Quick single: Dr Seamus Hogan
Yesterday, I had intended to write up a piece about Steve Smith, Derek Randall and John Arlott. I was going to point out the similarities of Smith and Randall: fidgeting, stepping across the crease, playing shots without establishing the orthodox ‘solid base’; I would revisit Arlott’s famous article about the Nottinghamshire batsman and why his often replayed summation was unfortunate hyperbole. I was going to conclude that Smith didn’t remind me of my inevitable demise.
But yesterday morning I read the sad news of Seamus Hogan’s death. I knew Hogan in a very modern way: twitter exchanges, emails and comments on each others’ blog posts. Different hemispheres, shared interests, instant, brief communication.
Despite the limitations of that sort of acquaintance, he came across as very likeable, generous and clever. In fact, Hogan was a leading economist and academic in New Zealand. From time to time, he applied his academic rigour to cricket questions, generating counter-intuitive, but statistically solid insights.
Across the cricket world, he is probably best known for his work behind WASP, the result and score predictor used by, amongst other outlets, SkySports. Like any forecasting system, WASP was only really interesting for most viewers when it was wrong. On a couple of occasions, I followed Hogan as he patiently and politely responded to gloating and ill-informed criticism on twitter of the system he co-founded. Too patient and too polite, I thought. Those who really knew him may know if that was his general disposition – I suspect it was.
Hogan’s blogs – about cricket and other matters – can be found on the Offsetting Behaviour website, which he shared with a colleague, Peter Frampton, who wrote this touching, dignified notification of his death.
For all John Arlott’s erudition and eloquence, he was dreadfully wrong about Derek Randall and, indeed, any other batsman “who overplays his hand and falls into disaster”. That’s not what reminds you of your own mortality.
My thoughts are with Seamus Hogan’s colleagues, his students, his friends and, above all, his family.
I wonder whether Arlott was thinking about his son (who, in a sense, did overplay his hand) rather than Randall? I have the impression he thought about him a great deal.
Nick, that’s a very good point and telling counter against my thought that Arlott had written that line inappropriately. It simply didn’t occur to me, neither when writing, nor yesterday when listening to Agnew, Marks and others discussing Arlott on radio 5. Thank you for pointing it out. I’ve not changed the piece, but consider the correction made. Chris
Thank you for your very kind words about Seamus. I was married to Seamus for nearly 16 years and losing him so suddenly has been a horrible shock. We have three children who are too young to lose their Dad and I am trying to make sure I keep a record of all the memories and comments that people who knew him in some way have shared since his death so that when the kids are older and want to know their father better, I will have something to share with them. Thank you for sharing with us.