Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called “Win Shares,” a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself.
NEWSWEEK once called him "The guru of baseball," and Bill James, for nearly forty years, has led the vanguard of how we measure the game. From Sabermetrics to his Baseball Abstracts, James has influenced even the casual fan all the way up to the top brass. Somewhere in the middle of that spectrum, however, is the manager, and Bill James has penned a guide on some of the most innovative and renowned men to ever hold that position.
Some of the game's greatest managers have been Hall-of-Fame players who put down a bat and picked up a lineup card: Frank Robinson, Mel Ott, Joe Cronin, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby. Others have achieved greatness from their ability to assemble legendary teams: Billy Martin, Tommy Lasorda, Connie Mack, Joe McCarthy, Dick Williams, Leo Durocher. Here, Bill James explores the history of the manager, and its evolution from 1870-1990, in a decade-by-decade chronicle, examining the successes, the failures, and what baseball fans can learn from both.
THE BILL JAMES GUIDE TO BASEBALL MANAGERS is a thought-provoking, entertaining, and seminal guide to a vital part of the national pastime, written by one of its most groundbreaking iconoclasts.
A "dictionary" describing virtually every known pitch
The origins and development of baseball's most important pitches
Top ten lists: best fastballs, best spitballs, and everything in between
Biographies of some of the great pitchers who have been overlooked
More knuckleballers and submariners than you ever thought existed
An open debate concerning pitcher abuse and durability
A formula for predicting the Cy Young Award winner
Something fresh and new: Bill James' "Pitcher Codes"
The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers is about understanding pitchers, and baseball's action always starts with the pitchers. It's also about entertaining debates and having a great deal of fun with the history of a game that obsesses so many.
Celebrated writer and contrarian Bill James has voraciously read true crime throughout his life and has been interested in writing a book on the topic for decades. Now, with Popular Crime, James takes readers on an epic journey from Lizzie Borden to the Lindbergh baby, from the Black Dahlia to O. J. Simpson, explaining how crimes have been committed, investigated, prosecuted and written about, and how that has profoundly influenced our culture over the last few centuries— even if we haven’t always taken notice.
Exploring such phenomena as serial murder, the fluctuation of crime rates, the value of evidence, radicalism and crime, prison reform and the hidden ways in which crimes have shaped, or reflected, our society, James chronicles murder and misdeeds from the 1600s to the present day. James pays particular attention to crimes that were sensations during their time but have faded into obscurity, as well as still-famous cases, some that have never been solved, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Satisfyingly sprawling and tremendously entertaining, Popular Crime is a professed amateur’s powerful examination of the incredible impact crime stories have on our society, culture and history.
Britain, 1956. A young actress seemingly tries to commit suicide over a tangled love affair, but is taken to hospital and her life saved. The story is just the sort of thing that journalist Ian Charteris likes to cover: a poignant mix of near tragedy, possible thwarted romance, and glamour, needing sensitive but – of course – dramatic treatment. It should be a routine assignment, a welcome assignment. It would be, if it wasn’t for the identity of the young woman. She may – just may – be Ian’s sister.
The unwelcome reminder of the past drags Ian back into memories of places and events he’d rather forget. As far as Ian is concerned, the past is a foreign country. And not just foreign. Fundamentally and cantankerously hostile. Vengeful, war-torn, dangerous.
It is impossible to escape the past; the noose is already around Ian’s neck, and every step he takes it tightens . . . And this is not the only noose.
Booklist Starred Review
When a major drugs dealer seeks vengeance for the death of his family, policemen Harpur and Iles must do all they can to prevent a bloodbath
Following the murder of his wife and son, tycoon drugs dealer Mansel Shale is determined to get vengeance – and he wants another drugs baron, Ralph Ember, to help him. Having heard of the movie Strangers on a Train, in which two men agree to undertake each other’s murders as a way of preventing detection, Shale suggests he and Ralph should have a similar arrangement – and Ralph is in no position to refuse.
When he learns of the plan, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles fears that if things go wrong, the hard-won peace he and Harpur have established in the city will be seriously threatened. The two top policemen find they have their work cut out to limit the damage and restore tranquillity.
Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur feels a sort of warmth towards Jack Lamb, a brilliantly prosperous but profoundly dodgy fine arts dealer. Lamb is the greatest informant Harpur has ever dealt with – might be the greatest informant any police officer has ever dealt with – and although Jack ended this arrangement some time ago, Harpur still feels indebted to him.
