Reddit mentions: The best baseball books

We found 435 Reddit comments discussing the best baseball books. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 187 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.

🎓 Reddit experts on baseball books

The comments and opinions expressed on this page are written exclusively by redditors. To provide you with the most relevant data, we sourced opinions from the most knowledgeable Reddit users based the total number of upvotes and downvotes received across comments on subreddits where baseball books are discussed. For your reference and for the sake of transparency, here are the specialists whose opinions mattered the most in our ranking.
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Top Reddit comments about Baseball:

u/barkevious2 · 30 pointsr/baseball

(1) Read, bruh. I can't vouch for it personally, but I've heard the book Watching Baseball Smarter recommended with high regard. And it's almost literally the exact thing you asked for. Here are some other good book recommendations:

  • Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Hard to believe that the book is sort of old hat at this point, but it still serves as a very readable introduction to advanced statistics.

  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James (mostly). This book is good toilet reading, if you have a massive toilet on which to perch it, and your bowel movements are glacially paced. James ranks the best players at each position, and goes on a witty, decade-by-decade jog through the history of the game.

  • The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tom Tango. Are you a "math person"? Read this book, you'll like it. It's an introduction to sabermetrics that explains the important first principles of statistical analysis, builds an important statistic (wOBA) from the ground up, and then applies all of that knowledge to answer specific questions about baseball strategies and to debunk, verify, or qualify some of baseball's hoary "conventional wisdom."

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. This book is not about baseball, but it's still great and you should read it.

    (2) You'll want to start watching the game more, if you can. Find a method (like or, you know, your television) to do so. Massive exposure does help you learn, and it's a fun, if inefficient, method. Osmosis. That's just science.

    (2b) Depending on the broadcast crew, it's sometimes addition-by-subtraction to mute the television.

    (2c) If you have Premium and intend to follow your favorite team, I recommend watching the other team's broadcast. You know enough about [TEAM X] already. Learn something new about [TEAM Y], instead. Unless, of course, (2b) applies, in which case maybe your best bet is's option to overlay the radio broadcast on the TV video. Barring that, the liberal application of the DOWN VOLUME button is always an option, and then, like, listen to Chopin's Preludes. Don't be That Guy and lean too heavily on No. 15, though. There are 23 others. Expand your horizons.

    (3) When you go to games, keep score. Sure, there's a guy a few seats over in a striped button-down and pre-faded jeans (Chad or something) who will mock you mercilessly for it. Sad for you, you've lost Chad's respect. But, oh, the things you'll gain. A free souvenir. A better grasp on the flow of the game. The priceless power to answer the "what did I miss" and "what the fuck just happened" questions that litter the air at ballgames, tragically disregarded and forgotten like the syllabi from Chad's last semester at Bromaha State. You can learn how to score ballgames here. Fuck Chad.

    (3b) Go to games alone now and then. Did I mention that, in some company, it's rightly considered rude to score a ballgame like a trainspotting anorak? Not in all company, mind you. But I like going to some games alone to avoid the messy politics of divided attention altogether.

    (4) Bookmark a few websites. Quick stat references include FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference, and Brooks Baseball. Grantland, Baseball Prospectus, Baseball America, and the Hardball Times are all good. FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference both have subscription options that allow you to access enhanced content for a small fee, which is worth it if only to support the yeoman's work that they do compiling and sorting our beloved numbers.

    (5) German chess great Emanuel Lasker is believed (incorrectly) to have said that "if you see a good move, look for a better one." Good advice. Too much of the history of baseball analysis is the history of people getting stuck in comfortable places and refusing to interrogate their own ideas about the game. Sabermetricians have made careers out of just pointing this out, and even some of them do it from time to time. Also, on the level of pure self-interest, baseball ignorance and bad teeth have this much in common: Keeping your mouth shut hides them both. If you have a good opinion about a baseball topic, look for a better one.

    (6) Watch a some decent movies about baseball. Sugar is excellent and disturbing. Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns is available on Netflix and worth watching. You drink his nostalgic Flavor-Aid at your own peril: At times, Baseball is about as edifying as having a good, 19-hour stare at a Norman Rockwell painting. It's still in a class all its own as a baseball documentary. You should also watch Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc, because it'll teach you not to take strangers on the internet seriously when they give you advice.

    (7) When you go to games, wear whatever the hell you want. This has nothing to do with understanding baseball, but it annoys me when people make a big deal out of policing the clothing that others wear to sporting events. Sitting front-row at a Yankees-Tigers game in your best Steelers jersey and a pink Houston Astros BP cap? Whatever. You be you. You be you. I once watched as a perfectly innocent college student was denied a free t-shirt from a Nats Park employee because he (the student) was wearing a Red Sox shirt with his Washington cap. That was pretty fucked.

    (8) Take the EdX Sabermetrics course. Others have recommended this, with good reason. It's a wonderful introduction to advanced analytics, and you get a taste of programming in R and MySQL as well. You don't need a CompSci background. I sure didn't.

    Hope this helped.

    Footnote: Chad-hating is actually too easy. Truth is, I've never really been mocked for scoring games. Once, I even bonded with a Chad-esque guy sitting next to me at a Braves-Nats game here in Washington. He was pretty drunk, but we talked Braves baseball while he drank and I drank and I scored the game and he drank more. He seemed utterly engaged by the scoring process in that guileless, doe-eyed way that only the drunk have mastered. That's the Chad I loved.
u/KobraCola · 3 pointsr/SFGiants

>##Why Joey Votto should bat second

>April, 30, 2013

>10:39 AM ET

>By Keith Law |

>The Los Angeles Angels have been batting Mike Trout, their best all-around hitter, second for most of this season. The Cincinnati Reds could learn a thing or two from that.

>The idea of putting your best hitter second, rather than third, is still a novel one within baseball and has yet to gain widespread acceptance, even though the evidence in favor of such an arrangement is pretty strong. Using metrics such as batting runs, estimating the runs gained or lost through changing a lineup, shifting to an optimal lineup is only worth about 10-15 runs, or just over a win, in the course of a full season. That said, the marginal gain in getting your best hitter another handful of at-bats, including extra at-bats at the end of games, makes it worth trying to capture value that otherwise would be squandered.

>The Reds are the best example this year of a team that is giving away offense by putting their worst hitter, Zack Cozart, ahead of their best hitter, Joey Votto, an example of archaic thinking that still persists within the game because that's how we've always done it.

>Same as it ever was

>Traditionally, the No. 2 hitter is supposed to be a table-setter who can put the ball in play, drop a bunt, hit behind a runner, and so on. This is all hogwash, of course: The No. 2 hitter has the same basic job as all of the other guys in the lineup -- to get his posterior to first base any way he can.

>To put it another way, his job is to avoid making an out. As an industry, we spend too much time praising players for doing "little things" -- every round of applause a player gets for grounding out and getting a guy from second to third makes me die a little inside -- and that glorification has led to this piffle about the two-hole hitter being a certain type of player, rather than just a really good hitter, period.

>Each lineup spot gets about 2.5 percent more appearances than the one after it over the course of a season, or roughly another plate appearance every 8-9 games. (That stat, and much of the information in this article, comes from the very useful "The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball," by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andrew Dolphin, which has a whole chapter examining lineup construction that goes well beyond what I'm discussing here.)

>The obvious implication is that you want to load your best hitters up at the top of the lineup, and to put your worst hitters near the bottom of it. Even flipping Cozart and Votto (not that you'd hit Cozart third, but just hypothetically) would convert about 10 outs per year into times on base, assuming 150 games played for each player and using their OBPs of the past few years.

>Of course, you don't want to put your best overall hitter, someone who gets on base but also hits for power, in the leadoff spot, because his first plate appearances come with the bases empty and the remainder will come with fewer men on base because he's hitting behind the No. 8 and 9 hitters. Tango et al, showed that historically the leadoff spot has far fewer PAs with men on base (36 percent, with no other spot below 44 percent) than any other lineup position, making it an ideal spot for a high-OBP but low-power hitter.

>For the Angels, that's not Trout, who slugged .564 last season with 30 homers and belongs in a position where he can deploy that power to knock some guys in, while also getting on base for the hitters behind him. (Sadly, the Angels don't really have a high-OBP guy for the leadoff spot; Peter Bourjos' .370 mark this season is way out of line with his career OBP of .307.)

>Conventional wisdom says you put your best overall hitter third, and to this day most teams still do just that. Tango et al, point out, again with historical data, that when you consider the plate appearances each lineup spot receives, as well as the frequency with which each lineup spot gets each base-out situation*, a team's best hitter belongs in the No. 2 spot: It comes up about 2.5 percent more often over the course of a year, and generates more value with almost every way of reaching base due to who's typically on base and with how many outs. That is, a single or a double or a walk from the No. 2 hitter is worth more in run-scoring potential than the same event from a No. 3 hitter. The numbers are all very close, but the No. 2 hitter gets those extra 15 or so plate appearances a year, and the No. 3 hitter, on average, leads off the fewest number of innings, which is another reason not to put your highest OBP guy there.

