Bang the Drum Slowly
- The article is about the 1956 novel. For the 1973 film adaptation, see Bang the Drum Slowly .
is a novel by Mark Harris
, a sequel to The Southpaw
(1953). It was first published in 1956, and was later made into a 1956 U.S. Steel Hour
television adaptation starring Paul Newman and a later film adaptation
Harris's narrator Henry "Author" Wiggen, a star pitcher, tells the story of a baseball season with the New York Mammoths (a fictional team based on the New York Yankees
) -- a season notable for the team's success but blighted by the Hodgkin's Disease
of catcher Bruce Pearson. Wiggen tries to be supportive of Pearson while concealing his illness.
The title comes from the song The Streets of Laredo
, sung by one of the ballplayers (Piney Woods, a back-up catcher recently recalled from the minors) at a team gathering. The version of the song that he sings contains the lyrics, "O bang the drum slowly, and play the fife lowly...."
The novel is written in the vernacular, with idiosyncratic awkward writing by the "author" that Harris has "employed," pitcher Henry Wiggen. Read More