Lamb’s posh manor house is stuffed with expensive paintings, ripe for the pinching . . . and small-time thief George Dinnick and his crew intend to relieve him of a few. But their plans are complicated by local big-time crook Ralph Ember, who is on the lookout for some art to elevate his gentleman’s club, The Monty; and who else would he visit to procure this art but Jack Lamb? Add to the mix odd-job man and stolen-art procurer Basil Gordon Loam – aka Enzyme – who Harpur and Iles would very much like to see locked up, and things start to get complicated indeed.
“I found I had a flair for tag-along, street level stealth. It thrilled me. It killed me. Do you mind if I tell you how?”
Thomas Wells Hart drifted into a dodgy career as a private investigator and grew clever at tailing suspects and all the other tricks of the game. Not quite clever enough, however. Coming across Hart’s shot-up body, Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and Assistant Chief Constable Des Iles have to work out their own explanation as to how he came to be executed behind the wheel of a Ford Focus in a quiet suburban street.
The trail will lead them through illegal art trading, big-bucks money laundering – and more murder. As ever, Iles suspects Harpur is hiding essential facts from him. As ever, Harpur is hiding essential facts from his boss. Will the mismatched pair manage to close the case?
Using unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.
Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.
When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.
Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.
There are questions that remain to be answered – so when the home office decides to reopen the case, it is Harpur and Iles to whom the investigation is once more handed.
Detective Chief Superintendent Colin Harpur and his boss, Assistant Chief Constable Desmond Iles, worry about the safety of one of the big-time crooks on their ground, Ralph Ember, sometimes known as Panicking Ralph. Yes, Ralph is a villain, but he’s a local villain, and Harpur and Iles feel a kind of bizarre affection for him. And in any case, Ralph helps Iles keep the city reasonably peaceful. But now some awkward repercussions from Ralph’s lawless past seem to bring danger.
Ralph is aware of this new peril and has installed a bulletproof steel barrier to protect himself in the club he owns – but will this be enough to keep him safe? Harpur thinks not. Surely the upcoming party at the club will provide the perfect moment for a gunman to do for Ralph? The only way Harpur can be sure of protecting Ralph is to attend the party himself . . .
George Lepage, the new Director of the Hulliborn Regional Museum and Gallery, has great hopes that his tenure in the post will be short and profitable. He has visions of early retirement, and perhaps – like his predecessor, and his predecessor’s predecessor – a knighthood.
But circumstances do their best to snatch his happy dreams away from him. First a deranged former staff member causes a riot in the Folk Department, and then three recently purchased, ruinously expensive paintings of dubious authenticity are stolen, putting the museum’s security – and judgement – into question. The fate of the upcoming Japanese Ancient Surgical Skills exhibition, and its astonishing collection of tonsil excision implements, hangs dangerously in the balance.
And over everything hangs the grim specter of the former Director, “Flounce” Butler-Minton, whose body may be most definitely dead but whose legacy lives on. And with every day that passes, the rumours of what Flounce did behind the Iron Curtain – and how the haversack straps, the whippet and the legendary Mrs Cray were involved – grow, threatening to erupt into a scandal that may cost the museum, and Lepage himself, everything . . .
Booklist Starred Review
This sharply satirical novel concerns a battle royal between two academic institutions and their principals. England, 1987. It’s all-out war. Two universities in the same city each aim to destroy the other and take over one another’s buildings, students and – above all – bank balance. At a time of austerity in public life and huge government cuts, the situation has become desperate and the respective university principals are prepared to fight very dirty indeed. Dr Lawford Chute of the revered Sedge University wants to expand, expand, expand, while the government is telling him to cut, cut, cut. But Dr Victor Tane of Charter Mill employs more covert methods to ensure his institution comes out on top. Who will win these ferocious academic fights and be the model for the statue in the modern-day university grounds: the ultimate proof of posterity for which both principals are battling?
This hilariously witty and highly topical satire on the comic absurdities and ruthless politics involved among Britain’s elite academic institutions will appeal to fans of Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue.
BEYOND BELIEF details the events that led up to the derailment. Josh explains how a young man destined for fame and wealth could allow his life to be taken over by drugs and alcohol. But it is also the memoir of a spiritual journey that breaks through pain and heartbreak and leads to the rebirth of his major-league career.
Josh Hamilton makes no excuses and places no blame on anyone other than himself. He takes responsibility for his poor decisions and believes his story can help millions who battle the same demons. "I have been given a platform to tell my story" he says. "I pray every night I am a good messenger."
It’s the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies -- with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read.
We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance.
Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion?
It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.
