Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Noted in passing 

I was once offered a job as a sports economist. This was around 1990 -- I didn't take the job partly because I didn't want the label as one, because at the time it wasn't terribly popular, and I was trained in the dark arts of macroeconomics anyway, not really a good fit for my skills. I consider myself really still a dabbler in the area, which has exploded into a subfield of economics in the last fifteen years.

One fellow who went a long way to making it a respectable profession was Prof. Larry Hadley of the University of Dayton, whose death at 62 years old on Monday will be mourned by the great number of sports economists who have come after. When he and Elizabeth Gustafson decided to start running regular sessons on sports economics at the Western Economics Association meetings, I thought they'd run out of material pretty fast. Instead, as Dan Marburger points out in this obit from Dayton,
There were only a small handful of us presenting papers at the time (1996). Since then, the sports econ sessions at the (meetings) have ballooned to a dozen or so sessions. We have a sports economics journal, two textbooks and an international scholarly association. I question if any of those would have come to fruition without Larry's efforts to promote the economics of sports. He will be greatly missed.
I was one of those papers in 1996. He had one of those great, dry wits that economists favor. On top of that, he also helped organize an annual ritual at the WEAs of attending a baseball game at the local stadium of whatever city we were at. A rather tall fellow, he was always walking around the event looking for new economists in sports, seeking papers for next year's conference. It was the game in San Francisco a couple years ago where I last saw Larry.

My prayers are with his wife and children, and with my colleagues and friends at Dayton and the sports economist world.

UPDATE: Further testimonials and observations at the Wages of Wins.

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