>*There are 24 base-out situations: 0, 1, or 2 outs, as well as eight configurations of runners on base from bases empty to bases loaded. These are the 24 base-out scenarios found in a run expectancy table, that tells you how many runs you can expect to score given a number of outs and a configuration of men on base. It also tells you that giving up an out via a sacrifice bunt is generally stupid.

>Free runs!

>These gains are small but real, and freely available to any team. What's a little less evident immediately from these studies -- again, I refer you to "The Book" for the data itself -- is the very real, almost binary benefit a team may get once or twice a year in the ninth inning from batting, say, Joey Votto second instead of Zack Cozart.

>According to Dan Szymborski, in nine-inning games the past 10 years, the last out was made by the No. 2 batter 11.7 percent of the time, about what you'd expect given nine lineup spots with a slight skew toward spots near the top. (A straight 1-in-9 shot would be 11.1 percent.)

>In other words, in about 19 games a year, the No. 3 hitter was left standing in the on-deck circle, forever alone. With one-run games accounting for about a quarter of each team's schedule last year -- the Reds were 31-21 in such games, so nearly a third of their games were decided by a run -- that would mean on average about five games a year where the team's best hitter doesn't get a last chance to bat. It might be only one or two such games, and it could be more than five, but the point is that there is never a game where you should be comfortable losing by a run while your best hitter stands on deck watching a clearly inferior two-hole hitter make the final out.

>And a win coming from that situation isn't a hypothetical win from 10 runs produced on aggregate over a season -- it's a binary variable, a loss turned into a win, the kind that shows up in the standings and that people who work with baseball statistics are often absurdly accused of ignoring.

>If you can get one more win a year from optimizing your lineup this way, with no downside whatsoever, shouldn't you do it? And shouldn't any manager who hits a guy with a career .283 OBP second (Cozart), ahead of a guy (Votto) with a career .417 OBP (.445 this year, .474 last year), be held accountable for that decision? Put your best hitter second, your next-best hitter fourth, your high-OBP/low-power guy first, and you get, in effect, free runs, maybe just a handful over the course of a season, but maybe that one marginal at-bat in the ninth inning turns into a very real, tangible win, the kind that teams are supposed to be pursuing anyway.

>The conventional wisdom here is wrong, and all it took was a few guys to question it and look at the data to explain to us why.

Video from the article at the bottom

Edit: I made a hypothetical Giants line-up based on this evidence, Giants players' 2013 stats, and today's line-up, just for fun:

Marco Scutaro 2B

Buster Posey C

Brandon Belt 1B

Hunter Pence RF

Brandon Crawford SS

Pablo Sandoval 3B

Gregor Blanco CF

Roger Kieschnick LF (No offense to Keesh, there's just not enough big league stats on him yet to see what he's really made of at this level)

Pitcher's spot

After staring at and thinking about this lineup for a while, I actually like it a lot. Someone text Boch, stat!

u/ReverseEngineered · 2 pointsr/learnprogramming

Programming is a tool. I suggest finding another interest that you can apply it to. Robots, graphics, music, animation, sports, economics -- the possibilities are endless. Pick your favorite area, look at what kind of problems there are in that area that people use programs to solve, figure out how those sorts of programs work, and try to solve some of those problems yourself.

A few interesting examples:

  • Project Euler has a set of challenges relating to both math and computer science that will stretch you to learn more about both.
  • Python Challenge is basically a series of puzzles that challenge you to do new and interesting things with Python. Granted, several of the puzzles are quite similar and some of the libraries they reference are deprecated, but it's a place to start for programming challenges.
  • Programming Computer Vision With Python talks all about using programs to do things like find objects in pictures and track them even at different sizes and angles. Lots of great examples.
  • Programming Collective Intelligence talks about putting together data from different sources (primarily websites) and finding patterns. It deals with many machine learning concepts in ways that are practical and interesting. Things like modelling and predicting, optimizing, clustering (finding similarities), searching and ranking, and pattern recognition.
  • Arduino Robotics describes many robots you can build with relatively common parts that can be programmed using the inexpensive, C-based Arduino microcontroller platform. I've made several of these myself.
  • Digital Signal Processing is all about writing software that takes advantage of advanced math to manipulate signals in many ways. It's invaluable for audio, but you see it used with graphics, digital communications, and many other areas.
  • There is a subset of sports fans that really enjoy statistics and software can be very valuable for them. Things like comparing players across eras, predicting future performance, and helping to find high-value players. The general field is called Sabremetrics. I looked deep into it in relation to major league baseball. Two books that I found valuable are The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball and Baseball Between the Numbers.
  • Programmable games are cool too. Things like CROBOTS, CoreWar, RoboWar, and Robot Game. It's just as fun building the simulation environment as it is building the bots that compete within them.
  • Pick up any book on algorithms. Learn to apply the basics like binary search, insertion sort, radix sort, memoization and linear programming, Dijkstra's algorithm, and Newton's method for root finding.
  • Grab another book on data structures. Make sure you understand the differences between arrays, linked lists, hash tables, and trees. Learn about unique and useful things like binary trees, radix trees, heaps, and queues.
  • Learn how to write better code. I recommend books like Code Complete and The Pragmatic Programmer.

    Whatever you do, as you clearly pointed out, you have to be interested in it or you'll grow bored and give up. Find something that is interesting to you and pursue it as wide and deep as you can.
u/guitarburst05 · 4 pointsr/buccos

Ownership is notorious about not wanting to spend money to get better. Solidly in the bottom of payroll, but without the success and innovation of a low spending team like the Tampa Bay Rays.

You've watched for a decade so you saw the glory days of 2015. A team that won 98 games. Utterly phenomenal. What did we do to bolster that roster and prepare to win again in 2016? Next to nothing.

Here's the important part of his 29/30 ranking:

>Bottom line: Bob Nutting is proof positive that it doesn’t take half a brain to make a fortune. Fact is, very few mid-market teams pack this kind of potential. Insanely passionate sports town. Great baseball tradition. Out-of-this-world ballpark.

>If the 17th-richest team owner put the 17th highest-paid team on the field, it would be a fairly consistent playoff contender and even bigger money machine. But no, they opened the 2019 season with a puny $76.1 million payroll, 27th overall per Spotrac.

>As long as this once-proud franchise is held hostage by the tight-fisted owner, it’s destined to be a chronic underachiever.

As far as coaching goes.. it gets tougher. They were present for that 2015 team, and for all the winning seasons we had around it. Searage has been considered a miracle worker in revitalizing many damaged careers like Burnett and Liriano. Hurdle has been an incredibly inspirational, and surprisingly innovative manager. Their coaching methods were even largely the subject of a book by Travis Sawchik, Big Data Baseball

The magic just can't last forever. Teams learn. Strategies change and evolve. The Pirates didn't. Searage seems to have one type of pitching he can teach and if a pitcher doesn't work in his mold, they don't succeed. Check out Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton and Tyler Glasnow thriving elsewhere as proof.

So to sum it up. All the coaching changes are much needed and may help, but they can only go as far as our stingy asshole owner will allow. One of the best sport cities in the entire NATION is shackled to one of the worst owners who doesn't give a damn about the passion we all desperately want to have for our baseball team.

u/slickhare · 3 pointsr/footballmanagergames

Well, I have barely any experience with football but Football Manager is helping me learn about the sport.

Baseball is pretty easy to pick up though. It has some pretty obscure rules that rarely come up, but the basics are easy enough to understand. I highly recommend this book, if you want a crash course. The author does a great job of mixing humor and the facts, it's certainly not an exhaustive read. After reading this you'll be pretty well acquainted. If you get into it I'd check out Men At Work by George Will after that for a an even deeper look and another great read.

The game (OOTP) itself is great because baseball lends itself to compiling heaps of stats. Almost everything a player does on the field can be recorded and analyzed and this is reflected in the game. While there is a randomness to it, the hard, statistic numbers give it some grounding. Don't let this intimidate you though, everyone has their own stats they pay attention to, you don't have to get into the really complicated stuff unless you want to.

The game can be kind of daunting if you look at all the options available. You can create your own leagues tweaking almost every aspect or just play the regular configuration.

OOTP usually has a sale during the off-season to help die-hards bide their time till the next season. You can usually pick up a copy for $20, I did it with last year's 2013 version.

u/bwadams12 · 2 pointsr/baseball

How much reading do you want to do? If you want to just get caught up on every team/player for next season in a long but fun to read book format, I'd suggest putting in your order now for this years Baseball Prospectus. It's more thorough than any sane person would ever need it to be, but I can't recommend it enough if you're looking for detail. For more current news, Fangraphs and Baseball Reference are solid for stats and info, while the various SB Nation sites have more team based stuff.

If you want more history, the Ken Burns Baseball series is on Netflix, and is a ton of fun to watch. If you're more of a reader, the Bill James Historical Abstract doubles as a nice doorstop, but has a nice, fun look at the past.

Other than that, lurk around here to catch up on big news and general public opinion, and maybe try to get yourself into a fantasy league.

