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$11.16 $8.74 list($14.95)
1. The Numbers Game : Baseball's
$7.95 $5.07
2. Official Major League Baseball
$16.77 $16.37 list($24.95)
3. The Book on The Book : A Landmark
4. Win Shares
$13.96 $12.95 list($19.95)
5. A Mathematician at the Ballpark:
$16.47 list($24.95)
6. The Act of Pitching: A Tutorial
7. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The
8. Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia
$15.61 list($22.95)
9. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball
$10.85 $10.29 list($15.95)
10. Who's Better, Who's Best in Baseball?
$17.13 list($25.95)
11. Baseball America 2005 Prospect
$11.53 $10.37 list($16.95)
12. The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers
$12.89 $12.44 list($18.95)
13. Baseball Guide : The Ultimate
$33.96 $13.24 list($39.95)
14. The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia
$13.57 list($19.95)
15. Baseball Register 2005 Edition
$16.50 $16.07 list($25.00)
16. The New Bill James Historical
$35.00 $2.75
17. Baseball's All-Time Best Hitters
$19.77 $14.99 list($29.95)
18. Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers
$16.47 $13.78 list($24.95)
19. The 2005 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia
$12.89 $12.45 list($18.95)
20. Complete Baseball Record Book

1. The Numbers Game : Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics
by Alan Schwarz
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312322232
Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 47586
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Most baseball fans, players and even team executives assume that the national pastime's infatuation with statistics is simply a by-product of the information age, a phenomenon that blossomed only after the arrival of Bill James and computers in the 1980s.They couldn't be more wrong.

In this award-winning book, Alan Schwarz - whom bestselling Moneyball author Michael Lewis calls "one of today's best baseball journalists" - provides the first-ever history of baseball statistics, showing how baseball and its numbers have been inseparable ever since the pastime's birth in 1845. He tells the history of this obsession through the lives of the people who felt it most: Henry Chadwick, the 19th-century writer who invented the first box score and harped endlessly about which statistics mattered and which did not; Allan Roth, Branch Rickey's right-hand numbers man with the late-1940s Brooklyn Dodgers; Earnshaw Cook, a scientist and Manhattan Project veteran who retired to pursue inventing the perfect baseball statistic; John Dewan, a former Strat-O-Matic maven who built STATS Inc. into a multimillion-dollar powerhouse for statistics over the Internet; and dozens more.

Schwarz paints a history not just of baseball statistics, but of the soul of the sport itself.Named as ESPN's 2004 Baseball Book of the Year, The Numbers Game will be an invaluable part of any fan's library and go down as one of the sport's classic books.
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Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars Stick to the research; stop the similies
Comprehensively researched book that's marred by surprisingly poor writing. Alan Schwartz has done a great job of bringing to light both the evolution of baseball's traditional statistics and the discoveries by "outsiders" who have changed the way we understand the game in the past 25 years. He gives credit where credit is due and isn't afraid to kick the shins of those who deserve it -- from baseball's official statisticians to noted author Thomas Boswell.If he'd just lay off the amateurish similies and metaphors, he would earn a "5" in my book.

5-0 out of 5 stars STATS don't lie
This book is simply, hands-down, amazing.It gives a spectaular history of America's game and tells how all of today's STATS have changed over time.I suggest reading this book if you are a fan of baseball and/or statistics.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read for Between the Seasons.
Watching a professional baseball game on television is an exercise in just how much statistical information can be displayed on the screen without totally blocking out the game itself. What I didn't realize was just how much history there was behind these numbers. I presumed, with I suppose a majority of other people, that all these statistics were simply a product of all the new computers.

No, the author says, the numbers began just about as soon as the game was invented. In fact, I'm kind of surprised that the numbers didn't come first, but I guess that they couldn't -- could they?

Nah! They couldn't. The first big statistical report of a baseball series didn't appear until August 18, 1858.

Delightful book with the season now over and months until the new one starts.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Baseball Stats and Analytic Junkies
This book does a tremendous job of wrapping interesting stories around the discrete steps forward and contributions made by some of the greatest baseball analysts of all time. The book covers the entire history of the game from Henry Chadwick's box scores and arguments right through to today's 3-D modeling software.

If you are more of a day to day game watching fan and not truly enthralled with the statisitics of the game, you might want to look elsewhere but if you love analysis...I recommend this highly to those who love the numbers game within the game of baseball.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the numbers
This book is an absolute delight to read for the baseball fan regardless of how many histories of the game you've already read. Alan Schwarz has delivered a perfect blend of Baseball history and the evolution of statistics that we today take for granted as being integral to the game. In this book we learn thatwasn't necessarily always true and Schwarz takes us inside the development and the arguments surrounding the relevance of various stats. At the same time the characters involved both in the statistical sense and in the game itself are colorfully described.
This was a wonderful book that entertained and educated on a subject that legions of baseball fans are absorbed in every day. The stats and their development are weaved into the history of baseball creating a unique historical view of the game we love. ... Read more

2. Official Major League Baseball Rules Book, 2005 Edition
by Major League Baseball, Sporting News
list price: $7.95
our price: $7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892047720
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Sporting News
Sales Rank: 14401
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Book Description

Major League Baseball reviews the rules each year and adjusts them as necessary. Some affect the game dramatically…1976: The American League accepts the DH as a permanent part of the rules. The National League reaffirms its opposition. [6.10] Other do not…The "game-winning RBI" (previously credited to a batter who gave his club "the lead it never relinquished") is eliminated as an official statistic. [10.04(e)] FEATURES: Includes field and equipment rules; Batting, pitching and fielding regulations; Convenient size gets the praise of professional and amateur league umpires who must have easy access to it throughout every game. ... Read more

3. The Book on The Book : A Landmark Inquiry into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work
by Bill Felber
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.77
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Asin: 0312332645
Catlog: Book (2005-05-01)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Sales Rank: 75911
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Book Description

Diehard fanatics will enjoy this comprehensive collection of groundbreaking baseball strategies, analyses, statistics, and studies

Baseball fans all across America will delight in this fascinating analysis of strategies and statistics.This unique approach to understanding the "tried and true" methodologies of the game of baseball examines conventional elements like the steal, hit and run, and line up construction.The Book on the Book offers an exciting critique of baseball by placing an actual dollar value on player performance and rating managers based on their on-field moves to determine who are the smartest tacticians.

No corner of the ballpark is left unturned as author Bill Felber explores the various methods of team-building, on-field values of players, the role and influence of the general manager in team success, and the importance of park effects.In a more controversial section, new tactical approaches to the use of the pitching staff contradict the more generally accepted practices.

