FORMER USA TODAY MLB REPORTER MEL ANTONEN WHO LIVED FOR BASEBALL DIES AT 64
Mel Antonen, family man, friend to the world, and renowned sports journalist, died Saturday of a rare acute auto-immune disease and complications from COVID-19. He was a longtime USA TODAY Sports and MASN-TV baseball reporter who covered nearly three dozen World Series. In a half century in journalism, he reveled and excelled in telling others’ stories.
He was 64.
Mel Richard Antonen’s own story became the best of all. It began in the tiny town of Lake Norden, South Dakota, on Aug. 25, 1956, when he was the third of four children born to Ray and Valda Antonen.
Lake Norden is 225 miles from the nearest major league ballpark and has never been populated with more than 550 people, but on soft summer evenings fans from counties away congregate at Memorial Park to watch a new episode of South Dakota’s storied amateur baseball history. Its pull never left him even as he walked, as a sports journalist, on Boston’s hallowed Fenway Park with the late Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, or sat in a pre-game spring training dugout with another Hall of Fame member, Minnesota Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew, weeks before Killebrew died in 2011
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