Eureka!

ArquimedezPozo

The reason that I started acquiring baseball cards–three decades after first doing so as a child–is their price. Thanks to what is probably a very large glut of these things, I can walk into any Dollar Tree store, find a display near the front of the store, and buy either 20 or 30 of these things for a dollar. They aren’t worth 50 cents, collectively, so I have no delusions that I’m getting any added value. What I am getting, though, is many opportunities for telling a story, which makes them a tremendous bargain to me.

The baseball career of Arquimedez Pozo is much less interesting than his name. In the long history of baseball, I’m willing to bet that no player has ever carried the name Arquimedez before. It’s a variation on the name Archimedes, one of the Greek thinkers whose contributions to our world are almost beyond comprehension. In the realms of science and mathematics, his name will live forever, and with good reason.

But I’m not a math and science guy. Whatever part of the brain that makes people think in those terms was lost on me. I’m more of an intellectual wanderer, as the scattered nature of my blog suggests. But there is one story about him that I like and, but for the Arquimedez Pozo baseball card shown above, I never would have learned it. So here it is.

Archimedes was taking a bath one day, however that was done in his Greek village of Syracuse, when something occurred to him. He noticed that when he got into the water, some of it splashed out of the bathtub. Archimedes reasoned that the volume of his body was equal to the volume of the water that he wad splashed out. The water and his body could not occupy the same space, and so the water was displaced to make way for him to get into the bath.

When Archimedes realized what this meant, he shouted “Eureka!” and ran through the streets of Syracuse in the altogether, telling people what he had discovered. That word, Eureka, is associated with him today, thousands of years after he first said it. It means that  something great has been discovered, and I can’t think of a better legacy than that. The state motto of California, where gold was discovered in 1848, is “Eureka.” I can imagine whoever once found gold in California shouting out the same thing that Archimedes did.

Dozens of places in this country are named Eureka, presumably with the purpose of suggesting that something great and wonderful had been discovered in each of those places. One of these Eurekas, in Illinois, is the home of Eureka College, the alma mater of President Ronald Reagan. And if there’s a more fitting name for a college than Archimedes’ cry of discovery, you’re going to have to tell me what it is.

There were 29 other baseball cards grouped together with the one for Arquimedez Pozo, but none had the same sort of, well, Eureka! factor as his did. Googling him, and then his apparent namesake, led to a moment of great discovery for me. And that was the sign of a dollar well spent.

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