In the vein of the late Leonard Koppett and Bill James, Felber uses mathematical and statistical principles to evaluate the wisdom of standard baseball strategies.Illustrations and a refreshingly engaging style make The Book on the Book the new textbook of baseball analysis.
... Read more

4. Win Shares
by Bill James, Jim Henzler
list price: $29.95
our price: $29.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1931584036
Catlog: Book (2002-03-01)
Publisher: STATS Publishing Inc
Sales Rank: 47895
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Win Shares, a revolutionary system that allows for player evaluation across positions, teams and eras, measures the total sum of player contributions in one groundbreaking number. James' latest advancement in the world of statistical analysis is the next big stepping-stone in the "greatest players of all-time" debate. For as long as baseball has been played, fans have struggled to compare the legends of the game with today's stars. Win Shares by Decade is just one of the many sections you'll find inside to help you judge who ranks where among the pantheon of baseball greats. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well thought out, difficult to render judgement just yet
A number of other reviewers have critisized Bill James' latest effort. While he does address the downsides to Pete Palmer's system, and then proclaim not to be "judging it," I don't feel that detracts too much from his work. On to some issues (good and bad) with the book.
Other reviewers have found issue with the fact that Win Shares are distributed without taking into account Predicted W-L records and the "luck" that determines the outcomes of some games. I disagree with that notion. James is not seeking to place a singular value on a player's season in a vacuum; rather, he determines a player's worth in the context of his team's performance. If you follow his method, he assigns "claim points" PRIOR to assigning Win Shares. These essentially determine the proportion of the team's success that is credited to a given player. If a team wins 90 games, regardless of their Pythagorean W-L record, their players did, in fact, win 90 games.
As a Twins fan, I will use 2001 as an example. Their record was 85-77, though the predicted record would be 82-80 based on runs scored vs. runs allowed. Corey Koskie is credited with 24 Win Shares in that season. Scaling down his Win Shares because the Twins finished higher than the Pythagoreon method makes little sense. First of all, who is to say the Pythagorean method tells us more than the actual record? A couple of blowout games can skew a teams predicted record, but losing by 5 runs is essentially the same as losing by 15. Second, keep in mind that James is not trying to say what SHOULD have happened; rather, he is analyzing what DID happen.
That said, Win Shares does fall short in some respects. It's most valuable when comparing the worth of players on one team; comparisons across different teams and seasons reduces its utility, in my opinion. James' decision to make each win worth 3 "Win Shares" is likewise questionable. While it is easy to convert those into a single-win system, the inverse would also be easy. James' system has the effect of emphasizing relatively small differences between players, which is just the kind of thing sabermetrics people are supposed to avoid.
Overall, though, there's a lot of good work here-especially on defensive statistical analysis. I suggest it to anyone who has either read James in the past or is interested in learning more about his chosen field.

5-0 out of 5 stars A refreshing step back
A reader said earlier, if someone other than James wrote this book, no one would care. This is probably true. However, that James had the determination to write it is in itself amazing. He is basically saying we need to take a step back from baseball statistics (and much of what he himself has worked on before) and get a better feel for what these statistics really mean. In this book James provides an outline of how statistics should properly be analyzed. Much of his analysis (especially fielding formulas) is subjective. He explains that many values are estimates. However, James always is sure to explain the logic for his analysis. Furthermore he states that he hopes and expects better estimates and methods of analysis to be found to evaluate players.

Win Shares is not the grand masterpiece many readers were hoping for. Instead it is a retraction of much of the previous statistical work of the last decades, to much of which James contributed, and an explanation of a better approach. This book shows James' determination to find truth within statistics, no matter what limitations there are on the system. Win Shares MUST use a lot of subjectivity and estimates to get at the truth of the statistics. It is sacrifice that is well worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Bill James the Genius
This book is the sort of thing us stats geeks dream of. With Win Shares Bill James may have come closer than anyone else to developing a statistical system that objectively evaluates an individual player's performance. We already knew that Coors Field numbers don't mean as much relative to the rest of the league; but now we can figure out exactly what those inflated numbers mean. We can ask the question, "How good is Todd Helton?" and get a logical answer. Actually, he's pretty good, but he's no Lou Gehrig. More than that, we can ask "How good was Lou Gehrig compared with modern ball players?" Actually, he was pretty darned good, so good that James made him the top first baseman in his New Historical Baseball Abstract. This is not news, you may say. That's certainly right; but putting modern baseball players in a historical context, or vice versa, has been a deep well for fan argument for a hundred years or more. How do 1970's ball players stack up with 1930's ball players, or 1990's ball players? Win Shares gives an answer based on the logic that an individual's contributions to their team's win total is the most accurate way of measuring a player's performance. It's not a perfect system, which James takes great pains to illustrate; but he also illustrates at fascinating length how useful it is; as well as what it is (the complete statistical system is detailed in section II). If you are a baseball stats geek get this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars While not spectacular, a great start for baseball analysis
A reader said earlier, if someone other than James wrote this book, no one would care. This is probably true. However, that James had the determination to write it is in itself amazing. He is basically saying we need to take a step back ifrom baseball statistics (and much of what he himself has worked on before) and get a better feel for what these statistics really mean. For a leading statistician to take this step is amazing. In this book James provides an outline of how statistics should properly be analyzed. Much of his analysis (especially fielding formulas) is subjective. He explains that many values are estimates. However, James always is sure to explain the logic for his analysis. Furthermore he states that he hopes and expects better estimates and methods of analysis to be found to evaluate players.

Win Shares is not the grand masterpiece many readers were hoping for. Instead it is a retraction of much of the previous statistical work of the last decades, to much of which James contributed, and an explanation of a better approach. This book shows James' determination to find truth within statistics, no matter what limitations there are on the system. Win Shares MUST use alot of subjectivity and estimates to get at the truth of statistics. It is a sacrifice that is well worth the price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saber-Masterpiece
Bill James' Win Shares is the quintessence of baseball sabermetrics. Although he doesn't call the Win Shares method an end-all way to rate players, I disagree. This method is by far the best way to look and players over the years and see how they match up. What I like most about Win Shares is that it takes basic mathematics and uses it for logical formulas that are easy to hands. If you love baseball, especially baseball statistics, you gotta grab this one. ... Read more

5. A Mathematician at the Ballpark: Odds and Probabilities for Baseball Fans
by Ken Ross
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0131479903
Catlog: Book (2004-07-21)
Publisher: Pi Press
Sales Rank: 5831
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Download Description

"Approachable, understandable and entertaining look behind the numbers of baseball.

Opens up the math behind Michael Lewis's bestseller Moneyball, in a way that anyone can read and understand.

Filled with current and historical players, this is the first book that focuses on probability in baseball.

Covers not only the formulas for computing batting average, on base percentage and the like, but also delves into odds and predicting recurring events.

