Roger Angell, the Hall of Fame baseball writer who wrote so elegantly about the game for nearly 60 years, died Friday at his home in Manhattan, his wife told the New York Times. He was 101. Angell died of congestive heart failure.
Born Sept. 19, 1920, Angell was alive for all 27 of the Yankees’ World Series championships. He witnessed every great from Babe Ruth to Mike Trout, and he wrote about the sport with the passion, curiosity and joy of a diehard fan. Angell wrote about Steve Blass’ battle with the yips and Madison Bumgarner’s October of dominance, among many other things.
Angell’s final piece, “Night Moves,” was published by the New Yorker in April 2018. Here is the introduction to 1972’s “The Summer Game,” the first in a series of five baseball essay anthologies Angell published during his career:
Today the Times reported the arrival of the first pitchers and catchers at the spring training camps, and the morning was abruptly brightened, as if by the delivery of a seed catalogue. The view from my city window still yields only frozen tundras of trash, but now spring is guaranteed and one of my favorite urban flowers, the baseball box score, will burgeon and flourish through the warm, languid, information packed weeks and months just ahead.
Angell graduated from Harvard in 1942 and served as a magazine editor for the Air Force during World War II. He worked at a magazine called Holiday before following his mother, Katharine Sergeant Angell White, to The New Yorker, where she was among its first editors. His stepfather, E.B. White, was a frequent contributor. Angell worked as a fiction editor.
In 2014, Angell became the first person to receive the Baseball Writers Association of America Career Excellence Award without ever being a member of the BBWAA, a beat reporter or a full-time baseball columnist. He was, quite simply, one of the greatest to ever write about baseball.
Angell is survived by his wife, Margaret Moorman, as well as two children, three grandchildren and two great grandchildren.