May 4, 2014


Gary S. Becker : He was a pioneer in applying economics to human behavior. (WSJ, May 4, 2014)

Gary Becker made his reputation in particular by applying economics to human behavior and problems not typically thought to be subject to economic analysis. His study of racial discrimination, for example, upended the view that bias benefits those who discriminate. He showed that an employer loses if he refuses to hire a productive worker for reasons of bias, and he demonstrated that discrimination is less likely in the most competitive industries that need to hire the best workers.

George Digby and Willie Mays, the one who got away (Gordon Edes, 5/03/14,

George Digby, the legendary Red Sox scout who died Friday at the age of 96, signed a Hall of Famer in Wade Boggs and other Sox stars in Mike Greenwell and Jody Reed, but could have altered the course of Sox history if he had not been blocked by the team's racist ownership. 

"I had Willie Mays bought for $4,500," Digby told me when I interviewed him in 2005. "I called up the Red Sox. I said, 'I got Willie Mays. He'll break the color line.'" 

Digby, who had been a high school baseball coach in New Orleans, was the team's first full-time scout in the South, and in 1949 -- two years after Jackie Robinson broke the color line in major league baseball -- recommended a 17-year-old Mays, who was playing for the Birmingham Black Barons. The Sox had a minor league team in Birmingham, the Barons, that shared the same ballpark, Rickwood Field, with the Black Barons. 

Digby said he didn't know Sox GM Joe Cronin well enough at the time to make the call himself. 

"Eddie Glennon, the GM of our club in Birmingham, called Cronin," recalled Digby. "The owner of the Black Barons had told us we could have Mays for $4,500. I said, 'I'll be back to you by tomorrow.' Glennon had asked me, 'What do you think?' I said, 'I think he's a big leaguer.' We could have had Mays in center and [Ted] Williams in left. 

"Cronin sent another scout down to look at him, but [owner Tom] Yawkey and Cronin already had made up their minds they weren't going to take any black players." 

Posted by at May 4, 2014 9:33 PM

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