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Books

Many of the books described below are still in publication and available from on-line retailers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders. Good sources of out-of-print books include ABEBooks, AddALL, Alibiris, Bibliofind, BookFinder, eBay, and Powell’s. Other Web sites discussing baseball books include the Baseball Book Survey, the Baseball Bookshelf, Books from the Bleachers, Buying Baseball Books: A Guide, and the Essential Baseball Library. To suggest books to be included please send e-mail here.

Annuals


Baseball Prospectus
2000 edition by Chris Kahrl, Clay Davenport, Joseph S. Sheehan, and Rani Jazayerli, 536 pages, $21.95 (Brassey’s 2000)
In its fifth edition, the Baseball Prospectus features extensive team and player comments. Each team profile consists of an essay of two or three pages followed by 10 or 15 pages of player comments and statistics. Almost 2,000 players are discussed. The statistics cover the last three years in the major and minor leagues, are adjusted for ballpark, and include projections for the upcoming season. Statistical tools include equivalent average, support-neutral won-loss records, and pitcher abuse points. A final section offers general essays, prospect news, and leaderboards.

Big Bad Baseball Annual
2000 edition by Don Malcolm, Brock J. Hanke, Sean Foreman, Jim Furtado, and Tom Ruane, 512 pages, $21.95 (Long Gone Press 2000)
In its sixth edition, the Big Bad Baseball Annual is divided into general essays, team profiles, and player comments and rankings. The general essays range from statistical to sentimental, while the team profiles consist of five or 10 pages each of statistics and analysis, including prospect reports and park-adjusted statistics for players. More than 1,000 player comments and rankings are organized by league and position and feature statistical tools such as extrapolated offensive wins, extrapolated defensive wins, and quality matrices for pitchers.

STATS Baseball Scoreboard
2000 edition edited by John Dewan, Don Zminda, and Jim Callis, 314 pages, $19.95 (STATS 2000)
In its 11th edition, the Baseball Scoreboard is a collection of more than 70 essays asking and answering statistical questions using the massive STATS database. There are questions on teams, offense, pitching, and defense, as well as general questions. Topics range from “Did the Reds Overwork Their Bullpen?” to “Can McGwire Beat Aaron?” An appendix includes lists of the statistics used in the essays, providing unusual information such as extra bases taken against outfielders, swings and misses by hitters, inherited runners scored against relievers, and pitches thrown by starters.

STATS Diamond Chronicles
2000 edition edited by Don Zminda, 302 pages, $19.95 (STATS 2000)
In its fourth edition, the Diamond Chronicles consists of e-mail discussions and debates among the editorial staff at STATS throughout the preceding season and off-season. The book also provides reprints of Internet columns from the 1999 season by STATS authors Don Zminda, Jim Henzler, and Matt Olkin. Commentary by Bill James is included.

STATS Major League Handbook
2000 edition by STATS, 412 pages, $19.95 (STATS 1999)
In its 11th edition, the Major League Handbook offers career batting and pitching statistics for players active during the preceding season. Defensive statistics are also provided, as well as team, league, ballpark, and managerial-tendency statistics. In addition, the Major League Handbook includes season and career estimates of runs created and component ERA, several pages of leaderboards, projections for the upcoming season, and the odds of active players reaching 3,000 hits or breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record. STATS also publishes the Minor League Handbook and the Player Projections Update.

STATS Player Profiles
2000 edition by STATS, 581 pages, $19.95 (STATS 1999)
In its eighth edition, the Player Profiles presents comprehensive situational statistics for players active during the preceding season. Season and five-year totals are provided for splits, including home and road, left and right, turf and grass, day and night, groundball and flyball, by month, by count, by batting order, and in clutch situations. Moreover, the Player Profiles includes team and league profiles and more than 120 leaderboards for various situations. STATS also publishes the Batter Versus Pitcher Match-Ups.

