Roger Angell Introduction

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Roger Angell 1920–

American nonfiction writer, short story writer, critic, and editor.

Angell has a deft ability for analyzing the intricacies and subtleties of the game of baseball and for focusing on events and people that reveal the sport's ongoing human drama. Since 1960 Angell has been contributing essays and general observations on baseball to The New Yorker. Several features that characterize the magazine are evident in Angell's writings: finely crafted prose, painstaking analysis, and dry humor. His pieces have been collected in three highly acclaimed works—The Summer Game, which covers the years 1961–1971; Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion (1972–1976); and Late Innings: A New Baseball Companion (1977–1981).

Angell is most concerned that baseball maintain the traditions which have united players and fans in a continuing seasonal ritual, providing lasting memories that tie the present to the past. Critics have praised the sensitive concern and passion with which Angell chronicles an era of significant change, when many intimate midcity ballparks have been replaced by massive suburban stadiums. Angell particularly dislikes the advent of artificial turf, free agency, designated hitters, and multimillion dollar revenues, but he finds little change in the essence of the game itself. Most critics view Angell as an extraordinarily talented writer who has found his niche in writing about baseball but whose work can be appreciated by the general reader as well.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 57-60.)