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Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

The Two Rogers

Illustration for article titled The Two Rogers

Here is a memoir story I wrote last year for SB Nation. It is about my father and also about Roger Angell and Roger Kahn:

The Old Man didn’t give us toys or video games as presents, he gave us books. In my case, he gave me baseball books, including several by Roger Kahn: “A Season in the Sun,” “The Seventh Game,” and “Good Enough to Dream.” Dad liked Kahn, he told me, because they both cared deeply about the English language and because Kahn wrote beautifully. I didn’t read any of them, though I opened Dad’s copy of “The Boys of Summer” once or twice as a teenager. It was a first edition, and on the inside flap there was a picture of Kahn, a bearded man walking along a beach. Below, Kahn was quoted: “There are a plethora of books on sports. This one is not on sports but on time and what time does to all of us. ‘King Lear’ is on the same subject as ‘The Boys of Summer,’ and my work differs from Lear in that it isn’t as good.”

Just the kind of thing Dad would say.

Writing about his own father in “The Boys of Summer,” Kahn said: “It was a point of dignity with him not to be caught rooting as ardently or for precisely the same things as I.” Just the kind of thing I felt yet didn’t know how to say. When I asked him if he liked an author or a book his stock reply was, “Why don’t you read it first and then we can discuss it.” So I sought out writers and artists and movie directors that he didn’t like.

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