Legendary baseball author Roger Angell leaves a lasting legacy
Heaven is a better place today with the arrival of famous baseball writer Roger Angell.
Refined and gentle presence in an often coarse and tumultuous game, the author of The summer game left a legacy of literary achievement when he died aged 101 on May 20.
A Harvard graduate and World War II veteran, Angell spent 75 years with the new yorkerserving as a writer, fiction editor, and mentor to younger colleagues who not only respected him, but often held him in awe.
He’s written everything from Talk of the Town columns to humor-tinged essays to a winter holiday poem called “Greetings, Friends!” And then there was baseball.
Roger Angell loved baseball and he loved it – but he didn’t start covering the game in earnest until 1962, when New Yorker editor William Shawn sent him to Florida to cover baseball’s spring training.
It was the start of a long and famous second career as a sportswriter that produced more than half a dozen bestselling books and a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame as an honorary recipient. writer’s annual then called the JG Taylor Spink Prize. .
Angell also landed at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, earning her a rare double honor. He had others.
According to David Remnick, editor of the new yorker since 1998, “His enthusiasm for baseball was so immense that he could not limit himself to singular loyalty.”
Although he has always lived in New York, Angell admitted to being a fan of not only the Mets and Yankees, but also the Red Sox. In short, he was a fan of the game – as the titles of his books showed.
After publication of The summer game in 1972 came Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion (1977), Late innings (1982), Season ticket (1988), Again around the park (1991), and A Pitcher’s Story: Innings with David Cone (2001).
He was a regular in the press box and clubhouse, writing memorable essays on Steve Blass and Dan Quisenberry and contributing to the oft-repeated 1994 Ken Burns PBS.
A voracious reader with a legendary memory, he memorized countless poems as well as the captions of all the cartoons that appeared in the new yorker.
Angell had good bloodlines: his father Ernest led the American Civil Liberties Union after graduating from Harvard while his mother Katherine, a Bryn Mawr alum, preceded him as fiction editor of the new yorker.
His signature first honored the new yorker in 1944, when the literary magazine ran a short story, he sent them from his Army Air Corps post in the central Pacific. It was signed “Cpl. Roger Angell.
After working for the now defunct travel magazine HolidayAngel joined the new yorker as editor in 1956. Many honors and awards followed.
He won the George Polk Award for Commentary in 1980, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement in 2005 and the PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing in 2011.
Angell was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007 and received the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Spink Award seven years later.
When he accepted his award at the former Doubleday Field in Cooperstown, the audience included friends of the new yorker dressed in specially designed t-shirts with the words “Roger’s Angells”.
A father of three, Angell also had a broken heart in his life: cancer claimed the lives of both of his wives. He was married to the first, Evelyn, for 48 years.
A 2019 book about the life of Roger Angell, written by Joe Bonomo, was called No Place I’d Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Lifetime Writing Baseball.
He left a lasting legacy and will be missed by all who knew him and countless others who were touched by his words.