|Born||September 19, 1920|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||Harvard University|
|Notable awards||PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing (2011)|
J. G. Taylor Spink Award (2014)
|Spouse||Evelyn Baker (deceased)|
Carol Rogge Angell (deceased)
|Children||Callie, Alice, and John Henry|
|Relatives||Katharine Sergeant Angell White (mother)|
E. B. White (stepfather)
Joel White (half-brother)
Roger Angell (born September 19, 1920) is an American essayist known for his writing on sports, especially baseball. He has been a regular contributor to The New Yorker and was its chief fiction editor for many years. He has written numerous works of fiction, non-fiction, and criticism, and for many years wrote an annual Christmas poem for The New Yorker.
He received a number of awards for his writing, including the George Polk Award for Commentary in 1980, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement in 2005 along with Umberto Eco, and the inaugural PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing in 2011.
Early life and education
Angell is the son of Katharine Sergeant Angell White, The New Yorker’s first fiction editor, and the stepson of renowned essayist E. B. White, but was raised for the most part by his father, Ernest Angell, an attorney who became head of the American Civil Liberties Union. He is a seventh-generation descendant of Thomas Angell, the early settler of Providence, Rhode Island.
Angell's earliest published works were pieces of short fiction and personal narratives. Several of these pieces were collected in The Stone Arbor and Other Stories (1960) and A Day in the Life of Roger Angell (1970).
In 1948, Angell was employed at Holiday Magazine, a travel magazine that featured literary writers.
He first contributed to The New Yorker in March 1944 and continued to contribute into 2020.
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. His first two baseball collections were The Summer Game (1972) and Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion (1977).
Angell has been called the "Poet Laureate of baseball" but dislikes the term. 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". Another essay of Angell, "The Web of the Game", about the epic pitchers' duel between future major-leaguers 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. Angell contributed commentary to the Ken Burns series Baseball, in 1994.
Angell has three children: Callie, Alice, and John Henry. He had Alice and Callie with his first wife Evelyn, and John Henry with Carol. Callie Angell, who was an authority on the films of Andy Warhol, committed 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, Angell 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." Alice Angell lived in Portland, Maine and died from cancer on February 2, 2019, and John Henry Angell lives in Portland, Oregon.
His second wife, Carol Rogge Angell, to whom he was married for 48 years, died on April 10, 2012, of metastatic breast cancer at the age of 73. In 2014, he married Margaret Moorman, a writer and teacher, as noted in the Ellsworth American newspaper. On September 19, 2020, Angell turned 100.
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.
- Originally published as "Down the Drain"
- Evelyn Baker Nelson obituary, New York Times, Nov. 25, 1997
- Koppel, Niko (10 May 2010). "Callie Angell, Authority on Warhol Films, Dies at 62". New York Times.
- Kettmann, Steve (29 August 2000). "Roger Angell". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009.
- "Roger Angell". Contributor Biography. The New Yorker.
- "Roger Angell and Umberto Eco". The Kenyon Review. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
- "Shrine of the Eternals – Inductees". Baseball Reliquary. Retrieved 2019-08-14.
- "Roger Angell as lively as ever at age 85". Sports Illustrated. 17 May 2006.
- Ulin, David L. (15 November 2012). "Roger Angell on what the dead don't know". Los Angeles Times.
- Smith, Chris (May 21, 2006). "Influences: Roger Angell". New York Magazine.
- Orodenker, Richard (1996). "Twentieth-Century American Sportswriters". Dictionary of Literary Biography. 171. Detroit: Gale. p. 5. ISBN 0-8103-9934-2 – via Google Books.
- Callahan, Michael (May 2013). "The Visual and Writerly Genius of Holiday Magazine". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2018-05-29.
- Roger Angell (June 23, 1975). "Down the Drain". The New Yorker. New York: The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. pp. 42–59. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
- Crepeau, Richard C. "Review of Once More Around the Park" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. Vol. 29 no. 3. pp. 510–12.
- McGee, Ryan (May 21, 2021). "Ron Darling, Frank Viola and NCAA baseball's greatest game ever, 40 years on". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 24, 2021.
- Angell, Roger (24 February 2014). "This Old Man". The New Yorker. ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "Alice Angell". Obituaries. Press Herald.
- "Paid Notice: Deaths, Angell, Carol Rogge". New York Times. 14 April 2012. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
- Betsy Morais (September 18, 2020). "Happy Hundredth, Roger Angell". Retrieved September 19, 2020.