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Roger Angell, Hall of Fame Baseball Writer, Dies at 101

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 20, 2022

AP Photo/Mike Groll

Famed writer and essayist Roger Angell, who covered baseball for the New Yorker for six decades, has died at the age of 101.

His wife, Margaret Moorman, told the New York Times that Angell died of congestive heart failure.

Angell began contributing to the New Yorker in 1944. He became a fiction editor in 1956 and started covering sports in 1962. 

Angell was a versatile, multi-faceted writer whose talents allowed him to astutely cover other sports (tennis, hockey, Olympics, etc.) and an assortment of non-sports topics (film reviews, New Yorker Notes and Comments pieces).

His work about baseball, however, made him a sportswriting titan and legend.

In 2014, the Baseball Writers' Association of America awarded Angell with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed to writers by the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

You can watch Roger Angell's Hall of Fame speech here: <a href="https://t.co/t5CQGGM9si">https://t.co/t5CQGGM9si</a>

That's in addition to a host of other honors, including the inaugural PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing, the George Polk Award for Commentary and a Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, among others.

Angell's work could also be found in his collection of books, including The Summer Game, Five Seasons, and Late Innings.

Angell was the stepson of author E.B. White, whose works included Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web.

The breadth, depth and brilliance of Angell's eight decades of indelible work can't be encapsulated in one place, but his unique voice lives on in a variety of pieces and passages ranging from Bob Gibson's windup and rooting for the 1962 New York Mets to aging and an ode to the dry martini:

Craig Calcaterra @craigcalcaterra

One of my favorite Roger Angell pieces was not about baseball. It was about aging. It's neither morose nor maudlin nor dismissive. He faces and considers aging and death in a matter-of-fact way that I hope I can when I am older. <a href="https://t.co/9LJRIZPAZ3">https://t.co/9LJRIZPAZ3</a>

Alex Pavlovic @PavlovicNBCS

Roger Angell wrote my favorite piece about Madison Bumgarner after Game 7 in 2014. An absolute legend. <a href="https://t.co/K9PJSOV5Bk">pic.twitter.com/K9PJSOV5Bk</a>

Keith Olbermann @KeithOlbermann

For my money, this was the late Roger Angell's single truest, most insightful, most original passage about baseball.<br><br>It is nominally about Carlton Fisk's home run to win Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. It is actually about all of baseball and all of sports. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIP</a> <a href="https://t.co/uBC30taF4n">pic.twitter.com/uBC30taF4n</a>

Erin Overbey @erinoverbey

The great Roger Angell has died, at age 101. Roger was a remarkable storyteller &amp; cherished colleague. I’m rarely speechless (as you all know), but for now, I’ll just share what I consider one of his finest pieces—a profile of the pitcher Bob Gibson. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RIP</a> <a href="https://t.co/HLZJTB5p73">https://t.co/HLZJTB5p73</a>

Tim Layden @ByTimLayden

I read this piece from Roger Angell while jet-lagged and sleepless at the 2014 Olympics, and was awed by its prose and perspective. Still am. What a genius he was. RIP.<a href="https://t.co/dfPkeClBMM">https://t.co/dfPkeClBMM</a> <a href="https://t.co/6eF7f0Pvk4">pic.twitter.com/6eF7f0Pvk4</a>

R. Emmet Sweeney @r_emmet

"The 'Go!' Shouters", Roger Angell, June 1962 <a href="https://t.co/UJUyR0sDzJ">pic.twitter.com/UJUyR0sDzJ</a>

rachel syme @rachsyme

Here is my favorite Roger Angell piece, an ode to the dry martini, the best thing ever written about the drink <a href="https://t.co/WbokGlYbIV">https://t.co/WbokGlYbIV</a>

Patrick Keane @phkeane

Roger Angell on Tom Seaver’s pitching style. RIP to one of America’s finest writers. <a href="https://t.co/L6NSLQUkYy">pic.twitter.com/L6NSLQUkYy</a>

Patrick Andres @PAndres2001

No one has ever summed up the appeal of sports as neatly as Roger Angell did here <a href="https://t.co/hiUIOR19Ej">pic.twitter.com/hiUIOR19Ej</a>

Michael Schulman @MJSchulman

I rode the elevator with Roger Angell the day after the 2016 election and, never having dared speak to him before, thanked him for writing this piece. “I don’t know what I’ll write now,” he said. “I’ll come up with something. It’ll be good.” <a href="https://t.co/Od8O4GkCPB">https://t.co/Od8O4GkCPB</a>

Tim Murphy @timothypmurphy

"The Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk came out of his crouch, Mr. Angell wrote, like 'an aluminum extension ladder stretching for the house eaves.'" <a href="https://t.co/Y8VndzYeIZ">https://t.co/Y8VndzYeIZ</a>

