SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Mark Harris, best known for baseball novels that included “Bang the Drum Slowly,” narrated by the fictional Henry Wiggen, has died. He was 84.
Harris died Wednesday at Cottage Hospital, a month after he broke his hip in a fall and got pneumonia, his wife, Josephine, said Friday from their home in Goleta.
Harris had Alzheimer’s disease, she said.
Harris wrote five nonfiction books and 13 novels, including the baseball books “The Southpaw” (1953), “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1956), “A Ticket for a Seamstitch” (1957) and “It Looked Like Forever” (1979).
“Bang the Drum Slowly,” which he also adapted for the 1973 movie starring Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro, was the most popular of the four, and it was named one of the top 100 sports books of all time by Sports Illustrated.
The story centers on a pair of ballplayers for the fictionally fabled New York Mammoths. Moriarty played pitcher Wiggen, and De Niro played catcher Bruce Pearson, who is dying of Hodgkin’s disease.
From here on out we rag nobody.