Monday, June 04, 2007


He wrote the great baseball book, "Bang the Drum Slowly." He died last week of Alzheimer's complications. According to this Los Angeles Times obit:
Mr. Harris, a retired Arizona State University professor of English who lived in Goleta, Calif., wrote 13 novels and five nonfiction books, He was best known for his four baseball novels narrated by Henry Wiggen, the ace left-handed pitcher for the fictional New York Mammoths: "The Southpaw" (1953), "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1956), "A Ticket for a Seamstitch" (1957), and "It Looked Like For Ever" (1979).

"Bang the Drum Slowly," named one of the top 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated, was the most popular of the four.

The tragicomic tale of Wiggen and catcher Bruce Pearson, who is dying of Hodgkin's disease, "Bang the Drum Slowly" was adapted for a live 1956 segment of "The US Steel Hour," starring Paul Newman as Wiggen and Albert Salmi as Pearson. In the movie version, Michael Moriarty played Wiggin and Robert DeNiro played Pearson.
He was born Mark Harris Finkelstein. He served in the Army during World War II, then became a newspaper reporter and a writer for Negro Digest and Ebony.

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