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"Scientific analysis intersects with flat-out fandom. [Gould] could write, he was funny, and he loved, loved baseball."—BooklistScience meets sport in this vibrant collection of baseball essays by the late evolutionary biologist.Among Stephen Jay Gould's many gifts was his ability to write eloquently about baseball, his great passion. Through the years, the renowned paleontologist published numerous essays on the sport; these have now been collected in a volume alive with the candor and insight that ...
"Scientific analysis intersects with flat-out fandom. [Gould] could write, he was funny, and he loved, loved baseball."—BooklistScience meets sport in this vibrant collection of baseball essays by the late evolutionary biologist.Among Stephen Jay Gould's many gifts was his ability to write eloquently about baseball, his great passion. Through the years, the renowned paleontologist published numerous essays on the sport; these have now been collected in a volume alive with the candor and insight that characterized all of Gould's writing. Here are his thoughts on the complexities of childhood streetball and the joys of opening day; tributes to Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, and lesser-knowns such as deaf-mute centerfielder "Dummy" Hoy; and a frank admission of the contradictions inherent in being a lifelong Yankees fan with Red Sox season tickets. Gould also deftly applies the tools of evolutionary theory to the demise of the .400 hitter, the Abner Doubleday creation myth, and the improbability of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak.
|Seventh Inning Stretch: Baseball, Father, and Me||25|
|Reflections and Experience|
|Streetball from a New York City Boyhood||37|
|The Babe's Final Strike||47|
|The Best of Times, Almost||50|
|More Power to Him||56|
|Tripping the Light Fantastic||64|
|Fenway Crowns the Millennium||68|
|Times to Try a Fan's Soul||72|
|Freud at the Ballpark||76|
|A Time to Laugh||80|
|Heroes Large, Small, and Fallen|
|Mickey Mantle: The Man versus the Myth||87|
|This Was a Man||102|
|The Greatest Athlete of the Century||105|
|The Amazing Dummy||112|
|The Glory of His Time, and Ours||130|
|Eight More Out||134|
|Nature, History, and Statistics as Meaning|
|Left Holding the Bat||143|
|Why No One Hits .400 Anymore||151|
|The Streak of Streaks||173|
|Letter to Joe DiMaggio, January 3, 1985||188|
|The Creation Myths of Cooperstown||190|
|The Brain of Brawn||205|
|Baseball's Reliquary: The Oddly Possible Hybrid of Shrine and University||210|
|Jim Bowie's Letter and Bill Buckner's Legs||219|
|Diamonds Are a Fan's Best Friend||243|
|Angell Hits a Grand Slam with Collected Baseball Essays||248|
|The Black Men Who Integrated Big League Ball||252|
|Baseball and the Two Faces of Janus||257|
|The H and Q of Baseball||275|
|Sultan of Sentimentality||295|
|Baseball: Joys and Lamentations||301|
|Good Sports & Bad||322|
|Jacket Art Identification||343|
Posted April 14, 2005
This collection was put together as Gould was dying. He was able to 'complete' it, but it lacks the polish of other Gould collections. His usual form was to organize edit the essays so that, although written at different times, they appeared to flow seamlessly together and support an overall theme. Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville appears much more to be a grab-bag collection of his baseball writings, and reveals that Gould probably never had time to complete the 'finishing process' that marks his other collections. I would still recommend this one to any fan of sports or sports writing. Two essays in particular 'Why No One Hits .400 Anymore' and 'The Streak of Streaks' should be read by just about anyone, but especially sports fans. Gould's collection reveals the passion, interest, and love of a true fan. I have missed Gould's insights in areas other than baseball. This book causes me to yearn for his reaction to two of the main developments in baseball since his death: the steroid scandal and the Red Sox victory in the World Series.
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Posted June 14, 2013
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Posted February 24, 2011
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