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Lopez answered a few more questions in the same quiet voice. Then he excused himself again and rose and came around the desk to speak to someone standing outside in the hall.
The reporters, almost on signal, filed out after him and went past him into the players' dressing room. One reporter went past Lopez, stopped and came back to him.
"Al," he said, "I'm awfully sorry you lost the Series."
They shook hands.
"Thank you," Lopez said. "Thank you very much."
If the 1954 season really marked the end of Ted Williams' spectacular career in baseball, he can be remembered as one of the few ever to take his departure from the national sport in a private railroad car. The private Pullman was sent to Boston by Curtis M. Hutchins, president of Maine's Bangor & Aroostook Railroad (a rabid Williams fan but one who has yet to meet his hero) to start the Red Sox star on the first lap of an autumn fishing trip; four hours after the final game was over, Williams and a half dozen fly rods were trundling luxuriously through the night toward the northern village of Presque Isle.
The next day the outfielder, and a handful of admiring Maine sportsmen, climbed aboard a plane chartered by their host-in-absentia?and flew to Fish River Lake, a five-mile stretch of forest-rimmed water accessible only by air. Then, for four days ( Maine's trout season runs until Sept. 30th) Williams relaxed in an angler's paradise. He rose in his cabin at five each day, consumed astounding breakfasts (sample: two glasses of grapefruit juice, one whole trout, five flapjacks, two eggs, two freshly fried doughnuts and three cups of coffee) and launched a canoe in pursuit of fish.
There are few more able anglers in the U.S., and his flowing 80-and 90-foot casts left his colleagues gaping. Fishing only with dry flies, most of them tied on tiny No. 14 and No. 16 hooks, he landed a four-pound landlocked salmon and 15 bright brook trout all of which weighed more than two pounds. He carefully turned back those he did not need for food. These, however, were few?he ate trout for breakfast, trout chowder for lunch and trout for dinner each day.
Before the World Series began he made an astoundingly accurate prediction: that the Giants' Dusty Rhodes and Cleveland's Vic Wertz were the "Series sleepers." After the games began, he hung over the camp's cranky, battery-powered radio to hear the play-by-play. "Guess the kid knows how to pick," he beamed. "What did I tell you about that Rhodes and Wertz? Two good strong guys." His admiring colleagues asked him, as he packed up his rods to leave, when would he be coming north again. "Next June," said Ted, "for more fishing."