Here is a perfect introduction to the ideas of probability that baseball fans will love. Books on baseball give statistics and use language such as ""odds,"" ""likely"" and ""no chance"" without any explanation. Now professor of mathematics Ken Ross has written a guide to the beautiful and powerful science of probability for baseball fans who love statistics. In the last few years, revolutionaries armed with good old mathematics have changed baseball forever. Managers and coaches have refocused their attention on what statistics really measure and what they indicate about the probable performance of a player or a team. Now Ken Ross, himself a lifelong baseball fan, opens up the math behind Michael Lewis's bestseller Moneyball and shows how anyone can use probability to better understand the future of the game, in the next inning, or in the rest of the season, or in the rest of the World Series. See why the On Base Percentage and Slugging Percentage together are more meaningful than each is by itself (and why they are neither percentages nor averages). See how to calculate the probability that a seven-game series will go four, five, six or seven games. Learn how a mathematician adept in the arithmetic of probability can combine statistics to produce tailor-made analyses in answering questions about specific teams, players, and games. Filled with current and historical players, this is the first book that focuses on probability in baseball. " ... Read more

6. The Act of Pitching: A Tutorial for All Levels by a Master Technician-Detailing Every Aspect of Pitching
by John Bagonzi, Alex Levin
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930770197
Catlog: Book (2001-04-01)
Publisher: Hedgehoghill Press
Sales Rank: 32454
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Pitchers, coaches, and fans will enjoy this fun, informative, and accessible guide to the art of pitching. The specifics of grips, arm angles, and finger pressure, as well as many variations of different pitches, are all explained in detail. This book teaches skills required for pitching, such as mental toughness, preparedness, and strategy. Those involved in any competitive activity will discover useful tools for developing focus and the energy of mind necessary for winning. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Extrodinary!!!
If you are or want to be a pitcher, buy this book. Period. It contains everything you could possibly need to know about pitching, from how to throw a fastball to how to field a bunt. Gonzi explains everything technically, but is very readable. He spends almost three chapters talking about mechanics, but every word is worth it. He also shows multiple grips and techniques for every pitch in existance, even the screwball! Buy this book!
A+++! ... Read more

7. The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Definitive Record of Major League Baseball (10th ed Rev, Upd & Exp)
by Macmillan Publishing
list price: $59.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0028608151
Catlog: Book (1996-06-01)
Publisher: MacMillan Publishing Company.
Sales Rank: 211057
Average Customer Review: 4.32 out of 5 stars
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No single volume sings the epic saga of the game with quite the rhythms of The Baseball Encyclopedia. Now in its 10th edition, the granddaddy of all sports reference books is, at just over eight pounds and 3000 pages, the National Pastime's weightiest tome. As all-seeing as Homer and Milton, as all-knowing as Shakespeare and Yeats, the encyclopedia finds its poetry in the rhythms of baseball's numbers. Every player--regardless of significance--is present, with all the essential statistics of his career. There are, no doubt, some soulless creatures who may open the encyclopedia and just see page after page of dry, meaningless, numbing data; the rest of us know better: 755, 714, 61, 511, .406, 1.12, and 4,256 are all self-contained dramas filled with tension, and inspiring awe. It is in these stats, and thousands more, that the mysteries of the game begin to reveal themselves. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

3-0 out of 5 stars First of its kind... but now out of date
Historically, this was the first book that attempted to compile statistical data for all-time players so the MacMillan Encyclopedia will always have its place. Today, other volumes (Total Baseball, STATS All-Time Major League Handbook, are better resources. Acknowlegde that this book was important 20 years ago, but buy a different book today.

5-0 out of 5 stars As good as a reference work can get
Given that _no_ book of baseball statistics can possibly be without errors (or controversies!), this book surpasses all its competition. My most recent edition of this is the eighth edition (complete through the 1989 season). I wanted to buy the latest version, but given that this copy only goes through 1995 (and the supplement through 1996), you can imagine my disappointment. Nevertheless...

This book is remarkable, especially for the scope of what it attempts. Most baseball references only have lifetime records and statistics for the American and National Leagues. This book has complete statistics for all _six_ major leagues throughout history, team lineups, standings, and season records for each of those leagues, managers' records, every trade made in baseball, every postseason series, every All Star game, a National Association register, and an admirable (albeit understandably incomplete) register of Negro League players.

Finally, I can think of only one reason a baseball fan might be disappointed with The Baseball Encyclopedia. As a book of statistics, this is a reference work, and not a collection of colorful stories. There are scores of great baseball books out there to enjoy. However, one of the great joys of baseball is that whether you're looking at this year's stars or those from the 19th century, statistics can paint a very vivid picture of anyone. The Baseball Encyclopedia displays that picture better than any other work. Reading about Babe Ruth's mighty swing is one thing, but seeing the numbers in black and white is staggering.

Especially when you realize he had 94 pitching wins as well. Whew!

5-0 out of 5 stars Baseball Encyclopedia
Are you an avid baseball enthusiast. Do you have every available statistic at the tip of your tongue? If so, this book is for you. It consists of a plethora of baseball statistics from 1871
onward to the present day. Key statistics pertaining to starting pitchers, saves, stolen bases, Hall of Famers and hometown heroes are listed in this encyclopedia for ease of reference.
This work would be very helpful for a class project on the subject of baseball. It is a solid value for the price charged.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best Reference EVER!
I'm awaiting the next edition. I believe (hope) they're waiting for the last Century to "offically" end (Rumor) before the next edition. FYI: the first day of the 21st Century is 1/1/2001.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Baseball Encyclopedia
I have used this tome as my bible for years. I have run into former baseball players who swear they were players for a major league team but are not listed. I still have not figured out how often it is revised. ... Read more

8. Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball (Total Baseball, 7th ed)
by John Thorn, Pete Palmer, Michael Gershman, Matthew Silverman, Sean Lahman, Greg Spira
list price: $59.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1930844018
Catlog: Book (2001-03-30)
Publisher: Total Sports
Sales Rank: 333433
Average Customer Review: 4.26 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Total Baseball, the official encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, is a complete baseball library in a single volume. A nearly inexhaustible resource of statistics and historical material, it will capture the curiosity of fledgling fans and deepen the delight of long-time lovers of the National Pastime.

New to this seventh edition is a groundbreaking change to the historical record by Major League League Baseball and Total Baseball regarding the 1876 and 1887 seasons. Total Baseball will follow the rules of the day, which charged an at bat for a walk in the National League's first season, lowering the averages that year. The scoring practice of 1887, to count walks as hits, creates eight new .400 hitters, a new single-season batting leader and increases the 3,000-hit club by one member.

This edition also has much new information of a more recent vintage, featuring situational statistics for the past 22 years. For the first time, Total Baseball will feature summaries and box scores on every tiebreaking playoff game, highlighted by Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World to win the 1951 pennant and Bucky Dent's famous homer at Fenway Park in 1978. New statistical information is included for all 15,416 players in major league history; now readers can find out how many times Babe Ruth played center field in his career (64 games) and how often Willie Mays played an outfield position other than center (31 games in 22 years). Not surprisingly, Ruth and Mays lead the way in the Total Player Rating Top 100, with detailed biographies explaining who makes the list--and why. Read about baseball's popularity both before and during the Civil War. And along with the rosters of every manager, coach, umpire, and owner back to 1871 is a roster of baseball announcers over the past 80 years.

Total Baseball also includes a register of every player in postseason history, a history of the college game, and an in-depth look at cause and effect in the changing game of baseball. New information has been added to familiar sections on awards, the minor leagues, and the great streaks and feats in the game's history.

If it's about baseball, you'll find it in the book Sports Illustrated called the baseball reference for years to come. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive and authoritative
This reference has more or less picked up the torch from the late lamented "Baseball Encyclopedia," and is indispensible for serious fans (and probably casual ones as well).

