The Roger Kahn Reader


The Roger Kahn Reader

Six Decades of Sportswriting

Roger Kahn
Edited and with an introduction by Bill Dwyre

408 pages
2 tables


June 2018


$32.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2018


$32.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2018


$32.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Most famous for his classic work The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn is widely regarded as one of the greatest sportswriters of our time. The Roger Kahn Reader is a rich collection of his stories and articles that originally appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, Esquire, and the Nation.

Kahn’s pieces, published between 1952 and today, present a vivid, turbulent, and intimate picture of more than half a century in American sport. His standout writings bring us close to entrepreneurs and hustlers (Walter O'Malley and Don King), athletes of Olympian gifts (Ted Williams, Stan Musial, “Le Demon Blond” Guy Lefleur), and sundry compelling issues of money, muscle, and myth. We witness Roger Maris’s ordeal by fame; Bob Gibson’s blazing competitive fire; and Red Smith, now white-haired and renowned, contemplating his beginnings and his future. Also included is a new and original chapter, “Clem,” about the author’s compelling lifelong friendship with former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Clem Labine. 

Written across six decades, this volume shows Kahn’s ability to describe the athletes he profiled as they truly were in a manner neither compromised nor cruel but always authentic and up close.

Author Bio

Roger Kahn (1927–2020) has been called the dean of American sportswriters and is the author of the best-selling classic The Boys of Summer. The author of eighteen nonfiction books and two novels, his books Memories of Summer: When Baseball Was an Art, and Writing about It a Game; The Era, 1947–1957: When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World; A Season in the Sun; and Good Enough to Dream are all available from the University of Nebraska Press. Bill Dwyre was sports editor of the Los Angeles Times for twenty-five years and a columnist for nine years until he retired in 2015. He won the 1996 Red Smith Award for contributions to sports journalism, the AP Sports Editors’ highest honor.


"Roger Kahn is all about words and a sensibility that respects athletes, especially baseball players, for their sublime skills, but especially for their love and dedication to their exacting sport. He is remorseless about racism, cruelty and hypocrisy, but above all appreciative of talent and integrity. . . . Spending a few hours with The Roger Kahn Reader is like a time-machine voyage back to a sports world of authentic heroes, colorful but not obnoxious characters, just causes, smart talk and love of the games. Roger Kahn helped create that world and reanimates it here for our pleasure."—Edward Kosner, Wall Street Journal

"Nearly 70 years later, the universe may still yawn, but readers who grew up with Kahn will be very interested indeed in this collection that is nostalgic but not saccharine, moral but flawed. The Roger Kahn Reader compiles many of the author’s most successful attempts to lift the reader from the page and welcome them into a conversation amongst friends."—Hannah Mueller, Communication Booknotes Quarterly

Praise for Roger Kahn’s work:
“Kahn is the best baseball writer in the business.”—The New York Review of Books
“[Kahn writes] with an elegant authority that—without false sentiment or excessive nostalgia—puts certain elements of the diamond game’s good old days in clear and compelling perspective.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Kahn weaves such personal information into his rich descriptions of thrilling regular-season, playoff and World Series games. And in doing so he endows the players, managers and owners with more dynamic dimensions than any baseball writer of his generation.”—Chicago Tribune

Table of Contents

Preface by Roger Kahn
Introduction by Bill Dwyre
Part 1. An American Tragedy
1. A Death Without Sunlight: Jackie Robinson Jr.
Esquire, November 1971
Part 2. When Eisenhower Reigned
2. Joe Black’s Odyssey
New York Herald Tribune, June 8, 1952
3. What White Big Leaguers Really Think of Negro Players
Our Sports, June 1953
4. The Twilight of the Gods
Sports Illustrated, September 20, 1954
5. Baseball 1954
Sports Illustrated, October 4, 1954
6. Here’s Tap Day
Sports Illustrated, November 22, 1954
7. Forget Something, Boys?
Sports Illustrated, December 20, 1954
8. New York Proudly Presents
Sports Illustrated, September 27, 1954
9. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4 . . . & Bingo
Sports Illustrated, October 11, 1954
10. Glory Day in Columbus
Sports Illustrated, November 29, 1954
11. Alonzo, Alonzo
Sports Illustrated, January 10, 1955
12. Big Newk and His Psyche
Sport, August 1955
13. Early Wynn: The Story of a Hard Loser
Sport, March 1956
14. The Boswells of Baseball
The Nation, September 7, 1957
15. Stan Musial Is Baseball’s No. 1 Citizen
Sport, February 1958
16. Little Nellie’s a Man Now
Sport, April 1958
17. Rookie of the Year [Fiction]
Cosmopolitan, June 1958
18. How the Other Half Lives
Sport, October 1958
19. The Crucial Part Fear Plays in Sport
Sport, August 1959
Part 3. Changing Times
20. The Benching of a Legend
Sports Illustrated, September 12, 1960
21. Success and Ned Irish
Sports Illustrated, March 27, 1961
22. Baseball’s Secret Weapon: Terror
Sports Illustrated, July 10, 1961
23. Pursuit of No. 60: The Ordeal of Roger Maris
Sports Illustrated, October 2, 1961
24. Robert Frost: A Reminiscence
The Nation, February 9, 1963
25. The Time of the Hustler
Show Magazine, October 1963
Part 4. Getting Closer
26. Writing Sports
Esquire, August 1970
27. The Life and Hard Times of Jim Bouton
Esquire, December 1970
28. The Mick
Esquire, May 1971
29. Roy Emerson
Esquire, June 1971
30. Bob Gibson
Esquire, July 1971
31. Scuba Diving
Esquire, January 1974
32. A Shrine in Brooklyn
Sports Illustrated, August 5, 1974
33. Cheer, Cheer for Old Ezra Pound
Esquire, November 1974
34. The Good and Bad Times of Don King
Esquire, November 1975
35. George Foreman Is Down but Not Out
Esquire, May 1976
36. Aspects of the Game
Sports Illustrated, August 16, 1976
37. A Baseball Sketchbook
Sports Illustrated, August 23, 1976
38. Golden Triumphs, Tarnished Dreams
Sports Illustrated, August 30, 1976
39. Walter O’Malley in the Sunshine
New York Times, January 9, 1978
40. Some Modest Proposals
New York Times, February 13, 1978
41. The Joy of Bill Veeck
New York Times, April 3, 1978
42. Public Relations
New York Times, July 31, 1978
43. Jim Lonborg at Thirty-Seven
New York Times, April 2, 1979
44. A Visit with Red Smith
Notre Dame Magazine, December 1979
45. My Movie Option: Eight Years of Strikeouts
New York Times, May 4, 1980
46. Lafleur (the Flower of Canada)
Sport, December 1981
47. Dodger Verities Span the Seasons
New York Times, October 6, 1985
Part 5. A New Millennium
48. Joe Black, 1924–2002: Hard Thrower, Soft Heart
Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2002
49. Scorecard: Mind Over Batter
Sports Illustrated, December 8, 2003
50. A Few Moments with TSW
Boston Red Sox Magazine, June 2007
51. Clem
An Original Story

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