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The Summer Game

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,071 ratings  ·  37 reviews
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 Wor ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Bison Books (first published 1972)
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Community Reviews

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well before babip, vorp, war, and eqa became common parlance in the realm of baseball reporting, a different breed of sportswriter once thrived within the pages of newspapers and magazines across the country. perhaps none excelled as greatly in their attempts to reanimate a ballgame's action and essence in print as longtime new yorker editor roger angell. angell is well known as one of baseball's finest chroniclers, and his first book on the subject, the summer game, amply exemplifies the reason ...more
Brian Eshleman
Missing Link between my father's dalliance with baseball through the mid-60's and the game I came to know and love as a child of the 80's. Expansion, the move indoors, and the protracted competition for Americans' attention and entertainment dollar that baseball once took for granted are chronicled with prose that isn't argumentative for the Good Old Days or manipulatively emotional. Instead, Angell uses a light, lyrical style to look in on the game year-by-year, usually at World Series that len ...more
Nov 19, 2008 Ed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Baseball and all sports fans
Even as I was doing it, I wondered why I picked this tattered volume from my bookcase to re-read 20 or more years after I first read it.

While, I'm a baseball fan, I'm not an addict. While I love reading history, I've never been particularly interested in spots history. Roger Angell is a good writer but not the best "New Yorker" contributor I've read.

Then I got it. I wanted to take myself back to a more peaceful time - 1961-1971. After the recent hard fought election, with two wars going on and a
Few works of art are truly timeless. Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” Beethoven’s Fifth. Michelangelo’s David. Add to that list Angell’s “The Summer Game.” The book, a collection of essays Angell originally penned for “New Yorker” magazine in the 1960s and early 1970s, recreates an era both nostalgic and immediate. Long retired superstars like Jim Palmer, Denny McLain, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Wille McCovey, Wille Stargell, Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, and Jerry Koosman—to name just a few—come back to l ...more
I loved Roger Angell's short stories. His articles in the New Yorker over the years have been gems. I love baseball, as does he. He has such a talent for writing that he makes even the simplest parts of the game of baseball extrememely interesting. That said, the Summer Game was a little hard for me to read. It was written about a time that I was not alive for, and it seemed a lot of knowledge about the time was required to really get into this book. I recognized some of the names of the great p ...more
Not only is Roger Angell brilliant, he's also prescient. These pieces are all at least 40 years old, predating the era of free agency, and yet Angell forewarns us about the growing distance between player and fan. But, like all of his books, "The Summer Game" is a celebration of the beauty and joy of the game and its players. It's also full of Angell's sly humor. Despite all the changes Major League Baseball has seen in the ensuing years, the game remains the most perfect ever invented. And watc ...more
Read this to honor the start of the baseball season, just to get me further excited. The book is a collection of essays/articles written by Angell, primarily in the 1960s, and early 1970s, about baseball. Angell's writing style is easy to read, and I think he accurately captures the essence of what attracts baseball fans to the game - the sounds, the feel, the complexities. The book also includes work that touches on the growing expansion of baseball during the 1960s, the tense relationships bet ...more
Luke Alonso
If you don't like baseball, this is not for you. But if you do like baseball this is a good choice. But if you love baseball, like I do, then this book is wonderful. Angell recounts the World's Series from the 60s into the early 70s with a fan's eye, and a poet's pen. It doesn't matter if you know the teams and players from this era. More than once I would read a section, stop, smile, and go back to read it again just because the turn of phase was so good.

If you love baseball, please read this
A Summer of Pleasure

I loved Angell's comparisons of action on and off the field with other images which are so a propos but very original thoughts. I give this book the highest possible 4-star rating only because I gave 5 to a very few others which moved me slightly more. I am speaking of The Glory of Their Times, Crazy '08, and Boys of Summer.This book is in this same very major league.
M. Milner
An enjoyable, if very New Yorker-ish series of essays about pro baseball, originally written between 1962 and 1971. In spots it's pretty dated (him complaining about expansion, decades before the leagues exploded to 30 teams; arguments against the Championship Series, in the days before the Divisional Series, let alone the Wild Card play-in; etc). At times its somewhat stuffy and at others it's completely wrong-headed, but by and large it's an enjoyable book.

It's mostly Angell recapping each se
A classic baseball book, collecting articles Angell wrote for the New Yorker from 1962 to 1972. Angell's descriptions are so vivid that it's almost like being at the games he narrates (including most of the World Series meetings during the period of the articles); the pieces are remarkably fresh given their age (hey, all of these games were played before I was born!). Angell muses on numerous aspects of baseball: the awful beginnings and eventual triumphs of the New York Mets, the advent of dome ...more
Holly M
This is the most beautifully written, smartly felt baseball book I've ever encountered, and it's probably in the five best non-fiction collections I've read. I cannot possibly recommend it enthusiastically enough. Angell is a treasure.
sometimes great, sometimes good. loved the contemporary view of a changing game, wished there was more about the changes, and personalities, less about the play by play.
This is a great book if you're looking for a reference guide to the national pastime in the 1960s. And while the essays possess some excellent writing, the book does not lend itself to fans of narrative non-fiction.

