Celebrated Journalist Richard Ben Cramer (“What It Takes”) Dies at 62

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Richard Ben Cramer

Sad news, folks. Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ben Cramer, the author of What It Takes and Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life, died Monday night in Baltimore. He was 62 years old.

Cramer’s daughter, Ruby, told the New York Times that her father died of complications of lung cancer.

What It Takes was an exhaustively reported and researched account of the 1988 presidential election that put Cramer on the map. (He joked that the book was easier to read than it was to lift.) What’s funny, as the Times points out, is that the book wasn’t a big seller, even though it was later hailed as a masterpiece of political reporting. And he wasn’t a one book talent: Cramer’s demystification of DiMaggio makes for a knockout biography.

Cramer, who was originally a reporter at The Baltimore Sun and The Philadelphia Inquirer, also wrote for Rolling Stone, Esquire (where he wrote a classic piece on Ted Williams), and Sports Illustrated. Before his death, Cramer was working on a biography of baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

You can head to Twitter, where everyone from Seth Meyers to Susan Orlean is remembering a journalism legend. It’s also a chance to catch up on some great writing. I just might do that myself. Rest in Peace, sir.

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