R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard died today in the Detroit area from complications following a stroke. According to his website, he “passed away this morning at 7:15 AM at home surrounded by his loving family.”

The writer suffered a stroke on July 29.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007

(Humor) Tigers Acquire Dutch Leonard


DETROIT – June 20, 2007.  To help in their pennant bid down the stretch, the Detroit Tigers have acquired novelist, Elmore “Dutch” Leonard.  Leonard will serve as designated writer and dialogue coach, helping players with their media interviews, applying a modified version of his Ten Rules of Writing.  “Dutch has good stuff,” said Mike Lupica,  sports writer for the New York Daily News.  “After all the books and all the years, Leonard remains one of the great American writers, and will be a real asset to the Tigers.”


In anticipation of the Detroit Tigers 2012 appearance in the World Series, Julie Hinds of the Detroit Free Press interviewed Leonard about the Tigers for whom he had a lifetime love:

Celebs Talkin’ Tigers: Elmore Leonard

October 24, 2012

By Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Novelist and Hollywood narrative source extraordinaire Elmore Leonard keeps his dialogue crisp, clean and to the point. And thus it was when the Free Press asked him to take the Tigers Fan Quiz in honor of the World Series.

Here, in his own words, the man behind movie hits like “Out of Sight” and “Get Shorty” and FX’s “Justified” shares a Leonard-style scoop on his favorite players and moments. You can almost hear Marshal Raylan Givens giving the clipped answers.

Favorite Tiger of the current 2012 season: Avisail Garcia.

Favorite Tiger ever: George Kell.

How old were you when you saw your first Tigers game in person?: 12.

Who took you to the game?: My mom and dad.

Classic game or moment: Man on base, Charlie Gehringer at bat.

Something they’ve done that you’ll always remember: I’ll never forget the 1941 All-Star Game. Ted Williams hit a home run into the rightfield upper deck and I was sitting 60 feet away.

Are you wearing any Tigers gear or accessories to root for the team?: No.

Where do you plan to watch the World Series? In my living room.

Any superstitions or habits when you watch a game? No.

What’s your prediction on the World Series? Tigers in 5 games.

Amazon’s Elmore Leonard Page

In April 1991, Leonard wrote about Ernie Harwell and the book, “Ernie Harwell’s Diamond Gems”: “What no one can understand is why the Tigers’ management is cutting Ernie loose following the 1991 season. Are they nuts? No one in baseball does a better play-by-play. They expected criticism, but not the blast they got from fans all over the country.

One theory holds that the Tigers management wants to jazz up the team’s image and feels that Ernie, at the age of 73, has become old hat. They see the Detroit Pistons raking it in at their suburban Palace, entertaining a full house at every basketball game with rap music and light shows, and they think, yeah, that’s the way to go.

What the Tiger bosses must fail to realize is that baseball moves at a much different tempo. Rather than razzle-dazzle, it’s heavy on tradition, nostalgia, stats comparing new stars with the old greats. It has a sense of humor and an image epitomized by Ernie Harwell and his comfortable down-home Georgia delivery.

What makes baseball so popular is what “Ernie Harwell’s Diamond Gems” is about: the kind of stuff fans love to read and talk about, presented by a guy you can listen to all night. If we didn’t have a written language, I think Ernie Harwell would be known as one of our great tribal storytellers — if he isn’t already.”