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Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville; A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

Gould, Stephen Jay

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ISBN 10: 0393057550 / ISBN 13: 9780393057553
Published by W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2003
Condition: Very good Hardcover
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

342, [10] pages. Small crease in rear DJ flap. Foreword by David Halberstam. Stephen Jay Gould (September 10, 1941 - May 20, 2002) was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. He was also one of the most influential and widely read writers of popular science of his generation. Gould spent most of his career teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Gould's most significant contribution to evolutionary biology was the theory of punctuated equilibrium. The theory proposes that most evolution is characterized by long periods of evolutionary stability, which is infrequently punctuated by swift periods of branching evolution. The theory was contrasted against phyletic gradualism, the popular idea that evolutionary change is marked by a pattern of smooth and continuous change in the fossil record. Most of Gould's empirical research was based on the land snail genera Poecilozonites and Cerion. He also contributed to evolutionary developmental biology, and has received praise for his book Ontogery and Phylogeny. In evolutionary theory he opposed strict selectionism, sociobiology as applied to humans, and evolutionary psychology. He campaigned against creationsim and proposed that science and religion should be considered two distinct fields whose authorities do not overlap. Gould was known by the general public mainly from his 300 popular essays in the magazine Natural History, and his books written for both the specialist and non-specialist. 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 which have now for the first time been collected in a volume alive with all the candor and insight that characterized 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 center fielder 'Dummy' Hoy; and a frank admission of the contradictions inherent in being a lifelong Yankees fan with Red Sox season tickets. So, too, does Gould deftly apply the tools of evolutionary theory to the demise of the 0.400 hitter, the Abner Doubleday creation myth, and the improbability of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. This book is a delight - an essential addition to Gould's remarkable legacy, and a fitting tribute to his love for the game. Bookseller Inventory # 72481

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville; A Lifelong ...

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, New York

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition: Very good

Dust Jacket Condition: very good

Edition: First Edition, First Printing.

About this title


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.


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

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