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Roger Angell

Essay by   •  October 28, 2010  •  Essay  •  987 Words (4 Pages)  •  2,073 Views

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Throughout his tenure at The New Yorker, Roger Angell has received the reputation as one of the best baseball writers ever, though his contributions to the magazine do not stop there. His family likely influenced his decision to join the magazine as both his mother and step-father worked for The New Yorker. This Harvard graduate began his work at the newspaper in 1962 as an editor, but now mostly writes about his passion: baseball. (Weich)

Roger Angell grew up in a less-than-perfect household. His father was unfaithful to his mother, and it was said that it went the other way also. At the age of eight, Angell's parents divorced. His mother, an editor at The New Yorker, remarried only three months later to her colleague, E.B. White, also an editor. (Angell) Angell lived with his mother and step-father during his childhood. In 1942, he would graduate from Harvard. (Baseballlibrary.com)

Angell began writing for The New Yorker in 1962. It wasn't so much his knowledge of baseball that made him a great writer, but the fact that he was a fan. His articles were never overloaded with statistics and many would not even include one. His view from a fans perspective forced his articles to focus more on the emotions he felt during the games and how the way the players reacted towards the game. Inside Sports columnist, Richard Ford explained Angell's writing techniques.

Roger Angell has been writing about baseball for more than forty years -- mostly for the New Yorker magazine -- and for my money he's the best there is at it. There's no writer I know whose writing on sport, and particularly baseball, is as anticipated, as often reread and passed from hand to hand by knowledgeable baseball enthusiasts as Angell's is, or whose work is more routinely and delightedly read by those who really aren't enthusiasts. Among the thirty selections in this volume are several individual essays and profiles (the Bob Gibson profile, 'Distance,' for instance) which can be counted in that extremely small group of sports articles that people talk over and quote for decades, and which have managed to make a lasting contribution to the larger body of American writing. (Weich)

Roger Angell credited his superior writing skills to being given freedom to write about what he wants, how he wants to write.

Angell: 'I think that instinctively I thought I'd have to trust myself and to report about what I was seeing, what I was thinking as a fan, and not to try to fake it by being knowing about these players and their deliveries and all that stuff which I later learned about. This has run all through my work. I've never been told that I have to be objective. I can take sides and I can say how I feel.' (Weich)

If Angell's baseball writings have almost always been a pleasure to read in the magazine, they also age well. He had room to sound like himself, as he puts it. The self that comes through sounds old New Yorker at times, but never really dated. His was always the voice of the smart fan talking for all of us, living with the same sort of anxieties we all face. (Kettmann)

Angell won't just regurgitate what he sees at a baseball game. His articles are written for baseball fans, so he wants them to actually feel what went on in the game. He wanted to express each minute detail as best he could; he left very little to the imagination.

Angell treats the everyday player, and the everyday piece of equipment, with reverence, and he has a marvelous capacity for helping the reader see all

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