Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville; A Lifelong Passion for Baseball
Gould, Stephen Jay
Price: 37.50 USD
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2003. 342,  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. First Edition, First Printing. Very good.