Roger Angell

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Roger Angell
Angell in 2015
Angell in 2015
Born(1920-09-19)September 19, 1920
New York City, U.S.
DiedMay 20, 2022(2022-05-20) (aged 101)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materHarvard University
GenreSports journalism
Notable awardsPEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing (2011)
J. G. Taylor Spink Award (2014)
  • Evelyn Baker (deceased)[1]
  • Carol Rogge (deceased)
  • Margaret Moorman

Roger Angell (September 19, 1920 – May 20, 2022) was an American essayist known for his writing on sports, especially baseball. The only writer ever elected into both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Baseball Writers' Association of America, he was a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was its chief fiction editor for many years.[3] He wrote numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism, and for many years wrote an annual Christmas poem for The New Yorker.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born on September 19, 1920, in Manhattan, New York,[4][5] Angell was the son of Katharine Sergeant Angell White, The New Yorker's first fiction editor, and the stepson of renowned essayist E. B. White, but he was raised for the most part by his father, Ernest Angell, an attorney who became head of the American Civil Liberties Union.[6][7][8]

After graduating in 1938 from the Pomfret School, he attended Harvard University.[9] He served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.[10]


In 1948, Angell was employed at Holiday Magazine, a travel magazine that featured literary writers.[11] His earliest published works were pieces of short fiction and personal narratives, several of which were collected in The Stone Arbor and Other Stories (1960) and A Day in the Life of Roger Angell (1970).[12]

Angell first contributed to The New Yorker while serving in Hawaii as editor of an Air Force magazine; his short story titled "Three Ladies in the Morning" was published in March 1944. He became The New Yorker's fiction editor in the 1950s, occupying the same office as his mother,[13] and continued to write for the magazine until 2020. "Longevity was actually quite low on his list of accomplishments", wrote his colleague, David Remnick. "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."[14]

He first wrote professionally about baseball in 1962, when William Shawn, editor of The New Yorker, had him travel to Florida to write about spring training.[3][8] His first two baseball collections were The Summer Game (1972) and Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion (1977).[15]

Angell has been called the "Poet Laureate of baseball" but he disliked the term.[3][8] In a review of Once More Around the Park for the Journal of Sport History, Richard C. Crepeau wrote that "Gone for Good", Angell's essay on the career of Steve Blass,[a] "may be the best piece that anyone has ever written on baseball or any other sport".[17] Another essay of Angell's, "The Web of the Game", about the epic pitchers' duel between future major-league All-Stars (and eventual teammates) Ron Darling and Frank Viola in the 1981 NCAA baseball tournament, was called "perhaps the greatest baseball essay ever penned" by ESPN journalist Ryan McGee in 2021.[18] Angell contributed commentary to the Ken Burns series Baseball, in 1994.[19]

Personal life and death[edit]

Angell was married three times. He had two daughters, Callie and Alice, with his first wife, Evelyn,[1] and a son, John Henry, with his second wife, Carol Rogge Angell. After 48 years of marriage, Carol Angell died on April 10, 2012, at the age of 73 of metastatic breast cancer.[20] In 2014, he married Margaret (Peggy) Moorman.[13][21] His daughter Callie, an authority on the films of Andy Warhol, died by suicide on May 5, 2010, in Manhattan, where she worked as a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art; she was 62. In a 2014 essay, he mentioned her death – "the oceanic force and mystery of that event" – and his struggle to comprehend that "a beautiful daughter of mine, my oldest child, had ended her life".[22]

Angell died of congestive heart failure at his home in Manhattan on May 20, 2022, at the age of 101.[4][13][5]


Angell received a number of awards for his writing, including the George Polk Award for Commentary in 1980,[23] the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement in 2005 along with Umberto Eco,[24] and the inaugural PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing in 2011.[25] He was a long-time ex-officio member of the council of the Authors Guild,[23] and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.[26] His article This Old Man in The New Yorker[22] on his "challenges and joys of being 93"[27] garnered the National Magazine Award for Essays and Criticism in 2015.[28]

He was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals in 2010,[29][30] and he was the 2014 recipient of the J. G. Taylor Spink Award of the Baseball Writers' Association of America;[31][32] despite being a New Yorker writer, he was nominated by the San Francisco–Oakland chapter.[33] In 2015 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters,[34] a unique combination with the Baseball Hall of Fame.[14]


In 2019, University of Nebraska Press published No Place I Would Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Life in Baseball Writing, a book about Angell's career, written by Joe Bonomo.[35]


