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John McNeill's first ever environmental history/Red Sox baseball quiz

As ASEH president, Harriet Ritvo earned all our gratitude - but before she could receive her well-deserved token of appreciation from the ASEH membership, incoming president John McNeill asked that she pass what might have been the first ever baseball and environmental history pop quiz. The token of appreciation was a baseball signed by a Red Sox stalwart, chosen because Harriet is a lifelong fan of Boston's team. She had to identify that stalwart based on the following clues:

(a) he was born in the same year that a Swiss chemist discovered the insecticidal  properties of DDT

(b) he made his major league debut the year before the publication of Silent Spring

(c) he hit 44 home runs in the year of the Torrey Canyon oil spill

(d) he entered the Hall of Fame in the year in which the Montreal Protocol was signed

At this point, Prof. Ritvo calmly and correctly announced the correct answer: Carl Yastrzemski. A meticulous scholar, she had formed her hypothesis (she later recounted) at the second clue, but patiently accumulated more data before committing herself irrevocably to the Yastrzemski position. Further clues, which she did not need, included:

(e) in the year in which the EPA was created, he batted .329, his career high
(f) he retired from the Red Sox in the same year as the publication of Changes in the Land
(g) the number on his Red Sox uniform was greater, by one, than the number of titles listed under the name Harriet Ritvo in the Library of Congress catalog
(h) his career home run total was within 5% of the total number of nuclear power plants currently in operation around the world

copy_of_HarrietandJohn.jpgApril 2011

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