STATS Scouting Notebook
2000 edition edited by John Dewan, Don Zminda, and Jim Callis, 707 pages, $19.95 (STATS 2000)
In its sixth edition, the Scouting Notebook consists of team reports written by sportswriters and former scouts. The reports cover ballparks, managers, and players, including more than 400 prospects. Players are analyzed for hitting, running, and defense, while pitchers are analyzed for pitching, defense, and hitting. There are ballpark statistics, managerial-tendency statistics, situational statistics, and, for prospects, translation of minor-league statistics into major-league equivalencies. At the end of the book are leaderboards in more than 130 categories as well as predictions of which players will improve, decline, or remain the same in the upcoming season. STATS also publishes the Minor League Scouting Notebook.

USA Today Baseball Weekly Insider
2000 edition by Gary Gillette and Stuart Shea, 320 pages, $12.95 (Total Sports 2000)
In its second edition, the Baseball Weekly Insider includes general essays followed by team reports. Each team report consists of eight pages and offers a statistical breakdown, several short essays and sidebars, a best-case and worst-case scenario, an article on prospects, and an organizational depth chart. At the end of the book are player and pitcher projections for the upcoming season.

Out-of-Print Annuals


The Baseball Book
By Bill James (1990 to 1992)
The Baseball Book featured team profiles, player comments, statistics, and general essays. Each edition also contained a section of the Biographic Encyclopedia of Baseball, a project which James, along with Rob Neyer and Mike Kopf, intended to continue writing but never completed.

Bill James Baseball Abstract
By Bill James (1977 to 1988)
The Baseball Abstract introduced readers to statistical tools like runs created, game scores, power-speed number, speed scores, and offensive winning percentage. James self-published the first five volumes from 1977 to 1981. Most editions were divided into general essays, team profiles, and player comments and rankings. James did much of the writing himself, although other authors frequently contributed articles.

Bill James Player Ratings Book
By Bill James (1993 to 1995)
The Player Ratings Book was a fantasy guide featuring statistics and projections for more than 1,000 players. James graded prospects from A to D, assigned dollar values, and wrote comments on every player.

Elias Baseball Analyst
Edited by Seymour Siwoff, Steve Hirdt, Tom Hirdt, and Peter Hirdt (1985 to 1993)
A creation of the Elias Sports Bureau, the Baseball Analyst was a pioneer in situational statistics. Comments and splits, including home and road, left and right, turf and grass, groundball and flyball, by month, by count, by batting order, and in clutch situations, were included for players active during the preceding season. League and team profiles, team essays, and general essays were also provided.

Great American Baseball Stat Book
Edited by Bill James, John Dewan, Don Zminda, and Gary Gillette (1988 to 1989 and 1992 to 1994)
The Great American Baseball Stat Book offered situational and career statistics for players active during the preceding season. The statistics, particularly the situational splits, were the result of the efforts of Project Scoresheet and the Baseball Workshop. Player and team comments and general essays were also included.

Encyclopedias


Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Definitive Record of Major League Baseball
10th edition edited by Jeanine Bucek, Traci Cothran, Bill Deane, Bob Kerler, Maria Massey, Bob Tiemann, Richard Topp, and Ken Samelson, 3,026 pages, $59.95 (MacMillan 1996)
Published since 1969, the Baseball Encyclopedia offers season and career batting, pitching, and fielding statistics for every major-leaguer since 1876 in addition to annual standings, rosters, and leader boards. Also offered are team home and road statistics since 1900, a managerial register, sections on award winners and Hall of Famers, postseason results and statistics, and season and career leaderboards. In addition, the Baseball Encyclopedia features a list of all trades since 1900 and a register of Negro Leagues season and career batting and pitching statistics, as well as an appendix of changes to playing and scoring rules.

SABR Presents the Home Run Encyclopedia: The Who, What, When, and Where of Every Home Run Hit Since 1876
Edited by Bob McConnell and David Vincent, 1,310 pages, $40 (MacMillan 1996)
Compiled using the Tattersall/McConnell home run log, the Home Run Encyclopedia contains detailed season-by-season home run data for every major-leaguer and team since 1876. The data includes the number of home runs at home and away, versus left and right, with one, two, and three runners on base, inside-the-park, in extra innings, to lead off a game, as a pinch hitter, and occasions of two, three, and four home runs in a game. Also provided are the number of pitchers homered against and ballparks homered in, as well as the date and pitcher of the player’s first home run. Over 100 leaderboards, including by position, by franchise, and by ballpark, are presented.

Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball
20th edition edited by David S. Neft, Richard M. Cohen, and Michael L. Neft, 752 pages, $19.99 (Griffin 2000)
Published annually since 1974, the Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball offers season-by-season team rosters and player statistics since 1901. Accompanying each season is a synopsis of the year’s baseball news as well as postseason results and statistics. The book also provides career statistics for all 20th-century major-leaguers, lists of pennant winners, award winners, and Hall of Famers, yearly batting and pitching leaders, season and lifetime leaderboards, World Series leaders, and active career leaders.

STATS All-Time Baseball Sourcebook
Edited by Bill James, John Dewan, Neil Munro, Don Zminda, and Jim Callis, 2,696 pages, $79.95 (STATS 1998)
Part of STATS’ two-volume encyclopedia, the All-Time Baseball Sourcebook provides detailed sections on seasons, all-time leaders, franchises, the postseason, the All-Star game, awards, famous feats and games, ballparks, situational statistics, managers, the amateur draft, and umpires. The seasons section includes standings, home and away and team-vs.-team records, leaderboards, and complete rosters for every year since 1876. The all-time leaders sections features batting and pitching leaderboards by career, by season, by rookies, by decade, by age, and by span of seasons, in addition to leaders in runs created per 27 outs and fielding leaders. The franchises section has team profiles and leaderboards. Also provided are complete season and career postseason statistics, postseason leaderboards, box scores of all postseason, All-Star, and other famous games, complete Hall of Fame and award voting results, STATS retroactive awards, ballpark statistics, career situational statistics since 1984, managerial leaderboards, and career managerial tendency statistics since 1991. A revised edition of the All-Time Baseball Sourcebook is expected some time in 2000.

STATS All-Time Major League Handbook
Edited by Bill James, John Dewan, Neil Munro, and Don Zminda, 2,653 pages, $79.95 (STATS 1998)
Part of STATS’s two-volume encyclopedia, the All-Time Major League Handbook is dedicated to comprehensive season and career batting, pitching, and position-by-position fielding statistics for every major-leaguer since 1876. Runs created and component ERA estimates are included, and league averages in runs created per 27 outs, earned-run average, fielding percentage, and range factor are provided next to the player’s averages for easy comparison. Each player’s record also includes notations for All-Star appearances, and Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Gold Glove awards. A revised edition of the All-Time Major League Handbook is expected some time in 2000.

Total Baseball
Sixth Edition edited by John Thorn, Peter Palmer, Michael Gershman, and David Pietrusza with Matthew Silberman and Sean Lahman, 2,538 pages, $59.95 (Total Sports 1999)
Published since 1989, Total Baseball, the official encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, features essays and statistics chronicling the history of the game. The essays discuss the evolution of baseball, the 400 greatest players of all time, baseball abroad, the Negro Leagues, women in baseball, baseball and the Armed Forces, baseball statistics, baseball in the media, the amateur draft, baseball families, baseball collecting, ballparks, franchises, and the origins of the All-Star game, the Hall of Fame, awards, the postseason, and other subjects. Season and career batting and pitching statistics are provided for every major-leaguer since 1876, including batting runs, stolen-base runs, pitching runs, and fielding runs estimates and adjusted OPS and ERA. The season register offers standings, leaderboards, and rosters, and the all-time leaders section ranks players in more than 200 categories, including the comprehensive total player and total pitcher ratings. There are also sections on the Hall of Fame and award voting, postseason and All-Star game results and statistics, managers, coaches, umpires, owners, and executives, and ballparks. A glossary and appendices, with a collection of baseball quotes as well as a timeline of baseball firsts, are presented at the end of the book.

