Finding baseball in the most unusual places

December 27, 2012

I’m a big fan of audio books. I recently borrowed two titles from the library — The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives, by Mlodinow, Leonard, and 1861: The Civil War Awakening, by Adam Goodheart — that would seem to have nothing to do with the national pastime.

But lo and behold the former jumps right in with a study of the Mantle-Maris home run duel in 1961, with a nod to this article — “Math Muscles in on the Race Against Ruth” (scroll to page 62) — that appear in the August 18 issue of Life magazine that year. I’m guessing this has to be one of the first “sabermetric” studies of the game to appear in a general periodical.

In 1861, the baseball references come in connection with Captain Abner Doubleday, popularly, if erroneously, credited with inventing the game. Doubleday was quite a soldier, it seems, with a good head on his shoulders and the respect of his troops.


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