Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville: A Lifelong Passion for Baseball

by Stephen Jay Gould

Other authorsDavid Halberstam (Foreword)
Hardcover, 2004

Call number

796.3 G



W. W. Norton & Company (2004), Edition: Reprint, 368 pages


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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member Othemts
One day I’ll actually read a book by Gould on paleontology, but I enjoy his writing on his side topics. This is a collection of previously published articles so there is a bit of repetition of ideas and reminiscing, and I have to hold my nose as Gould goes on about his “beloved Yankees” and how the “evil Bums” won the 1955 World Series (so the Yankees occasionally lose in the World Series, the heartbreak!!!). Gould’s best writings are the ones where he ties baseball into natural history and performs a scientific evaluation of baseball statistics. His writing is poorer when he goes into memoryland and hero worship.

“I don’t know why grown men care so deeply about something that neither kills, nor starves, nor maims, nor even scratches in our world of woe. I don’t know why we care so much, but I’m glad that we do.” (p. 53)
… (more)
LibraryThing member Devil_llama
A posthumously released book of essays that contained some aspect of baseball. The essays range from straight discussions of baseball topics to the use of baseball to explain statistics and evolutionary theory. All in all, a fun, lighthearted romp.




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