  1. ^ Originally published as "Down the Drain"[16]


  1. ^ a b "Evelyn Baker Nelson obituary". The New York Times. November 25, 1997. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. ^ Koppel, Niko (May 10, 2010). "Callie Angell, Authority on Warhol Films, Dies at 62". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c d Kettmann, Steve (August 29, 2000). "Roger Angell". Salon. Archived from the original on January 13, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Garner, Dwight (May 20, 2022). "Roger Angell, Who Wrote About Baseball With Passion, Dies at 101". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  5. ^ a b Trott, Bill (May 20, 2022). "Baseball writer Roger Angell dies at 101". Reuters. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  6. ^ "Roger Angell as lively as ever at age 85". Sports Illustrated. May 17, 2006.
  7. ^ Ulin, David L. (November 15, 2012). "Roger Angell on what the dead don't know". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ a b c Smith, Chris (May 21, 2006). "Influences: Roger Angell". New York.
  9. ^ Orodenker, Richard (1996). "Twentieth-Century American Sportswriters". Dictionary of Literary Biography. Vol. 171. Detroit: Gale. p. 5. ISBN 0-8103-9934-2 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Verducci, Tom (July 22, 2014). "The Passion of Roger Angell: The best baseball writer in America is also a fan - Sports Illustrated". Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  11. ^ Callahan, Michael (May 2013). "The Visual and Writerly Genius of Holiday Magazine". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  12. ^ Bonomo, Joe (2019). No Place I Would Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Life in Baseball Writing. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 21, 76. ISBN 978-1-4962-1529-1.
  13. ^ a b c Italie, Hillel (May 20, 2022). "Longtime New Yorker writer, editor Roger Angell dies". Associated Press. Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  14. ^ a b Remnick, David (May 20, 2022). "Remembering Roger Angell, Hall of Famer". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 21, 2022.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. ^ Bonomo, Joe (2019). No Place I Would Rather Be: Roger Angell and a Life in Baseball Writing. U of Nebraska Press. pp. 67, 193. ISBN 978-1-4962-1529-1.
  16. ^ Roger Angell (June 23, 1975). "Down the Drain". The New Yorker. New York. pp. 42–59. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  17. ^ Crepeau, Richard C. "Review of Once More Around the Park" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. Vol. 29, no. 3. pp. 510–12.
  18. ^ McGee, Ryan (May 21, 2021). "Ron Darling, Frank Viola and NCAA baseball's greatest game ever, 40 years on". Retrieved May 24, 2021.
  19. ^ Schudel, Matt (May 20, 2022). "Roger Angell, editor, baseball writer at the New Yorker, dies at 101". Washington Post.
  20. ^ "Paid Notice: Deaths, Angell, Carol Rogge". New York Times. April 14, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  21. ^ Singer, Mark (September 5, 2020). "Roger Angell at a Hundred". The New Yorker. Retrieved May 21, 2022. He recalls a threat from Carol as her death neared: 'If you haven't found someone else by a year after I'm gone I'll come back and haunt you.' He obliged in the summer of 2014, when he and Moorman married a week or so before he was inducted into the writer’s section of the Baseball Hall of Fame...
  22. ^ a b Angell, Roger (February 24, 2014). "This Old Man". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Roger Angell". Contributor Biography. The New Yorker.
  24. ^ "Roger Angell and Umberto Eco". The Kenyon Review. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  25. ^ "The 2011 PEN Honorees in The New Yorker". The New Yorker. August 10, 2011.
  26. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved April 18, 2011.
  27. ^ "Checking out the National Magazine Award Winners". Nieman Reports. February 3, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  28. ^ "Winners and Finalists". National Magazine Award 2015. American Society of Magazine Editors. Archived from the original ( on September 24, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  29. ^ "Shrine of the Eternals – Inductees". Baseball Reliquary. Retrieved August 14, 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  30. ^ "The Baseball Reliquary". Baseball Roundtable. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  31. ^ "Roger Angell wins Spink Award". AP. December 10, 2013.
  32. ^ "Roger Angell at the Baseball Hall of Fame". The New Yorker. August 4, 2014.
  33. ^ Slusser, Susan (May 27, 2022). "How Bay Area baseball scribes helped put Roger Angell in the Hall of Fame". San Francisco Chronicle.
  34. ^ "2015 Newly Elected Members". American Academy of Arts and Letters. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
  35. ^ "A One-Man Archive of Baseball History". June 23, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2022.

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