When I was checking up on some facts on Joe Jackson, I found the free Wikipedia to be of use. In the very well-done account of the Black Sox scandal (to which I made some minor edits, replacing a couple of odd word choices and fixing some commas), I noticed a link to a non-existent biography of pitcher and ringleader Eddie Cicotte. So I whipped out my Baseball Encyclopedia, opened it up to Cicotte’s statistics, did a couple of Web searches to grab some more detail and check my own memory, and based on those references, I wrote one.
Cicotte was a knuckleballer, but I found the Wikipedia didn’t have an article on the knuckleball either. So I wrote one of those too. Along the way to writing that, I found the Wikipedia had a biography of Hoyt Wilhelm, which I didn’t touch, but didn’t have one of Phil Niekro, the most notable pitcher from my lifetime to throw the pitch. I didn’t write that biography.
I also found there’s no biography of Jimmie Foxx. That wrong will have to be righted by yours truly very soon. As will the criminal exclusion of Mike Sweeney, and the embarrassingly sketchy history of the Kansas City Royals. (The George Brett biography was reasonably complete; I made a few minor additions.) I can see how this can get addictive fast.
I read a while back some astronomical statistic about the Wikipedia’s size, but that it wasn’t yet as big as the Encyclopædia Britannica. I visited it, ready to contribute an article or two, but couldn’t think of anything. I figured I’d write about technology but found all the articles in my area of expertise were already very impressive.
So my contribution to this fount of knowledge is in the area of baseball instead.
Hey, it’s good that it’ll go somewhere.