Roger Angell, whose vivid essays about baseball in The New Yorker saw him enshrined in a special writers wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., has died. He was 101 and died of heart failure, according to New Yorker editor David Remnick.
“No one lives forever, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that Roger had a good shot at it,” Remnick wrote Friday. “Like the rest of us, he suffered pain and loss and doubt, but he usually kept the blues at bay, always looking forward; he kept writing, reading, memorizing new poems, forming new relationships.”
Angell was the son of founding New Yorker fiction editor Katharine White and stepson of longtime staff writer E.B. White. He was first published in the magazine in his 20s, during World War II, and was still contributing in his 90s.
His career was celebrated by the BBWAA Career Excellence Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing, the first writer so honored who was not a member of the organization that votes for itthe Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Angell’s New Yorker writings were compiled in several baseball books. He also edited Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker”and for years wrote an annual Christmas poem for the magazine.
At age 93, he completed one of his most highly praised essays, This Old Man, winner of a National Magazine Award.
“I’ve endured a few knocks but missed worse,” he wrote. “The pains and insults are bearable. My conversation may be full of holes and pauses, but I’ve learned to dispatch a private Apache scout ahead into the next sentence, the one coming up, to see if there are any vacant names or verbs in the landscape up there. If he sends back a warning, I’ll pause meaningfully, duh, until something else comes to mind.”
Angell was married three times, most recently to Margaret Moorman. He had three children.