As no book has ever quite done before, Francona escorts readers into the rarefied world of a twenty-first-century clubhouse, revealing the mercurial dynamic of the national pastime from the inside out. From his unique vantage point, Francona chronicles an epic era, from 2004, his first year as the Sox skipper, when they won their first championship in 86 years, through another win in 2007, to the controversial September collapse just four years later. He recounts the tightrope walk of managing unpredictable personalities such as Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez and working with Theo Epstein, the general managing phenom, and his statistics-driven executives. It was a job that meant balancing their voluminous data with the emotions of a 25-man roster. It was a job that also meant trying to meet the expectations of three owners with often wildly differing opinions. Along the way, readers are treated to never-before-told stories about their favorite players, moments, losses, and wins.
Ultimately, when for the Red Sox it became less about winning and more about making money, Francona contends they lost their way. But it was an unforgettable, endlessly entertaining, and instructive time in baseball history, one that is documented and celebrated in Francona, a book that examines like no other the art of managing in today’s game.
In The Captain, best-selling author Ian O’Connor draws on extensive reporting and unique access to Jeter that has spanned some fifteen years to reveal how a biracial kid from Michigan became New York’s most beloved sports figure and the enduring symbol of the steroid-free athlete. O’Connor takes us behind the scenes of a legendary baseball life and career, from Jeter’s early struggles in the minor leagues, when homesickness and errors in the field threatened a stillborn career, to his heady days as a Yankee superstar and prince of the city who squired some of the world’s most beautiful women, to his tense battles with former best friend A-Rod. We also witness Jeter struggling to come to terms with his declining skills and the declining favor of the only organization he ever wanted to play for, leading to a contentious contract negotiation with the Yankees that left people wondering if Jeter might end his career in a uniform without pinstripes.
Derek Jeter’s march toward the Hall of Fame has been dignified and certain, but behind that leadership and hero’s grace there are hidden struggles and complexities that have never been explored, until now. As Jeter closes in on 3,000 hits, a number no Yankee has ever touched, The Captain offers an incisive, exhilarating, and revealing new look at one of the game’s greatest players in the gloaming of his career.
Joe Peta turned his back on his Wall Street trading career to pursue an ingenious—and incredibly risky—dream. He would apply his risk-analysis skills to Major League Baseball, and treat the sport like the S&P 500.
In Trading Bases, Peta takes us on his journey from the ballpark in San Francisco to the trading floors and baseball bars of New York and the sportsbooks of Las Vegas, telling the story of how he created a baseball “hedge fund” with an astounding 41 percent return in his first year. And he explains the unique methods he developed.
Along the way, Peta provides insight into the Wall Street crisis he managed to escape: the fragility of the midnineties investment model; the disgraced former CEO of Lehman Brothers, who recruited Peta; and the high-adrenaline atmosphere where million-dollar sports-betting pools were common.
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame–worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he’d be a major league ballplayer.
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves make him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves’ extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 “Baby Braves”; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers—Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, among them—and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era—outrageous money, steroids, and all—and his special last season in 2012.
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we’re sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn't even own his own glove. He thought he might make a good mechanic. When discovered, he had never flown in an airplane, had never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and couldn't imagine Tampa, the city where he was headed to begin a career that would become one of baseball's most iconic. What he did know: that he loved his family and his then girlfriend, Clara, that he could trust in the Lord to guide him, and that he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time.
With astonishing candor, Rivera tells the story of the championships, the bosses (including The Boss), the rivalries, and the struggles of being a Latino baseball player in the United States and of maintaining Christian values in professional athletics. The thirteen-time All-Star discusses his drive to win; the secrets behind his legendary composure; the story of how he discovered his cut fastball; the untold, pitch-by-pitch account of the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2001 World Series; and why the lowest moment of his career became one of his greatest blessings.
In The Closer, Rivera takes readers into the Yankee clubhouse, where his teammates are his brothers. But he also takes us on that jog from the bullpen to the mound, where the game -- or the season -- rests squarely on his shoulders. We come to understand the laserlike focus that is his hallmark, and how his faith and his family kept his feet firmly on the pitching rubber. Many of the tools he used so consistently and gracefully came from what was inside him for a very long time -- his deep passion for life; his enduring commitment to Clara, whom he met in kindergarten; and his innate sense for getting out of a jam.
When Rivera retired, the whole world watched -- and cheered. In The Closer, we come to an even greater appreciation of a legend built from the ground up.
After twenty consecutive losing seasons for the Pittsburgh Pirates, team morale was low, the club's payroll ranked near the bottom of the sport, game attendance was down, and the city was becoming increasingly disenchanted with its team. Pittsburghers joked their town was the city of champions...and the Pirates. Big Data Baseball is the story of how the 2013 Pirates, mired in the longest losing streak in North American pro sports history, adopted drastic big-data strategies to end the drought, make the playoffs, and turn around the franchise's fortunes.