Edit: Almost forgot podcasts (I love podcasts, but I'm new to baseball podcasts, so grain of salt and all). Productive Out's PRODcast is pretty fun, it's two guys from Thrice and Kowloon Walled City (if you're into music at all) basically shooting the shit. Effectively Wild is more baseball-centric, but updates more frequently. I've heard mixed reviews on the Fangraphs podcast, both rave positives and really negative, but haven't given it a listen yet myself.

u/rtyuuytr · 1 pointr/nba

You need an intermediate understanding of statistics to see why win shares are misinterpreted. The simple version is that wins are highly correlated with win shares (ie the covariance between wins and win share is not 0, even worse the covariance between win share for two players on the same team is not 0, this makes all popular interpretations of winshares largely invalid)

Here is the primer that invents/discusses win-shares from the baseball perspective: link. Bill James, a statistician for the Red Sox, is the guy who invented the concept of win shares.

Homoscedasticity is an assumption for t-test, which essentially compares two values, ie kinda analogous when you are trying to compare win shares for two players.

u/tehjarvis · 1 pointr/baseball

The first thing you should do is brush up on the rules. Baseball isn't as complicated as something like American Football, but compared to something like soccer or tennis it's pretty complex. You know those card games where you try to tell someone how it's played and they get so confused and you end up saying "Just watch us play for five minutes and you'll get it." That's about how complicated baseball is. This website looks like it's a decent introduction. Although nothing beats just sitting and watching a game.

You should absolutely subscribe to MLB.TV when the season starts. It's a bit expensive, but it's worth it. You will be able to watch every single game live, or later on if the time difference is an issue. Watch as many games as you can to figure out which team and players you like the best. And be aware that the two leagues have different rules. The National League plays pure, unadulterated baseball the way it was always intended. The American League is an abomination upon all that is holy to the game and features an old fat guy called the DH batting in lieu of the pitcher, this has tainted the game like a homeless man blasting malt-liquor fueled diarrhea on freshly fallen snow. There's a total of 2,430 games a year, so the cost is about a nickel per game...or at least that's how I justify the price to my wife every April.

For a history of the game check out the documentary series "Baseball" by Ken Burns. All of them are available on YouTube. I've seen the whole thing quite a few times, but still watch it all the way through every January or February while I'm waiting for Spring Training to start.

And if I could give one gift to every baseball fan on earth it would be the The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Think of it an a more in depth companion to Burns' documentary series. It's a MASSIVE book, but one I pick up every few months to skim through or to reference something. The first section (roughly 300 pages) covers the game, decade by decade from the 1870's through the 1990's, covering historical events, the construction and destruction of stadiums, the negro leagues, how the equipment and tactics changed etc. The second section gives bios of a ton of different players throughout history and then ranks the top 100 by position. It may not be THE book for a complete baseball novice, but its something every fan should have. It helps me get through the off season every year.

u/yellowstuff · 2 pointsr/sports

Sports writing has a long, rich tradition and it's probably worth tapping into some of the older stuff.

The New Yorker has printed some great sports writing, and this collection has articles going back almost 100 years. The most famous is John Updike's description of Ted Williams' final at bat at Fenway.

Dr. Z has some great stuff. His book "The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football", published in 1984, blends statistics and subjective insight in a way that anticipates modern sports writing. The chapter on Marion Motley is wonderful.

You've heard of Bill James. I like this abstract but he has a lot of good work.

Boxing has a long tradition of being elevated by great writing. My favorite boxing writer is AJ Liebling, some of his best work is collect in The Sweet Science.

There's a ton of great stuff out there I didn't mention. I think it would be a mistake to draw mostly from writing from the last 10 years.

u/mattwakeman · 5 pointsr/sports

Not sure if anybody has ever managed to excel at both sports but this is supposed to be a very good book: although it is as much about the cultural differences between the two sports (and therefore about America and cricket playing countries).

North California cricket association: I feel like I am turning into an internet stalker. Honestly mate, if you get the chance then give it a go. The plane that you swing the bat is totally different, the mental requirements are different. Rugby and American Football are always compared with both sides ultimately ending up saying 'ours is better...because it is'. You might be great at cricket, you probably wouldn't be (and that is ok because neither are 99.9% of the rest of the people who like the game) but I would leave off using words like 'awesome', 'easier' and 'crush' until the first time you stand there at the crease with somebody running in who is happy to either hit the wicket or you with a ball that can break your ribs.

u/Bawfuls · 8 pointsr/Dodgers

Depends how much effort you want to put into it.

For general baseball knowledge and history:

  • Watch all of Ken Burns Baseball (its all on Youtube).
  • Read Moneyball for an understanding of how modern analytics revolutionized the game and upended the status quo. (Some people are still fighting this fight, but among MLB front offices the nerds have already "won" basically).
  • Read Baseball Between the Numbers for a good primer on modern analysis (though there has been more progress since that book came out of course)

    For Dodgers specific history:

  • Watch the ESPN 30 for 30 on Valenzuela (Fernando Nation).
  • Read Jon Weisman's book about the Dodgers for a great overview of team history.
  • Read Molly Knight's book for a good narrative look at the current team and ownership group. This is great context for understanding how we got to where we are now.

    For current news and analysis:

  • Dodgers Digest is a great blog for level-headed, intelligent Dodgers analysis. The writers there know what they are talking about and aren't overly reactionary, as a general rule.
  • True Blue LA, the Dodgers SB Nation blog, is run by Eric Stephen who is the most diligent Dodgers beat writer today. In the off season for example, he's writing a season review for every player who appeared for the Dodgers in 2015.
u/LinuxLinus · 89 pointsr/AskHistorians

Finally, I get to participate!

The best source for information on this is Mike Sowell's book The Pitch that Killed, which covers both the context of Chapman's death and the pennant race of 1920. Statistical information is generally taken from

Baseball was in a transitional period already when Chapman died. The game, which had been nominally professional since 1867 and truly professional a few years after that, had only recently consolidated around the National and American Leagues as the true, major leagues. The game had been dominated by pitchers for much of its 20th century history; huge bats, fast players, improving fielding technology, and a variety of other factors had combined to pull down what had been very high scores in the 19th century. The game had been growing rapidly in popularity for a couple of decades, and was seen as a fast-paced, rowdy alternative to other, more gentlemanly pursuits such as cricket.

But in 1920, baseball was undergoing a true, existential crisis unlike any that it has seen since. Though emblematized in the Black Sox scandal of 1919, which was unfolding through the 1920 season, gambling had become a plague on the game, as many players openly took bribes and few were punished for it -- Hal Chase, who was about as big a star as baseball had in the 1910s, was famous for it, and may have been a go-between for Arnold Rothstein and the Black Sox conspirators, and he wasn't alone in doing this sort of thing.

Though star players were well-paid (Ty Cobb made $20,000 in 1919, or about $275,000 in today's dollars), most players in this period were working class guys who went home and worked in the offseason. For many men, including most of the Black Sox, the hint of real riches that came from game-fixing and side-betting was more than just greed: it could materially change their financial situation, and all for a modicum of effort (though a fair amount of risk). With its credibility shot and its finances vastly more precarious than they are today, MLB faced ruin.

Meanwhile, the way the game was played was being revolutionized by Babe Ruth. I won't wax too poetic about Ruth, but it's important to understand some bullet points about him, because what happened after Chapman plays into how Ruth changed the game:

  1. It's not just that Ruth had those seasons in which he was hitting as many home runs as the rest of the league combined; to some degree, it was almost inevitable that someone would start swinging for the fences and discover that it worked. It's that Ruth's descendants and contemporaries explored the area near, and under, his records, but almost never surpassed them.

  2. The way Ruth played the game was not only incredibly successful, but it was hugely profitable. Why do the Yankees have the highest payroll in baseball, while the Giants play in San Francisco? The Giants had been a vastly more successful and profitable team to that point -- but Ruth revolutionized the game, and along the way, revolutionized the Yankees' finances.

  3. For more than 40 years after Ruth's advent, baseball was played in a slow, station-to-station manner that emphasized home runs, a state of affairs that did not begin to change until massive integration and westward expansion changed the environment in the 1960s.

    Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, Chapman, Mays, and the pitch that killed. Mays was Ruth's teammate, a submariner, the Yankees' ace, and not a popular man within the game. He was a hard man, a bit of a loner, and he threw pitches that took full advantage of batters' fears of being hit to get his outs. This was in the days before night baseball, remember, and one of the jobs of a pitcher was to dirty up a ball, using dirt, spit, tobacco, shoe black, and any number of other things that might obscure the ball; too, umpires were not nearly so quick to replace balls, and so, as the game wore on, the ball came to take on a gray-brown color, and was often misshapen and prone to flying in unpredictable ways when pitched or hit. Mays, as a right-handed submariner, used this (and was not alone in using this) as a way of disguising his pitches and keeping batters off guard: especially in early- and late-season games, later innings were often played in semi-crepuscular conditions, meaning that any batter digging in against Mays and his brown ball was literally gambling his life on his ability to pick a speck of brown out of the darkling skies.