Other Books


Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time
By Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein, 384 pages, $17.95 (Norton 2000)
From the 1906 Cubs to the 1998 Yankees, Baseball Dynasties profiles 15 of the 20th century’s greatest teams. Each dynasty is discussed in capsule form accompanied by short essays and sidebars. Besides the dynasties in question, Neyer and Epstein briefly cover the 19th century’s greatest teams, the worst teams of all time, the best Negro league teams, and a few teams that just missed the list. Statistical tools include Pythagorean won-loss records, OPS, runs created, offensive winning percentage, total player rating, and a standard deviation approach to runs scored and runs allowed. Neyer and Epstein wrap up Baseball Dynasties with their rankings of the greatest teams and an appendix featuring the best and worst standard-deviation scores of the 20th century.

Baseball’s All-Time Best Hitters: How Statistics Can Level the Playing Field
By Michael J. Schell, 295 pages, $22.95 (Princeton 1999)
Thoroughly statistical, Baseball’s All-Time Best Hitters wades through various biases in order to determine which players are the greatest hitters for batting average in baseball history. Chapter by chapter Schell filters out the effects of decline due to age, varying offensive levels, increasing league batting talent, and ballpark. While the unadjusted list of career batting average leaders is dominated by players from the ’20s and ’30s, Schell’s adjusted list features many more players from the modern era. Schell also examines how several active players rate using his approach and provides a brief application of his methods to on-base percentage.

Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers from 1870 to Today
By Bill James, 352 pages, $30 (Scribner 1997)
Organized by decade, the Guide to Baseball Managers explains the evolution of the modern baseball manager as well as the origins and wisdom of practices and strategies that are commonplace today, such as sacrifice hits and platoons. Included among the decade snapshots are individual profiles of the best and most innovative managers of all time. James employs a point system as well as a tool to determine expected won-loss records to evaluate and rank managers. Many short essays and sidebars are included throughout the book.

Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
By Bill James, 721 pages, out of print (Villard 1986)
Actually two books in one, the first half of the Historical Baseball Abstract features a decade-by-decade history of baseball in capsule form. Several short essays and sidebars cover the sport from the 1870s to the 1980s. The second half of the book discusses the greatest players of all time and includes James’ subjective rankings by position and overall. Players are evaluated using offensive winning percentage and other statistical tools, and James writes brief comments on almost every player listed. A statistical appendix covering many of the players is included after the comments and rankings. A revised edition of the Historical Baseball Abstract is expected some time in 2000.

The Diamond Appraised
By Craig R. Wright and Tom House, 409 pages, out of print (Fireside 1989)
The combined work of a statistical analyst and a major-league pitching coach, the Diamond Appraised is a study in contrasts. Wright and House cover topics like evaluating defense, four-man rotations, and five-tool players from their differing points of view. Wright uses an array of statistics to make his points, while House offers his experience in professional baseball. Other topics of discussion include catchers’ ERA, Pete Rose and Ty Cobb, home-field advantage, the knuckleball, the All-Star game, ballpark effects, and changes to the rules to improve the game.

Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolutionary Approach to Baseball and Its Statistics
By John Thorn and Pete Palmer with David Reuther, 419 pages, out of print (Doubleday 1984)
The Hidden Game of Baseball introduces readers to Palmer’s linear weights system of player evaluation. The tools of linear weights, batting runs, stolen-base runs, pitching runs, and fielding runs, are described and demonstrated, as are other innovations such as park factors and normalized ERA and OPS. Thorn and Palmer also use statistics to address strategic topics such as sacrifice hits, stolen bases, intentional walks, batting order, and platoons. The final third of the book is dedicated to applying “The New Statistics” to every season from 1876 to 1983. The statistics are now presented in Total Baseball.

Politics of Glory: How Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works
By Bill James, 452 pages, $15 (MacMillan 1994)
The Politics of Glory is a combination institutional history of the Hall of Fame and critique of its selection processes. James examines the development of today’s Hall of Fame standards, or lack thereof. While he does not advocate the selection of particular candidates, he discusses scores of players who are the subjects of active Hall of Fame campaigns. Statistical tools such as similarly scores, the Hall of Fame monitor, and Fibonacci win points are brought to bear on the candidates, and James suggests reforms for the Hall of Fame’s selection processes. James also forecasts what active players he thinks might make it to Cooperstown.