Monthly Archives: March 2017

Baseball’s Unanimous MVPs

It’s almost spring, baseball games are being played again, and my collection of Topps baseball cards for winners of the Baseball Writers Most Valuable Player Award has grown for the first time in years. That collection has made me a bit of a connoisseur of information about the players who have earned the award over the years, including these items about the 18 unanimous winners:

Outfielders—8:

First basemen—5:

Third basemen—3:

Pitchers—2:

Catchers, second basemen or shortstops—0

Unanimous selections by decade:

  • 1930s—2
  • 1940s—0
  • 1950s—2
  • 1960s—3
  • 1970s—1
  • 1980s—2
  • 1990s—4
  • 2000s—2
  • 2010s—2
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Filed under History, People

Killer Instinct

I noticed a few days ago that the last four books I’ve read are all about murder cases (three real, one fictional):

It had been my intent after reading several dense, fundamental concept-laden histories of thought and culture to take a bit of a break, but not particularly to read about a bunch of killers. When I itemized the list above, however, it made me think—not for the first time—about why I, or we, dwell so easily on crime, particularly murder.

Psychologist Paul Mattiuzzi said, “We wonder about the victim, about the perpetrator, and about the circumstances. We are intrigued by the motive and the method and how they got away or how they got caught. We wonder who would be capable of the crime and whether they are ‘normal’ like us or hopefully quite different.”

Writer Joe Bunting reasoned, “People love puzzles…Everyone I know who likes doing crossword puzzles says mystery is their favorite genre.” And, moreover, “People are puzzles…It’s often difficult to understand why people do the things they do. Detective stories give us a glimpse into people we would never get in real life.”

While admitting that our obsession simply feeds “a deep fascination with the human psyche,” columnist Molly Fosco claimed more pragmatically that reading about crime helps us be “aware of the different types of dangerous situations [we] might encounter and know how to prevent them.”

Professor Scott Bonn agreed, saying that “serial killers appeal to the most basic and powerful instinct in all of us—that is, survival.”

People watching, logic, primal urges. I guess my/our fascination with a good murder mystery—real or imagined—is no mystery.

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Filed under Lifestyle, People, The Book I Read