Award-winning journalist Travis Sawchik takes you behind the scenes to expertly weave together the stories of the key figures who changed the way the small-market Pirates played the game. For manager Clint Hurdle and the front office staff to save their jobs, they could not rely on a free agent spending spree, instead they had to improve the sum of their parts and find hidden value. They had to change. From Hurdle shedding his old-school ways to work closely with Neal Huntington, the forward-thinking data-driven GM and his team of talented analysts; to pitchers like A. J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole changing what and where they threw; to Russell Martin, the undervalued catcher whose expert use of the nearly-invisible skill of pitch framing helped the team's pitchers turn more balls into strikes; to Clint Barmes, a solid shortstop and one of the early adopters of the unconventional on-field shift which forced the entire infield to realign into positions they never stood in before. Under Hurdle's leadership, a culture of collaboration and creativity flourished as he successfully blended whiz kid analysts with graybeard coaches—a kind of symbiotic teamwork which was unique to the sport.
Big Data Baseball is Moneyball on steroids. It is an entertaining and enlightening underdog story that uses the 2013 Pirates season as the perfect lens to examine the sport's burgeoning big-data movement. With the help of data-tracking systems like PitchF/X and TrackMan, the Pirates collected millions of data points on every pitch and ball in play to create a tome of color-coded reports that revealed groundbreaking insights for how to win more games without spending a dime. In the process, they discovered that most batters struggled to hit two-seam fastballs, that an aggressive defensive shift on the field could turn more batted balls into outs, and that a catcher's most valuable skill was hidden. All these data points which aren't immediately visible to players and spectators, are the bit of magic that led the Pirates to spin straw in to gold, finish the 2013 season in second place, end a twenty-year losing streak.
Rick Ankiel had the talent to be one of the best pitchers ever. Then, one day, he lost it.
The Phenomenon is the story of how St. Louis Cardinals prodigy Rick Ankiel lost his once-in-a-generation ability to pitch--not due to an injury or a bolt of lightning, but a mysterious anxiety condition widely known as "the Yips." It came without warning, in the middle of a playoff game, with millions of people watching. And it has never gone away.
Yet the true test of Ankiel's character came not on the mound, but in the long days and nights that followed as he searched for a way to get back in the game. For four and a half years, he fought the Yips with every arrow in his quiver: psychotherapy, medication, deep-breathing exercises, self-help books, and, eventually, vodka. And then, after reconsidering his whole life at the age of twenty-five, Ankiel made an amazing turnaround: returning to the Major Leagues as a hitter and playing seven successful seasons.
This book is an incredible story about a universal experience--pressure--and what happened when a person on the brink had to make a choice about who he was going to be.
Forget batting average. Kill the “Win.” Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. MLB Network anchor and commentator Brian Kenny provides “an excellent, entertaining read for the all-around baseball fan” (Library Journal) and shows how baseball has been revolutionized—not destroyed—by analytical thinking.
Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the sabermetric era. In his entertaining and enlightening book, Kenny discusses why the pitching win-loss record, the Triple Crown, fielding errors, and so-called battling titles should be ignored. He also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVP’s and ignoring legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame; why managers are hired based on their looks; and how the most important position in baseball may just be “Director of Decision Sciences.”
“Prepare to have your brain and your assumptions challenged. Guided by data and a deep love of the game, Brian Kenny takes a cutting-edge look at where baseball is and where it is going” (Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated). Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, Ahead of the Curve is “a great story about the game in the age of information and technology” (Billy Beane).
After six years in the minors, pitcher Dirk Hayhurst hopes 2008 is the year he breaks into the big leagues. But every time Dirk looks up, the bases are loaded with challenges--a wedding balancing on a blind hope, a family in chaos, and paychecks that beg Dirk to answer, "How long can I afford to keep doing this?"
Then it finally happens--Dirk gets called up to the Majors, to play for the San Diego Padres. A dream comes true when he takes the mound against the San Francisco Giants, kicking off forty insane days and nights in the Bigs.
Like the classic games of baseball's history, Out of My League entertains from the first pitch to the last out, capturing the gritty realities of playing on the big stage, the comedy and camaraderie in the dugouts and locker rooms, and the hard-fought, personal journeys that drive our love of America's favorite pastime.