    Now, is this actually why Chapman was hit? It was the middle innings of an August game in New York, a game that only lasted a couple of hours and would have been started in mid-afternoon -- in other words, probably not, at least the weather conditions part of it. But Mays was famous for dirtying the balls, and it's probably true that a brown ball would be harder to see in almost any conditions than a shiny white one. And a lot of people assumed it was. The death of Chapman, coming at the same time as the Black Sox scandal, put a real fright into people. It contributed to the culture of reform that brought forth increasing professionalism, the hiring of a commissioner (the vastly overrated Kenesaw Mountain Landis), and similar things.

    The main thing that happened to the culture of the game is that the practice of scuffing the ball became much less common, as rules that were already on the books started to be enforced. Also, though it's hard to find hard data on the matter, umpires were instructed to constantly cycle in new, white balls, so even those that were doctored never became brown and flat. These two changes, along with Ruth's teaching the world to play baseball, fed into the game changing massively -- the game changing, basically, into what it is now.

    Mays was left bitter after the incident, if later interviews he gave were any indication. He'd always been a rough-and-tumble pitcher with a reputation for throwing at people, including a notorious incident with Ty Cobb several years earlier. He felt he became a pariah within the game, though he'd never been popular, and there is evidence to contradict him (a substantial raise over the offseason, for instance). Some were shocked that he, unlike some Yankees teammates, never went to Chapman's assistance; he also pitched several more innings that day. It's true that, despite a fairly illustrious career that continued for several more years, he received only passing support for the Hall of Fame -- though he, like Chance and the Black Sox, was dogged by gambling rumors that he denied but couldn't shake.

    Were guys scared of Mays? Well, yeah. But they'd always been scared of him. It was how he got outs. Baseball was a tough man's game in those days, and though I'm sure it gave guys pause, there wasn't a wave of people refusing to play when Mays pitched. I can't imagine there were a lot of illusions about what was possible when playing baseball for those guys. Chapman wasn't the first guy to get beaned. He was just the first one (that we know of) who died.

    Interestingly, the Indians -- who won on the day Chapman was hit -- would overtake the Yankees in September to win the pennant even without their star shortstop, and eventually beat Brooklyn in the World Series. (Chapman was a good hitter and known to be a good fielder, though there's no statistical data to give us any accurate reading on the latter statement.) This may have been because the man who took over for Chapman was a 21-year-old former football star named Joe Sewell, who would end up in the Hall of Fame himself eventually.

    EDIT: Additional sources: The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract,

    FURTHER EDIT: I noticed two minor errors in rereading this. They are:

  4. Though there were rules about ball conditions that were generally not enforced, I left a clause off that sentence -- after the Chapman incident, and almost directly as a result of it, the spitball per se was disallowed, with a small list of pitchers grandfathered in. Mays was not on that list, but still had his best season in 1921.

  5. The 1920 pennant race was tight straight through, but I implied that the Indians were behind the Yankees in the standings on 16 August, the day Chapman was hit. They were, in fact, tied with the White Sox, half a game ahead of New York, on that date. Both the Indians and Yankees fell behind Chicago after the Chapman game, and Cleveland would be behind New York and Chicago both as late as 30 August.
u/BaltimoreBirdGuy · 4 pointsr/orioles

If you can, watch the local broadcasts or listen to the radio broadcasts. You will eget a lot of random stories.

As for learning, the best if you just listen to stories from old O's fans. I'm sure your grandma would love to share. Also, wiki is probably a good start. I'd recommend starting with just searchign wiki and reading about people:

Cal Ripken
EArl Weaver
Rick Dempsey
Brooks Robinson
Jim PAlmer
Frank Robinson
Eddie Murray

There are obviously tons of others to look up but those would be a good start beyond just current players.

Also, a quick amazon search yielded this:

I have no idea if it's good or not but it could be worth checking out.

And welcome! Go O's!!!!

We'd welcome you as a ravens fan too if you ever get fed up with the Eagles =D

u/dylan89 · 3 pointsr/Torontobluejays

First off, sorry for the very tardy reply.

Bill James created the formula for comparing players. To quote the product description from its page, "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."

According to what I've been told a good portion of the 729 pages of the book is the formula. (Yikes!)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I tried to reverse engineered the formula, as actual Win Shares are hard to find online. The Hardball Times have the stats from 2004 to 2008, here.

My formula proved to be pretty accurate compared to the real Win Shares, (after checking, better than my original post let on. Correlations of 0.964454241 for batting and 0.975917803 for pitching).

As well, when comparing batters with pitchers I made a simple adjustment where a score of 1 represents an average batter or pitcher. (WinShares+)

You asked about Blue Jays, here are my WinShares+ for our 2011 Blue Jays:

Jose Bautista 4.452374202
Yunel Escobar 2.216505966
Adam Lind 1.886325449
Ricky Romero 1.256942346
Eric Thames 0.962502621
Carlos Villanueva 0.91155779
Brandon Morrow 0.771125554
Jose Molina 0.73926944
Edwin Encarnacion 0.733394727
Corey Patterson 0.724255056
J.P. Arencibia 0.723165948
Rajai Davis 0.620873494
Juan Rivera 0.596676048
Travis Snider 0.592509269
Jason Frasor 0.493483763
Jon Rauch 0.475365161
Marc Rzepczynski 0.449524589
Aaron Hill 0.412014019
Casey Janssen 0.388963643
Luis Perez 0.324981719
Mike McCoy 0.316367653
Brett Cecil 0.30566225
Octavio Dotel 0.292764748
Jesse Litsch 0.275750902
Jo-Jo Reyes 0.247845682
Shawn Camp 0.209237456
Kyle Drabek 0.201235745
Frank Francisco 0.182529487
John McDonald 0.157193379
David Cooper 0.056151869
Zach Stewart 0.052773517
Jayson Nix 0.034588224
Mike McCoy (P) -0.003304916
Scott Richmond -0.021442667
David Purcey -0.041792814
Chris Woodward -0.045259959

Edited: Formatting.

u/puck_puck · 10 pointsr/baseball
  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract This book will give you a great overview of the game from 1870 to 1999. Breaks the game down by decades and what the game was like and how it changed. Also ranks the top 100 players at each position. Really anything by James is an entertaining read, but this is the must have for baseball conversation.
  • Baseball Prospectus - Baseball Between the Numbers A good introductory course into the newer sabrmetrics. It will answer many questions in depth about what was going on as far as player evaluation in Moneyball.
  • Tom Tango - The Book Much more advanced sabrmetrics but very current and groundbreaking. The author started on the internet, and last offseason secured a job working for the Seattle Mariners.

    The next three are to give you a better view of the game from the players/owners perspective.

  • Veeck as in Wreck Bill Veeck was one hell of a guy. His father was president of the Cubs in the 30's, and Bill would go on to own his fair share of teams. Always an individual, he stood against the baseball ownership cabal on many occasions. Spent the last years of his life watching the Cubs from the center field bleachers. His autobiography is humorous and insightful. A must read for any baseball fan.
  • Buck O'Neil - I was Right on Time Called the soul of negro league baseball, Buck O'Neil recounts his playing days in the negro leagues, and covers many of the legends in a very matter of fact way.
  • Jim Bouton - Ball Four Last but not least is former Yankee star, now washed up knuckleballer Jim Bouton recalling the inaugural season of the short lived Seattle Pilots. Baseball players in all their vulgar glory. Also will teach you the fine art of "shooting beaver".
u/NotWithThatAttitude · 5 pointsr/baseball

Of those two I'd personally go with the Mets. Since you're just coming into baseball it would seem a little bandwagoner-ish to start rooting for the Yankees. No doubt the Yankees are a good team, but when a good percentage of their fans are already bandwagoners, I feel like you'd get a skewed perspective of baseball going to those games.

Also check out the Brooklyn Cyclones. They're the minor league affiliate of the Mets. The games are super cheap and the stadium is pretty nice. Start chatting up people in the seats next to you. You'll usually find someone who loves talking ball.

There's also a book called Watching Baseball Smarter. It's a good intro into the game.

u/Keith_Jackson_Fumble · 2 pointsr/baseball

Bill James is considered the grandfather of baseball analytics and just retired from his gig working for the Red Sox after 17 years. His book, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is a great starting point in your journey because it really does a nice job of melding the historical with the analytical. Certainly, his seminal work isn't as math-focused or cutting-edge as a lot of the newer stuff involving things like spin rates and launch angles. But as a resource, it lends context to the development of sabermetrics and gives insight into the thinking involved.He also produces the Bill James Handbook prior to each season. He's written a number of other great books regarding baseball, all with an analytics bent.

His writing is lively and opinionated. A few years ago he took issue with Wins Above Replacement (WAR) as the one-stop arbiter of player value. He believed that that just like his win-shares system, there is folly in believing that any stat is truly capable of painting the entire picture of a player's contribution. This elicited quite a bit of discussion among statheads, including a reasoned response from Dave Cameron of Fangraphs.

