Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Bang the Drum Slowly, is a book about baseball and life. The book opens with Henry getting a call from his roommate during the baseball season, Bruce. Bruce is a third rate catcher for the New York Mammoths. Henry is one of the star pitchers. Bruce has a terminal illness that the team does not know about. He tells Henry, though, because he feels close to Henry. Henry is really the only one on the team that treats Bruce well. Bruce is not very bright but he is a good athlete. The rest of his teammates tease and ridicule him because he is not very bright.
This book is a great book about life and how to treat people. Mark Harris writes a heart warming and heart breaking story. He weaves a tale of friendship, baseball, and how those two things help Henry cope with losing his friend. There are so many quotes in this story, it is hard to pick just a few.
Bruce laughs at all of the jokes of his teammates, because he is trying to fit in. He is the outsider and the team treats him as such. Towards the end of the book, when his teammates start to learn of his illness, they rally around him and support him. As the end draws closer for Bruce, he uses all of his strength to try to help his team make it to the World Series. The team comes together to work together to make this happen.
Here are a few quotes from the book that I think are so important to the story.
The sky was just beginning to light up a little, the quiet time when all the air is clean and you can hear the birds, even in the middle of New York City, the time of day you see except by accident, and you always tell yourself, "I must get up and appreciate this time of day once in a while," and then you never do. Don't ask me why.
I think this quote is so true for all of us. We are so concerned about sleeping as late and as long as we can that we forget to take in the glory of the morning just beginning to come to life.
Probably everybody be nice to you if they knew you were dying, he said. Everybody knows everybody is dying, I said. That is why people are nice. You all die soon enough, so why not be nice to each other?
When the team finally does come together, it makes Henry realize that they should have always been a real team.
It was a club, like it should of been all year but never was but all of a sudden become.
The closing of the book, I think, offers the best quote in the whole book. It makes you really think about how we all treat each other and how we should be treating each other.
He was not a bad fellow, no worse than most and probably better than some, and not a bad ball player neither when they give him a chance, when they laid off him long enough. From here on in I rag nobody.
This is how we should all be about everybody we come into contact with.