Wikipedia never lies. Okay, maybe sometimes. More often, though, the truths in question are matters of interpretation.
Which brings us to the story of a town crier, an Orioles legend, and a disputed proclamation. Oh, and there’s beer involved, too.
Oyez, Oyez, Oyez. Harken, and take heed! It’s Flashback Friday.
The story begins (and ends) on Oct. 8, 2009, at the “Opening Tap Celebration” for Baltimore Beer Week aboard the iconic USS Constellation.
Squire Frederick – the official town crier of Annapolis and Baltimore County, Md., and, I should note, my father – is in the midst of introducing one John Wesley “Boog” Powell to the not-yet-drunken masses via the colonial news medium known as crying.
Suddenly, a voice of protest arises from none another than the guest of honor himself.
At issue is the crier’s Wikipedia-inspired description of the revered slugger as “a slow-footed third baseman and left fielder before switching to first base in 1965.”
(Note: Other sources have adopted the same characterization of Powell. Wiki came first: the chicken or the egg?)
“I stole 21 or 23 bases,” Powell doth counter. “Nine consecutive bases without being thrown out in 1968.”
Wikipedia may occasionally lie, but statistics never do. Okay, scratch that. Once again it seems the truths in question are matters of interpretation.
But the facts are these: Boog Powell stole 20 bases in 17 major league seasons; he was caught stealing 21 times. The 1968 season was in fact his best in the category – he stole seven bases (four consecutively without being thrown out) and was caught stealing just once.
Therefore, be it resolved that you should draw your own conclusions on this matter. Just be careful who’s listening when you do.