He also maintains a website with free and paid content,

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/baseball

I haven't read any of these, but a look at a university library catalogue shows me these titles, some look pretty interesting!

u/justec1 · 1 pointr/todayilearned

I read The Catcher Was a Spy probably 20 years ago. It's mildly interesting in recollecting Moe Berg's life, but it reads more like someone's idea of what their life may have been like, than what it actually was.

If you want some interesting baseball books, I'd suggest October 1964 by David Halberstam, The Boys of Summer (classic) by Roger Kahn, or Great and Glorious Game by Bart Giamatti. The last one includes an essay entitled "The Green Fields of the Mind" that is probably one of the most beautiful pieces written about the game.

u/kdamp · 3 pointsr/baseball

All due respect to Curt Flood, who's been mentioned here and who I believe to be one of the most inspirational people to ever exist in the sport, but if one man is responsible for the end of the reserve clause it was Marvin Miller.

If you're looking for a first person source, he wrote a book on this called A Whole Different Ballgame: The Inside Story of the Baseball Revolution.

It's an interesting and very entertaining read (though he does tend to repeat a few stories throughout the book). I'd imagine that you can find it in your local library. I would recommend it not just to you, but to anyone who has an interest in baseball history, particularly in the area of labor relations and free agency.

Marvin Miller is probably in the top 5 in terms of people who've had an effect on the game of baseball, and it's a travesty that he's been barred from the Hall of Fame by those who are still bitter about free agency.

u/Fetterov · 2 pointsr/Reds

It does, but it isn't really significant. In Baseball Between the Numbers, James Click talks about running a series of simulations where "Changing a lineup from the industry standard to our ideal model [one where players are set in the lineup in descending order by their OBP] typically nets at most 10 runs over a whole season, or about 1 win. This small range of available improvement means that minor changes to the lineup for brief periods of time have virtually no discernible effect on run scoring." (from Chapter 1-3) He says earlier in the chapter that using a simulation where the pitcher bats leadoff and the best players are at the bottom of the order only yielded a 26-run difference over the course of a full season.

So while it's frustrating to see a replacement level hitter like Cesar Izturis hit second, in the end it isn't going to make a huge difference in producing runs. I just wish my favorite team's manager didn't do stuff like this that is flat-out nonsensical.

u/flagamuffin · 3 pointsr/Cardinals

best way to learn about things is to read about them; luckily baseball is easy to read about because it's amazing

can vouch for all of those. also if you're a new fan of baseball, you should read baseball books in general because the history of the sport is incredibly rich. feel free to ask

u/thekmanpwnudwn · 1 pointr/baseball

Here's an album from a game I scored a couple years ago

First thing you'll want to do is familiarize yourself with everyones position. 1-pitcher, 2-catcher, 3-1st base, 4-2nd base, 5-3rd base, 6-short stop, 7-left field, 8-center field, 9-right field.

After a ball is put in play, you'll mark in order of who touched it. If it was a ground out to shortstop, it'll be a 6-3.

If someone got on base, draw a line on the basepath to where they got. (optionally, put a little tick to signify thats the base the ended on. E.g., if its a double put a tick on 2nd base. if they single, then advanced to 3rd on another hit, put ticks on 1st and 3rd base.) If a player was forced out, I draw a line halfway towards the base they were forced out on, then draw a perpendicular line to signify they never made it there.

I'll also signify how they advanced to that base. On this scorecard I signified the play that advanced them (E.g., 4-3) but now I put the player number who advanced them.

When there's a pitching change, I draw a squiggle line above the first batter he faces. On this old scoresheet, I only did that if the change happened in the middle of the inning. You can see an example on the Mariners scoresheet towards the end of the 4th inning (after they batted around and brought Jones out for a 2nd plate appearance that inning. )

If there's a change in whos hitting (pinch hitter, new pitcher) I'll draw a squiggle line to the left of that box. You can see this happened twice in the 7th inning for the Mariners with Gillespie replacing Chavez, and Romero replacing Ackley.

This is how I do it, you may come up with your own styles or freehand. Joy of Keeping Score is a pretty decent book that discuses the history and art of keeping score. As everyones is sure to be different, I'm sure more people can post and indicate how they keep score differently than me. The best thing to realize is that there isn't a 'correct' way to do it, just a lot of suggestions on how others have done it.

u/Poet_of_Legends · 2 pointsr/videos

I am a pretty big fan of the analysts on MLB TV. I have no idea if you have access to it, but they are great.

As far as a strategy guide, I really have no idea. I mean, there must be one (or a thousand), but I have never heard of it. (For instance, I would have no problems recommending The Art of War by Sun Tsu, if you asked about tactics and strategy in battle... I can't think of a baseball book like that. It might be because strategy and tactics in a baseball game are so fluid, even pitch to pitch, not to mention season to season.)

I can recommend the Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James. He is one of the statistician guys that started the "Money Ball" school of thought, and the Abstract is a great read. Large and LARGE, but great.

And, of course, watch the games. If you are in the Los Angeles area, the Dodgers broadcasts with Vin Scully are nothing short of the best, ever.

u/GarageCat08 · 2 pointsr/Cardinals

Of course! If you're interested in this sort of thing, I really recommend checking out The Book that I keep referencing. The author used to work for the Mariners, and has recently been working for the Cubs quite a bit as a statistical analyst. He also has a pretty interesting blog.

It has a bunch of analysis on stuff like this, and it's made me think about different aspects of the sport differently. I base a lot of my baseball comments on it now as well. I'm just finishing the last few chapters of it right now, and I love it

u/triple_dee · 2 pointsr/Dodgers

Moneyball helped me enter the world, but actually reading fangraphs has been really good. There's a glossary that's pretty good whenever I see someone commenting on some stat I don't know about.

I'm reading The Book. It's a bit less prose and a bit research essay-feeling, but it's interesting. It does get mentioned kind of often when people start asking about advanced stats.

u/NoBrakes58 · 1 pointr/baseball

Here's some recommended reading:

  • The Book - That's literally the name of the book. It's full of one-off chapters covering a variety of topics.
  • Baseball Between the Numbers - This one is also a bunch of one-off type stuff
  • Moneyball - Talks about how the 2002 Oakland A's capitalized on some offensive statistics that were being recorded but not heavily utilized to determine player values, and thus built a playoff team from undervalued hitters
  • Big Data Baseball - Talks about the 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates and their use of big data strategies to find defensive value where other teams didn't (primarily in pitch framing, ground-ball pitching, defensive range, and shifting)

    The first two of those are heavily focused on the numbers and will probably teach you more about the whys and hows, while the second two are more about the narrative but still give you some insight into hard numbers.

    Also, I'd recommend just joining SABR. It's $60/year for most people, but if you're under 30 it drops down to $45/year. There are a lot of local chapters out there that have regular meetings. For example, the Twin Cities have the Halsey Hall chapter. There's a book club meeting on Saturday (to talk about Big Data Baseball), a hot stove breakfast in a few weeks (informal meeting to just hang out and talk baseball), a regular chapter meeting in April for people to actually present research, and the chapter occasionally has organized outings to minor league games.

    SABR also has a national conference and a specific national analytics conference, as well. Membership also includes a subscription to Baseball Research Journal, which comes out twice per year and contains a lot of really good stuff that members have been written both from a statistics and a history standpoint.
u/skagbhoy · 1 pointr/baseball

I'd suggest reading Watching baseball smarter by Zack Hample. It helped me tremendously when I first got into the game. Zack's even on here somewhere.

As for a team, I'd suggest watching a few games first. ESPN America will usually have one or two games a day, and there's the free game of the day on if you're not ready to make the commitment to (which is actually great value, by the way).

As mentioned, Ken Burns' Baseball is great, and it's shown a few times per year on PBS if you've got Sky. You should be able to find it easy enough online, however.

And if you want to chat to other fans in the UK & Ireland, head over to

u/fostermatt · 7 pointsr/Dodgers

/u/LeeroyJenkins- has a good start in his post.

I would add Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn and Pull up a Chair The Vin Scully Story.
Not Dodger specific but Watching Baseball Smarter is also very good. It will help you appreciate the game you watch that much more.

The Baseball documentary by Ken Burns (as mentioned by /u/LeeroyJenkins-) is a must watch. It is long, around 20 hours including the 10th inning follow up, but it is well worth it. Available streaming on Amazon and Netflix.

u/IAmGrum · 3 pointsr/Torontobluejays

In Bill James' New Historical Baseball Abstract, he talks about being part of George Bell's arbitration team one off-season. One of the things he did was compile a list of all the errors that George Bell made the previous season and show that NONE of them actually accounted for a run in a game the Jays lost that year.

This could very well be one of them.

