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An interesting juxtaposition of two 35+ years old articles looking at how and why women love ballplayers.

Two not entirely unrelated articles...

If you ever wondered how one might go about marrying a professional ballplayer, you need no longer worry. The good people at Baseball Digest have you covered. Or, at least, they had you covered back in September 1964 when the magazine took a survey of the 83% of major leaguers who were married to find out the answer to that question. With such a large percentage of married players, that left "17 per cent - or exactly 84 - eligible for Leap Year pursuit." The list of 84 eligible players (including hair color, eye color, and ethnicity) was helpfully included in the article.

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While it may be easy to root for certain ballplayers, we have to be open to honest assessments of their abilities.

Ever since I was introduced to Bill James’ works in the mid-'80s, I have wanted to learn as much as possible about baseball so that I can better understand and appreciate it. If you're reading this, you're probably wired the same way. It might be easier to watch without thinking so much, but we don't know how to do that.

I have a similar problem with music. I started playing guitar at the same time I started reading James (correlation does not equal causation), and although I'm a bit of a hack, I've earned enough over the years from my efforts to attract the U.S. government's attention.

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Looking at the chain of players who were the answer to the question "Who is the greatest living ballplayer?"

There was a fun little topic making its way around the web Wednesday afternoon. Sparked mostly by this post from Craig Calcaterra at Hardball Talk (who, in turn, was inspired by Baseball Think Factory), the topic asked "Who is the greatest living ballplayer for each of the 30 current ballclubs?"

Craig, and others, took the time to go through most of the candidates. For the most part, except for teams like the Angels or Rangers, most teams older than 20 years have a pretty obvious answer. I won't offer my list because, honestly, it wouldn't be all that much different than everyone else.

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The Toy Cannon discusses baseball in the 1960s, hitting home runs in a big ballpark and some Hall of Fame teammates.

Jimmy Wynn is a humble man, and he is also one of the most underrated players in baseball history. Known throughout his big-league career (1963-77) as “The Toy Cannon,” the 5-foot-9, 170 pound outfielder was not only a prodigious power hitter in one of baseball’s worst hitting environments, he was an on-base machine who could run. Originally drafted by Cincinnati, he spent most of his career playing in the Houston Astrodome and finished with 291 home runs, 225 stolen bases, a .366 OBP, and a 128 OPS+.

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August 6, 2010 8:00 am

Prospectus Q&A: Brennan Boesch

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David Laurila

The Tigers' rookie left fielder talks about his preparation in getting to the major leagues amongst other subjects.

Brennan Boesch has been a pleasant surprise in Motown this summer, establishing himself as a potent bat in the middle of the Tigers' lineup and a leading candidate for American League Rookie of the Year honors. A 25-year-old outfielder who was taken in the third round of the 2006 draft, the lefty-swinging Boesch has hit a heady .286/.348/.483—numbers that were even better prior to a recent slump—since making his big-league debut in late April. The sturdily-built 6-foot-4, 235-pound slugger leads AL rookies in several categories, including extra-base hits (35), home runs (12), and RBI (53).

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August 13, 2007 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: The Importance of Being Augie

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Steven Goldman

Different players adapt, learn, and improve according to their gifts, no implicit value judgment needed.

One of baseball's most interesting unsolvable questions is how much a player can truly learn during the course of his career. We know that dozens of players come into the minor leagues every year, many with similar levels of raw ability. Some get out of A-ball; most do not. For many that fail, it may be the case that they've already peaked, that whatever athletic ability they had reached its greatest extent in high school or college, and cannot be pushed further. Others not only have a higher ceiling, but through practice, repetition, and aptitude, they are able to get an extra something out of whatever nature gave them. Think of Ted Williams, obsessively taking batting practice, or Tony Gwynn and his videotape.

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June 1, 2007 12:00 am

Analyze This: You're Never Going To Believe This One

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Jim Baker

Jim flashes back to last month, when an unlikely source gave one young reporter the story of a lifetime.

I was working the city desk on a slow night in May when my phone started ringing off the hook. It was Skip, a dish jockey at a midtown chop house; just one of the dozens of soda jerks, bellboys, elevator operators, manicurists, hack drivers, switchboard divas, pin monkeys, and counter clerks I kept on retainer to feed me tidbits of dope from which I could build stories. I was only two years on the job and still needed a magnifying glass to find something to shave every morning, but I knew this much: you're only as good as your leads.

"What's on your lip, Skip?"

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July 22, 2005 12:00 am

Prospectus Matchups: It Happens Every Time

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Jim Baker

If you've noticed that players go from unknown to star faster than ever, you aren't alone. Jim muses on that, as well as the fate of Hideo Nomo in this edition of Prospectus Matchups.

BEST MATCHUP (opponents with best combined Prospectus Hit List rankings): Boston Red Sox (4th) @ Chicago White Sox (2nd)

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March 17, 2005 12:00 am

Doctoring The Numbers: A Star No One Sees

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Rany Jazayerli

He's more than just underrated; Bobby Abreu is on his way to the Hall of Fame.

This might be one of the reasons (admittedly down the list) for why Barry Bonds is so disliked by the media. He has rendered one of the greatest of all barstool arguments--"who is the best player in baseball?"--utterly irrelevant for the past half-decade.

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March 19, 2003 12:00 am

6-4-3: The Sin of the Politician

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Gary Huckabay

There are certain occupations where mentioning the elephant in the room that everyone knows about but no one acknowledges can be hazardous to your continued livelihood. You can't find a single politician, for example, who thinks that Social Security is viable long term without significant benefit cuts or tax increases. And yet, because Joe Sheehan's assessment of Americans is, by and large, too charitable--and because we've all embraced the tragedy of the commons with such zeal--no elected official in their right mind will come out in favor of cutting Social Security benefits or dramatically raising taxes. So, instead of trying to solve the problem in advance, we'll wait until there's a crisis and do a half-assed job of fixing it down the road, when the problem's particularly acute, and the group that will take it in the shorts when that happens will be the group that's either demographically or electorally challenged. It's the way we do things. We don't often mention the elephant in the room, even though its presence is patently obvious. Last Saturday, Oakland A's owner Steve Schott flashed a spotlight on the elephant in the room.

So, instead of trying to solve the problem in advance, we'll wait until there's a crisis and do a half-assed job of fixing it down the road, when the problem's particularly acute, and the group that will take it in the shorts when that happens will be the group that's either demographically or electorally challenged. It's the way we do things. We don't often mention the elephant in the room, even though its presence is patently obvious.

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August 2, 2000 12:00 am

Catching the Damn Ball

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Gary Huckabay

This is the third in a series of rankings of major-league defenders, highlighting the top ten and bottom five at each position. The ratings are a combination of Zone Rating, Range Factor and my best (and admittedly grossly flawed) assessment of the job they're doing.

Today, we prepare for a huge amount of angry e-mail from Yankee fans, and take a look at shortstops.

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July 21, 2000 12:00 am

Lowering the Bar

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Gary Huckabay

Bill James wrote, some time ago, that the Hall of Fame can't really honor players any more--it can only insult them. I don't believe that's true; ballplayers already in don't care too much who gets honored after them, and anyone who gets in is generally pretty damn happy to be there.

But what can happen is that the idea of the Hall can be devalued. That's what will happen this weekend when Tony Perez becomes a Hall of Famer.

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