"A rare gem of a baseball book." --Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated
"A fun read. . .This book shows why baseball is so often used as a metaphor for life." --Keith Olbermann
"Entertaining and engaging. . .reminiscent of Jim Bouton's Ball Four." --Booklist
"Observant, insightful, human, and hilarious." --Bob Costas
Acclaimed New Yorker writer Roger Angell’s first book on baseball, The Summer Game, originally published in 1972, is a stunning collection of his essays on the major leagues, covering a span of ten seasons. Angell brilliantly captures the nation’s most beloved sport through the 1960s, spanning both the winning teams and the “horrendous losers,” and including famed players Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and more. With the panache of a seasoned sportswriter and the energy of an avid baseball fan, Angell’s sports journalism is an insightful and compelling look at the great American pastime.
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason four times in his first four years−a Major League record−people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it’s based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”
The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility.
From “The Coach Is Always Right, Even When He’s Wrong” to “Let Your Catcher Call the Game,” Matheny’s old-school advice might not always be popular or politically correct, but it works. His entertaining and deeply inspirational book will not only resonate with parents, coaches, and athletes, it will also be a powerful reminder, from one of the most successful new managers in the game, of what sports can teach us all about winning on the field and in life.
A Chicago Tribune Best Book of the Year
“Plenty of books have taken us inside baseball, but August takes us directly inside players’ heads.” —Entertainment Weekly
3 Nights in August captures the strategic and emotional complexities of baseball’s quintessential form: the three-game series. As the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival, the Chicago Cubs, we watch from the dugout through the eyes of legendary Tony La Russa, considered by many to be the greatest manager of the modern era. In his thirty-three years of managing, La Russa won three World Series titles and was named Manager of the Year a record five times. He now stands as the third-winningest manager in the history of baseball.
A great leader, La Russa built his success on the conviction that ball games are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play. Drawing on unprecedented access to a major league skipper and his team, Buzz Bissinger portrays baseball with a revelatory intimacy that offers many surprisingly tactical insights—and furthers the debate on major league managerial style and strategy in his provocative afterword.
“Superb . . . Will be devoured by hard-core strategists.” —The New York Times Book Review
It was 1986, and the New York Mets won 108 regular-season games and the World Series, capturing the hearts (and other assorted body parts) of fans everywhere. But their greatness on the field was nearly eclipsed by how bad they were off it. Led by the indomitable Keith Hernandez and the young dynamic duo of Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, along with the gallant Scum Bunch, the Amazin’s left a wide trail of wreckage in their wake—hotel rooms, charter planes, a bar in Houston, and most famously Bill Buckner and the hated Boston Red Sox.
With an unforgettable cast of characters—including Doc, Straw, the Kid, Nails, Mex, and manager Davey Joshson—this “affectionate but critical look at this exciting season” (Publishers Weekly) celebrates the last of baseball’s arrogant, insane, rock-and-roll-and-party-all-night teams, exploring what could have been, what should have been, and what never was.
Phil Pepe explores Yogi Berra as a boy, player, hero, coach, manager, husband, and father, and jokester, including all of the ‘Yogi-isms,’ in an absorbing treatment that is simultaneously comical, thoughtful, and biographical.
Famous Yogi-isms: About a popular restaurant: "Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded." On Little League Baseball: "I think it's wonderful. It keeps the kids out of the house." On why NY lost the 1960 series to Pittsburgh: "We made too many wrong mistakes."
Advanced stats give hockeyÍs powerbrokers an edge, and now fans can get in on the action. Stat Shot is a fun and informative guide hockey fans can use to understand and enjoy what analytics says about team building, a playerÍs junior numbers, measuring faceoff success, recording save percentage, the most one-sided trades in history, and everything you ever wanted to know about shot-based metrics. Acting as an invaluable supplement to traditional analysis, Stat Shot can be used to test the validity of conventional wisdom, and to gain insight into what teams are doing behind the scenes „ or maybe what they should be doing.
Whether looking for a reference for leading-edge research and hard-to-find statistical data, or for passionate and engaging storytelling, Stat Shot belongs on every serious hockey fanÍs bookshelf.
Could Yoda block the plate?
Can the Dalai Lama dig one out of the dirt?
No, there is only one Zen master who could contemplate the circle of life while rounding the bases.
Who is this guru lurking in the grand old game? Well, he's the winner of ten World Series rings, a member of both the Hall of Fame and the All-Century Team, and perhaps the most popular and beloved ballplayer of all time. And without effort or artifice he's waxed poetic on the mysteries of time (“It gets late awful early out there”), the meaning of community (“It's so crowded nobody goes there anymore”), and even the omnipresence of hope in the direst circumstances (“It ain't over ‘til it's over”).
