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Was Rube Wadell mentally "retarded"

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  • #16
    Yeah, that is the unfortunate part of Asperger's (being relatively new) is that people fall through the cracks. My problem with the psychiatric community is that they fall in love with certain diagnoses until they run their course. ADHD and bipolar immediately come to mind there. However, this brings back the question of MR.

    I think to answer that question for the audience I would say that the human mind is a remarkable thing. If you count the number of people that have or will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in this country you would be amazed. I suffer from dythsmia (minor depression) and was on Paxil for quite awhile. I have learned to cope and I think everyone learns to cope once they acknowledge what is going on in their mind. We do it to succeed but more to keep others from knowing there is something wrong with us.

    One of the things human behavior confirms time and time again is that people do not handle dealing with people that have a mental disorder well. You look at the history of even recent politics (Colin Powell and Michael Dukakis) and you will see numerous examples of prominent candidates or would be candidates suffer because they or someone close to them have a mental disorder.

    When I talk about someone like Waddell self-medicating it is without any direct knowledge of what exactly he is medicating for, but with general knowledge that he had a problem. Problems cause anxiety because we don't want others to see our problem. If we cannot deal with anxiety then we must dull the senses somehow. Seeing people do this is one of the sad commentaries on our culture. Certainly people in those situations are largely responsible for how they respond to that anxiety, but often times I wish that society were more understanding.
    I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


    • #17
      mental conditon of Rube Waddell

      Ive hears the rumors of the HOF pitcher Rube Waddell being mentally retarded. He would often chase firetrucks and would even run out of a game to chase them. He would also dissapear weeks at a time. Others say it was because he was drunk almost all of the time. So was he actually mentally ill or just strange...?
      go sox.



      • #18
        he was mentally ill - the alcohol certainly didn't help


        • #19
          There's a huge difference between being "mentally ill" and "retarded", though.
          Nomar Garciaparra is mentally ill, but he's not retarded. While there are many retarded people who are not mentally ill. In the case of Waddell, 90+ years after his death, we'll never know what his true condition was.


          • #20
            The most common thinking is that he was autistic, or suffered from Asperger's syndrome. Very impressive that he managed to put together one of the greatest careers in baseball history despite the disability.
            "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

            Sean McAdam,


            • #21
              Originally posted by The Commissioner
              There's a huge difference between being "mentally ill" and "retarded", though.
              Nomar Garciaparra is mentally ill, but he's not retarded. While there are many retarded people who are not mentally ill. In the case of Waddell, 90+ years after his death, we'll never know what his true condition was.
              Nomar is mentally ill? What condition does he suffer from or are you trying to make a joke?

              I've dabbled in some psychology (I have a counseling masters) so my opinion is somewhat educated (not iron-clad), but I would tend to agree with El Halo that he had Aspergers. Autistic people wouldn't be capable of performing on that high a level usually, but some Asperger's people have been very high performing. Some people believe that Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, and Andy Kaufman had Asperger's.
              I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


              • #22
                i never seen any contemporary accounts saying that waddell had a pervasive, continual problem - i've only seen accounts of haphazard behavior that is why i chose the term mentally ill - perhaps he did have an underlying capacity problem - not sure

                if garciaparra does have struggles he controls it through medication or such - don't see how relevant he is to the discussion considering the advancement in medicine over the last 100 years and its availability - and the propensity to seek treatment today

                just because something happened over 90 years ago doesn't mean we should stop discussing it - period end of sentence - to me it means all the more reason to explore the topic


                • #23
                  how is Nomar mentally ill? is that just beacuse he turned down that 4 year 60 million contract from Boston in 2003? :


                  • #24
                    Isn´t Asperger´s syndrome the "mildest" form of autism ? I read these people, due to their ability to focus, can be capable of great things during certain phases of their lives - while completely loosing their ability to "function" in later stages.
                    Since such persons seem to be able to temporarily cut themselves completely off from their surroundings, at least for outsiders, I find it very probable that some could have been fine pitchers.
                    I mean this seriously and without any sarcasm.
                    Last edited by FatAngel; 03-14-2006, 01:29 PM.


                    • #25
                      Asperger's syndrome manifests itself as a lack of social skill primarily. People who have the disorder tend to have trouble understandin and conforming with social rules and expectations...they also sometimes show obsessive tendencies like preoccupation with patterns, numbers, and symbols.


                      • #26

                        Asperger's is a minor form of autism in that they share many of the same tendencies. However, most Asperger's patients have average to above average intelligence like the overall population.
                        I am the author of "Checks and Imbalances" and "The State of Baseball Management."


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by FatAngel
                          Isn´t Asperger´s syndrome the "mildest" form of autism ?
                          In very basic, Asperger's syndrome is high functioning Autism. Autism is a spectrum of disorders. On the spectrum are Rett's Disorder, PDD-NOS, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and full blown Autism.

                          There's no way we can glean anything remotely definitive about Rube's true pathology. I don't know if a biography has been written on him, but excerpts from that would give some valuable insight.

                          Actual diagnosis requires multiple observations across settings, multiple interviews, and comprehensive screenings using diagnostic instrument desinged to look specifically at the markers of Autism.

