Roger Kahn (October 31, 1927 – February 6, 2020) was an American author, best known for his 1972 baseball book The Boys of Summer.

Roger Kahn
Roger Kahn Headshot.JPG
Born(1927-10-31)October 31, 1927
Brooklyn, New York City, U.S.
DiedFebruary 6, 2020(2020-02-06) (aged 92)
Mamaroneck, New York, U.S.
OccupationAuthor
NationalityAmerican
Notable worksThe Boys of Summer

BiographyEdit

Roger Kahn was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 31, 1927 to Olga (née Rockow) and Gordon Jacques Kahn, a teacher and editor.[1] He attended Froebel Academy, a prep school, then Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn.[2] He attended New York University from 1944–1947.[1]

In 2004, he was named as the fourth James H. Ottaway Sr. Visiting Professor of Journalism at SUNY New Paltz.[3] He was a lecturer at Yale University, Princeton University, and Columbia University.[1]

Writing careerEdit

Kahn began his newspaper career in 1948, when he took a job as copy boy for the New York Herald Tribune. A keen Brooklyn Dodgers fan, he reported on their games over the 1952 and 1953 seasons. He became sports editor for Newsweek in 1956, and editor-at-large of the Saturday Evening Post in 1963. His best-known book is The Boys of Summer (1972), which examines his relationship with his father as seen through the prism of their shared affection for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 2002, a  Sports Illustrated panel placed The Boys of Summer second on a list of "The Top 100 Sports Books of All Time".[4]

In addition to The Boys of Summer, Kahn wrote books such as Good Enough to Dream, a chronicle of his year as the owner of a minor league baseball franchise; The Era 1947–57, an examination of the decade during which the three New York clubs – the Dodgers, Yankees and Giants – dominated Major League Baseball; and Memories of Summer, a look back at his youth and early career, plus extended pieces on New York baseball legends Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. He also wrote a biography of the heavyweight boxing champion Jack Dempsey, entitled A Flame of Pure Fire.[5]

Kahn's 2006 book Into My Own is a memoir describing his friendships with Robert Frost, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Eugene McCarthy, and, in its last chapter titled Rescuing Roger, focuses on his son who predeceased him, Roger Laurence Kahn. It covers the younger Kahn's bipolar disorder, heroin addiction, and time he spent with the educator Michael DeSisto at the DeSisto School;[6]who committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning in 1987.[7] Andrew Ervin wrote in The Washington Post that the book "proves that Kahn's not only a great baseball writer but also something rarer: a great writer whose subject happens to be baseball."[8]

Kahn cited[where?] as his journalistic influences, Stanley Woodward, John Lardner, and Red Smith.

Honors, awards, distinctionsEdit

PersonalEdit

Kahn married Joan Rappaport in 1950; they divorced in 1963.[11] Their first child, daughter Elizabeth, died one day after her birth in 1954.[12] Their son, Gordon Jacques, was born in 1957.[13] Kahn married his second wife, Alice Lippincott Russell, in 1963; they divorced in 1974. They had a son, Roger Laurence, in 1964, and a daughter, Alissa Avril, in 1967. Their son, Roger, committed suicide in 1987.[14][15]

Kahn lived in the Hudson Valley community of Stone Ridge, New York with his third wife, Katharine Colt Johnson, a psychotherapist, whom he married in 1989.[16][17]

Kahn died in Mamaroneck, New York in February 2020 at the age of 92.[18]

