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Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville

A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

Stephen Jay Gould (Author)

With a Foreword by David Halberstam

Overview | Inside the Book

"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.

Book Details

  • Paperback
  • May 2004
  • ISBN 978-0-393-32557-7
  • 5.5 × 8.3 in / 368 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide including Canada, but excluding the British Commonwealth.

Endorsements & Reviews

“Starred Review. Gould's assessments of baseball players and teams, books about the game, and the sport itself are smart, well-written, and eminently entertaining.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A jovial and eloquent fan of the game...[Gould] displays an appreciation for the game that goes beyond bell curves and bar charts.” — Chicago Tribune

“Gould is at his best when he uses his critical powers and statistical acumen to challenge speculation.” — American Scientist

“A triple treat from the mind of a passionate fan, an incisive thinker, and a lucid writer.” — Mark E Hayes, Elysian Fields Quarterly

“[Gould] loves the sport viscerally, and his interests in science and baseball are as parallel and intertwined as DNA's double helix.” — New York Times Book Review

“[Gould] rhapsodizes about the passion of intellectuals and boasts about his family's 'four generations of baseball rooting.” — Paul Duke, Baltimore Sun

“Gould wrote as enthusiastically about baseball as he did about evolution....his best...essays on the game are gathered [here].” — John Curtis, San Diego Union-Tribune

“A winning combination of personal memoirs..., essays about players the author admired, scientific inquiries, and book reviews.” — Sacramento Bee

“[Gould's] take on Chuck Knoblauch's throwing problems is a hoot.” — Phil Tatman, Orlando Sentinal

“In this fine collection, Gould...is part scientist, part detective and, of course, all baseball fan.” — Richard A Somma, Free Lance-Star [Fredericksburg, VA]

“A masterpiece in its own right.” — Blue Ridge Business Journal

“A masterpiece....these 35 essays...are about as entertaining and informative as anything you'll read about baseball.” — Dan Smith, Sports Journal

“It is the lyrical...pieces in this collection that resonate most powerfully.” — Jonathan Mahler, Washington Post Book World

“Makes it clear that [Gould] was as avid and knowledgeable about baseball as he was about paleontology.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“Intellectual Windex for what David Wells splattered on us earlier this spring.” — Alan Schwarz, New York Times Book Review

“Terrific....I've got no qualms at all in recommending this one.” — Brad Stribling, Dallas Sports Guide

“These writings show Gould's wonderful range of thought, devotion to his subject matter, and love of life.” — Science News

“A treat for any fan.” — Atlanta Jewish News

Also by Stephen Jay Gould All

  1. Book CoverThe Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth

    Second Edition / Paperback

  2. Book CoverBully for Brontosaurus: Reflections in Natural History


  3. Book CoverEight Little Piggies: Reflections in Natural History


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