Side note: If you haven't had a chance to read that book, I HIGHLY recommend it. It's VERY out of date now (it came out in 2001), and his "Win Shares" method of determine player value has been picked apart (and replaced by WAR), but it is probably the single best book ever written for learning about the history of baseball and the players. He has entries for the top 100 players at each position, and lengthy stories/explanations about every decade of baseball. One of my favourite from the 1980s section:

> Most Aggressive Baserunner: Alfredo Griffin

> One thing I have always wanted to do was to document Alfredo's baserunning exploits. He really was phenomenal. I personally saw him score from second on a ground ball to second, scoring the lead run in the top of the ninth. I have heard about Alfredo doing things like going first-to-third on infield outs, moving second to third on a pop up to short, scoring on a pop out to the catcher, and taking second after grounding into a forceout. Alfredo figured that if you left the base ahead of him unguarded, it was his. Somebody ought to make a documented list of those basepath heroics, with dates and specifics, before it gets away from us.

u/Distance_Runner · 3 pointsr/baseball

I'll be going to graduate school in Statistics, so as an avid baseball fan, I'm also fascinated with Sabermetrics.

Here are some books I recommend

For a good first book, I recommend either Beyond Batting Average or Understanding Sabermetrics: An Introduction to the Science of Baseball Statistics or Baseball Between the Numbers.... All of those books provide good introductions to the subject

My favorite book would have to be, The Book: Playing Percentages in Baseball. Compared to the first three I mentioned, this book is a bit more complex, but I think it's the best because it's the most thorough.

u/Phildopip · 4 pointsr/baseball

If you're looking into the more advanced stats I'd recommend the following:

A good place to get started is the Fangraphs resource pages. Just follow the tabs below the search bar/"follow us" section of the page. For my money, Fangraphs offers the most complete and well-rounded advanced stats out there and they don't use black box proprietary stats like Baseball Prospectus.

If you want to dive in a little more deeply, "The Book" by Tom Tango lays things out really well.

"Baseball Between the Numbers" by Jonah Keri is a solid read too.

Have fun getting started!

u/ZubiZone · 1 pointr/TexasRangers

I'm just finishing up the book, Where nobody knows your name by John Feinstein absolutely loved it. It helped teach me a lot about the unspoken in baseball, and I really hope your book becomes available on Amazon so I can read it!

Best of luck to you on the book!

u/thedailynathan · 4 pointsr/baseball

I've got a feeling you may already know of this, but I would highly recommend "The Book" to you, maybe check it out the from the library or something:

It's a statistical look at baseball and specifically focuses on quantifying the value of a lot of these ideas - e.g. how much benefit do you get from batting the pitcher 8th vs 9th (to give you an "extra" leadoff hitter), or something similar to your idea, a 6 or 7 man rotation where the 4th and 5th starter positions are actually a committee of relievers working ~3 inning "starts". Like you already know, it's an idea that really has legs because oftentimes non-elite starting pitchers are actually decent on their first go, but get bombed the 2nd and 3rd times through the batting order after the hitters have gotten a look or two on them.

u/shantm79 · 2 pointsr/sports

check out

Baseball Between the Numbers is good:

Bill James Historical Abstract is an awesome read. Ranks players throughout history, by position. Needs updating, but still a great read

Also, is a good, up and coming site as well.

u/extra_less · 1 pointr/Brewers

I think Doug does an awesome job given his limited resources. He doesn't have a lot of wiggle room so when he makes a mistake, its magnified.

Did you know that over the last 10 years, the Brewers have 2nd best record in the central, and the 5th best record in the NL

The 2015 Baseball Prospectus ($18 cheap) had a great article on the Brewers and DM and worth checking out.

u/offstage4 · 1 pointr/CHICubs

I believe the more you know about a sport the more you can enjoy it. Once you understand the very basics I want to suggest the book Watching baseball Smarter.

It's a real easy read, but will inform you of some of the more nuanced aspects of the game.

Also the Cubs should be a good follow for the next 5-10 years. Our front office has done a good job of finding future talent.

u/billjitsu · 2 pointsr/baseball

I like your approach but "comprehensive" may be difficult. The game is old and a lot's happened. That being said, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is excellent. From there, you may want to read up on certain teams/players that you're interested in. Welcome to baseball.

u/dmmdoublem · 2 pointsr/baseball

If you really enjoyed Moneyball, then The Only Rule Is It Has To Work might be up your alley. In it, two basebal writers run an independent league team, The San Rafael Pacifics, entirely on saebermetrics.

Where Nobody Knows Your Name is a great read about life in the minor leagues.

Smithsonian Baseball is another good choice.

If you don't mind books being team specific, I'd also recommend looking onto Finley Ball, Aces, Holy Toledo! and any of the Brian Murphy/Brad Mangin Giants books (incredible photography in those).

u/Scoonz · 3 pointsr/buccos

Hi! And welcome!

If you're still serious and I'm not sure if works this way let me know come season time if you want to share my account. It's a service that lets you watch any out of market team. I'm not sure if it works in the UK though.

If you're serious about getting into baseball try this book

My very very very good friend Zack wrote this book. He lives in NYC and if you have any questions about his books he will get back to you via email. I'm in NYC right now and we just got lunch this week, how strange.

It's not TERRIBLY different from cricket. I think if I had to find a comparable sport, it would be cricket for sure.

u/talkdream · 3 pointsr/baseball

I was also a casual fan back in East Asia and then really got into the sports after moving to the US. The book that helped at the start is Watching Baseball Smarter. It has a bit of everything: history, rules, conventions, statistics, fun facts, etc. Many of the things are US/MLB-specific which you might find helpful coming from a different part of the world.

If you also have a more analytical mindset I also recommend checking out the books on modern trends of managing/developing teams and players in the past 20 years or so, along the line of Moneyball, Big Data Baseball, and The MVP Machine

u/contextplz · 1 pointr/baseball

He catches some flak here for his ball-hawking antics, but Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter is a pretty good read.

Plenty of history trivia and stories, lots of the little things that's easily consumable, maaaaaaybe for a 10 year old as well.

u/mega_shit · 0 pointsr/Mariners

> sorry but best hitter in the #4 slot is a filthy lie fed to us by cotchety old baseball managers who talk about grit and sac bunt way too often

The Book says your best hitter goes in #2 or #4 spot:

u/PolyVinylCracker · 3 pointsr/baseball

Three of my favorites:

The Joy of Keeping Score -

The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics -

Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball -

u/Oakroscoe · 2 pointsr/OaklandAthletics

You can't really fault LaRussa for leaving the A's. Render that Mr Haas died in 1995 and his family sold the team to Schott and Hoffman. No one knew what was going to happen, but it was clear the new owners weren't trying to win now. After Haas died those were some rough years for us until the early 2000's. I've always respected LaRussa and one of my prized possessions is a baseball that my grandfather got autographed by him and gave to me back in the late 80s. By all accounts LaRussa is a stand up guy and his ARF does a lot of good for animals.

Also, one of the better books I've read is 3 Nights in August about a Cubs/Cards series.

Needless to say, I really want this bobblehead.

u/WoollyMuffler · 5 pointsr/hockey

I've been watching for decades, and I feel the same way - I couldn't tell you in words what things like backchecking or a power forward are, but I kinda think I'd probably know it to see it.

I would really love to find a book like Watching Baseball Smarter, but for hockey.

u/dwhite21787 · 4 pointsr/orioles

I own a few of these, read all but "Tales", and they're pretty good.

Orioles Encyclopedia

Baseball in Baltimore - photos

Pitching, defense and 3-run Homers - 1970 O's

The Earl of Baltimore

Baseball in Baltimore - 100 years

History of a Colorful Team - St. Louis & Baltimore

Four Decades of Magic

Tales from the Dugout

We should start a group on LibraryThing... edit: done.

u/Notoriouscmb34 · 1 pointr/barstoolsports

Read this book over the summer. Was an easy read and pretty interesting. Details multiple accounts of what life in the minor leagues is like for rookies, veterans, umpires and broadcasters.

u/SYNCthatAUDIOkevin · 1 pointr/SFGiants

"Hey Boch"


"Let's say there's a runner on third"


"And you have Buster Posey up at the plate"


"Would you rather have Posey try to get a hit or try to produce an out"

"well, i would rather take the hit"

"Wait, really?

"yeah. we only have twenty-seven outs in a game, so each one is precious. a hitter should ALWAYS be trying to get on base"

"Yeah, but in this situation there's a runner at third"

"and? a hitter should NEVER be trying to get himself put out"

Also, I've only seen Moneyball once and thought it was a pretty mediocre movie. They got rid of the actual baseball analysis (that definitely would have bored most people) and added a ridiculous conflict between Art Howe and Billy Beane that never existed.

