Roger Angell, who wrote about baseball with passion, dies at 101


Like his mother, Mr. Angell became a New York fiction editor, discovering and nurturing writers including Ann Beattie, Bobbie Ann Mason and Garrison Keillor. For a time he occupied his mother’s old office – an experience, he told an interviewer, that was “the strangest thing in the world”. He has also worked closely with writers like Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Donald Barthelme, Ruth Jhabvala and VS Pritchett.

Mr. Angell was also known for his annual one-page holiday poem, titled “Greetings, Friends!” The poem, a New York tradition, began in 1932 and was originally written by Frank Sullivan. Mr. Angell wrote “Greetings, friends!” from 1976 until 1998, when it went on hiatus, and restarted it in 2008. In recent years, the poem has been written by Ian Frazier.

In his Holiday Poems, Mr. Angell mixed the bold, high-culture and low-culture names that had leaked out that year. Here is an excerpt from 1992:

It’s where hearts grow or ignite,
Close to Donna Tartt and Michelle Pfeiffer,
With BB King and his Lucille,
And Dee Dee Myers and Brian Friel!

Some of his rhymes could be read mischievously. “Hey! Santa, grab from the sky,” he wrote in 1992, “and drop a sock on Robert Bly.

“I’m not sure there’s ever been such a strong writer and such an important editor, all at once, in a magazine since the days when HL Mencken ran The American Mercury,” said David Remnick, editor. in chief of the New Yorker, in an interview for this obituary. “Roger was a vigorous editor and an intellect of varied tastes.”

Mr. Angell became a baseball writer by accident. He was already a fan in 1962 when, he told an interviewer for Salon, the magazine’s editor William Shawn asked him to “go to spring training and see what you find.” .

It was an auspicious year to be a young baseball writer: the first season of the New York Mets. “They were these terrible losers that New York took to heart,” Mr. Angell said.


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