Mark Harris, 1922-2007

Author Mark Harris, who passed away this week, is best known for "Bang the Drum Slowly," a moving novel about baseball and dying young. (The equally moving film starred Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro.) But it was the prequel to "Bang" - "The Southpaw," which introduced readers to pitcher Henry Wiggen (the character played by Moriarty) - that was Harris' baseball masterpiece. Coming on the heels of Bernard Malamud's "The Natural" (1952), "The Southpaw" (1953) helped introduce the national pastime into serious literature.

Here's Daniel Okrent, author of (among many others) "The Ultimate Baseball Book," on Harris's stylings: "Harris's ballplayers are real people, with real concerns and fears, and they are memorable because Harris's ear for the sound of the clubhouse is simply better than anyone else's -- anyone since [Ring] Lardner, that is. ''The Southpaw,'' in which Henry Wiggen dreams of major-league glory and, by George, earns it in his rookie year, is the best of these books; ''Bang the Drum Slowly,'' about the slow death of a third-string catcher, is nearly as good."

June 1, 2007 11:47 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor
 

© 2003-2014   •  About LA Observed  •  Contact the editor
LA Biz Observed
2:07 PM Sat | The funeral for Mark Lacter will be held Sunday, Nov. 24 at 12 noon at Hillside Memorial Park, 6001 W. Centinela Avenue, Los Angeles 90045. Reception to follow.
Native Intelligence
Stephen Sachs | CBS newsman Harvey Sachs was a different man on weekends. Since his passing, his table saw has cut the scenery for dozens of plays at the Fountain Theatre in Hollywood.
Gary Leonard | Gary checks out the crush at the new winery downtown.
Bill Boyarsky
The San Francisco state senator who wants to build more tall buildings around rail stations and bus stops will have to come up with new legislation that is more politically acceptable to cities and suspicious neighborhood groups, says Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.
Jenny Burman
Before I lived in Echo Park, there was a tiny 1920s bungalow-cottage-standalone house on N. Occidental in Silver Lake. I...
Here in Malibu
One of my favorite public art works in Malibu can be found at the veterinary hospital....