Bonomo: Roger Angell, baseball writing for the ages

From Joe Bonomo at the American Writers Museum on April 11, 2018:

Roger Angell is the greatest living baseball writer. He’s written about the game for The New Yorker since 1962, the year he visited the fledgling New York Mets at Spring Training in St. Petersburg, Florida. He was forty-one years old, dispatched there by his editor William Shawn, who was hopeful for more sports writing in the magazine. Though a novice reporter, Angell was eager to sit in the warm stands, find his voice, and report on what he saw and felt as a fan, filtering the action on the field and around him in the park through a knowledgeable yet skeptical, unabashed yet anti-sentimental love of the game he’s followed since he was a teenager.

Angell’s through-line in baseball astonishes. He watched Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig belt home runs in Yankee Stadium, and he blogged the 2017 Postseason. In his hometown, he’s seen his beloved New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers depart, the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field razed and paved for apartment complexes, old Yankee Stadium spiffed up, torn down, and then erected again, the New York Mets arrive, state-of-the-art Shea Stadium built, age, leveled, and replaced. He saw Joe DiMaggio stride the outfield, Barry Bonds launch epic homers. He’s bathed in daylight watching Mel Ott, and blinked at thousands of phones capturing a late-night October blast by Daniel Murphy, who was born nearly forty years after Ott retired. Angell recalls hearing about players boarding rickety Pullman cars that during a season stayed east of the Mississippi, and has watched teams flying first-class, equipment-laden jets en route from Miami to Seattle, and Los Angeles and San Diego and Montreal and Toronto.

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Originally published: April 13, 2018. Last Updated: April 13, 2018.