Michael Higgins @OHglass1

Not all baseball fans read the New Yorker. Giants fans may have missed this Roger Angell piece 15 long years ago. Brilliant, insightful work, as always. ⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/susanslusser?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@susanslusser</a>⁩ <a href="https://twitter.com/AlexPavlovic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@alexpavlovic</a> ⁦<a href="https://twitter.com/extrabaggs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@extrabaggs</a>⁩ <a href="https://t.co/KVYOrgomNS">https://t.co/KVYOrgomNS</a>

Janet Somerville @janetsomerville

There are many <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RogerAngell?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RogerAngell</a> pieces that I consider beloved, but this <a href="https://twitter.com/NewYorker?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@newyorker</a> one from 2012 (when he was 91), “Over the Wall,” about grieving Carol is the best beloved: <a href="https://t.co/NR0n6TW48E">https://t.co/NR0n6TW48E</a>

A litany of writers and readers offered their remembrances, condolences and memories of Angell shortly after news of his passing broke.

Matt Maiocco @MaioccoNBCS

I read anything by Roger Angell I could find during high school, college and post-college. When young people ask me today what they can do to get into this line of work, I tell them to read a lot. When I say that, I think of Roger Angell. <a href="https://t.co/rCJ7xD6YXy">https://t.co/rCJ7xD6YXy</a>

Stephanie Apstein @stephapstein

The best. For all his perfect use of language, I might have loved best what he once told Tom Verducci about his first baseball assignment: "It was fun! Wow!"<a href="https://t.co/pQztQhsIdT">https://t.co/pQztQhsIdT</a> <a href="https://t.co/ItGzdtp3KQ">https://t.co/ItGzdtp3KQ</a>

Ben Baby @Ben_Baby

I read a ton of old Roger Angell every summer. One of the best sports writers in an era when good copy was important. A massive loss.

Molly Knight @molly_knight

Rest In Peace Roger Angell. The greatest to ever do it: <a href="https://t.co/p7ncgTCiQ6">https://t.co/p7ncgTCiQ6</a>

Full Dissident @hbryant42

Oh no. Roger Angell. 101 years old. Saw Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Reggie, Rickey, Bonds, Trout, and Ohtani. One of the very best. It was a pleasure to sit in the press box next to him - and a thrill to get an email from him.

Lindsey Adler @lindseyadler

Roger Angell saw the creative brilliance of ballplayers, and he gravitated toward the ones who couldn’t help but stand out. He never lost a sense of wonder for their talents and the complexities of a game that often looks quite simple. Simply the best.

Sarah Weinman @sarahw

Oh how I dreaded this news. Farewell to one of the all-time greats, whose influence upon fiction, sport, and writing cannot possibly be quantified. <a href="https://t.co/rVera0ffww">https://t.co/rVera0ffww</a>

Mina Kimes @minakimes

Roger Angell. Damn. His writing was somehow always both inventive and tender; just thinking of this piece stops me in my tracks. RIP to an absolute legend. <a href="https://t.co/fdYWL6cp0r">https://t.co/fdYWL6cp0r</a>

Patrick Radden Keefe @praddenkeefe

A giant, who was still writing - and writing beautifully - in his tenth decade. <a href="https://t.co/XwQCyGRTX4">https://t.co/XwQCyGRTX4</a>

rachel syme @rachsyme

roger angell was one of my heroes; he wrote about baseball the way others write about great art, and added a poetic breath and depth to sports writing. a new yorker legend and a legendary new yorker. <a href="https://t.co/MalBum6orx">https://t.co/MalBum6orx</a>

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

RIP — Roger Angell. One of my favorite writers ever. Just a legend. <a href="https://t.co/VsnTiuaFZl">pic.twitter.com/VsnTiuaFZl</a>

Bob Ryan @GlobeBobRyan

The world has been significantly diminished. Roger Angell has passed away at the age of 101.

Jason Gay @jasongay

Roger Angell was the first to admit his writing had the luxury of time, whereas the sportswriters on deadline had to crank it out in minutes. I appreciate his humility, but you could leave the rest of us alone for the next 50 years, and nobody will write as beautifully as he did.

The New York Yankees also offered their condolences, as did the Hall of Fame.

New York Yankees @Yankees

Roger Angell's words were art — bringing baseball to life with deeply vibrant and beautiful colors. Goodbye to a humble, eloquent, elegant legend. <a href="https://t.co/lV7e2Z8aml">pic.twitter.com/lV7e2Z8aml</a>

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum ⚾ @baseballhall

The Hall of Fame remembers 2014 BBWAA Career Excellence Award winner Roger Angell, who passed away today. <a href="https://t.co/vLQsUNjGMY">pic.twitter.com/vLQsUNjGMY</a>

Angell, a Harvard graduate, also served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, acted as an ex-officio member of the Authors' Guild and was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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