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Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  700 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Five Seasons covers the baseball seasons from 1972 through 1976, described as the “most significant half decade in the history of the game.” The era was notable for the remarkable individual feats of Hank Aaron, Lou Brock, and Nolan Ryan, among others. It also presented one of the best World Series of all time (1975), including still the greatest World Series game ever pla ...more
Paperback, 413 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Bison Books (first published 1977)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Joy D
Aug 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1977, covering the titular five seasons from 1972 to 1976, this book is a throwback to a prior era in baseball with top-notch writing. Angell wrote this series of essays for the New Yorker, so each is a standalone article with a particular topic and, taken as a whole, provides a striking picture of what the game was like at the time. The publication date of the article is shown at the top and the articles are not arranged in sequential order.

It highlights notable achievements in t
...more
Al
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019, sports
I finally read Roger Angell.

For starters, he is considered one of the masters of baseball writing. I picked up this book because there was some 1973 “Ya Gotta Believe” Mets content.

I am tempted to use the cliche “they don’t make it like this anymore”, but that’s simply not true. There is some great baseball writing out there.

But what I can say is the hype is true. Angell is as good as any body who’s ever wrote about baseball. There’s an observational level where Angell isn’t just writing about s
...more
Lance
Frankly, another review of a book in which the topic is baseball and the author is Roger Angell cannot either a) do justice to the book or b) say anything that hasn’t already been said. This collection of baseball essays from his days of writing for the New Yorker covers the time period of the 1972 -1976 seasons.

During this time frame, anything a reader can think of is covered. Scouting? Yes, a wonderful conversation with a long-time scout for the then-California Angels is retold. Business? Bet
...more
Fred
Jun 24, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a time-capsule of 1970 professional baseball. The essays in "Five Seasons," were written between 1971- 1976: Five season, just as the title says. There are few summary comments and no "preface to the edition" which means the opinions and observations are frozen in time. For me this was part of the beauty. Being a child of the 70s, few things were more indulgent that pretending to be back in the decade of baby-blue double knits and plastic grass. There are recaps of all the World Ser ...more
Jeff
Apr 11, 2018 rated it liked it
As Spring Training hit full swing this year it seemed the perfect time to revisit another of Angell's fantastic baseball writing. This book covering the 73 through 77 seasons had some excellent pieces. While the Oakland A's and Cincinnati Reds bookended the period with two championships each the most notable was the 75 season with that Series for,the ages, between the Sox and Reds. And by the end of 1977 the Yankees were once again World Champions.

The strongest chapter in the book is a long loo
...more
Joe
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Five Seasons is a great series of essays Angell penned between 1972 and 1977, mostly for the New Yorker. This period, Angell argues, was the most significant half-decade in the game's history. I don't know if he's changed his mind about that claim since the foreword was written, but the pieces included here make a compelling case.

The level of play during the 1970s, particularly in the postseason, was remarkably high. These years were also marked by labor strife and the beginnings of free agency.
...more
Josh
Jun 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's taken as Bible-truth that Angell is the best baseball writer on the planet. This book shows the reader why that's the case. Angell is a wordsmith without being showy about it and an insider who convincingly dresses up as a fan. "Three for the Tigers" and "The Scout" are two true standout pieces, but the whole book is a treasure, even the recaps of seasons long since passed.
At times, the writing/references seem dated (which, duh, they are), but this book holds up remarkably well on the whol
...more
Will Albers
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball
Not just a great baseball writer but really one of the finest American writers ever.
Pat Murphy
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This one was recommended to me by Goodreads. I usually enjoy books containing sports and I gave this a try. I loved it. The content is the five baseball seasons 1972 thru 1976 and some significant history of the sport that passed thru those years. A few are Hank Aaron's passing of Ruth's record. Nolan Ryan's record number of no hitters. And Lou Brock's stolen base record.( at the time) I enjoyed the content because it brought me back to years when players I saw growing up in the late sixties, wh ...more
Matt Ely
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
As one must expect with an essay collection, there are ups and downs. The ups make you wonder how anyone else would dare write about the game of baseball in Angell's wake. The downs make you skim, though not resentfully.

In general, Angell is at his best when he is examining a specific person and how they fit into the baseball landscape. He draws his characters beautifully, often imparting a melancholic edge while also being self-aware enough to critique his penchant for imparting melancholic ed
...more
Tim Hoiland
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
When it comes to baseball writing, Roger Angell is the best there is.

“What I do know is that this belonging and caring is what our games are all about; this is what we come for. It is foolish and childish, on the face of it, to affiliate ourselves with anything so insignificant and patently contrived and commercially exploitative as a professional sports team, and the amused superiority and icy scorn that the non-fan directs at the sports nut (I know this look—I know it by heart) is understandab
...more
Mike Stewart
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delight for baseball fans. Few if any writers have written about the sport with more intelligence, verve and good humor. The book is a compilation of articles Angell wrote during 1972-76, a period that he viewed as perhaps the most significant in baseball history. The death of the reserve clause. the increasing visibility of the business side of the game, the role of television and gimmickry to increase attendance, viewership and profits he saw as alarming and injurious. He may have been right ...more
Don
Jun 01, 2020 rated it liked it
As always, Angell's descriptions of the on-field game--individual games, portions of seasons, playoff series and the world series--are terrific. He captures the essence of the game he's describing in short summaries.