Included in the hefty (nearly 2,000 pages) volume is everything you'd expect (player stats, franchise histories, postseason results) and a number of things you might not (Curt Smith's wonderful roster of radio/TV announcers, for instance). It's perfect for whiling away the hours on rainy Sunday afternoons, and invaluable for settling arguments or answering trivia questions.

It would be nice if the next edition included a few more historical essays such as those found in its NFL counterpart, "Total Football II." That's a minor quibble, however, and perhaps impractical considering the voluminous size of the current book. All in all, this is a must-buy for baseball lovers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Total Baseball is the ultimate baseball reference book.
Without a doubt, Total Baseball is the premier reference book on baseball. It is so far superior to The Baseball Encyclopedia that I cannot imagine any serious baseball fan, writer, or researcher not using it (Total Baseball). As a person noted for his "penchant for completeness", I can truly appreciate the comprehensive nature of this tome: not just the numbers (including the so-called "modern" statistics) in the game, but the stories behind the game, as well. And as far as the alterations to certain records and facts are concerned, it is MUCH better to have data based on accuracy than tradition! Kudos to you, John Thorn and gang, and congratulations on receiving the endorsement from Major League Baseball that you truly deserve!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good for Baseball Nuts and Normal People
I am doing my own study on baseball's greatest players, this book has been invaluable in this regard. The narratives are generally well-written and the statistics layout is superb. The explanation of the statistics is complete. The stats include the important common stats + Total Baseball's own stats to measure hitting, pitching, and fielding effectiveness relative to other players, both for each season and the player's career.

I do wish, though, that they had retained the pitching statistic called "Wins above team." Over a pitchers career it shows clearly how much a pitcher tended to help or not help his team. Oh well, the book is not perfect. I hope they come out with an Edition 7 soon which wraps up the last century.

1-0 out of 5 stars Too Many Hokey Stats
If you're a baseball stats junky (like me), how can this not be the perfect book?

They decided to add a whole bunch of hokey stats, while leaving out some of the vital one's. Come on guys..."adjusted" batting averages instead of pinch hitting stats? A seperate section for (incomplete) post-season stats, rather than listing them with regular season stats?

Let's bet back to basics and skip the nonsense!

5-0 out of 5 stars The best baseball reference book
Total Baseball is definitely a must for every baseball fan, from hardcore to casual. And it can be a gateway for many who haven't enjoyed the blessings of this beautiful game. There's everything you need to know: from team histories, great essays on the Negro Leagues. There's stuff for the stat nut as well: from sabermetrics to a handy guide on how to score a game, some insights on Women and Baseball, and of course, the hefty, precise and so accurate register of every player in Major League history. There's even a chapter on International Baseball results, that suprisingly, does NOT include the champions of the Venezuelan League, and does have the Dominican and Mexican team champions. Anyway, all in all, if you love baseball or simply you want to understand baseball, this book is for you. ... Read more

9. The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball 2005 (Sports Encyclopedia Baseball)
by David S. Neft, Michael L. Neft, Richard M. Cohen
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312337868
Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sales Rank: 290441
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Book Description

The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball 2005 covers the history of every player, every team, and every season from 1902 through 2005, with detailed statistics and text summaries, as well as full coverage of this year’s exciting pennant race.

-Which team became the first in history to come back from a 3–1 deficit to win the World Series?
-Who was the only player to pinch-hit a World Series homerun?
-Who became the first to manage five straight pennant winners, and in what years did he do it?
-What 1970s team won a pennant with only one player hitting more than twenty homers, no player driving in eighty runs, no player stealing even ten bases, no player hitting .300, and only one pitcher winning more than fifteen games?

The answers to these and thousands of other baseball questions can be found in this fully up-to-date, fact-filled reference book.
... Read more

10. Who's Better, Who's Best in Baseball?
by ElliottKalb
list price: $15.95
our price: $10.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0071445382
Catlog: Book (2005-02-16)
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
Sales Rank: 57979
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Guaranteed to spark debate among baseball diehards with its controversial pick for #1

"Elliott Kalb's work is beyond excellent. He thinks in story lines and uses numbers to make compelling and often original points."--Bob Costas

In the world of major-league sports, Elliott Kalb, a.k.a "Mr. Stats," is the Sultan of Stats, the Tsar of Trivia, and the Final Word in armchair-athlete disputes. Now, hot on the heels of his controversial bestseller Who's Better, Who's Best in Basketball? comes a book that is guaranteed to raise both hackles and cheers from baseball fans from coast to coast. More than a book of lists, Who's Better, Who's Best in Baseball?:

  • Interweaves numbers, facts, and anecdotes to offer a grand perspective on the entire history of the sport and its 100 all-time greatest of the greats--including players from the Negro Leagues
  • Features interviews with MLB experts, players, and coaches, including Bob Costas, Bud Selig, Vin Scully, Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Johnny Bench, and others
  • Argues the popular debate--what means more, modern training and modern medicine, overall athletics, popularity, or genetics?
... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Classic Book
I dig Elliott Kalb's Books big time. His Basketball Book was on point&This Baseball Book is another Winner. Barry Bonds is the Greatest Ever to me as well.Josh Gibson was so ahead of his time it ain't even funny. I enjoy how Elliott Kalb breaks things down&he makes you look at all the possiblitys.He is a very gifted writer&I dig how He challenges you on players.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stealing Home!
A pastoral game scribed to urban contexts while having fair ter-
ritory as expansive as the universe, baseball is to America what
Lewis&Clark was to the Jefferson administration.Its goal to
reach a "clearing in the distance" only matters if you can come
home.And with no two playing fields the same, it's what dreams
are made of: induced by memory and reinforced by endless argu-
ments, but with every day a whole new ballgame.With Kalb,
either I'm finally home (a steal for $15!), or I've died and
gone to heaven.

5-0 out of 5 stars Here He Goes Again
As with Mr. Kalb's basketball book, I find it super hard to agree with his picks. Barry Bonds as the best player ever in baseball is too much for me to swallow. But as with his basketball book, it's the DETAILS of his arguments which I find so interesting. I don't have to agree with Elliott in order to find his arguments interesting. He sold me that Josh Gibson was the best catcher ever. I hadn't thought about it, but I now agree Roger Clemens is the best active pitcher today. And I'll never forget his "Better Analogy" for Sandy Koufax to Elliott's own wife Amy ("both born on Dec. 30th and wild in their 20's"). Buy this book if you want to sound intelligent in arguing who the best players of all time are.

