When managers Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre are inducted into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown next summer, the best baseball writer on the planet will also be celebrated. Click here for New Yorker editor David Remnick's tribute to Roger Angell on the occasion of his receiving, in Remnick's words, "the J. G. Taylor Spink Award, which has previously gone to the likes of Grantland Rice, Red Smith, Ring Lardner, and Damon Runyon. With respect to all the writers in the lifetime lineup card, Roger is the cleanup man. I.M.H.O., anyway. I am not quite sure how the exhibits will look, but I will be happy to see one of Roger’s tweed jackets, a spiral notebook shoved in the pocket, hanging right next to Ruth’s No. 3 and Gehrig’s No. 4."
I can't resist quoting more of Remnick's eloquent praise (with apt illustration):
Not to be peevish, but the award is a teensy bit belated, as there has been heated discussion for years in press-box circles about whether Roger, as a “magazine and book man” (as one voter called him), could fairly stand beside the beat writers, the men and women who attend every game and write up every contest, from the mid-August sleeper in the rain to the Homeric season-ending classics on All Hallows’ Eve. It’s good to see that the guild gave up its perquisites to honor the outlier. The truth is, though, that Roger, who is more accustomed, it is true, to writing on a more capacious deadline, is a versatile player; he can write quickly when the occasion, and the technology, demands it of him. When Mariano Rivera pitched his second-to-last game this year, Roger checked in the next morning on our Sporting Scene blog:
Mariano came on with one out in the eighth, and surrendered a single but no runs, and along the way gave us still again his eloquent entering run from deep center field; the leaning stare-in with upcocked mitt over his heart; the reposeful pre-pitch pause, with his hands at waist level; and then the burning, bending, famed-in-song-and-story cutter. All these, seen once again, have been as familiar to us as our dad’s light cough from the next room, or the dimples on the back of our once-three-year-old daughter’s hands, but, like those, must now only be recalled.
Upcocked. Reposeful. Our dad’s cough in the next room. All on deadline and without evident strain. (You try it!) But perhaps we can credit it to experience, to sufficient time in the press box. Roger is ninety-three. Unlike Mariano, he has not abandoned the field. He’s at the office nearly every day, reading fiction for the magazine, writing, kibbitzing, and advising. His devotion to writing, editing, and the magazine is as it ever was. The other day, he handed in an essay that is as fine a thing as I have read in many months, and it will run soon.
This is all to say: Roger, congratulations! Congratulations from us at the magazine and from your readers.
-- David Remnick