The Summer Game, Roger Angell’s first book on the sport, changed baseball writing forever. Thoughtful, funny, appreciative of the elegance of the game and the passions invested by players and fans, it goes beyond the usual sports reporter’s beat to examine baseball’s complex place in our American psyche.
Between the miseries of the 1962 expansion Mets and a classic 1971 World Series between the Pirates and the Orioles, Angell finds baseball in the 1960s as a game in transition—marked by league expansion, uprooted franchises, the growing hegemony of television, the dominance of pitchers, uneasy relations between players and owners, and mounting competition from other sports for the fans’ dollars.
Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Brooks Robinson, Bob Gibson, Sandy Koufax, Carl Yastrzemski, Tom Seaver, Jim Palmer, and Casey Stengel are seen here with fresh clarity and pleasure. Here is California baseball in full flower, the once-mighty Yankees in collapse, baseball in French (in Montreal), indoor baseball (at the Astrodome), and sweet spring baseball (in Florida)—as Angell observes, “Always, it seems, there is something more to be discovered about this game.”
About the Author
Roger Angell (1920–2022) was a writer and fiction editor with the New Yorker. His works include Five Seasons (available in a Bison Books edition), Game Time, and A Pitcher’s Story: Innings with David Cone.
“This collection of essays takes you into the heart of baseball as it was in the 1960s, conveyed with humor and insight. . . . The key here is that Roger Angell is a stunning writer. He is also in many ways a highly cerebral one and yet utterly down to earth—a writer who can translate the nuances of the game with perfect clarity.”—Tim McCarver, The Wall Street Journal
“Page for page, The Summer Game contains not only the classiest but also the most resourceful baseball writing I have ever read.”—New York Times Book Review
“Only Angell’s love of language surpasses his passion for baseball. . . . A splendid book.”—Newsweek
“A decade’s worth of meditations and observations . . . searching for the Higher Game, the cosmology behind each pitch, each swing, each ‘shared joy and ridiculous hope’ of summer’s long adventure.”—New York Review of Books
"Fans know that Angell, fiction editor for The New Yorker, is one of the heavy hitters of baseball writing. Dating back to 1977 and 1972, respectively, these are two of his finest collections. Essential for public and academic libraries."—Library Journal