Nice article by Dave Studeman over at Baseball Analysts on Pythagoras, run estimation and Bill James. I especially liked the following:
"The power of two is everywhere in life. E=MC squared, after all. When you move closer to a light, cutting the distance in half, the light doesn't become twice as bright...So when Bill James discovered that the nature of runs to winning is squared, it seemed as though something essential and fundamental had been discovered."
Another example of this phenomena is the inverse-square law of gravitation which Newton published in his Principia but which was first hinted at by Ismael Bullialdus and known (or guessed at) in some form to the likes of Christopher Wren, Emond Halley, and Robert Hooke as told in James Gleick's wonderful biography of Isaac Newton titled Isaac Newton.
For more thoughts on run estimation see:
Run Estimation for the Masses
A Closer Look at Run Estimation