5-0 out of 5 stars Totally Awesome Book for teens
I just got this book in time for the baseball season, and it is the best book I've ever read.Kalb makes great points about Bonds being better than everyone else, but I loved some of the other chapters even more.Josh Gibson the greatest catcher of all time?Pedro Martinez ahead of Randy Johnson?This is a great book for people who want to get to know about the top players of all time. ... Read more

11. Baseball America 2005 Prospect Handbook : The Comprehensive Guide to Rising Stars from tohe Definitive Source on Prospects (Baseball America Prospect Handbook)
by Baseball America
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932391053
Catlog: Book (2005-03-01)
Publisher: Baseball America
Sales Rank: 25869
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Book Description

The Baseball America 2005 Prospect Handbook is the leading annual reference guide to the next generation of rising stars.The Prospect Handbook profiles in-depth analysis and statistics of 900 players, provides a detailed amateur draft report card, a list of the top one hundred prospects, and a ranking of the Major League Baseball player development programs.The Prospect Handbook is the resource for information regarding the leading minor leaguers throughout baseball and is a valuable tool for fans, fantasy leaguers, and anyone who wants to know more about the player development process. ... Read more

12. The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers : An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches
by Bill James, Rob Neyer
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743261585
Catlog: Book (2004-06-15)
Publisher: Fireside
Sales Rank: 4942
Average Customer Review: 3.17 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Pitchers, the pitches they throw, and how they throw them -- these days it's the stuff of constant scrutiny, but there's never been anything like a comprehensive source for such information. That's what preeminent baseball analyst Bill James and baseball columnist Rob Neyer realized over lunch more than a dozen years ago. Since then, they've been compiling the centerpiece of this book, the "Pitcher Census," which lists specific information for nearly two thousand pitchers, ranging throughout the history of professional baseball. The Guide also offers:

  • A "dictionary" describing virtually every known pitch
  • The origins and development of baseball's most important pitches
  • Top ten lists: best fastballs, best spitballs, and everything in between
  • Biographies of some of the great pitchers who have been overlooked
  • More knuckleballers and submariners than you ever thought existed
  • An open debate concerning pitcher abuse and durability
  • A formula for predicting the Cy Young Award winner
  • Something fresh and new: Bill James' "Pitcher Codes"

The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers is about understanding pitchers, and baseball's action always starts with the pitchers. It's also about entertaining debates and having a great deal of fun with the history of a game that obsesses so many. ... Read more

Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking data
The star of this book is the data: an encyclopedia of thousands of major league pitchers and information on their pitch repetoire, along with sources. This is groundbreaking, never-before-collected data and it will surely prove to be a boon for baseball researchers. For their work collecting this data, Neyer and James deserve serious kudos.

The book also features articles describing pitches, how they're thrown, variations, their evolutions, and their key practitioners. This is good information as well.

However, these articles and others in the book seem to suffer from the authors' informal tone. Often, we're treated to disagreements between the two authors which don't particularly add to our understanding of the subject.

Though it could have used tighter editing, the book is still a joy. James remains a tremendously gifted writer and analyst and, again, this data is priceless.

2-0 out of 5 stars considering the authors, disappointing
Considering the magnitude of Bill James and Rob Neyer, this should have been a great book. A veritable baseball feast, like Neyer's books on lineups and dynasties, and James' monumental historical abstract. Where he lost you with stats, he won you with great writing. But this book, despite some excellent essays, is an appetizer. Something to fill out a book contract. There is still a great book to be written on pitchers. Neyer and James should have written it, but they didn't.

4-0 out of 5 stars A nice game of catch
If you take this book at its premise as spelled out in the intro - Bill and Rob talking about Harvey Haddix and asking "What did he throw?"- then I think the authors toed the rubber, threw strikes and delivered a highly enjoyable book. And I think the other reviewers who panned this book may have been taking it a bit too seriously.
I think anybody who's tossed the ball around and wondered at how the combination of horsehide, raised seams and air currents can do strange things to the white sphere can appreciate this book. At their best, Bill James and Rob Neyer have always made me appreciate and love the game of baseball, past, present and future. Reading this book helps me watch a game and appreciate the seemingly simple on the surface yet fascinating to the core - and utterly boring to the uninitiated - battle between pitcher and batter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining -- And that's the point.
I disagree with a great deal of the material in this book. Not surprisingly, I found the 'refutation' of Pitcher Abuse Points weak and flawed.

But that doesn't really matter. This is a fun book to read. It's a great way to spend some time.

Maybe some minor changes that could have been made in terms of format, editorial decisions, and whatever, but that's true for every book. I think it's fascinating and entertaining to learn what's behind some of the numbers for guys I never got the chance to see.

I can disclaim and state that Rob is a friend and colleague, but it doesn't change the fact that this is a very entertaining book, and has a bunch of angles that will appeal to a bunch of different people. It's clear that Rob was passionate about this book, and I'm grateful for that. This is a winner, it's not expensive, and when you read it, your mind fills with images of baseball. That's high praise, and it's well earned here.

2-0 out of 5 stars A major disappointment -- as other readers have noted
After reading Rob Neyer's *Big Book of Baseball Lineups*, I was expecting another gem. But this book has little to recommend it except for the essays on near-Hall of Fame caliber pitchers Mel Harder, Billy Pierce, Tommy Bridges, Bucky Walters and several others. The lists of best fastball and breaking ball pitchers appear idiosyncratic, while the analysis is simple-minded and redolent of bar-stool advocacy (at least when one considers that the evaluators are renowned sabermetricians). Save your money for Alan Schwarz's new book, *The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong fascination with Statistics*. He's a better writer than either Neyer or James and has a fascinating story to tell. ... Read more

13. Baseball Guide : The Ultimate 2005 Baseball Almanac (Baseball Guide)
by The Sporting News
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892047704
Catlog: Book (2005-01-10)
Publisher: Sporting News
Sales Rank: 225950
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Published annually by the Sporting News since 1942, the Baseball Guide is a comprehensive review of 2004’s highs, lows and results by league, team and player with a look to the upcoming 2005 Major League Baseball season. FEATURES: Day-by-day results for every major league team plus team records and player; draft and transactions details; Annual, season-in-review, League playoffs and World Series coverage and commentary; Team and League 2004 hitting, fielding and pitching leaders; Team-by-team information: Schedules, Broadcast and Ticket information, ballpark data and Spring Training Rosters; Historical information; All-time award-winners; Hall of Fame roster plus the Postseason and All-Star Game; Minor-league player statistics from all 17 leagues; A thru AAA. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Another solid publication from TSN
While not what I'd consider an essential purchase, this is a pretty useful to have around if you want to look back at 2004.They've culled items that are better covered in other publications, which does make this a more economical purchase than buying several other books.

The team information and coverage of the minors isn't nearly as good as the Baseball America almanac, but suffices nevertheless.The records included are fleshed out more in the TSN Record Book, and both the Bill James annual and Baseball Prospectus provide greater coverage of 2004 individual stats.Again, though, the coverage here is decent.

If you only purchase one guide for the season, I'd recommend the Major League Baseball Fact Book, which should be shipping soon.It provides an excellent review of the previous season, along with giving more detailed historical coverage of each team.TSN publishes that one, too, which I think is interesting given the great overlap among the two.Still, the TSN guide is a pretty good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Overall Enjoyment
Overall the book was well done. I fully enjoyed the park data on each team. The breakdown on wins by pitcher.The minor league breakdown was appealing to offensive and defensive positions.

