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Longtime MLB reporter Mel Antonen dies at 64 after bout with COVID-19

Jason Owens
·3-min read
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  A batting practice baseball rests in a catchers mitt during Chicago White Sox spring training workouts on February 19, 2014 at The Ballpark at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)  ***
Baseball lost veteran reporter and analyst Mel Antonen on Saturday. (Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Longtime baseball writer Mel Antonen died on Saturday at 64 years old.

Antonen announced in June that he had contracted COVID-19 on top of being diagnosed with the rare autoimmune disease hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis that attacked his liver.

“The disease and the virus were a punishing duo, which I assume was much like pitching against the 1927 Yankees with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig,” Antonen wrote on June 25.

MLB Network Radio and USA Today confirmed his death on Sunday.

Antonen covered some of baseball’s biggest stories

Antonen most recently worked on the MASN Mid-Atlantic Sports Report and as an analyst on MLB Network Radio. He worked for 24 years covering baseball for USA Today starting in 1986, reporting on some of the game’s biggest moments including the 1989 World Series earthquake, Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak and the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGwire home run race in 1998.

He covered three Olympics for the USA Today, including reporting on the Tonya Harding figure skating scandal.

‘A baseball park in my mind is a home’

Antonen also wrote for Sports Illustrated before shifting his focus to broadcast with MASN and MLB Network Radio later in his career. He spoke about his love for baseball during his 2017 induction into the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame.

“I love baseball because it always brings me home,” Antonen said. “A baseball park in my mind is a home. It doesn’t matter if it's next to a cornfield, as it is in Lake Norden, or if it is next to a rumbling subway, in New York.”

Antonen is survived by his wife Lisa Nipp and his 14-year-old son Emmett.

He was remembered fondly on Sunday by the world of baseball and sports media.

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