We were all more naive a decade ago. We hoped that a single application of drugs would result in a dramatic benefit. We now understand it's much more complicated than that. People are optimistic but we're not expecting home runs. Right now, people would be happy with a series of singles and doubles. (Franck Rauscher, the director of the NCI, 1985)

I think a home run is going all around the baseball diamond (which consists on reaching the fourth base) and a single is the first base and a double is the second base. Is my understanding correct or is it more than that? Would a home run count in points four times reaching a single and twice reaching a double?


A home run is when a single batter gets a hit that allows him to run around all the bases and score a run by crossing home plate. Crossing home plate is the only way to increase the score. So a home run is metaphorically something you do once that achieves your goal- i.e., score a run. Getting singles and doubles is good but it then takes multiple players all getting singles and doubles (and triples) to advance a runner around the bases and eventually score a run. So in the medical world a single application of drugs that cures the patient might be called a "home run." But people may be happy with a series of treatments that each do some small part toward an eventual cure- as long as you don't strike out.

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    Good answer. The two might be mathematically equivalent, but, insofar as a game goes, the situations unfold quite differently. Nice dissection of the metaphor. – J.R. Aug 28 '13 at 9:51

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