Roger Kahn Heywood Hale Broun - Essay

Heywood Hale Broun

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The world of which Roger Kahn writes in The Boys of Summer ended less than a quarter-century ago, and its continuity, statistically and intellectually apparent, is an illusion of symbolic logic in which baseball seems to be the same old game because the measurements of the diamond have not changed.

In truth, the Brooklyn Dodger team which was Kahn's to cover for the Herald Tribune was the last leap of the flame of romance in baseball, as the Tribune was the last fiercely individualist newspaper. Measurements in sport and journalism are now so changed that comparisons are not only odious but meaningless.

The Dodger Corporation, by the legal thinking which decrees that a corporation is a person, is technically alive and operates on the west coast. No logic can give life to the Tribune, and yet Kahn, carrying the material object of a baseball glove which he got old Dodgers to sign as he traveled among them recently, has assembled and organized memories so keen that those … who are old enough can weep, and those who are young can marvel at a world where baseball teams were the center of a love beyond the reach of intellect, and where baseball players were worshiped or hated with a fervor that made bubbles in our blood….

Brooklyn seemed a fine place in which to grow up to the young Roger Kahn, whose own Proustian material object is perhaps a baseball, the one he threw with his father, the one he didn't catch at Camp Al-Gon-Kwit, the ones he watched the Dodgers throw and catch and hit...

(The entire section is 646 words.)