Take my statisticians out to the ball game
I made a pilgrimage to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY recently and it was possibly the most informative, well-presented, decorated and organised museum I’ve yet seen. Every display was flush with memorabilia, photos, information and stats – many, many, many stats. The stats were compiled into interesting lists or graphs in a way that made them quite palatable for regular folk, too. I suppose that baseball, being a relatively new sport, benefited from modern strategies and technology so that every single statistic you could think of has been recorded, right from the game’s genesis. Visiting this place is probably like Disneyland for a statistician.
A few interesting baseball facts:
– Alvin Dark joked “They’ll put a man on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” A mere 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, Perry stepped up to bat and hit his first career home run.
– In his very first at bat as a 28-year-old rookie pitcher, Hall of Famer Hoyt Wilhelm hit a home run. His career lasted for 21 more years and 493 plate appearances, but he never hit another home run.
– During World War II, the U.S. military designed a grenade to be the size and weight of a baseball, since “any young American man should be able to properly throw it.”