The breakdown by pitcher and batter categories was well done. ... Read more

14. The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia
by David Porter, Joe Naiman
list price: $39.95
our price: $33.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1582610584
Catlog: Book (2002-11-04)
Publisher: Sports Publishing
Sales Rank: 329070
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia is the first comprehensive history of one of Major League Baseball's most fascinating franchises. From its roots as a National League expansion team in 1969 through the 2000 season, this new book covers the team's entire season-by-season history on the field, including its World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998. The team's greatest stars, Tony Gwynn, Dave Winfield, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Jones, Nate Colbert, Steve Garvey, Ken Caminiti, and nearly a hundred others, are fully chronicled, as are Padre celebrities such as Ray Krock, Dick Williams and Jerry Coleman. Much of the authors' biographical information was collected through personal interviews. The San Diego Padres Encyclopedia delineates the team's greatest milestones in its "This Date in Padre History" section, lists the franchise's all-time transactions, and chooses the Padres' all-time "dream team". The appendix of the book includes an all-time Padres roster and the most comprehensive statistical history of the Padres ever published. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good, but full of errors
This is an amazingly comprehensive book. Looking past the near 200 page history of the Padres that this book includes, there is just simply a lot of information in this book. Overviews of exectuives, managers, and important players...50 pages of stats...list of trades the Padres have made over the years...and more. The only thing missing, in my opinion, is a section dedicated to Tony Gwynn.

The biggest problem with this book, however, is the errors. There are spelling errors (including in the table of contents) and a lack of fluidity in format. But more importantly are the numerous factual errors: wrong birthdates, incorrect statistics, wrong information. My favorite example is on page 433, Best Road Record: 46-35, Fewest Road Losses: 37. And that is just an obvious one.

A good book, but difficult to trust. ... Read more

15. Baseball Register 2005 Edition (Baseball Register)
by Sporting News, Stats Inc
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892047453
Catlog: Book (2004-12-01)
Publisher: Sporting News
Sales Rank: 42315
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16. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
by Bill James
list price: $25.00
our price: $16.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743227220
Catlog: Book (2003-06-13)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 4589
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the "holy book of baseball." Now, baseball's beloved "Sultan of Stats" (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium.

Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called "Win Shares," a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself. ... Read more

Reviews (73)

5-0 out of 5 stars Why is baseball a beautiful game? Bill James knows!
I almost fell out of my chair when I saw "The New Bill James Historical Abstract" in the bookstore. James is every baseball fan wrapped into one and has always been able to see the cold statistical side of baseball along the human side. He even talks about uniform styles and baseball players' looks, which my wife enjoys. This is the kind of book that it takes months to completly consume, the reader starts at the beginning, but then a short tale leads us to another area to compare, then off we go to another similar player who we remember,then to something else. For baseball lovers this book is a must, but for the casual fan this is also a teriffic book. I became obsessed with his 1985 "Historical Abstract" and his yearly publication when I was in my early twenties, I hope young people today find this book and share some of my experiences.

5-0 out of 5 stars The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
I enjoyed this book immensely. I own the first 1985 version (missed the 1989 update), and thought it was great. I agree with some reviewers that the distinction between peak and career rankings was better in the first book. However, I am okay that some player rankings have changed over time. IMHO, the best part of reading the player rankings were the bottom 30-40 at each position. I had forgotten many of these players with 4-5 good years (Von Hayes, Juan Samuel, Dick Stuart, etc.) and they brought good and bad memories.

The two negatives I had with this book:
1. Am analysis/ranking of managers, general managers, umpires, and owners was needed to complete the book. Since the book is The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, not the Players reference, many key and interesting figures are overlooked in baseball history. James did a book on managers about 10 years ago. Maybe this is a potential sequel as well.

2. It seemed that pitchers were short changed by having the top 100. Splitting them up into starters, relievers, and maybe lefty/righty would have made the pitching section as comprehensive as each of the other sections.

If you notice, both of my complaints are that I wanted more. Since Bill James delivered 900 pages of great material, I should and am thoroughly satisfied. My main complaint with Bill James is that he can't pump out 900 pages a month :) .

3-0 out of 5 stars A must-have for lovers of sabermetrics....
.... but not quite as ground-breaking as the original edition.

Overall, it is a definitive book to have on your baseball shelf. James rates many more players than he did in 1987 and introduces a new statistic called "Win Shares" from which most findings are based. I was disappointed with his explanation for wins shares theory and even more frustrated to learn that you had to buy the "Win Shares" companion piece [not cheap] just to understand his derivations. The preface/introduction in the historical abstract does not fully describe the intricacies of the method (particularly for defensive win shares), making it difficult to appreciate his conclusions. His finding that Craig Biggio is the 35th greatest player of all time, for example, is met with skepticism because the reader is not given complete proof. Yes, we know Biggio can create runs -- that is a Jamesian throwback -- but how precisely do these runs contribute to wins? The reader won't know all the details until he purchases the "Win Shares" volume.......

Some of James' conclusions arbitrarily deviate from the quantitative analyses. He goes to the trouble of developing a systematic approach for win shares but then does not do us the service of explaining why certain players rate higher than their individual values would indicate (see Don Mattingly). Such deviations do not lend confidence to a value scheme which Mr. James himself is VERY fond of.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lies and damned lies
Bill James has been cooking statistics to support his own prejudices for twenty years. Think about it. A midwest nerd is tired of being on the losing end of the Mays v Mantle debate (James is a shameless Mantle man) and decides to prove Mantle was better. It's hard to prove a lie so he had to get imaginative. There was only one way Mantle was superior. Base on balls. Thus began the tyranny of the on base percentage myth. Real statistics like rbis had to be diminished since Mays was so superior in every category so he needed to invent new categories like "win shares", none of which any honest person can say they understand since they are simply ruses to distract people from reality. In his first version of this book he said Mantle was much greater than Mays. A concern for his place in history as a credible source has caused him to back off that nonsense a bit but his four main prejudices are still present in this new compendium of misinformation. 1. He's a devout midwesterner and seems dedicated to the notion that he must defend the greatness of fellow midwesterners like Walter Johnson and Mickey Mantle to the point of shredding the truth. 2. He's an insane American League chauvinist. In his latest irrational rantings on the subject he isn't satisfied to say the American League is a better league, it's also a morally superior league. Once again, a nerd grows up in the midwest watching his beloved American League be pummeled year after year in the all star game, it must have drove him mad. It doesn't justify dishonesty and shameless manipulation of statistics. 3. He's a racist. That he still can't bear to consider Negro League players in his position by position ratings shows that. His pannicy attack on Barry Bonds in the 2003 postscript to the book shows his great fear that the dead white hopes like Ruth and Williams might be obscured by a great black player. Not a convenietly dead one like Josh Gibson but a very alive one. He segregates his analysis of the Negro League players into a top 100 discussion but does not mention them in the position by position chapters. 4. He doesn't like the present day game. He'd rather live in the ivory tower of statistics than the acutal game that is played every day in parks around the country. He actually suggested that the only explanation for an uppity black man like Bonds threatening the place of the great white myths is that baseball is a dying game and easily dominated now. Ultimately he'd rather believe statitstics than what he sees on the playing field (except of course when statistics threaten his illusions). Which is what's wrong with all the stat mongers like James and Pete Palmer. They don't illuminate the game. They take us farther away from it into an arifical world of numbers and lies. I honestly believe that Bill James is the worst thing that happened to baseball in my life time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive Synthesis
I bought the original when it came out years ago, and read it, and read it, and read it until it's spine cracked and pages started falling out. This time I bought the hardcover edition (buy whatever edition you can get your hands on, and can afford) and have read it, and read it, and read it; but thanks to hardcover binding it is not falling apart. One of the most fun aspects of this version is seeing how James has used his Win Shares method of evaluating performance to rank players by position. (By the way, the book Win Shares is an absolute classic, and should be purchased with this book, if at all possible.) For example, if you were to look strictly at the numbers you may say that Ty Cobb or Tris Speaker (or even the Mick) was the greatest center fielder of them all; but armed with his Win Shares method he makes you seriously consider that it has to be Willie Mays. I certainly have no argument against James's evaluation, but with Win Shares there seems to be a more logical, statistical basis for that judgment than by comparing raw numbers (not that Willie Mays needs to apologize for anything; he did after all have some huge seasons while playing at Candlestick park. How would he have done, I wonder, playing the last half of his career in Atlanta?) If you are a baseball fan, young or old, buy this book and get a wonderful overview of baseball history. ... Read more

