Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

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9780393057553: Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

A collection of essays on baseball by the late evolutionary biologist and author of Ever Since Darwin shares his love of the national pastime as he reflects on the joys of opening day, childhood streetball, Mickey Mantle, the demise of the .400 hitter, DiMaggio's fifty-six-game hitting streak, and the contradictions of being a lifelong Yankees fan with Red Sox season tickets. 35,000 first printing.

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Review:

The late Stephen Jay Gould was a man of strong opinions--and not just about evolutionary theory and paleontology, the subjects of fine books of his such as Ever Since Darwin and Wonderful Life. Just get him going on baseball, as readers of his long-running monthly column in Natural History magazine will remember, and sparks would fly.

Baseball, Gould writes in this collection of diverse essays and reviews, is an intellectual’s game, but only accidentally so; plenty of smart folks like other sports. In his case, though, baseball was the game to follow, for he grew up in the New York of the 1950s, when the city had "the three greatest teams in major league baseball." Two of those teams later moved far away, but Gould nursed his passion into adulthood, all the while acquiring plenty of ammunition for sophisticated arguments about every facet of the game. In these pages, for instance, he weighs in on such eminently arguable matters as the greatest player the sport has known (Ty Cobb, maybe), the greatest single game ever played (game six of the 1975 World Series), why it is that no one hits .400 these days (it’s a matter of statistics, but so much more too), and whether the current system of postseason playoffs is a good thing (no).

The sport has had few more learned and literate fans than Gould, who brings his best to these pieces. Celebrating triumphs and mourning tragedies on and off the diamond, this book makes just the right companion for the new season, and for the seasons to come. --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) wrote more than twenty books and received the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a MacArthur Fellowship. He taught at Harvard University for more than thirty years.

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