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The Hendersonian paradox

Posted by Christopher Shea  December 7, 2009 11:18 AM

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The Blog Benzene 4 notes that the following language appears on Rickey Henderson's plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame:

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.

Cliché aside ("speeding bullet"? really?), the blogger notes that the text doesn't say Henderson was faster than any other player in history, but than any player, period. Which would include Rickey Henderson.

"You can think of that as an editing error if you like," observes the blogger, "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.)"

(Via Statistical Modeling)

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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