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The Summer Game

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  1,888 ratings  ·  89 reviews
Roger Angell's The Summer Game has been a must-read book for baseball enthusiasts for more than 25 years. The 22 pieces remain as fresh as the day they were first published. ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 1st 1990 by Penguin Books (first published 1972)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  1,888 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Joy D
Compilation of Roger Angell’s essays about baseball, written for the New Yorker during the 1962 – 1971 seasons. He recaps each year’s World Series, but most of the highlights for me were the sections of local flavor, such as visiting Spring Training, describing the rollercoaster ride of a New York Mets fan, covering the early days of the Houston Astrodome, observing the arrival of “sports as entertainment” (which continues to this day), recounting the French terms used by the dual-language Montr ...more
Roger Angell is considered by many, including this reviewer, the best baseball writer to grace the pages of books or magazines. This was his first book, a collection of essays covering the decade from 1961 to 1971. The topics are wide – everything from the birth of the New York Mets (the Mets are a favorite topic of many stories in the collection) to the Pittsburgh Pirates World Series victory over the might Baltimore Orioles in the 1971 World Series.

While his prose about the action on the diam
Brian Eshleman
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible, sports
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
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essays, baseball
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
Feb 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Harold Kasselman
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Angell can paint images with his prose. This collection of essays is an ode to the game he loves. It is filled with insights into the game and the emotions it generates in us and instills itself in generations of families. There are so many wonderful metaphors-too many to mention but I'll pick a few. In describing a slowly emerging 64 Mets team, "Stengel has called on Jerry Hinsley and two other rookie pitchers Bill Wakefield and Ron Locke for spot duty. They have responded with eager gall ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Jan 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
I liked it well enough, and it certainly did its job of keeping me sane between baseball seasons. The writing is, by turns, excellent and plodding. He can bring alive the magic of 50 year old baseball and on the next page go into the play-by-play minutiae which I simply cannot appreciate for large doses. The period of essays in question, 1962 - 1971, is also a period of tumult in the game. Expansion teams, team moves, expanded schedule, new ballparks, new fans. All of it gets its day in here, al ...more
Holly M Wendt
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball-nf
A collection of essays about baseball, from 1962 to 1971. This era saw expansion, a new round of playoffs, dominating performance from pitchers or hitters, and the first hints of free agency. His prose is often poetic. The last essay is the best, looking back at baseball in his father's era and describing the true timelessness of the game.

Much of this book focuses on the Mets, from an expansion cellar dweller to the amazing season of 1969. Baltimore, a dominant team in this era, also receives pl
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roger Angell is my favorite writer on the sport of baseball.

This is his first published baseball book, containing his pieces from The New Yorker. The time frame is mostly the 1960s, with the book starting out with a visit to spring training in Florida in 1962. Angell, like his stepfather E.B.White, is a terrific prose writer and brings out the most wonderful descriptions of ballplayers, the sport itself, and what it is like to be a fan. As the book jacket says, the 1960s were a major era of tran
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful throughout, but the play-by-play recaps of 50-year-old baseball games are a bit turgid when read so far after the fact.
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-shelf
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Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Summer Game is an old friend, having been in my library since I picked it up on a high school band trip in 1973. I read it from time to time when I'm nostalgic for a time when baseball was not about multi-millionaires, the designated hitter, and stupidly ineffective rules purported to "speed up the game". But I mostly read it because Roger Angell's prose is so very readable and because his prose about baseball is particularly wonderful in that he writes as a fan (which he is) rather than as ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks, nonfiction
Absolutely delightful to start, but then I got a bit mired in the detail of each World Series Angell describes. I wish I'd read it more slowly, a series a week maybe, to savour the details. But I still enjoyed it, and Angell is a funny, discerning writer. ...more
Jim Townsend
Absolutely love this book. Angell writes with a "you are there" immediacy that captivated me from the first page. ...more
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have loved baseball for as long as I can remember. I have also been an avid reader from a very young age. Thus it would seem the writings of Roger Angell were destined for me. I read a few of his baseball books in the mid seventies, well shy of being a teenager, and I remember they were among my all time favorites. Of course, at the time, being a small country kid, I had no idea what The New Yorker was. I did know that this seemed to be a special kind of " adult " appreciation of the game and ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of articles published in The New Yorker covers some of his baseball writings from 1962 through the 1972 World Series. I started reading the magazine (and his baseball reportage) regularly a few years later, so these articles are new to me.

