Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

W. W. Norton & Company
4
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"Scientific analysis intersects with flat-out fandom. [Gould] could write, he was funny, and he loved, loved baseball."—Booklist Science 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.

This book is a delight, an essential addition to Gould's remarkable legacy, and a fitting tribute to his love for the game.
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About the author

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and Professor of Geology at Harvard University. He published over twenty books, received the National Book and National Book Critics Circle Awards, and a MacArthur Fellowship.

David Halberstam (1934-2007) was an American Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author known for his early work on the Vietnam War, his work on politics, history, the Civil Rights Movement, business, media, American culture, and his later sports journalism.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Nov 29, 2010
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9780393340891
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Sports & Recreation / Baseball / Essays & Writings
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Atlanta Braves third baseman and National Hall of Famer Chipper Jones—one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history—shares his remarkable story, while capturing the magic nostalgia that sets baseball apart from every other sport.
 
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame–worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he’d be a major league ballplayer.  
 
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves make him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
 
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves’ extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 “Baby Braves”; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers—Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, among them—and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era—outrageous money, steroids, and all—and his special last season in 2012.
 
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we’re sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
In this new edition of Questioning the Millennium, best-selling author Stephen Jay Gould applies his wit and erudition to one of today's most pressing subjects: the significance of the millennium.

In 1950 at age eight, prompted by an issue of Life magazine marking the century's midpoint, Stephen Jay Gould started thinking about the approaching turn of the millennium. In this beautiful inquiry into time and its milestones, he shares his interest and insights with his readers. Refreshingly reasoned and absorbing, the book asks and answers the three major questions that define the approaching calendrical event. First, what exactly is this concept of a millennium and how has its meaning shifted? How did the name for a future thousand-year reign of Jesus Christ on earth get transferred to the passage of a secular period of a thousand years in current human history? When does the new millennium really begin: January 1, 2000, or January 1, 2001? (Although seemingly trivial, the debate over this issue tells an intriguing story about the cultural history of the twentieth century.) And why must our calendars be so complex, leading to our search for arbitrary regularity, including a fascination with millennia? This revised edition begins with a new and extensive preface on a key subject not treated in the original version.

As always, Gould brings into his essays a wide range of compelling historical and scientific fact, including a brief history of millennial fevers, calendrical traditions, and idiosyncrasies from around the world; the story of a sixth-century monk whose errors in chronology plague us even today; and the heroism of a young autistic man who has developed the extraordinary ability to calculate dates deep into the past and the future.

Ranging over a wide terrain of phenomena--from the arbitrary regularities of human calendars to the unpredictability of nature, from the vagaries of pop culture to the birth of Christ--Stephen Jay Gould holds up the mirror to our millennial passions to reveal our foibles, absurdities, and uniqueness--in other words, our humanity.


From the Hardcover edition.
The world’s most revered and eloquent interpreter of evolutionary ideas offers here a work of explanatory force unprecedented in our time—a landmark publication, both for its historical sweep and for its scientific vision. With characteristic attention to detail, Stephen Jay Gould first describes the content and discusses the history and origins of the three core commitments of classical Darwinism: that natural selection works on organisms, not genes or species; that it is almost exclusively the mechanism of adaptive evolutionary change; and that these changes are incremental, not drastic. Next, he examines the three critiques that currently challenge this classic Darwinian edifice: that selection operates on multiple levels, from the gene to the group; that evolution proceeds by a variety of mechanisms, not just natural selection; and that causes operating at broader scales, including catastrophes, have figured prominently in the course of evolution. Then, in a stunning tour de force that will likely stimulate discussion and debate for decades, Gould proposes his own system for integrating these classical commitments and contemporary critiques into a new structure of evolutionary thought. In 2001 the Library of Congress named Stephen Jay Gould one of America’s eighty-three Living Legends—people who embody the “quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance.” Each of these qualities finds full expression in this peerless work, the likes of which the scientific world has not seen—and may not see again—for well over a century.
"People of good will wish to see science and religion at peace. . . . I do not see how science and religion could be unified, or even synthesized, under any common scheme of explanation or analysis; but I also do not understand why the two enterprises should experience any conflict." So states internationally renowned evolutionist and bestselling author Stephen Jay Gould in the simple yet profound thesis of his brilliant new book.

Writing with bracing intelligence and elegant clarity, Gould sheds new light on a dilemma that has plagued thinking people since the Renaissance. Instead of choosing between science and religion, Gould asks, why not opt for a golden mean that accords dignity and distinction to each realm?

At the heart of Gould's penetrating argument is a lucid, contemporary principle he calls NOMA (for nonoverlapping magisteria)--a "blessedly simple and entirely conventional resolution" that allows science and religion to coexist peacefully in a position of respectful noninterference. Science defines the natural world; religion, our moral world, in recognition of their separate spheres of influence.

In elaborating and exploring this thought-provoking concept, Gould delves into the history of science, sketching affecting portraits of scientists and moral leaders wrestling with matters of faith and reason. Stories of seminal figures such as Galileo, Darwin, and Thomas Henry Huxley make vivid his argument that individuals and cultures must cultivate both a life of the spirit and a life of rational inquiry in order to experience the fullness of being human.

In his bestselling books Wonderful Life, The Mismeasure of Man, and Questioning the Millennium, Gould has written on the abundance of marvels in human history and the natural world. In Rocks of Ages, Gould's passionate humanism, ethical discernment, and erudition are fused to create a dazzling gem of contemporary cultural philosophy. As the world's preeminent Darwinian theorist writes, "I believe, with all my heart, in a respectful, even loving concordat between . . . science and religion."


From the Hardcover edition.
Desde Darwin fue el primer libro que el añorado Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) publicó reuniendo algunos de los ensayos que escribía para su columna mensual del Natural History Magazine. Apareció en 1977 y fue la obra que le lanzó a una fama mundial que ya nunca abandonaría. No es un libro más de los muchos que escribió el gran paleontólogo y biólogo evolutivo de Harvard, sino uno en el que el hilo conductor son sus dos grandes amores: Darwin y su teoría de la evolución. Así, el primer grupo de artículos explora la propia teoría de Darwin, deteniéndose en cuestiones como ¿por qué esperó veintiún años antes de publicar su teoría? La aplicación del darwinismo a la evolución humana, incluyendo qué nos separa y qué nos une con las demás criaturas que pueblan la Tierra, es el tema de los dos siguientes grupos de trabajos, mientras que el cuarto estudia los esquemas de la historia de la vida, caracterizada según Gould no por la continuidad que suponía Darwin, sino por un mundo puntuado de extinciones masivas y rápidos orígenes entre largas etapas de relativa tranquilidad. De la historia de la vida, pasa en los dos siguientes apartados a la historia de su morada, la Tierra, abordando cuestiones del tipo de si tiene alguna dirección la historia geológica. Finalmente, y para que no olvidemos el impacto que nuestros propios criterios sociales y políticos tienen en la supuestamente "objetiva" ciencia, nos encontramos con ensayos en los que analiza temas tan variados como las ideas de Engels sobre la evolución humana, la teoría de Lombroso de la criminalidad innata, el determinismo biológico o la en momentos tan popular sociobiología. Todo un festín de Stephen Jay Gould en estado puro.
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