Sunday, September 25, 2016

A trivial error in Jimmy Carter's White House Diary?

Browsing through Jimmy Carter's White House Diary  I came across the following entry made on October 5, 1979: "Carl Yastrzemski came by, and I congratulated him on his 3,400 hits and 450 home runs. He's a nice guy." The only problem with this entry is that at the end of the 1979 season Yaz had 3,009 hits and 404 homers. Why the discrepancy? In the grand scheme of a presidential diary gives witness to an eventful term in office that included a stagnant economy, rabid inflation, energy shortages, the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Iran hostage crisis, and an historic agreement between Egypt and Israel, among many other events, a baseball player's stats are a trivial matter. That the numbers President Carter provided in his diary are essentially the numbers that Yaz compiled at the conclusion of his career in 1983 (he had 3,419 hits and 452 home runs) inclines me to assume that there was probably some fact checking error in the publication process. As an historian, however, it is always alarming to find such errors, even if they  seem unimportant. However, I have no doubt that Yaz is a nice guy.

The presidential daily diary on the Jimmy Carter Library website for this date notes: " The purpose of the meeting was to congratulate Mr. Yastrzemski for becoming the first American League baseball player to hit 400 home runs and 3,000 hits in a lifetime." After the three minute meeting with Yaz, his wife, agent, a friend, and two others, representatives of the Lief Ericsson Society International were shuffled in for their three minute session in the oval office.

No comments:

Post a Comment