                          Sidenote- the most intelligent kid (in terms of standardized measures) that I worked with this entire year has Asperger's. His IQ is in the 130 range (3 standard deviations above the mean, roughly 98th percentile overall.) Incredibly gifted, incredibly creative, brillant in his ideas and ability to remember details and compose novel ideas, and yet almost completely devoid of rudimentary social skills.

                          That's the main watermark of people on the spectrum, yet due to that exemplary intelligence and creativity, many of the best and brightest are either purported to have (or known to have) tendencies resembling that of people with Asperger's. I see reason why this would preclude athletes/pitchers.

                          Here's an interesting cross-section of famous figures who had traits/tendencies characteristic of individuals on the spectrum:

                          Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827, German/Viennese composer
                          Alexander Graham Bell, 1847-1922, Scottish/Canadian/American inventor of the telephone
                          Thomas Edison, 1847-1931, US inventor
                          Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, German/American theoretical physicist
                          Isaac Asimov, 1920-1992, Russian/US writer
                          Steven Spielberg (1946-present) (Was diagnosed with Aspberger's at an early age)
                          Isaac Newton, 1642-1727, English mathematician and physicist
                          Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900, German philosopher
                          Hans Asperger, 1906-1980, Austrian pediactric doctor after whom Asperger's Syndrome is named
                          John Denver, 1943-1997, US musician
                          Glenn Gould, 1932-1982, Canadian pianist
                          Jim Henson, 1936-1990, creator of the Muppets, US puppeteer, writer, producer, director, composer
                          Alfred Hitchcock, 1899-1980, English/American film director
                          Howard Hughes, 1905-1976, US billionaire
                          Andy Kaufman, 1949-1984, US comedian, subject of the film Man on the Moon
                          Charles Schulz, 1922-2000, US cartoonist and creator of Peanuts and Charlie Brown
                          Andy Warhol, 1928-1987, US artist
                          Vincent Van Gogh, 1853-1890, Dutch painter

                          Here's a few links, since a can't paste textbooks on here:

                          Originally posted by blackout805
                          how is Nomar mentally ill? is that just beacuse he turned down that 4 year 60 million contract from Boston in 2003? :
                          Well, just at the plate alone, Nomar has always exhibited the classic repetitive, ritualistic behaviors inherent to people who suffer with OCD.


                          • #28
                            Nomar has obsessive compulsive disorder, I'm pretty sure.


                            • #29
                              I can only understand the nature scientists in this list, since I´m one. The best scientists are those who can isolate an idea or goal and follow through until the very end. To achieve this, you have to cut off anything that surrounds you on other levels, like personal relationships, sexual feelings (Newton remained a virgin his entire life), your position in community, economical issues, etc. If a person is able to do this, due to pathological reasons or else, it favors performance in my opinion. Thus why should athletes be precluded ?

                              Nietzsche suffered from syphilis from an early age on. It is very well documented that these patients are capable of extraordinary intellectual feats when this disease finally affects the brain, before they fall into mental derangement. Nietzsche publicized a lot in his last bright years.
                              Van Gogh always heavily consumed absinth, a hallucinogenic liquor drug that has basically the same effects as LSD, if consumed in large quantities. The sunflower pictures iof his late period are no coincidence (early Van Goghs of the Haag school are quite ordinary).
                              Last edited by FatAngel; 03-14-2006, 04:26 PM.


                              • #30
                                I've been misdiagnosed on at least three different occasions because I share traits similar to the lighter end of the autistic spectrum.

                                My IQ (149) does not square with my EQ (118)...when I was younger that disparity was larger and it led my family to wonder.

                                I've always had a tendency toward pattern recognition in the numbers and toward unusual memory for sounds, colors, characters, symbols and statistics.

                                Scoially I was always behind (though now I believe that's more related to my visual problems (I don't pick up signals from other people when I talk to them personally, I don't make eye contact, and I have serious problems connecting names with faces all because I can't see well enough)).

                                I had four different specialists say four different things. One (when I was 5), said I was autistic and did not have a bright future. The second said I was merely gifted but otherwise completely normal. The third (when I was 11) diagnosed me as having ADHD, which I don't think is completely accurate given my poor reaction with medication and the fourth believes I am somewhere between asperger's (I no longer am quite so far behind socially, and I illustrate more emotional attachment to the world than autistic spectrum disorder sufferers usually do) and ADHD...autistic spectrum disorders actually are a small piece of a much larger spectrum of probkems stemming from how the brain absorbs information from the world around it. It is theorized that people with autism have difficulties limiting the inputs they process from the outside world to a few key significant features...their brain is trying to analyze *EVERYTHING* all at once and it's so overwhelming that they withdraw. ADHD is actually a similar mechanism (it's described as having a problem focusing on one "channel" in your brain).

                                It all sort of blends together more than pelple realize...and I wound up somewhere in the middle between singularly identifiable disorders.

                                That's probably more about me than anyone wanted to know...just thought it was relevant here because we're talking abou the spectrum of neurological disorders that might have included Waddell and I have some experience in that area.


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