Late Innings, by Roger Angell

Well, I am almost done with Roger Angell’s Late Innings, a collection of articles he published originally in the New Yorker, covering

…the spring of 1977 to the late summer of 1981, and also about the substrata of the sport — money, celebrity, power, traditions, and social change — that lie beneath its green and ordered fields.

In the front of my book — a well-worn hardcover, sans dust jacket, with coffee-stains across its blue front-boards — it lists Angell’s other works, up to 1982. Two of them I’ve read, The Summer Game, and Five Seasons, and another I would like to read and will have to look for – A Day in the Life of Roger Angell. Since 1982, he’s added a few more to the list: Season Ticket – A Baseball Companion, Once More Around the Park – A Baseball Reader, A Pitcher’s Story – Innings with David Cone, and Let Me Finish. I think I’ve read Season Ticket, but the others, no, I’ll have to look for them.

I sat down in the coffee shop this afternoon – a grey Minneapolis December day, the ground covered with dirty snow, and jotted down a few notes about the book, starting with the thought – If you are the sort of person who likes to spend your time thinking and reading about baseball, then you’ve probably read Roger Angell. But if not, you have got to read Roger Angell. No one writes about baseball better than Roger Angell.

Roger Angell

And, coincidentally, in looking for a picture of Angell to include with this post, I discover that just this very week he was the winner of the annual J.G. Taylor Spink award for “meritorious contributions to baseball writing” – and the first writer to win this award without being a member of the Baseball Writer’s Association of America. For more on this, there’s a nice article by Jim Caple on ESPN; but I’ll just stop here today and say, Yay! Roger Angell! Richly deserved. Good game, Roger. And thanks!

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