Roger Angel, the charming and thoughtful baseball writer who is widely regarded as one of America’s greatest creators, died at his home in Manhattan on Friday. He was 101 years old.
His wife, Margaret Mooreman, said heart failure was the cause.
Mr. Angel’s voice was original because he wrote more like a fan than a sports journalist, loading his articles with ingenious images.
Boston Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk came out of his crotch, Mr. Angel wrote, “like an aluminum extension ladder for the house oats.” Baltimore Oriole relief pitcher Dick Hall “pitched with awkward, sideways movement that suggests a man is feeling a lost collar stud under his bed.” Mr. Angel (pronounced angel) described Willie Mess as chasing a ball into the area in the deep center, “running so fast and so far away that the ball is waiting for him in the air.”
The baseball season didn’t seem to be over until then, as he was late in each fall, Mr. Angel recounted in a lengthy New Yorker article. Many of his pieces have been stored in books, including “Late Innings” (1982) and “Once More Around the Park” (1991).
But he didn’t just write about the team and the games they played. I also thought about what a fan is.
“It is foolish and childish to associate oneself with anything that is trivial and explicitly created as a professional sports team and exploits it professionally,” he wrote in his book Five Seasons (1977). “What’s left of this calculation, I think, is the business of caring – caring wholeheartedly and passionately, really caring – which is an ability or a feeling that is almost gone from our lives.”
For Mr. Angel, The New Yorker was somewhat of a family shop. His mother, Catherine Sergeant Angel White, was one of the first editors of the magazine appointed by Harold Ross in 1925. His stepfather, essayist E.B. White, was a frequent contributor. Mr. Angel published his first issue in a short story magazine in 1944, and went to work there in 1956.
Like his mother, Mr. Angel became a New Yorker fiction editor, finding and nurturing writers, including Ann Beatty, Bobby Ann Mason, and Garrison Kellore. For a while he occupied his mother’s old office – an experience, he told an interviewer, “was the strangest thing in the world.” Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Ruth Zhabwala and V.S. He also worked closely with writers like this. Prichet.
Mr. Angel, for his annual pageant holiday poem, “Greetings, Friends!” Was known for this title. This poem, a New Yorker tradition, began in 1932 and was originally written by Frank Sullivan. Mr. Angel wrote, “Good luck, friends!” From 1976 to 1998, when it remained partial and reopened in 2008. In recent years, the poem has been written by Ian Frazier.
In his holiday poems, Mr. Angel mixes the names of the upper culture and the lower, which were filtered that year. Here is the 1992 snippet:
Here hearts grow or grow,
Near Donna Tart and Michelle Pfeiffer,
B.B. With King and his Lucille,
And DD Myers and Brian Frill!
Some of his rhymes were misread. “This! Santa man, catch a little sky, “he wrote in 1992,” and sock Robert Bly. “
“I’m not sure there has ever been such a powerful writer and such an important editor in a magazine since the days of HL Menken, who ran The American Mercury,” David Ramnick, editor of The New Yorker, said in a letter. Interview for this obituary in 2012. “Roger was an energetic editor and a man of broad taste.”
Mr. Angel accidentally became a baseball writer. He was already a fan in 1962, when he told an interviewer for the salon that he had been told by the magazine’s editor, William Shawn, to “go to spring training and see what you can find.”
It was an auspicious year for a young baseball writer: the first season of the New York Mets. “It was a terrible defeat that New York took to heart,” said Mr Angel.