Comment: The Politics of Martin Diamond’s Science

"Comment: The Politics of Martin Diamond's Science." Interpretation 8.2, 3 (May 1980): 16-21.


One day several years ago, about a year after I received my Ph.D., Mr. Diamond finally persuaded me to refer to and address him as “Martin.” He had suggested several times previously, without success, that while “Mr. Diamond” was necessary and proper when I was his student, my new status as a professional colleague had authorized my using his first name. On the day in question, in my last, desperate attempt to avoid actually addressing him as “Martin,” I told him a story about my baseball-playing boyhood, foolishly using for anecdotal purposes his sport. I told him that while I had always called my Brooklyn Dodger heroes “Duke” and “Gil” when I had spoken about them, I found myself saying hello to “Mr. Snider” and “Mr. Hodges” when, after winning a contest, I actually got to meet them. To this, Mr. Diamond responded that while I had to speak both of and to him as “Mr. Diamond” when I was a Little League political scientist, I could speak both of and to him as “Martin” now that I was playing triple-A ball. This happy analogy tipped the scales and led me to accept my calling him “Martin,” although for some time afterward I avoided addressing him by name at all. In any case, I took his argument to be quite a complement—until, that is, I realized that he had located me securely in the minor leagues….

It would be nice, of course, to enter the major leagues, and what better way than by using this opportunity to show the error or weakness in the work of my major league hero? And some days ago I thought I had Mr. Diamond for sure: at the APSA convention in New York, I’d leave the minors forever! But, alas, I must report that my devastating critique of Mr. Diamond has recently fallen apart, and far from discovering why I should be admitted to the majors, I have come to see more clearly than ever why Martin Diamond was a star in the biggest league of all.

Interpretation [pdf]