It's Yogi Berra, of course, and in What Time Is It? You Mean Now? Yogi expounds on the funny, warm, borderline inadvertent insights that are his trademark. Twenty-six chapters, one for each letter, examine the words, the meaning, and the uplifting example of a kid from St. Louis who grew up to become the consummate Yankee and the ultimate Yogi.
“I believe that a man’s race, color, and religion should never constitute a handicap. The denial to anyone, anywhere, any time of equality of opportunity to work is incomprehensible to me. Moreover, I believe that the American public is not as concerned with a first baseman’s pigmentation as it is with the power of his swing, the dexterity of his slide, the gracefulness of his fielding, or the speed of his legs.”—From Foreword by Branch Hickey
The Summer Game, originally published in 1972, is a stunning collection of Angell’s essays on the major leagues, covering a span of ten seasons. Angell brilliantly captures the nation’s most beloved sport through the 1960s, spanning both the winning teams and the “horrendous losers,” and including famed players Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and more. With the panache of a seasoned sportswriter and the energy of an avid baseball fan, Angell’s sports journalism is an insightful and compelling look at the great American pastime.
In Five Seasons, New Yorker sportswriter Roger Angell calls 1972 to 1976 “the most important half-decade in the history of the game.” The early to mid-1970s brought unprecedented changes to America’s ancient pastime: astounding performances by Nolan Ryan and Hank Aaron; the intensity of the “best-ever” 1975 World Series between the Cincinnati Reds and the Boston Red Sox; the changes growing from bitter and extended labor strikes and lockouts; and the vast new influence of network television on the game. Angell, always a fan as well as a writer, casts a knowing but noncynical eye on these events, offering a fresh perspective to baseball’s continuing appeal during this brilliant and transformative era.
And in Season Ticket, Roger Angell once again journeys through five seasons of America’s national pastime—chronicling the larger-than-life narratives and on-field intricacies of baseball from 1982 to 1987. Angell’s collected New Yorker essays, written in his unique voice as a fan and baseball aficionado, cover the development of the game both on the diamond and off. While diving into subjects such as Sparky Anderson’s ’84 Detroit Tigers, the legendary 1986 World Series and the Curse of the Bambino, and the increasingly pervasive issue of player drug use, Angell reveals the craft and technique of the game, and the unforgettable stories of those who played it.
The 33-Year-Old Rookie is like a real-life Rocky, an unforgettable and inspirational story of one man’s unwavering pursuit of a lifelong goal. Beginning in a single-parent home in Fargo, North Dakota, and ending behind home plate on the flawless diamond of the Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park–where fans and teammates call him “Chris Clutch” because of his knack for getting timely hits–this intimate account of Coste’s baseball odyssey is a powerful story of determination, perseverance, and passion.
For eleven seasons, Coste hustled, fought, and gritted his way to his breakthrough–and never lost faith in his abilities. Along the way, he gained the affection and admiration of baseball fans from Ottawa and Scranton to various Mexican and Venezuelan cities. Battered by years spent behind a catcher’s mask, and faced with bracing realities–there were bills to pay, and his young daughter was entering first grade–Coste decided to give it one last shot in 2006. But that year, during the Phillies’ major-league spring training, Coste was demoted to the minors at the last minute to make room for a utility outfielder, despite having hit a blistering .463 and earning the trust of the team’s pitchers. Later that season, though, Coste finally got the call-up, and he hit .364 during the Phillies’ furious battle to nail down the final postseason berth.
Coste takes us through the 2006 spring training season–with its pulse-quickening moments and close calls–and into his first season as a major-league catcher with the Phillies. From tense stretch-run games that kept Phillies’ fans on the edge of their seats to moments of intimate personal reflection, Coste’s saga offers baseball aficionados an inside look at a remarkable life and career. In this stirring, wry, and candid look at the life of a professional baseball nomad who never surrendered his dream, we savor the sometimes bittersweet fruits of victory against seemingly insurmountable odds.
From the Hardcover edition.
—Roland Hemond, 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award
“One of the most remarkable books to come out in years is called Intangibles by Geoff Miller.”
“Intangibles is filled with lessons and tools for helping baseball players in all stages of their development.”
—Fredi Gonzalez, Manager, Atlanta Braves
“Geoff Miller is insightful in explaining the mental aspect of baseball with real issues, simple terms and practical solutions.”
—Dave Littlefield, Chicago Cubs, Special Asst. to the General Manager, Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager (2001-2007)
“I am convinced that this book is one of the best compositions written on the mental aspects within the game of baseball.”
