March 2016

On the Origins of Sports

By Mark Newman / MLB.com

belsky-originsMany tomes have been written about the origins of baseball, from apocryphal tales to the thorough research of scholars. Now, as another season dawns, a fresh perspective arrives with the new book “On the Origins of Sports” (Artisan Books), delving into the startup history and earliest rules of 21 sports you know and mostly love.

“The more we know about the origins of the games that obsess us, the more we enjoy them,” write the authors, Gary Belsky and Neil Fine, who begin aptly with baseball as chapter one and sprinkle further references throughout the book. For those of us who truly obsess over these matters, here are 10 fun facts you can learn:

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God Almighty Hisself

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

godalmightyhisselfDuring the 2014 Winter Meetings in San Diego, the Golden Era Committee met to consider a list of candidates for the Hall of Fame. When the results were announced, Dick Allen (and former Twins great Tony Oliva) had fallen one vote short.

That brought renewed attention to one of the most prodigious sluggers in history. Also one of the most complex, enigmatic and controversial.

“God Almighty Hisself: The Life and Legacy of Dick Allen” by Villanova law professor Mitchell Nathanson is the first biography of the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award winner and the 1972 American League Most Valuable Player Award winner. It’s also a work of impressive scholarship and gracious prose that attempts to untangle the myth from the reality and, even more ambitiously, to explain why such a magnificently talented player clashed repeatedly with front office personnel, managers, the media and fans throughout his career.

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