But much of this collection of New Yorker articles focuses on off-field aspects: the onset of free agency and the difficult negotiations between owners and players, changes in the traditions of the game and the like. I found these sections of the book a bit tedious and dated. And An
...more
Robert Melnyk
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book about baseball during the mid 1970s. Along with reliving many of the highlights of the seasons from 1972-1976, the book also discusses how the game was changing from a business perspective. It deals with the onset of free agency, and the changes in the way scouting was done in order to find and hire new baseball talent. I really enjoyed this book, having lived through this time in baseball history. However, in order to enjoy/appreciate this book, I think you need to be a baseball ...more
Richard
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A trip back to my youth in the seventies

I’m on a mission to read a series of Roger Angell books and this marked number two, following The Summer Game, which covered 10 seasons, 1962-1971. This book, Five Seasons, picks up where Angell left off, ending with the 1976 World Series. Perhaps because I actually was old enough to remember these later years, I found this volume more interesting. It is more than 100 pages longer and covers a more diverse array of topics. I especially enjoyed the chapter
...more
Tobias
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of essays, especially his essay on the 1975 World Series, which includes a splendid little elegy on what sports fandom means. More than his earlier collection, reflects the changes in the business of baseball in the 1970s. His views became much more progressive - friendly to the players, critical of owners - than earlier. (Also, good reminder of just how great an era the 1970s actually was for baseball.)
Patrick Barry
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Roger Angell is my favorite contemporary sportswriter. This book follows the five seasons from 1972 through 1976. The book is culled primarily from essays he wrote for The New Yorker. The stories run the gamut from Spring Training through the World Series. It also includes human interest stories on Horace Stoneman, Steve Blass, fans following Al Kaline as he nears retirement and much more. The is the ultimate sports writing for people who don't like sports writing. Just a fantastic read.
Dave Jackson
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of Roger Angell's many great books on baseball. The essays on three die-hard Detroit Tigers fans, former Pirates pitcher Steve Blass, and Angels scout Day Scarborough particularly stand out. This book reminds us that even as baseball was becoming the big-money game it is today, it is continually played, tended to and followed by human beings.
Alex Abboud
Apr 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There’s no one better who writes about baseball. Interesting to read about a turbulent period in baseball more than 40 years ago, and see that the tensions in the game today aren’t really new. Some great profiles of some of the key personalities of the era too.
Greg Fanoe
Dec 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Heavy on mythologizing and bs'ery but that's what you sign up for when you read a baseball book. Some of the writing here was genuinely great, especially the Steve Blass chapter. Maybe the best baseball book I've ever read.
Valerie Seckler
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Roger Angell's classic rates as a must read for baseball fans and enthusiasts.
After reading "Five Seasons" for the first time circa 1978, I've returned for extra innings.
Charlie
Really enjoyed the chapters on Steve Blass and Horace Stoneham

A bit repetitive with regards to the playoff recaps.
Brian R.
Feb 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great.

Gave me such a great sense of baseball in the mid-70s... warts and all.

Angell can really turn a phrase and clearly loves this game as much as I do.
Jim
Feb 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Roger Angell has been doubly blessed with a passionate love for baseball and an undeniable talent for writing. Fortunately, for us, he combines these two elements of his character quite often. In this collection of essays, he turns his enlightened lens on the 1972-1976 major league baseball seasons, which featured landmark events like Hank Aaron’s 715th home run, the Amazin’ Mets of 1973, the birth of the free agent era, and Carlton Fisk’s incredible shot in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fe ...more
Stephanie
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: april, 2014
I grew up loving baseball because my family was a family of Red Sox fans. Baseball, for me, is the joy, and the pain, of loving a team who can shoot themselves in the foot every September almost without fail (until they don't -- but that's a different story!), but who still command devotion; of the sights and smells and feel of seeing a ballgame in a classic park, crowded into tiny seats, fans streaming in from immediately surrounding city; of knowing and caring who your starting lineup is; the ...more
Tom Gase
Apr 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
If there is a baseball writer on this planet better than Roger Angell, I have yet to find him or her. Five Seasons is another great book by Angell. This book chronicles the 1972-1976 seasons, which were dominated by the Cincinati Reds and Oakland A's. There is other great writing that isn't on those two teams, however, that is great. Angell has a great story between three Detroit Tiger fans that root for the team during the 1973 season, a conversation with old San Francisco Giants owner Howard S ...more
Matt Simmons
Feb 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
What a lovely book. Angell is a gorgeous writer, and he brings baseball to the level of poetry, always--something that's not that hard to do, because baseball is just so lovely.

A great narrative, broken into pieces as it may be, of a significant time in the history of the game, where Henry Aaron breaks the Babe's record, where the DH and free agency rules completely change the complexion of the game, and the Big Red Machine and the great Oakland A's teams dominant the league. But the greatest p
...more
Ben
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a rare sports book in that it talks about numbers, statistics, and records but doesn't revel in them. It's written by a man who truly loves the game qualitatively and aesthetically. It's the anti-Moneyball. The essays in Five Seasons cover a variety of topics, from strikes and lockouts to reflections from great players of the past to the scouts who look for the talent of the future. Don't expect a chronological retelling of the five great seasons from 1972-1976. Read it when you have tim ...more
Jamie
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
The bard of baseball, Roger Angell constantly reminds me of the pure beauty of the game. His lyrical language parallels the improvisational dance of the sport and, despite speaking of seasons from decades before, constructs in-depth characters delving far beyond the stat sheet and tells stories that almost never feel dated, irrelevant or stale. The reader can’t help but get excited about outcomes of games long forgotten, cheer for the farm-team rookie grasping at his one shot in the big leagues ...more
Jonathan Hiskes
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
A collection of five years of Angell's reporting on baseball for the New Yorker. It's worth tracking down for the first essay alone, the marvelous "On the Ball," which made me see the game and the pitcher's natural advantage over the batter in a new light. Angell brings wit and curiosity, and most of all a fierce love for the game. He teaches the reader in a way that reminds me why I don't like baseball broadcasters -- they rarely explain anything about strategy or technique. The pieces that are ...more
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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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