—College Baseball Lineup
“A must read for athletes looking to gain a mental edge or simply better identify their own strengths.”
—Bryan Minniti, Assistant General Manager, Washington Nationals
Foreword by Vince Gennaro, author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball
A must read for all baseball players, coaches, and fans…
Mental skills coach Geoff Miller has spent years helping professional baseball players improve their mental toughness—both on and off the field. Now, he’s making these invaluable lessons available to everyone who loves the game of baseball.
From high school to the Major Leagues, all baseball players struggle with competition, pressure, and their own personal challenges. This book, through inspiring stories about professional baseball players in various stages of their careers, as well as hands-on tips and questionnaires, will help players evaluate and improve the mental skills that are necessary for that competitive edge.
In Intangibles, you’ll find stories, instruction, and practical applications that teach players and coaches how to put forth their best mental games—portrayed through the eyes of those who have experienced those learning moments firsthand in their quests to become Major Leaguers. From a local park’s baseball diamond to dusty minor league dugout benches to the musty concrete tunnels under Major League stadiums, Intangibles meets players where they are, offering specific ways to improve performance and outlook.
Players features in the book include Brandon Moss, Nyjer Morgan, Nate McLouth, Ryan Vogelsong, Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche, Matt Capps, among others.
Whether you hope to be a big league player someday, or whether you simply want to play your best game, this book is essential for all athletes who want to learn how to overcome fear, build confidence, and develop a mental framework for success.
Which Hall of Famer once caught a ball dropped from an airplane?
Why do balls get stamped with invisible ink?
What’s the best ticket to buy for catching a foul ball?
Which part of the ball once came from dog food companies?
How could a 10,000-year-old glacier help a pitcher grip the ball?
In this enlightening, entertaining, and often wildly funny book, Zack Hample shares ballpark legends and lore, explores the history of the baseball souvenir craze, and also details the evolution of the ball, Finally, Hample—who has snagged more than 4,600 balls from 48 different major league stadiums—offers up his secret methods for snagging your own ball from major league games.
Features a ballhawk glossary, profiles of legendary ballhawks, top 10 lists, and black-and-white photos throughout.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
“Pedro the book is as smart, as funny, and as diva-esque as Pedro the pitcher . . . Buy the book. Read the book. Celebrate a golden era in Boston baseball.” — Boston Globe
“There is little the eight-time All-Star holds back about any subject as he offers a revealing look at a colorful career . . . The intimate details Martinez offers up from both inside and outside the clubhouse make the book a winner.”—Washington Post
Pedro Martinez entered the big leagues a scrawny power pitcher with a lightning arm who they said wasn’t “durable” enough, who they said was a punk. Yet Martinez willed himself to become one of the most intimidating pitchers to have ever played the game, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, World Series champion, and Hall of Famer.
In Pedro, the always colorful pitcher opens up to tell his remarkable story. From his days in the minor leagues clawing for respect; to his early days in lonely Montreal; to his legendary run with the Red Sox when, start after start, he dazzled with his pitching genius; to his twilight years on the mound as he put the finishing touches on a body of work that made him an icon, this memoir by one of baseball’s most enigmatic figures will entertain and inspire generations of fans to come.
“This is the beauty of this book, the machinations of a modern pitcher's mind . . . Knowing and gritty, this memoir should’ve been printed on rawhide.”—Los Angeles Times
story of America's pastime is rooted in our history. The most commonly
told stories of baseball are no mystery. They can easily be found in any
of the thousands of books on this team or that player. In 100 Years of Baseball, we get to look even further into the past at the stories that didn't make the headlines.
through the years as baseball grew, Lee Allen traces the development...
the New York knickerbockers of yesteryear; Jackie Robinson; the dark
days of 1919, to the shenanigans of Durocher and MacPhail, and the New
York Yankee world series monopoly.
For a full-fledged history of professional baseball with all its crises, climaxes and heroes 100 Years of Baseball is a book that will excite you like no other.
BOSTON GLOBE JANUARY 6, 1920
RED SOX SELL RUTH FOR $100,000 CASH
Demon Slugger of American League, Who Made 29 Home Runs Last Season, Goes to New York Yankees
FRAZEE TO BUY NEW PLAYERS
The Yankees vs. the Red Sox. Each baseball season begins and ends with unique intensity, focused on a single question: What's ahead for these two teams? One, the most glamorous, storied, and successful franchise in all of sports; the other, perennially star-crossed but equally rich in baseball history and legend. In The Rivals sports writers of The New York Times and The Boston Globe come together in the first-ever collaboration between the two cities' leading newspapers to tell the inside story of the teams' intertwined histories, each from the home team's perspective.