17. Baseball's All-Time Best Hitters
by Michael J. Schell
list price: $35.00
our price: $35.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691004552
Catlog: Book (1999-03-01)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 422558
Average Customer Review: 3.29 out of 5 stars
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Baseball is a game of numbers, and if you look deeply enough into them, they begin to speak in truly mysterious ways. For Schell, a professor of biostatistics, the numbers sing in an enigmatic language that lets him rank and compare hitters from different eras with a self-concocted, time-tested mathematical certainty--albeit a certainty that is as subjective as the next in an arena filled with formulas and number crunching. Less a volume to read than one to muck around in and develop a dialogue--or argument--with, Baseball's All-Time Best Hitters is heavy on the stats, charts, and theories that explain why and how averages must be adjusted over different eras to accommodate different styles of play, rule changes, and ballparks. Using the various adjustments he's come up with, Schell works to make his baseball cabala understandable; then he sends out a lineup of rankings that are as surprising as they are, in fact, logical--if you buy the logic. So who is the best hitter of all time?Well, it's not Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson, or Ted Williams. He is alive at this writing, though, and the shock is that he's still playing in 1999, patrolling right field for the San Diego Padres and rapping line drives with astonishing consistency. --Jeff Silverman ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars a stats book that looks like a baseball book
Most baseball fans like statistics, so it should not be a disappointment to them to find out that this is an elementary statistics book where the statistical methods are taught to explain how to adjust batting averages in order to compare players in terms of their batting averages. The average baseball fan would be interested in comparisons of Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn, Ted Williams and others who are acknowledged as the best hitters for average in the game. Schell considers factors that make direct comparisons unfair and he provides methods to adjust for these factors based on the vast amount of statistical data available to him that has been gathered throughout the history of major league baseball.

Key effects include the home ball park, stage of career and interventions such as the lowering of the pitcher's mound after 1968. To adjust for players whose abilities decline substantially in the latter years of their career Schell uses only the first 8000 at bats to gauge the players hitting ability. This helps players like Mickey Mantle whose performance declined appreciably at the end of his career due in part to injuries.

Schell provides a lot of interesting statistics and comparisons. Ty Cobb had the highest lifetime batting average but after all the adjustments finishes second to Tony Gwynn, a result that will surely create controversy.

Nevertheless Schell's approach makes sense and his results are not too surprising. As he notes his adjustments move many of the modern players whose numerical averages are lower than the players from the late 1800s and early 1900s, ahead on the list.

Schell relates how he showed up to meet and congratulate Gwynn on the date of his 8000th at bat when he clinched first place based on the Schell adjustment system.

Mike Schell is a sports enthusiast and a professor of biostatistics at the University of North Carolina. In 2002 he was one of the invited speakers at the Sport Statistics Section Session of the Joint Statistical Meetings.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pay attention when you read
If other reviewers of the book noticed, in the introduction to the book, Schell writes that batting average is not the best way to rate a baseball player-Schell clearly states that the book measures the best HITTERS, not the best BATTERS-in which case he would have used many other batting stats("Statistics that combine various hitting events...are searching for the best batters. The search in this book is for the best hitters, that is, the players with the best chance to get a hit in a given at bat."). Unless you know about statistics the book is confusing, but you don't have to read all the technical notes. His conclusions, and his methods are very interesting and definitly worth reading, (although you may not agree with the methods he uses). Again, you may not fall in love with the book, but it's worth reading.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Valiant Effort to Level the Playing Field
Schell's methods are an excellent approach to putting individual performances in context. Those criticizing the book because it is statistically oriented are not Schell's audience: if I didn't like baseball poetry, I wouldn't buy a poetry book. If you don't like baseball statistics, don't buy a statistics book.

Those criticizing Schell's use of batting average haven't read the book carefully: Schell freely admits that batting average isn't the best statistic to measure players. But batting average is easily understood and known to most fans. How many typical fans can name the career leaders in on-base percentage or slugging average or explain how they are calculated?

Anyway, Schell's methods have lit a path that others may follow with other statistics like on-base percentage and slugging average. Indeed, toward the end of the book Schell applies his methods to on-base percentage and briefly discusses the results. Just because he chose a more popular statistic to introduce his methods doesn't undermine the usefulness of those methods. I found the book a little hard to read without a strong background in statistics, but I understand what Schell is trying to do, and it makes sense to me.

1-0 out of 5 stars A Waste Of Paper
In this day and age, how can anyone take this book seriously? To rate hitters by batting average is simply a waste of effort because on-base percentage and slugging percentage correlate far better with scoring runs and winning games than batting average.

2-0 out of 5 stars For Nerds Only!
BOOKLIST claims that "buried within every true baseball fan is a Nerd with a calculator and a scorecard" - a statement mildly amusing if not deeply offensive to 80-90% of the nation's dedicated baseball fans. There is far, far more to this beautiful game than mere number-crunching. Try poetry, drama, romance, myth, legend, simple competitive excitement. This book seems to miss the other 80-plus percent of the game and those other 80-plus percent of the readers and fans. And even for those who would rather sit in front of their computers than in the outfield bleachers, the author's measure of hitting greatness is at best the most narrow possible measure - the standard but highly unrevealing category of batting averages. There is much ado about nothing here. ... Read more

18. Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers : Adjusted Batting Performance from Strikeouts to Home Runs
by Michael J. Schell
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0691115575
Catlog: Book (2005-02-07)
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Sales Rank: 172779
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Over baseball history, which park has been the best for run scoring?1 Which player would lose the most home runs after adjustments for ballpark effect?2 Which player claims four of the top five places for best individual seasons ever played, based on all-around offensive performance.3 (See answers, below).

