May 2, 2004

Baseball Books

I bought a new baseball book yesterday. It's not that new, but it's revolutionary. The book is Moneyball, by Michael Lewis. If you read much about baseball on the Internet or in the paper, you may have heard of it. Basically, it talks about the Oakland A's and Billy Beane as they try to beat teams with bigger, badder budgets. To do that, it takes revolutionary ideas that don't sit well with "old baseball men." In interviews, other GMs and owners have referred to it as "Beane's book," as if he were the author. This shows their ignorance and helps explain why the A's have been running circles around bigger budgeted teams like the Rangers and their ilk. This brings my baseball library to the following:

Ball Four by Jim Bouton - the first inside look at a baseball team by one of the players who wasn't afraid to include the unsavory details
Baseball Dynasties by Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein - two really smart guys try to determine who the best teams ever were, and they use a lot of math to do it
Feeding the Green Monster by Rob Neyer - one man's diary of living four blocks from Fenway park and attending every home game
Moneyball by Michael Lewis - previously described
Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups by Rob Neyer - want to know who the best 2nd basemen in Mariner's history is? This is your book
Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame by Bill James - history, analysis, opinion...just another masterpiece by the most influential baseball writer of the past 50 years

I heartily recommend each of these books and I'll shortly be adding to my collection with The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract and the upcoming Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers.

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