May 21, 2022

"He was not only the greatest of baseball writers; he had also lived long enough to see Babe Ruth, of the Yankees, at one end of his life and..."

"... Shohei Ohtani, of the Angels, at the other. Age conferred authority. When Roger covered the Yanks in their late-nineties heyday, Joe Torre, the team’s heavy-lidded chief, would sometimes interrupt one of his avuncular soliloquies to a clutch of young reporters and look to him for affirmation: 'Roger, am I getting that right?' Sitting in his office, Roger, much like Torre, held court, telling stories about playing Ping-Pong with James Thurber, editing William Trevor and Donald Barthelme, and watching ballgames with the Romanian-born artist Saul Steinberg, who would put on a flannel Milwaukee Braves uniform before sitting down in front of the TV.... Roger died on Friday. He was a hundred and one.... His father, Ernest Angell, was a Harvard-trained lawyer who went on to lead the American Civil Liberties Union. His mother, born Katharine Sergeant, was educated at Bryn Mawr and became this magazine’s first fiction editor, a close editorial partner to Harold Ross. After divorcing Ernest Angell, she married another founding eminence at the magazine, E. B. White. Mrs. White, as she was known at the office, neglected to tell Roger the news of her wedding; Roger, who was nine at the time, heard about it only a couple of days later, through a relative who had read about it in Walter Winchell’s newspaper column.... Eventually, Roger led the fiction department; he was, as he often said, 'doing my mother’s job in my mother’s office.'... In 1962, he and the magazine’s editor, William Shawn, discussed the idea of his writing about baseball...."

Writes David Remnick in "Remembering Roger Angell, Hall of Famer/In the course of a well-lived century, he established himself as the most exacting of editors, the most agile of stylists, a mentor to generations of writers, and baseball’s finest, fondest chronicler" (The New Yorker).

12 comments:

PM said...

Roger was great, always a delightful read.
Remnick finally has a meaningful topic.

Dagwood said...

I always preferred watching baseball to reading about it, but the two Roger's (Angell and Kahn) wrote sports masterpieces that I read and reread.

Lem said...

Interview with Charlie Rose talks about his book, "This Old Man."

Michael said...

LEM. Thanks for that

Joe Smith said...

'I always preferred watching baseball to reading about it, but the two Roger's (Angell and Kahn) wrote sports masterpieces that I read and reread.'

Mark Harris is the greatest writer of baseball novels.

'Bang the Drum Slowly' is a masterpiece.

As good as Twain ever wrote...

Ex-PFC Wintergreen said...

I can’t come across this topic without recalling Tom Wolfe’s 1965 two-part “profile”, Tiny Mummies!, a hilarious and spot-on sendup of Wallace Shawn and the New Yorker. It as reprinted in Wolfe’s 2000 nonfiction collection Hooking Up.

Ghod, I miss Tom Wolfe…

Jefferson's Revenge said...

Baseball is a great sport though some rule changes (eliminate shift for example) would bring back some glory. We had a neighbor from Europe a few years ago and he got tickets for his family to a Phillies game. The night before he asked me to explain the rules. I laughed. Could not be done.

Last night was spent with a good cigar, tequila and game radio broadcast by the pool watching the stars come out after our first truly hot day here. Small pleasures.

Roger Angell. A life well lived.

Tank said...

Edited William Trevor?

That’s impressive!

Bender said...

So, a guy steeped in white privilege is no more.

Bender said...

Batters can eliminate the shift themselves without tampering with the rules.
And we all know how: hit to the other side.

Lurker21 said...

It's interesting how nepotistic New Yorker has been. So much of the staff, writers, and subjects related by blood, marriage, divorce, or carrying on.

Will Remnick be remembered so fondly? Everybody has their clique, and if you live to 101 much is forgiven.

Narr said...

I'm surprised this didn't garner more comments.

Since I've gone to the trouble, I'll just say that baseball, and writing about baseball, leave me cold. There was a time when I tried to read at least some of the New Yorker regularly, but
I never read Angell at all.