These are only three of the intriguing questions Michael Schell addresses in Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers, a lively examination of the game of baseball using the most sophisticated statistical tools available. The book provides an in-depth evaluation of every major offensive event in baseball history, and identifies the players with the 100 best seasons and most productive careers. For the first time ever, ballpark effects across baseball history are presented for doubles, triples, right- and left-handed home-run hitting, and strikeouts. The book culminates with a ranking of the game's best all-around batters.

Using a brisk conversational style, Schell brings to the plate the two most important credentials essential to producing a book of this kind: an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball and a professional background in statistics. Building on the traditions of renowned baseball historians Pete Palmer and Bill James, he has analyzed the most important factors impacting the sport, including the relative difficulty of hitting in different ballparks, the length of hitters' careers, the talent pool from which players are drawn, player aging, and changes in the game that have raised or lowered major-league batting averages.

Schell's book finally levels the playing field, giving new credit to hitters who played in adverse conditions, and downgrading others who faced fewer obstacles. It also provides rankings based on players' positions. For example, Derek Jeter ranks 295th out of 1,140 on the best batters list, but jumps to 103rd in the position-adjusted list, reflecting his offensive prowess among shortstops.

Replete with dozens of never-before reported stories and statistics, Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers will forever shape the way baseball fans view the greatest heroes of America's national pastime.

Answers: 1. Coors Field 2. Mel Ott 3. Barry Bonds, 2001-2004 seasons

... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars One nice piece of work and a great presentation
Schell states the problem, tells you how he's going to analyze the problem and then presents a great read. If you want the details, there included at the end of the book. Just a great approach with solid logic. Two additional points:
1. If you are playing Fantasy Baseball (especially "Old-Timer") then you need this book and the Bill James Historical Abstract. Any other book is a very distant 3rd.
2. For baseball statistics/methods, this book is the best book out there and is addictive. That's why I bought it and I've been spending hours reading this book.
It's an excellent reference and I can't find any fault with it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - Don't Confuse it with Schell's Other One
I am almost certain that the first two reviewers of this excellent book are confusing Schell's content in this book with the one he previously released.Mr. Schell has another book entitled "Baseball's All-Time Greatest HITTERS" in which he concludes that Tony Gwynn was the greatest HITTER of all-time.I can easily understand the mis-interpretation of "All-Time Best Sluggers," as Mr. Schell includes several tables, charts, graphs and discussions that would lead an uninformed reader to assume this book was about HITTING instead of SLUGGING.Schell examines all sorts of topics in "Sluggers," ranging from discussions of pure power to ones of walk and strikeout frequency and success.

If you do decide to pick up a copy of "Sluggers," do yourself a favor and also pick up a copy of "Hitters" and read it first.Doing this will give you a MUCH better understanding of the direction that Mr. Schell is taking with his newest book.He is looking at the numbers from all sides in "Sluggers," but his ultimate goal is to derive information about slugging, not pure hitting.

1-0 out of 5 stars Incomprehensible Gibberish
This book was written by a statistician for other statisicians only. The conclusions reached by the author are better known by any informed baseball fan. His unique calculations show (to him) that Fred McGriff is a better hitter than Al Kaline, Harry Stovey better than Tony Gwynn and Joe Jackson, and Dolph Camilli better than Roberto Clemente. This book is a classic illustration of Mark Twain's saying:"There are 3 types of lies: lies, D___ Lies, and statistics."

5-0 out of 5 stars The best analysis of baseball statistics ever!
One of the rules that I have lived by in my life is that time spent arguing baseball is by definition not wasted. Discussions over who was the best player ever are always subject to a myriad of scientific prejudices. It depends on your personal formulas in rating the relative values of the different kinds of hits, how you rate a walk and the value you associate with a stolen base. This book provides an enormous amount of analysis that assigns weights to those events and also incorporates other differences, such as the era of the player and the parks that he played in.
As all fans know, the home park makes an enormous difference in the batting statistics of a player. A right-handed power hitter has an advantage in Fenway Park, as does a left-handed batter in Yankee stadium. The Houston Astrodome is a major liability for all power hitters and Coors field is a friend to all.Schell incorporates these differences in his analysis and then uses a weighted formula that includes all possible offensive contributions to create a ranking of the top 100 batters of all time. The top five are in order: Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Rogers Hornsby, Barry Bonds and Lou Gehrig. He also computes clutch performance and adjusts for the effect of position on the field, including the designated hitter. While there are no surprises in the top ten, there was one omission that surprised me. All-time hits leader Pete Rose is not in the list and I didn't even find his name in the index of the book.
This is one of the best baseball books of all time, although you do need to know something about statistics to understand the presentations. There are many charts, tables and graphs that reinforce the points being made. From now on, this book is my reference bible when the discussion turns to determining who was the better player.
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19. The 2005 ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia)
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140272568X
Catlog: Book (2005-02-25)
Publisher: Sterling
Sales Rank: 105229
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Excellent !!
This encyclopedia it's for a baseball fan like the bible for a priest ! Simply it's the bible of baseball.
It represents a great asset for any library.
Simply Excellent !!!

1-0 out of 5 stars A Poor Substitute For MacMillan
Sure! It's loaded with new age stats(AOPS,ABR,AERA,RNG,BFW).But are you looking to see why Reggie Jackson was called Mr.October? Well don't look under his entry in the Batter Register. As a matter of fact don't look anywhere in this book because players AL/NLCS or World Series stats ARE NOT listed! Want to look up some post season facts? Your search begins on page 1631 and ends on page 1634! No line scores for Playoff or World Series games! The post-season section is no more comprehensive than you would find in the World Almanac! Not what I'm looking for in a Baseball encyclopedia. If you've ever spent an hour or two just getting lost in your old MacMillan encyclopedia flipping back from section to section, don't expect this cheap imposter volume to re-create that feeling.

5-0 out of 5 stars best book eveeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr
Ths book rules! How aboutake a zillion other books like this it tells me everything I need to know about baseball two big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big big thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5-0 out of 5 stars ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia 2005
It was great it told me everything I need to know about baseball. This is the best book in recorded history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ... Read more

20. Complete Baseball Record Book 2005 Edition (Complete Baseball Record Book)
list price: $18.95
our price: $12.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0892047690
Catlog: Book (2005-01-10)
Publisher: Sporting News
Sales Rank: 37829
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Book Description

Since 1908 the Sporting News has published an annually updated baseball record book and 2005 marks the 19th year of its latest incarnation; the Complete Baseball Record Book Ever wonder how sports broadcasters come up with those records so quickly during regular and postseason games?You could easily do it too if you had the Baseball Record Book with you as you watched a game. The records are all here, and after 96 years of publishing Baseball records, we’ve settled on a layout that makes it quick and easy to look up each one. FEATURES: Player records by Team dating back to 1890; Team, year-by-year finishes since 1901 or their inception; Regular and Postseason, All-Star Game and World Series records; National and American League records, all updated through the 2004 season; Individual player and team records plus career milestones lists; A statistical snapshot of the 2004 season and what records are likely to be challenged in 2005. ... Read more

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