Let Me Finish
December 10, 2013 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Roger Angell is the greatest of all baseball writers. Today, the game has recognized the fact. This July, along with Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony La Russa, Roger will be celebrated in Cooperstown, New York, the site of the Hall of Fame. He will receive the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon.

Here are eight of his articles from old issues of the New Yorker.

“So Long, Joe,” from November 5, 2007, about the manager Joe Torre’s departure from the Yankees.

“Long Voyage Home,” from November 22, 2004, about the Boston Red Sox first World Series win since 1918 For you Sox fans.

“The Web of the Game,” from July 20, 1981, about a college matchup between Yale and St. John’s that featured future big-league pitchers Ron Darling and Frank Viola.

“Up at the Hall,” from August 31, 1987, about his visit as a skeptical baseball pilgrim to the Hall of Fame.

“Down the Drain,” from June 23, 1975, about the pitcher Steve Blass’s sudden inability to throw strikes.

“Mo Town,” from September 23, 2013, about the retirement celebration for Mariano Rivera at Yankee Stadium.

“Before the Fall,” from March 26, 2001, about the pitcher David Cone’s final innings.

“Distance,” from September 22, 1980, about the career of the great St. Louis Cardinals ace Bob Gibson.

Angell is also known for his books on sports, mostly baseball. He wrote such classics as The Summer Game and Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion.

His autobiography, Let Me Finish, takes an unsentimental look at his early days as a boy growing up in Prohibition-era New York with a remarkable father; a mother, Katharine White, who was a founding editor of the New Yorker; and a famous stepfather, the writer E. B. White.

His father, an attorney, Ernest Angell became the head of the American Civil Liberties Union.
posted by JohnnyGunn (10 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
That's wonderful. Long before I cared at all about baseball, I always read his pieces in the New Yorker just because his writing was so great.
posted by Miko at 8:14 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

He is awesome. Fantastic family history too.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:21 PM on December 10, 2013

Phew... I thought at the beginning this was going to be an obit post.

I read The Summer Game this summer and have Season Ticket on deck for next summer.
posted by Jahaza at 9:25 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's such a good writer and love of the game just coats every word. He well deserves this honor.
posted by Anitanola at 9:30 PM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

The piece he wrote on Jackie Robinson on the occasion of the release of "42" is a really tight, haunting piece of writing.
posted by rocketman at 6:24 AM on December 11, 2013 [1 favorite]

I didn't know he was E.B. White's stepson! The bedtime stories he might have heard…!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:10 AM on December 11, 2013 [2 favorites]

I've loved Angell's writing ever since I read The Summer Game many years ago; I still remember the glee with which I opened the New Yorker that had his essay "Not So, Boston" after the glorious '86 Series (sorry, Sox fans).

But fuck the Hall of Fame until they admit Marvin Miller.
posted by languagehat at 10:43 AM on December 11, 2013

The Summer Game is what got me hooked on Angell as well. Baseball is such a terrific sport and Angell's writing seems to make it that much more glorious.

Putting Angell aside, I have to agree with languagehat that the Hall is incomplete without Marvin Miller. It also needs to include Curt Flood.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:01 PM on December 11, 2013

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! This is why we can still have good things.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2013

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