The game he loves has honored the man many say is its finest chronicler. On July 26, the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., presented the J.G. Taylor Spink Award to Roger Angell, for 50 years of writing about the national pastime. In The New Yorker magazine and in a number of books, Angell shared his passion for a sport he calls " the hardest game to play."
Speaking to the crowd after receiving his award, Angell was grateful:
"My gratitude always goes back to baseball itself, which turned out to be so familiar and so startling, so spacious and exacting," he said. "So easy-looking and so heartbreakingly difficult that it filled up my notebooks and the seasons in a rush. A pastime, indeed."
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The Spinks Award is generally given to a distinguished writer from the Baseball Writer's Association of America, made up of those who toil on a daily deadline. Angell is the first recipient who is not a member of the group.
Now 93, Angell is still writing for The New Yorker, where he was fiction editor for many years. In a recent essay, " This Old Man," he shares the sadness of losing a wife and daughter, and the betrayals of body and mind in old age. But he ends on an upbeat note, asserting that the search for love never ends:
"I believe that everyone in the world wants to be with someone else tonight, together in the dark, with the sweet warmth of a hip or a foot or a bare expanse of shoulder within reach. Those of us who have lost that, whatever our age, never lose the longing: just look at our faces. If it returns, we seize upon it avidly, stunned and altered again."
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