One of the first grown-up books I ever read as a kid was “Mr. October,” by Maury Allen. I was ten-years-old when it was published in 1981. I already had “The Reggie Jackson Scrapbook” but this was a biography, all words and no pictures (although each chapter featured a picture of Reggie at the plate ). I wasn’t a big reader but I liked having my own books and often received baseball books for my birthday. I knew about the two Rogers–Angell and Kahn–from my dad’s book collection. But when I picked up “The Boys of Summer” and tried to read it I got bored quickly, same for “The Summer Game” and “Five Innings” which had impossibly long paragraphs that seemed to go on forever.
Maury Allen I could read. He told a story. The words didn’t scare me away. So I read “Mr. October” over and again. And I got more of Allen’s books, notably “Baseball’s 100,” and always made the distinction between Maury Allen and Murray Chass–who covered the Yankees for the New York Times. Maury Allen was my first favorite sports writer. And although I knew that he wasn’t in the best of health, I was deeply sadened to hear that he died yesterday morning.
Here is the obit from the New York Times.
Allen had been around New York covering sports since the Toots Shor days. He wrote for the Post from 1961-88. In the Sixties, Allen was at the Post with Leonard Shecter, Milton Gross, Leonard Koppett, Larry Merchant and Vic Ziegel, to name just a few. He covered the Yanks and looked as if he’d be right at home sitting at Oscar Madison’s poker table.
Allen moved to the Gannett chain after leaving the Post and most recently contributed to The Columnists (check out his archive). He also wrote close to 40 books. I was thrilled that he was a part of the Lasting Yankee Stadium Memories book.
Maury Allen will be missed but not forgotten.