The long view

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

Ecclesiastes (1:9), King James Bible

Joe Posnanski has a beautiful piece that captures how long baseball stat-geeks have been playing around with numbers. One thing that bothers me, and I know I am not the first to experience this, is that in most modern discussions about art, literature, movies, and even scientific findings, we do focus on the recent. In the case of scientific articles, this discrepancy is glaring, as we have actual evidence for this observation (we need to provide background and provenance for our ideas, and thus all scientific papers come citations.) Posnanski’s presented articles written by F.C. Lane, where he showed some fairly “modern” lines of reasoning and statistical analysis that can fit in Moneyball or Bill James’s Baseball Prospectus. Except Lane made his analysis in 1917.

 

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