Look, dude, I get it: hearing that the VAST majority of people in the field are realizing that your way of thinking is wrong is a SCARY thought; you've believed something to be true most of your life and all of a sudden other people are telling you with OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS that you are OBJECTIVELY WRONG. The good news is that it's not too late for you to open yourself up to the GOOD NEWS. Do yourself a favor: pick up this book

give it an honest chance (it's well-written on top of being informative) and open yourself up to the idea that people like Andrew Friedman (who turned the Rays into a perennial cellar dweller to contenders) and Theo Epstein (literally ended the two longest droughts in MLB history) know what the fuck they're talking about.

u/AJE10 · 5 pointsr/baseball

Big Data Baseball is a pretty interesting read about the Pirates making the playoffs in 2013 ending their 20 year drought. If you are into advanced stats and the data side of baseball its a fun read.

u/Justinw303 · 3 pointsr/baseball

Honestly, this has got to be my favorite, because I'm a huge stathead. Moneyball is also a good one.

u/raid18 · 1 pointr/sports

Check out Baseball Between the Numbers. Outstanding look at statistics in baseball and how they are often misused. One of my favorite chapters was about how Pete Incaviglia was more valuable running the bases than Rickey Henderson during his 130 steal season. Really interesting stuff throughout the book.

u/Dent18 · 2 pointsr/baseball

A Great and Glorious Game

A book full of incredible prose by an old commissioner and president of Yale, talking about how lovely baseball is. Makes me cry every time.

u/jamesEkrueger · 1 pointr/baseball

Yep! If you do end up reading it I hope you enjoy it. It's such a fascinating work

u/Billy_Fish · 3 pointsr/baseball

You may be interested in reading Baseball Without Borders, it deals with the way baseball is played and conceived in a number of countries around the world. If you are looking to compare and contrast a country's "league" with that of Major League Baseball the only real choice is Japan - and even that is difficult. (And this is only because the Caribbean countries, and South America, don't really have leagues of the same standard.) The classic You Gotta Have Wa covers things pretty well when it comes to NPB. More than just a listing of the numerical differences like stats and stadium sizes, it delves into the whole mind frame and how the sport is based on an entirely different perspective of the "team" mentality.

u/aredoubles · 3 pointsr/baseball

Baseball Between the Numbers is a good book to get started with. Easy to read, starts from first principles and builds on, etc.
There are other sabermetrics books out there (The Book, etc.), but I found BBtN to be the best intro.

u/pnwsoutherner · 2 pointsr/MLBTheShow

Newcomer thread has some good stuff in it.

To understand the game in general, keep an eye on /r/baseball and/or pick up a book like Watching Baseball Smarter.

Also listen to the broadcasters for situational stuff. Once I was on 1B with 1 out and the batter had a 3-2 count. The announcer said something like, "Do you send the runner here to avoid the double play?" Good idea! See ya, 1B!

u/KegZona · 4 pointsr/SFGiants

Yeah definitely a classic. Just to clarify I'm definitely not saying that clutch is a real or important thing, as it has never been statistically proven so. However, the biggest finding in most of these studies (the one I'm thinking of is unfortunately not available online) is the correlationship between performing well in high leverage situations and patience at the plate. So to reiterate, it's not that I think Belt is clutch as much as I think that a player with Belt's approach should continue to do well in high leverage situations.

u/RebelNutt18 · 1 pointr/BaseballClubs

I submitted Baseball Between the Numbers. Its a great sabermetrical read. Has some great stats and comparisons. It is a bit longer, 300 pages or so.

Question: Is it okay if I miss a few of the books? I'm not sure if I will be able to get all the books in time to read them.

u/adamadamadam · 1 pointr/baseball

For those interested, The Book that dbeeaitch referenced is top notch. Even if you're not great at math, the authors do a pretty good job of explaining the "take-home" value of the statistics, e.g. if you've got a good OPS but tend to hit in a lot of double plays, you should bat first.

u/immoralminority · 2 pointsr/Sabermetrics

I strongly endorse The Book from Tom. It's a really great read.

u/cdskip · 11 pointsr/baseball

Reminds me of a play involving Willie Mays and the Giants, as described by Bill James in his Historical Abstract which, by the way should really be required reading for anyone who loves baseball, even if you aren't a major stat guy, just for stories like this.

> This actually happened, July 11, 1963, in Philadelphia, go check the newspapers if you don't believe me. Willie Mays draws a walk leading off the second inning. He has second base stolen standing up, but Orlando Cepeda fouls off the pitch. Second pitch, Mays has second base stolen again, Cepeda fouls off the pitch again, strike two. There's a pitchout and a ball outside; the count reaches two-two, and Mays takes off for second again. Once more, Cepeda fouls the ball off.

> Finally, fourth try, Mays goes for second and Cepeda squibs the ball off the end of his bat to the second baseman, Tony Taylor. Mays sees the ball rolling behind him and figures that he can make third on the throw to first, so he heads for third. Tony Taylor, however, has seen Willie Mays play baseball before, so he holds the ball a second before throwing to first. When Mays heads for third, Taylor throws across the infield, Mays is out at third by 40 feet.

> Mays, however, decides to stay in a rundown long enough to let Cepeda make second. Catching Willie Mays in a rundown is like trying to assassinate a squirrel with a lawn mower, so this goes on for some time, and Cepeda races down to second base, while Don Hoak (Philadelphia third baseman) chases Mays back to the same base. Mays and Cepeda, both near second base, stare at each other for a moment, while the ball pops loose on the ground before anybody can apply a tag to either one of them.

> So Mays heads back to third base.

> And Cepeda heads back to first.

> Taylor retrieves the ball and fires to third, and Willie Mays, for the second time on the same play, is caught in a rundown between second and third.

> Well, that out is eventually recorded; it's officially scored 4-5-6-1-6-4, but as the official scorer noted afterward, he couldn't be sure who all handled the ball, and a player can only get one assist on a play anyway, so he just gave an assist to everyone in the vicinity.

u/gilpdawg · 1 pointr/Sabermetrics

I can recommend several books.

Baseball Between the Numbers by the BP folks.
It's old, and some parts of it are outdated, but I cut my saber teeth on that thing. There's also another book in the same vein by the same group called Extra Innings.

The Book by Tango and MGL.
It's very nerdy, so it's not for everyone.

The newer(ish) Keith Law and Brian Kenny books are pretty good too. I'm too lazy to link to those and they are easy to find.

u/BloodyMummer · 1 pointr/baseball

I would spend a lot of time looking at K/BB rates on both pitchers and hitters. Also, keep in mind The Book says there's a 30 point platoon advantage on lefty/righty match-ups, and the amount of ABs needed to see for sure something different is closer to 1,000 than 50. There's a chance you might not want to change too much as you won't see enough ABs to see a statistical significant difference. I would recommend buying The Book to answer a lot of the questions you have.

u/SailTheWorldWithMe · 6 pointsr/baseball

Read this to see what you're in for if you think you have a chance at making the minors. Good luck!

u/berrydancer10 · 1 pointr/baseball

If you enjoy nonfiction, try the book Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball

Super eye opening on what these guys go through

u/w0nderbrad · 6 pointsr/baseball

Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter. Might be a little outdated and doesn't touch on the advanced statistics because it wasn't written when that stuff was in vogue, but still very very informative.

Also, feel free to ask us any questions.

u/destinybond · 2 pointsr/baseball

This book

is a great read if you're interested.

u/EnsignObvious · 2 pointsr/baseball

Seen and read. I have also read The Baseball Economist, Hot Stove Economics and Baseball Between the Numbers. If you have read them already, then bro-fist. If you have yet to read them, then you're welcome :)

u/VulcansGM · 5 pointsr/baseball

"Up, Up, and Away" by Jonah Keri is a history of/love letter to the Montreal Expos.

""Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s" by Jason Turnbow covers the Charlie Finley A's.

"Big Data Baseball" by Travis Sawchik is a Moneyball-style look at the early 2010's Pirates, data analysis in baseball, and the origins of today's shifting techniques and importance of pitch framing.

u/forensiceagle · 3 pointsr/SFGiants

Just finished this book and it's pretty good! I look forward to using it as a referential tool.

And now I'm starting this..

Anyone ever read it?

lets go Pence.

u/s1ax0r · 3 pointsr/Sabermetrics

This book is an excellent resource. It is composed of articles that tackle some fundamental concepts using sabermetrics. I would also recommend reading Moneyball and The Extra 2% to get an idea of the impact that sabermetrics are having on the game, and specific ways teams are implementing them.

u/Amf32 · 2 pointsr/baseball

An ex cricketer (and superb writer) did, he wrote a book as well.

u/BearsBearsBears_wooo · 8 pointsr/todayilearned

One of the funniest books I ever read was "The Umpire Strikes Back" by former AL umpire Ron Luciano.
There are some really great behind the scene stories especially regarding Ron's long feud with Earl Weaver. (Earl once faked a heart attack on the pitcher's mound)

u/DFSBettor · 5 pointsr/sportsbook

MLB resources, good luck with your prep (daily lineup projections) (historical lines)

u/noitamroftuo · 8 pointsr/Sabermetrics

yes, and its not, read this

ask yourself this: why would a hitting strategy work better to win 3 out of 5 games than 100 out of 162 games? answer: it wouldn't. the commentators on these playoff games are bad

u/SouthernDerpfornia · 4 pointsr/baseball

I prefer The Book, but it is more of an intro to advanced stats. However, it does cover things like platooning, in general which situations bunting helps/hurts, and different ways to leverage a pitching staff

u/Major_Square · 2 pointsr/TexasRangers

Even with the bases empty a single could lead to man on second or even third. Tango and Lic....

...that was a nice play...

