MAY WE RECOMMEND--
Items worth a trip to the library
Baseball fans who are cool to psychology and psychologists who disdain the sport of the little hardball can still agree that "Why Babe Ruth is Greatest Home-Run Hitter" is a worthy piece of research. Written by Hugh S. Fullerton in 1921, and published in Popular Science Monthly (vol. 99, no. 4 pp., 19-21), it is still provocative.
Here is the beginning of the article:
The game was over. Babe, who had made one of his famous drives that day, was tired and wanted to go home. "Not tonight, Babe,"
I said. "Tonight you go to college with me. You're going to take scientific tests which will reveal your secret."
"Who wants to know it?" asked Babe.
"I want to know it," I replied, "and so do several hundred thousand fans. We want to know why it is that one man has achieved a unique batting skill like yours -- just why you can slam the ball as nobody else in the world can."
So away we went. Babe in his baseball uniform, not home to his armchair, but out to Columbia University to take his first college examination.
Babe went at the test with the zeal of a schoolboy, and the tests revealed why his rise to fame followed suddenly after years of playing during which he was known as an erratic although a powerful hitter. How he abruptly gained his unparalleled skill has been one of baseball's mysteries.
Albert Johanson, M.A., and Joseph Holmes, M.A., of the research laboratory of Columbia University's psychological department, who, in all probability, never saw Ruth hit a baseball, and who neither know or care if his batting average is .007 or .450, are .500 hitters in the psychology game. They led Babe Ruth into the great laboratory of the university, figuratively took him apart, watched the wheels go round; analyzed his brain, his eye, his ear, his muscles; studied how these worked together; reassembled him, and announced the exact reasons for his supremacy as a batter and a ball-player.
We heartily recommend you read the entire piece.
© Copyright 2002 Annals of Improbable Research (AIR)
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