Anderson died Thursday at an assisted living center in Cresskill, New Jersey, according to his son Steve.
Anderson won a Pulitzer Prize in 1981 for his sports commentary. He was the 1994 winner of The Associated Press Sports Editors Red Smith Award and was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 1990. He was recognized multiple times for his boxing coverage.
In 2014, ESPN and the Pen American Center gave Anderson a lifetime achievement award, citing his nuance and the depth of his writing.
"For more than half a century, Dave Anderson has waded into the hurly-burly of sportswriting with quiet dignity and a true craftsman's regard for the language," the judges wrote in honoring Anderson. "You didn't read him for bombast or half-cocked opinion. You read him because, quite simply, he knew whereof he wrote."
Prior to the Times, Anderson worked for the New York Journal-American and the Brooklyn Eagle. He wrote 21 books during his career.
Anderson is survived by four children, three grandchildren and one great-grandson. His wife, Maureen, died at the age of 82 in 2014.
Anderson's son Steve worked at ESPN for 35 years, retiring in 2015 as executive vice president, content operations and creative services.