get
it from anyone else. I'm going to retire."
He stared and
said, "Retire? At 27? With your best years ahead of you? Hawk, are you out
of your mind?"
"No. I can
afford to retire," I said. "Here—Bobby will tell you."
When Woolf had
explained all the things I had going for me in Boston, Alvin said, "Hawk, I
never realized this because I've never seen anything like it before. It never
happened to me or to any other ballplayer I've ever heard of. I hate to see it
happen but I guess you could retire if you wanted to."
At the press
conference Woolf made the formal announcement of my retirement. He explained
all my enterprises and an agreement I had with Boston that my salary would be
guaranteed for three years. Then I said I didn't blame anyone, that this was
part of baseball, that I still loved the Red Sox, that I loved the Indians,
that I wasn't bitter or anything, but that I just couldn't leave Boston.
Woolf, "Would the Hawk go to Cleveland if the Indians made up his losses in
know," Bobby said.