Anyway Tango and Lichtman figured this out based on how runs actually score. It's in this book, which is a heavy read but is very interesting. Maybe be available from your library.

u/TheBiggestSloth · 2 pointsr/baseball

The Book. Great if you want to learn about sabermatrics.

u/wildjokers · 2 pointsr/gifs

Title already taken:

I read it when I was in high school so has been a long time, but I remember it being a very funny look at MLB umpiring. The umpire that wrote it has since passed away.

u/eight26 · 7 pointsr/todayilearned

Sabermetricians have done the analysis. Read Between the Numbers.

TL;DR: Even when corrected for different eras, level of competition, and so on, Babe Ruth is still the greatest player ever.

u/Metsican · 2 pointsr/NewYorkMets

Ed Smith, county cricketer who also played 3 Tests for Engand, wrote a book talking about comparing and contrasting his experiences with the Mets and English cricket. You might find it interesting:

u/iggyfenton · 1 pointr/mlb

This is a great way to learn about the game and the strategy involved. I would also start watching baseball games now and read the local beat writers daily columns on the O's.

If you can keep score at a baseball game you'll know more than 70% of the people at the stadium.

u/gideonprime · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Yes he does. Great book.

u/Frommyiphone2 · 2 pointsr/phillies

You may like Watching Baseball Smarter
by Zack Hample. It explains some things about the game that a new fan might not recognize.

u/theartfooldodger · 0 pointsr/Dodgers

My understanding is usually the data upon which the matchup is based is so limited that it is essentially useless and therefore you should always just play you best player.

My source is The Book by Tom Tango.

u/ihaveacalculator · 374 pointsr/atheism

For those who don't know, OP wrote one of the most popular fanguides to baseball on Amazon (42nd highest selling in baseball books):

u/Eminor3rd · 10 pointsr/baseball

This one is the best. Tango's "The Book" is probably second.

Moneyball is as much fiction as it is fact. It's a fun read but it really only scratches the surface.

u/boilface · 7 pointsr/baseball

If you're familiar with math/stats, read The Book by Tom Tango. It provides excellent explanations of many statistics and shows the math behind all of the weights they use.

u/texansfan · 2 pointsr/baseball

I am winning my fantasy league this year (finished 4th, 3rd, 3rd last three years), and I'm going all in on stats to do it!

u/MrSkimMilk · 1 pointr/baseball

There are some books on getting into baseball. But, really, the best way is to just start watching games in their entirety. Don't just skip to the highlights. There's plenty of down time to look up rules and terminology online if you're feeling lost.

u/__Gish · 2 pointsr/NewYorkMets

This is a good place to start which covers the basics:

Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks

u/Waaait_For_It · 2 pointsr/Sabermetrics

I just picked up The Book and its fantastic.

u/killyouintheface · 1 pointr/baseball
u/joejance · 3 pointsr/baseball

Where Nobody Knows Your Name is very good. The author tells the stories of several minor leaguers, some of them former major leaguers with very recognizable names.

Edit: spelling, phone typing

u/Weedwums · 6 pointsr/baseball

If books don't scare you off, I recommend Watching Baseball Smarter.

u/SlipStreamWork · 1 pointr/baseball

I think Watching Baseball Smarter might be a good read

u/mortarnpistol · 13 pointsr/atheism

Someone above posted this, but just in case you missed it, this is OP's book. Apparently a very good work!

u/gbeaudette · 2 pointsr/baseball

Here's a few I found looking through my shelves:

Watching Baseball by Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.

Watching Baseball Smarter which seems like a sequel, but is actually by a totally different guy.

Why Is the Foul Pole Fair? looks at more of the minutia of going to the ballpark than the game itself.

u/irck · 1 pointr/Braves

I would recommend that you read this book to start out:

u/bjilly · 2 pointsr/baseball

I bought this book for my girlfriend and would recommend it to anyone wanting to understand the basics of the game.

u/travgyse · 6 pointsr/buccos

Find Big Data Baseball by Travis Sawchik at your local library.

It's a great book that will bring you up to speed on how the Pirates were able to end their 20 year losing streak and their current philosophy for contention.

u/j3rown · 6 pointsr/sportsbook

Here are two that are sport specific (MLB) but really helped:

Betting Baseball by Richard Nichols

The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tom Tango (I swear by this book, it's basically my bible)

u/leemarshallsmustache · 3 pointsr/baseball

I found that the book Watching Baseball Smarter was very helpful for me when I got back into the sport. I watched baseball a lot when I was a kid but the book helped me understand the intricacies of the game when I got back into it in my 20s.

u/barkevious · 3 pointsr/baseball

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is a lifetime's worth of idle baseball reading.

u/ruffyen · 3 pointsr/baseball

[The Book](The Book: Playing The Percentages In Baseball opened my eyes to several baseball ideas.

One such was the idea that batting order has any significant impact on games. Basically they price how it only adds a couple runs per year... Not wins... Runs... Fascinating read at times

u/BlueJaysWatch · 2 pointsr/Torontobluejays

Like I said... Based on last years numbers. I wouldn't mind that swap you mentioned, but this is almost exactly by "The Book"

u/BMinsker · 3 pointsr/funny

Actually, The Umpire Strikes Back is baseball umpire Ron Luciano's very funny biography.

u/ExpendableGuy · 1 pointr/NYYankees

This book is an easy read and is very informative despite the author being a prick.

u/DayCMeTrollin · 6 pointsr/baseball

Read a book

Or scroll this article

The hitter/pitcher style might matter, but not individual match-ups.

u/jtutty22 · 2 pointsr/baseball

I picked up the 2003 copy. This one

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

u/mnemosyne-0002 · 1 pointr/KotakuInAction

Archives for links in comments:

u/mattds1993 · 2 pointsr/Braves

The Book is about ten years old now, but it's where a lot of modern baseball stats and knowledge originated. I believe they do a chapter on bunting.

u/atb0rg · 4 pointsr/baseball

Get this book. Seriously. It will tell you about so many of the intricacies of the game you wouldn't pick up on otherwise.

u/JolIyJack · 12 pointsr/baseball

This is The Book

u/n3rdXcore · 1 pointr/mlb

I was in the same boat as you a few years ago, then I read this book:

Read it!!

u/MrPlucky · 1 pointr/AskReddit

I read that book a long time ago!

u/jayzer · 2 pointsr/baseball

I haven't read it yet, but maybe read this?

edit: The author is a redditor and holds the world record for baseballs snagged at games (during batting practice and in the games).

u/Rhetorical__Answer · 3 pointsr/IAmA

Wondering if you have read "The Book"by Tom Tango, which really delves into this question in a lot lot more detail:

It really attempts to answer that question as scientifically (sabermetrically) as possible.

u/chuckyjc05 · 2 pointsr/baseball

Anyone that finds this stuff cool should read The Book

u/modeledthat · 1 pointr/sportsbook

what you are describing is not a model. you are simply picking games using factors (some of which are not predictive in any way) in an unweighted manner. it's not possible to quantity your edge anyway using that method, counteracting the entire point of what modeling is for.

edit: this isn't really a constructive comment so let me offer something. start by reading the book if modeling baseball is something you are serious about.

u/BagsOfMoney · 2 pointsr/TrollXChromosomes

No, fantasy sports are nerdy. If you've ever read things like The Numbers Game, Baseball Between the Numbers, or Moneyball, you'll know that baseball statistics are extremely nerdy. This applies to other sports too, but baseball is by far the most nerdy.

That is not to say that all people into fantasy sports are nerds, but a lot of people into fantasy sports are nerds.

u/RepostFromLastMonth · 14 pointsr/explainlikeimfive

Note that the Infield Fly Rule is one of the weird rules introduced into Baseball to curb abusive/cheating behavior.

I recommend A Cheater's Guide to Baseball, which has the history of cheating in baseball and why rules were created.

Also, the Baltimore Orioles were behind most of the cheats, interestingly enough.

u/RoyaleWithCheese88 · 1 pointr/baseball

There's a whole chapter about it in The Book.

They looked at 300 different batter/pitcher matchups and found that there was no correlation whatsoever between past and future performance. The sample size is just much too small. Here's the takeaway:

>Knowing a player will face a particular opponent, and given the choice between that player's 1,500 PA over the past three years against the rest of the league, or twenty-five PA against that particular opponent, look at the 1,500 PA.

u/markhachman · 2 pointsr/gifs

That's actually a book: the autobiography of the MLB umpire Ron Luciano. He was famous for his feuds with managers Earl Weaver and Billy Martin, and used to pull all sorts of stunts. Weaver got so mad at him one time that he took second base and refused to give it back.

Luciano was most famous for how he ejected players, though: he'd jump up in the air, whirl around, scream, and throw 'em out. Great fucking book. (There's even sequels!)

u/mncoder · 6 pointsr/Sabermetrics

Take a look at wOBA.

Read The Book:

And the world doesn't need any more offensive metrics, sorry.

u/sarcasmsiempre · 2 pointsr/Dodgers

I want to become more informed about the advanced aspects of modern baseball over my college's winter break. Statistics and WAR and shit. I'm already going to read Moneyball and Watching Baseball Smarter. Anyone got any more recommendations?