(35 Total References)
Catholic Online - Cathcom - Baseball-loving priest teaches game's statistics to West Point cadets
Father Gabriel Costa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., developed a sabermetrics course while he was a mathematics professor at Seton Hall University.Father Gabriel Costa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., developed a sabermetrics course while he was a mathematics professor at Seton Hall University.
...Father Gabriel Costa, a priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., developed a sabermetrics course while he was a mathematics professor at Seton Hall University, run by the Newark Archdiocese.
"As far as we know, it was the first course offered" of its kind, he
said. While on a sabbatical from Seton Hall, he paid a visit to West Point -- which he had first visited at age 7 as a Cub Scout -- and academy officials asked him to join their faculty. After obtaining permission to go on academic leave from Seton Hall, Father Costa joined the mathematics department at West Point.
By the way, he's
still on leave from Seton Hall
."My archbishop (John J. Myers) has been very good to me," Father Costa
told Catholic News Service in a telephone interview from West Point
The sabermetrics course, an elective, is offered every spring semester, just in time for baseball season.Lest one think the class is taken as a lark, Father Costa
said it is not as much about baseball as it is about the use of technology in compiling statistics.
Some of the 57-year-old priest's students managed to get some of their class research published eight years ago in the Baseball Research Journal
, an annual publication of the Society for American Baseball Research
.The students' research had to do with which batters had the highest percentage of extra-base hits -- doubles, triples and home runs -- throughout their career. Father Costa
is working on a couple of other sabermetric-related articles.One uses a mathematical formula called an equivalence coefficient to fill in some intriguing what-ifs in baseball -- such as what would Ted Williams' Hall of Fame career look like if he
hadn't lost three full seasons and most of two others to military service, or if Babe Ruth, the priest's favorite ballplayer, had played the outfield as soon as he
got to the major leagues late in 1914 rather than being limited to pitching into the 1919 season.
Another investigation by Father Costa
, along with one of his
fellow sabermetrics professors at West Point
and four of their students, examined the cumulative home-run power of each player with 500 career homers to his
credit, using each slugger's age.
"With three exceptions, each seems to level off in his
late 20s," Father Costa
said.The exceptions were latter-day swatters Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, "which defies any known explanation," he
added. Father Costa
does not limit his
writing to baseball.He
wrote an essay published in the May 2005 issue of The Priest magazine that examined parallels
between seminarians on their way to becoming priests and West Point
cadets on their way to becoming Army officers.
"By the nature of their callings, both the officer and the priest are entrusted with a stewardship of service and are looked upon as leaders.As servant-leaders this call must be accepted humbly and unconditionally," he
talks with cadets, Father Costa
told CNS, "a number of cadets have seriously thought about priesthood.Many of them say that if mandatory celibacy were lifted, there would be a lot of priests coming from here.This is a hotbed for priestly vocations.I'm telling you what the cadets are telling me." Father Costa
, a "layman" by Army standards, said that because of his
"own uniform" -- his
priestly garb -- he
gets no less respect than that accorded military professors on the faculty.Some cadets, he
said, call him "Father" while others call him "Padre" or "Chaplain."
How do we know that Ruth, known as the Bambino, is Father Costa's favorite player?The priest recalled meeting Babe Ruth's sister as a kid."I proposed to her
This time, I was accompanied by ...
This time, I was accompanied by Father Gabriel Costa, Professor of Mathematics at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and noted baseball historian.
Linda recently spent a day at ...
Linda recently spent a day at West Point with Father Gabe Costa and Drs.
Father Gabriel Costa
By: Gabriel B. Costa
grinned as hesaw the Babe sitting with a couple of angels.
Ruth's beer glass was empty and his
ashtray contained three butts of his
favorite brand of cigars, Holy Smoke.
It had been a good night.
Father Gabriel B. Costa is a Catholic priest living at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where he is a professor of mathematics and an associate chaplain.
He is a member of SABR and has published in The Baseball Research Journal and Elysian Fields Quarterly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Father Gabriel B. Costa is a Catholic priest living at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, where he is a Professor of Mathematical Sciences and an associate chaplain.
is on an extended academic leave from Seton Hall University
, South Orange, NJ.
Sao Tome and Principe Prime ...
Sao Tome and Principe Prime Minister Gabriel Costa, left, shakes hands with Premier Jiang Yi-huah at the Executive Yuan in Taipei yesterday.Nov 19, 2013
American Catholic | Catholic News
WEST POINT, N.Y. (CNS) -- Father Gabriel Costa has always lived life by the numbers.The priest, who was ordained for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., in 1979, is beginning his ninth year of service at the U.S. Military Academy.He has been at West Point as part of an "ongoing academic leave" from Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., where he has taught mathematics since 1980.He is also a member of the adjunct faculty for Seton Hall University's School of Theology which includes Immaculate Conception Seminary.Father Costa described mathematics as his way out of the housing projects in Hoboken, N.J., where he was raised.He noted the "order and beauty" of math and called it "a tremendous discipline" that is both "an art and a science."