There are some early season and mid-season looks, but Angell is at his best covering the actual games in the late seasons and the World Series. I'm less enthusiastic about his observations on the business of baseball. Some of that is just dated
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started my springtime baseball books kind of late this year, plus I've been really busy with other work. And I kept reading this before bed, which meant I would fall asleep. In years past I have usually wrapped up my baseball books by the first weeks of the season, and here it is almost Memorial Day! The Sox have had time to stink and get better already. Time flies.
I really enjoyed this. I was iffy on it at first, because I thought 60's baseball wasn't a particularly interesting time. But the
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Revisit a master

Roger Angell loves baseball. He also is a lyrical writer, and these two elements don’t often meet on the printed page. I know I read this book many years ago, probably about four decades ago. I’m sure I enjoyed the baseball element back then, but I probably overlooked the literary excellence of Angell’s prose. The winners get the lion’s share of the attention in this volume, which can be read as a trilogy. And because many of the pieces focus on the various World Series from the
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A classic for good reason. Angell writes, as everyone knows, beautiful, lucid prose about a game that begs to be described, contemplated, and remembered long after the season's last out, replayed in the mind during the long nights of winter. As a Mets fan, I was probably unduly won over by his affection for the then-new team of lovable losers, and their year of miracles in 1969. Reading about Yastrzemski, Bench, Rose, Seaver, Ford, Mantle, Mays, Jackson, Blue, Ellis, Koufax, Clemente and other g ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
This book is a collection of essays written by Angell in the 60s and early 70s. He focuses mostly on playoffs and world series, but there's also some discussion about the labor and racial strife that plagued the game during this time, and some coverage of the regular season and the "future of the game." There's a lot of Mets coverage, as Angell was both a fan and frequent commenter on the team from their inception.

I really wanted to like this book more. I'm a huge baseball fan and this wasn't an
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. I am old enough to remember several of the names Angell mentions in his chapters even though I was too young to remember watching any of the games. It's hard to tell, but it is probably a combination more entertaining writing and more entertaining baseball, but it sure seems like it was more fun to be at the ballpark before the onset of sports as entertainment and ever-increasing TV contracts. I'll skip over the sabermetrics and free agency issues since they tend to d ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Roger Angell book I've read, and two observations jump out. The first is that Angell can write. He is an excellent writer, and this book was a joy to read. The second observation is that this book has many of his writings from the late 60's and early 70's seasons of baseball, and it is interesting to me how much they echo what's going on in MLB today - the struggle to maintain offensive/defensive & pitching balance; whether defensive shifts are effective; the role of TV and its ...more
Sep 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I spent the better part of the summer slowly working my way through this one, but I really enjoyed it. The writing is funny and dry and lyrical about the game without being sentimental. It may be the first non-fiction baseball book I've read and that's ridiculous, considering how much I claim to love the game. I very much enjoyed learning more about a time in baseball history with which I am pretty unfamiliar. I especially like reading about the '67 Red Sox, the Impossible Dream Team. I look for ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
An amazing read that shares Angell's talent for taking baseball and making it into a literary work of art. Also, this volume shares the transition of baseball from an event you had to experience in person or on the radio into the spectacle you can be entertained at the ballpark without even watching the game or watch on prime time TV. ...more
Jonny Andres
Oh how I miss going to baseball games. 2020 is the most stressful, tiresome year of my short life.

I particularly enjoyed the description of games being played. He did such an amazing job of transporting me back to the baseball field... of playing and smelling the infield grass and dirt. A trip back to my youth.
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, sport
The author's love of the game comes across in all his writing. His pain at the commercialisation of the game is evident in the 60's so i'm fascinated to read in future of how he feels about today's game. As a lover myself i really enjoyed reading his take. The symmetry of the box score is something that will stay with me. ...more
John Cress
Jul 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not want to put this one down. The author follows baseball in the 60s and highlights many postseason matchups and also spends time with the Mets with their inept 1962 team and world champion 1969 team. Can not think of too many better books for the summer pastime.
Daniel Carrol
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Some of the best writing on baseball ever committed to print
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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.” 9 likes
“my favorite urban flower, the baseball box score” 2 likes
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