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(Done with Mirrors)

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Athletics Nation

Andrew Sullivan
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Kevin Drum
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(Obsidian Wings)

 Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Earlier this year, my favorite former player on my favorite baseball team — Rickey Henderson of the Oakland Athletics — was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

His plaque looks like this:

In case that picture is unreadable or has been taken down by the time you're reading this, the main text says:

Faster than a speeding bullet, scored more runs (2,295) and stole more bases (1,406) than any player in history, combined power, plate disclipline, flair and an uncanny ability to electrify crowds. Hit .279 with 3,055 hits, 297 home runs and 1,115 RBIs, set records for home runs to lead off game (81) and unintentional walks (2,129). A ten-time All-Star and the 1990 A.L. MVP, led league in steals 12 times, including three 100-plus seasons and a modern-day record 130 thefts in 1982. Won World Series with Oakland and Toronto.

Aside from the generally slapdash quality of the prose, what most intrigues me about this text is the word that's missing: "other". It does not say that Rickey stole more bases than any other player in history; it says he stole more bases than any player in history. Which includes himself.

You can think of that as an editing error if you like, but I prefer to think of it as a metaphysical conundrum. If God is omnipotent, is he able to create a stone so heavy that He cannot lift it?

How fast is Rickey? Rickey is so fast that he can steal more bases than Rickey. (And nobody steals more bases than Rickey.)

12:16:08 AM  [permalink]  comment []