is a type of conceit. It is like commenting on
batting stance or Tiger Woods’s placing stroke.
Angell, the New Yorker’s baseball author, died May 22 at 101. His stepfather was
E. B. White,
the legendary humorist and writer. White married
Katharine Sergeant Angell,
the New Yorker’s fiction editor, in 1929, when Roger was 9. He couldn’t assist however be influenced by the 2 literary giants in his household, and it was no shock he turned to writing. He was a wonderful and gracious man.
Angell wrote about many issues apart from baseball, however he wasn’t a sportswriter within the mildew of Red Smith or
the 2 most distinguished columnists of my period. Angell didn’t comply with boxing or horse racing as Smith did, and in contrast to Povich, he didn’t take up causes just like the paucity of black gamers within the National Football League. Nor did Angell discover attention-grabbing the monetary and enterprise sides of baseball.
Instead, he sought the nuances of the sport—hitting and fielding—whereas largely ignoring the sordid realities of cash and greed. He had a watch for the telling second and the bizarre participant. He was fascinated and bemused by baseball. He understood that the sport was additionally being coated by reporters. He was snug being an observant fan of the sport he liked.
But he packed a punch. His 1991 essay “Homeric Tales” prompted a change in the best way Major League Baseball recorded its single season home-run report. His piece criticized—and urged me to remove—the then-double report for residence runs in a season held by
who hit 60 in 154 video games in 1927, and
who hit 61 in 162 video games in 1961. In the ’60s, Commissioner Ford Frick nervous that erasing Ruth’s report would hurt the sport, so he directed that it’s shared. It was a messy determination that led to the fiction that Maris’s achievement had an asterisk subsequent to it within the report e book. There was no asterisk.
The day after I learn Angell’s piece, and a bit stung by what he had written, I started to set in movement the revision via the correct committee. When it was completed, I obtained a word from Maris’s two sons, thanking me for the choice.
Like Angell, the very best sportswriters have sharp pens—and sharper tongues. During the prolonged major-league labor battle in 1981, when Commissioner
stumbled round attempting to get the problems resolved, Smith is alleged to have quipped, “This strike wouldn’t have happened if Bowie Kuhn were alive today.”
In the same vein, Povich—who for a few years waged a marketing campaign in opposition to
George Preston Marshall’s
refusal to make use of black gamers on the Washington Redskins—started his column at some point after the native staff had been trounced by the Cleveland Browns with this: “
born ineligible to play for the Redskins, built-in their finish zone 3 times yesterday.”
instructed me his father agreed that this was probably his most interesting column.
Roger Angell, Red Smith and Shirley Povich contributed as a lot to my enjoyment of the sport as did
and Duke Snider—even when none of us ever noticed a author attempt to hit a fastball.
Mr. Vincent was commissioner of baseball, 1989-92.
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Appeared within the June 4, 2022, print version as ‘Roger Angell’s Writing Was in a League of Its Own.’