BibliographyEdit

  • Mutual Baseball Almanac (1955), edited with Al Helfer
  • The World of John Lardner (1961), edited
  • Inside Big League Baseball (1962)
  • The Passionate People: What it Means to be a Jew in America (1968)
  • The Battle for Morningside Heights: Why Students Rebel (1970)
  • The Boys of Summer (1972)
  • How the Weather Was (1973)
  • A Season in the Sun (1977)
  • But Not to Keep: A Novel (1979)
  • The Seventh Game (1982)
  • Good Enough to Dream (1985)
  • Joe & Marilyn: A Memory of Love (1986)
  • Pete Rose: My Story (1989), with Pete Rose
  • Games We Used to Play: A Lover's Quarrel with the World of Sport (1992)
  • The Era: 1947–1957, When the Yankees, the Giants, and the Dodgers Ruled the World (1993)
  • Memories of Summer: When Baseball was an Art and Writing About it a Game (1993)[19]
  • A Flame of Pure Fire: Jack Dempsey and The Roaring Twenties (1999)
  • The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher's Mound (2000)
  • October Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the Yankees' Miraculous Finish in 1978 (2002)
  • Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life (2006)
  • Rickey & Robinson: The True, Untold Story of the Integration of Baseball (2014)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Kahn, Roger 1927–". www.encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  2. ^ "The Rumble: An Off-The-Ball Look at Your Favorite Sports Celebrities", New York Post, December 31, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2007. "The five Erasmus Hall of Fame legends include Raiders owner Al Davis, Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, Yankee pitching great Waite Hoyt, Billy Cunningham and Knicks founder Ned Irish. Other sports notables include Bulls/White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, chess champion Bobby Fischer, ex-Browns head coach Sam Rutigliano, legendary NBA referee Norm Drucker and "The Boys of Summer" author Roger Kahn."  ["Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  3. ^ "State University of New York at New Paltz: James H. Ottaway Sr. Endowed Professorship – Past Professors – 2004 – Roger Kahn", State University of New York at New Paltz official website. Accessed February 5, 2012
  4. ^ "The Top 100 Sports Books of All Time", Sports Illustrated, December 16, 2002.
  5. ^ Warren Goldstein, "The Manassa Mauler", The New York Times, October 31, 1999.
  6. ^ Daytona Beach Morning Journal – Aug 9, 1980
  7. ^ "Kahn writes with joy and wrath", The Washington Times, December 3, 2006.
  8. ^ Andrew Ervin, "Memoirs: The Old Man of Summer", The Washington Post August 13, 2006.
  9. ^ "Roger Kahn", National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, April 30, 2006.
  10. ^ "Happy Birthday To Ridgefield's Roger Kahn". Ridgefield Daily Voice. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2020-02-07.
  11. ^ Encylopedia.com, entry for Roger Kahn (b. 1927). Accessed 14 January 2020
  12. ^ Kahn, Roger. Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life (Google Books preview), Thomas Dunne Books, 2006. Accessed 14 January 2020.
  13. ^ Kahn, Roger. Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life (Google Books preview), Thomas Dunne Books, 2006. Accessed 14 January 2020.
  14. ^ Encylopedia.com, entry for Roger Kahn (b. 1927). Accessed 14 January 2020.
  15. ^ Kahn, Roger. Into My Own: The Remarkable People and Events That Shaped a Life (Google Books preview), Thomas Dunne Books, 2006. Accessed 14 January 2020.
  16. ^ Encylopedia.com, entry for Roger Kahn (b. 1927). Accessed 14 January 2020.
  17. ^ "Roger Kahn biography", Roger Kahn official website. Accessed 5 February, 2012.[Dead link]
  18. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/07/obituaries/roger-kahn-who-lifted-sportswriting-with-boys-of-summer-dies-at-92.html
  19. ^ "NYTimes". NYTimes. 1997-04-06. Retrieved 2016-03-04.

Further readingEdit

Ruttman, Larry (2013). "Roger Kahn: Author of the Classic Baseball Book The Boys of Summer". American Jews and America's Game: Voices of a Growing Legacy in Baseball. Lincoln, Nebraska and London, England: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 113–123. ISBN 978-0-8032-6475-5. This chapter in Ruttman's history, based on September 30, 2007 and January 31, 2008 interviews with Kahn conducted for the book, discusses Kahn's American, Jewish, baseball, and life experiences from youth to the present.

External linksEdit