The most interesting tidbits are Angell's dissection of the Mets' early, comical seasons, as well as of the Astrodome's monstrous and distracting electronic scoreboard, which heralded in the idea that the game of baseball is not enough to entertain stadium crowds; he writes:

"I do not
Baseball as Poetry, History, Politics, Business, America, and as Life...
No one can capture the game like Roger Angell. This is my second time reading this book (I read it over 25 years ago)
This book takes us through the mid to late 60's and the early 70's where the names, teams, and the deeds come back to life... the Big Red Machine, Gibson, Brock and Flood and the Cardinals, the Pitiful and the Miracle Mets, Yaz, Cash, Kaline and the Tigers, and the great Willie Mays.
The best candy you can find
Being a fan of baseball, I picked this book up. The problem is, it doesn't tell a story. It reads like a compilation of articles that are for the most part highlight reels of various games played in various seasons. At times, Angell gets elegant in his language, but not dramatically so. In the end, I couldn't finish this one. It wasn't compelling or well-written enough to sustain my interest, despite my interest in the subject matter. I'll let you know if I come across a better baseball book.
Kevin Brennan
Beautiful writing about baseball in an era I have high nostalgia for. The only problem I have with the book is that it's occasionally repetitive because it's something of an annual wrap-up of each World Series from 1962 to 1971. Still, Angell is the master of baseball writing, and this book is an essential if you're a true fan of the game.
Roger Angell, a New Yorker sports reporter (who knew there was such a thing?), writes eloquently about the national pastime. While many of the essays collected here detail Angell's love of the New York Mets and their comically disastrous first seasons, the dated references and tales of now obscure players stand up surprisingly well. Angell's love of the game resonates even now and his crisp descriptions of on-field action have not aged a day.

A very enjoyable read for any fan of baseball in the 1960s....the book is a compilation of the author's writing for each year spanning 1962-71 with the primary thrust being the World Series played in each of these years. He also provides memories of the improbable evolution of the NY Mets from 120-game losers in 1962 to World Champions a scant seven years later. A great read for any fan of baseball.

I love that Angell writes with the heart and interest and affection of a fan rather than the cool journalistic indifference. It pulls you in and you can't help but join with him in rooting for this beloved American game and it's dynamic class of teams and characters. The one downfall to this book is that a lot of the chapters start to feel and read like the ones before it.
rick ohren
"This was a new recognition that perfection is admirable but a trifle inhuman, and that a stumbling kind of semi-success can be much more warming. Most of all, perhaps, these exultant yells for the Mets were also yells for ourselves, and came from a wry, half-understood recognition that there is more Met than Yankee in every one of us. I knew for whom that foghorn blew; it blew for me."
One of the best books on baseball observations ever written. The author's love for and in-depth knowledge of the game come through loud and clear. The book is as good now as it was when I first read it over 30 years ago; maybe even better because now it's nostalgic as well.
Joseph Wallace
Still the warmest, most likeable baseball book I've ever read. As a New Yorker who grew up with the Mets, I'll always be grateful that Angell was there to document the team's comical--and sometimes horrifying--early years.
The rating is less the book's fault than my own; this is a collection of 50-year-old essays, written as the events happened, and it just made me crave something more book-structured and with more context.
A book about baseball from 1962 to 1971. If you don't eat, drink & sleep baseball, you will not like this book. Even for a true baseball fan it can be a slow plodding read in some places.
I read this collection of essays a long time ago. I reccomend it to any one who is both a baseball fan as well as fan of well written material.
Outstanding. Angell's witty and informative essays are the best I've read. Delightful to read his take on games my Dad remembered.
Nice reading about names from the 60's and 70's
that I had forgotten about. Dragged a bit, but
a well written, interesting read.
Dave Moyer
Angell is one of the best writers around of any genre, but this is the all-time classic baseball book.
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Roger Angell (b. 1920) is a celebrated New Yorker writer and editor. First published in the magazine in 1944, he became a fiction editor and regular contributor in 1956; and remains as a senior editor and staff writer. In addition to seven classic books on baseball, which include The Summer Game (1972), Five Seasons (1977), and Season Ticket (1988), he has written works of fiction, humor, and a me ...more
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“This was a new recognition that perfection is admirable but a trifle inhuman, and that a stumbling kind of semi-success can be much more warming. Most of all, perhaps, these exultant yells for the Mets were also yells for ourselves, and came from a wry, half-understood recognition that there is more Met than Yankee in every one of us. I knew for whom that foghorn blew; it blew for me.” 4 likes
“my favorite urban flower, the baseball box score” 2 likes
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