Beginning with the Red Sox's early glory days (when the Yankees were perennial losers), continuing through the Babe Ruth era and the notorious trade that made the Yankees champions (and marked the Sox with the so-called "Curse of the Bambino"); to Ted Williams vs. Joe DiMaggio; Thurman Munson and Carlton Fisk; Roger Clemens and Pedro Martinez; down to last year's legendary playoff showdown, The Rivals captures the drama of key eras, events, and personalities of both teams.
And who better to tell the story than the baseball writers of the two rival cities? For The New York Times, it's Dave Anderson, Harvey Araton, Jack Curry, Tyler Kepner, Robert Lipsyte and George Vecsey who report on the Yankee view of the rivalry, while The Boston Globe
loch's Gordon Edes, Jackie MacMullan, Bob Ryan and Dan Shaughnessy recount the view from the Hub. And their stories are richly illustrated with classic photographs and original articles from the archives, capturing the great moments as they happened. For Red Sox fans, Yankees fans, or anyone interested in remarkable baseball history, The Rivals is an expert, up-close look at the longest, and fiercest of all sports rivalries.
Game of Shadows: Barry Bonds, BALCO, and the Steroid Scandal That Rocked Professional by award-winning investigative journalists Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, is a riveting narrative about the biggest doping scandal in the history of sports, and how baseball’s home run king, Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants, came to use steroids. Drawing on more than two years of reporting, including interviews with hundreds of people, and exclusive access to secret grand jury testimony, confidential documents, audio recordings, and more, the authors provide, for the first time, a definitive account of the shocking steroids scandal that made headlines across the country.
The book traces the career of Victor Conte, founder of the BALCO laboratory, an egomaniacal former rock musician and self-proclaimed nutritionist, who set out to corrupt sports by providing athletes with “designer” steroids that would be undetectable on “state-of-the-art” doping tests. Conte gave the undetectable drugs to 28 of the world’s greatest athletes—Olympians, NFL players and baseball stars, Bonds chief among them.
A separate narrative thread details the steroids use of Bonds, an immensely talented, moody player who turned to performance-enhancing drugs after Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals set a new home run record in 1998. Through his personal trainer, Bonds gained access to BALCO drugs. All of the great athletes who visited BALCO benefited tremendously—Bonds broke McGwire’s record—but many had their careers disrupted after federal investigators raided BALCO and indicted Conte. The authors trace the course of the probe, and the baffling decision of federal prosecutors to protect the elite athletes who were involved.
Highlights of Game of Shadows include:
A look at how Bonds was driven to use performance-enhancing drugs in part by jealousy over Mark McGwire’s record-breaking 1998 season. It was shortly thereafter that Bonds—who had never used anything more performance enhancing than a protein shake from the health food store—first began using steroids. How Bonds’s weight trainer, steroid dealer Greg Anderson, arranged to meet Victor Conte before the 2001 baseball season with...
During that tumultuous summer, the Great War in Europe cast an ominous shadow over the national game, as enlistments and the draft wreaked havoc with every team's roster. Players and owners fought bitterly over contracts and revenue, the parks were infested with gamblers, and the Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs almost called off the World Series. And a Boston player known as The Colossus -- 23-year-old Babe Ruth -- began his historic transformation from pitching ace to the game's greatest slugger.
Wood also poses a chilling question: Was the 1918 World Series fixed?
Sports Illustrated called the book "an entertaining and exhaustive account of a tumultuous season" and Robert W. Creamer, author of the definitive biography of Ruth, said "Mr. Wood has lit upon one of the most turbulent and important and at the same time least known years in baseball history. He has done remarkable, revelatory research, and he has a clean, clear way of writing."
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, Tom Stanton lived for his Detroit Tigers. When Tiger Stadium began its 88th and final season, he vowed to attend all 81 home games in order to explore his attachment to the place where four generations of his family have shared baseball. Join him as he encounters idols, conjures decades past, and discovers the mysteries of a park where Cobb and Ruth played. Come along and sit beside Al Kaline on the dugout bench, eat popcorn with Elmore Leonard, hear Alice Cooper's confessions, soak up the warmth of Ernie Harwell, see McGwire and Ripken up close, and meet Chicken Legs Rau, Bleacher Pete, Al the Usher, and a parade of fans who are anything but ordinary. By the autumn of his odyssey, Stanton comes to realize that his anguish isn't just about the loss of a beloved ballpark but about his dad's mortality, for at the heart of this story is the love between fathers and sons--a theme that resonates with baseball fans of all ages.