“Off came the cap, and then Mays continued to spin around after the gigantic effort of returning the ball whence it came, and he went down flat on his belly, and out of sight. This was the throw of a giant, the throw of a howitzer made human, arriving at second base.”

The Giants won the game, 5-2, in the 10th on a three-run pinch-hit homer by the unheralded outfielder Dusty Rhodes. They went on to sweep the favored Indians in four games.

Writing in The New York Times Book Review in August 1955, the novelist and longtime baseball fan James T. Farrell told how Mr. Hano, in his book, provided “vignettes of other bleacher denizens and writes us a dramatic account of the game itself — and, although we know its outcome, our interest is held here as it might in a novel.”

And Roger Kahn, author of another baseball classic, “The Boys of Summer” (1972), wrote in The Times in 1985, “Mr. Hano’s writing style was informed and unpretentious, and you could feel those splintery old Polo Grounds bleachers beneath you and smell the mustard on the hot dogs, which were usually served up cold.”

Mr. Hano went on to write more than 20 books, including biographies of Mays and other celebrated sports figures as well as novels, and he contributed articles to major national magazines, touching not only on sports but conservation, racial issues and the plight of migrant workers.

Arnold Philip Hano was born on March 2, 1922, in Manhattan. His father, Alfred, was a lawyer who worked as a salesman during the Depression; his mother, Clara (Millhauser) Hano, was a homemaker.

Mr. Hano graduated from Long Island University in Queens in 1941 with a major in English and saw combat in the Pacific with an Army artillery unit in World War II. He was managing editor of Bantam Books in the late 1940s, then editor in chief of the paperback line Lion Books before turning to freelance writing full time.

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