Why Michael Couldn't Hit

by Harold L. Klawans | Nonfiction |
ISBN: 0716730014 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 12/13/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Thursday, December 13, 2018
I've enjoyed other books by Klawans, featuring his accounts of unusual neurological cases he's encountered. I got this slightly-battered softcover from an online seller. It includes case studies, history of ailments, and some interesting looks at sports figures from the excellent to the tragic. The title refers to basketball star Michael Jordan's unsuccessful attempt to switch sports in his 30s; while he was still in his peak, athletically, Klawans points out the different neurological aspects of basketball vs. baseball, and suggests that Jordan's lack of early training in baseball left him unable to pick up its skills to the necessary degree. (Late in the book there's a chapter on Babe Didrikson, whom the author suggests as a candidate for greatest athlete of her century; she excelled in many different types of sports, acquiring new skills relatively late in life - but the author notes that she did have early experience with those, which may have aided her in picking up the finer points.)

Lou Gehrig's stellar baseball career and its tragic end due to the onset of ALS is described in detail, with the author using baseball stats to identify the point at which the ALS kicked in. And Muhammed Ali's impressive boxing career only makes the resulting neurological damage he suffered more tragic.

Another chapter deals with a trivia question - name a neurologist who'll be remembered in a hundred years... The author's candidate: Roger Bannister, the man who first broke the 4-minute mile! (He didn't say "neurologist who will be remembered for his neurology in a hundred years" - though later on Klawans does mention Oliver Sacks and hopes that *he* will be remembered for his neurological work. I think he probably will.) I hadn't known that Bannister went on to become a neurologist; as of the writing of this book he was still practicing, but he died early in 2018 of Parkinson's disease, a somewhat ironical note for a neurologist.

And there's much more. Intriguing mix of sports and medical history!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Park Social in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, December 16, 2018

Released 9 mos ago (12/17/2018 UTC) at Little Free Library, Park Social in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

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I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

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*** Released for the 2018 What's In A Name release challenge. ***

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