Roger Angell Dies at 101

David Remnick wrote a wonderful remembrance of the great Roger Angell, who died last week at 101:

“Getting old is the second-biggest surprise of my life, but the first, by a mile, is our unceasing need for deep attachment and intimate love,” he wrote in This Old Man. “I believe that everyone in the world wants to be with someone else tonight, together in the dark, with the sweet warmth of a hip or a foot or a bare expanse of shoulder within reach.”

Roger died on Friday. He was a hundred and one. But longevity was actually quite low on his list of accomplishments. He did as much to distinguish The New Yorker as anyone in the magazine’s nearly century-long history. His prose and his editorial judgment left an imprint that’s hard to overstate. Like Ruth and Ohtani, he was a freakishly talented double threat, a superb writer and an invaluable counsel to countless masters of the short story. He won a place in both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and in the Baseball Hall of Fame — a unique distinction. The crowd of friends from the magazine who drove four hours north to watch him receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award at Doubleday Field, in Cooperstown, wore custom jerseys declaring themselves Roger’s “Angells.”

Angell, more than any other writer, understood intuitively why baseball is a special game. It was because Angell was such an astute writer about life, in general, that he was so good writing about baseball, particularly. Or perhaps it was the other way around.

Michael Chabon, on Instagram:

My dad taught me to love baseball, but Roger Angell taught me how to love it: unreservedly, with a writer’s nosiness, a historian’s stance, an ear for comedy, and a skeptical but not a jaundiced eye. And above all: patiently. You cannot enjoy a baseball game without first settling into it, getting its feel, and then giving it time.

Monday, 23 May 2022