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The Summer Game

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  1,485 Ratings  ·  58 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 Wo ...more
Paperback, 303 pages
Published March 1st 2004 by Bison Books (first published 1972)
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(showing 1-30)
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Brian Eshleman
Mar 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, audible
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
Shelves: baseball, essays
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
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
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
Holly M Wendt
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
May 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Daniel Carrol
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Some of the best writing on baseball ever committed to print
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Sublime reading. It takes readers back in time, seems nostalgic, but don't be fooled. Those games, players,seasons, did really happen. It wasn't myth. Sadly, these days baseball doesn't fit our attention spans or pace of living. Players today are most likely to be Latino, with African-Americans fewer and whites and other "ethnic groups" less. Maybe that's a factor as well.
In any event, reading about the best and worst of players endears readers to the nearly forgotten stars of yore.
For those
Tom Gase
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Roger Angell is quite simply the best baseball writer that ever lived. This book is a collection of stories Angell once wrote for the New Yorker that chroncile the 1962 through 1971 seasons. I really like his stories on the Mets in 1969 and the Orioles of 1966. What Angell does better than anyone is put you in the seats of the game, because the majority of his writing comes from himself, writing from the seats of a game, rather than the pressbox. He describes not only the game itself, but the su ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written collection of essays from the 60s and early 1970s that not only captures a really great era of baseball - with a focus on the World Series - but functions as an impressionistic history of the period when the old system gave way to the big money era characterized by expansion, moving franchises, clashes between big and small market teams, and labor strife. It's actually remarkable how much this era was dominated by teams that would soon be considered small market (Cincinnati, ...more
Rahul  Adusumilli
"Within the ballpark, time moves differently, marked by no clock except the events of the game... Since baseball time is measured only in outs, all you have to do is succeed utterly; keep hitting, keep the rally alive, and you have defeated time. You remain forever young.”

A baseball reporter walks into a bar. He finds a framed motto on the wall and reproduces it verbatim in his book

“Life is like a journey taken on a train
With a pair of travelers at each window pane.
I may sit beside you all the j
Scott Graham
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are(good) books that you pick up and drop at leisure. There are (great) books that you simply can't put down. And then there are those few volumes that you tear yourself away from because you don't want them to end too quickly. Angell's prose is worth savoring no matter what his attention touches. Here are a couple of selections.
"Coleman, who is eager and combative, handles outside curve balls like a man fighting bees. He is quick on the base paths, but this is an attribute that is about
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Baseball as it really was (and in some ways, still is). Angell covers the game I grew up with, the players--Gibson, Kaline, Aaron, Mays, Robinson, Koufax, Yastrzemski, Seaver, Palmer, teams--Tigers, Orioles, Dodgers, Cardinals, the Amazing Mets (and not so good Mets), even the ball parks--Astrodome, Tiger Stadium, the Polo Grounds, etc. He brings the baseball fan through the games growing pains of the '60's, with league expansion, franchise moves, listening to the game via radio or actual attend ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports, non-fiction
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
M. Milner
Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball, authors-ab
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
Chad Simons
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Reading Angell is such a pleasure - his writing evokes the time and the sport beautifully. Although my personal interest in baseball didn't really begin until the mid 70s, I was certainly aware of many of the players he talked about from the 60s.

But, more to the point, his essays just make me remember how much I enjoyed baseball, and how great it could be to watch a baseball game - whether a tight pitchers' battle or a crazy high scoring game. I also really enjoy his turns of phrase - on almost
William Kriner
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The perfect baseball book for Baby Boomers. Starting with the birth of the Mets to the last World Series of the Great One, Roberto Clemente, it chronicles each season, the ups and downs of teams and players of the game, the long term stars as well as the one season wonders. It was pre-steroids and for blokes like me the Golden Age of baseball. If you remember baseball in the sixties and early seventies, this book is for you. And, if you are not acquainted with the era of a declining Mantle, Mays ...more
Jun 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Luke Alonso
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, sports
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.
S Abbey
May 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have a soft spot for baseball because it gets so much flak for being boring and repetitive. But Angell's classic feels like art imitating life, with so much repetition to make you feel those criticisms in every page. The book felt like every minute of a 162 game season where your team is last wire to wire. I also hoped I'd never read a book that involved a man crush on Ed Kranepool, but that dream is gone.
Jul 20, 2011 rated it liked it
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.

May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great baseball writing from a real baseball fan, rather than a sportswriter. This covers the beginning of the expansion era, and I found it to be really enjoyable. Angell cares much more about good baseball than he does about any particular team or player, so his reporting is nearly neutral. Very clearly a New Yorker type of sports coverage, but in an enjoyable way. Highly recommended to baseball fans.
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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.” 3 likes
“my favorite urban flower, the baseball box score” 2 likes
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