Paul Dickson is the author of several bestselling books, including Baseball's Greatest Quotations, The Hidden Language of Baseball, and The Joy of Keeping Score. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland.
Skip McAfee is an editor, horticulturalist, and baseball enthusiast. He is a member of the Bob Davids Chapter (Washington and Baltimore) of the Society of American Baseball Research. He is the editor of The Dickson Baseball Dictionary and is a contributor to the Research in Baseball Index project. He lives in Columbia, Maryland, with his wife.
They are all here—from Aaron (Estella, Hank's mother) to Zoldack ("Sad Sack" Sam), and everyone in between. From the players, sportswriters, and politicians, to noted personalities in other fields (a very diverse group), everyone has his or her say on our nation's pastime. Dickson skillfully selects and annotates each remark, presenting the good, the bad, and the ugly of baseball lore. Included are extended lessons in Stengelese, Reggiespeak, Earl Weaverisms, and famous announcers' home run calls (who can forget Mel Allen's classic "Going, going, gone!"?).
These and thousands of other cheerful, pithy, and memorable voices from the past through the present day are all captured in Baseball's Greatest Quotations.
They have no sanction from the Commissioner, appear nowhere in any official publication, and are generally not posted on any clubhouse wall. They represent a set of time-honored customs, rituals, and good manners that show a respect for the game, one's teammates, and one's opponents. Sometimes they contradict the official rulebook. The fans generally only hear about them when one is bent or broken, and it becomes news for a few days.
Now, for the first time ever, Paul Dickson has put these unwritten rules down on paper, covering every situation, whether on the field or in the clubhouse, press box, or stands. Along with entertaining baseball axioms, quotations, and rules of thumb, this essential volume contains the collected wisdom of dozens of players, managers, and reporters on the secret rules that you break at your own risk, such as:
1.7.1. In a Fight, Everyone Must Leave the Bench and the Bullpen Has to Join In
1.13.3. In a Blowout Game, Never Swing as Hard as You Can at a 3-0 Pitch
5.1.0. In Areas That Have Two Baseball Teams, Any Given Fan Can Only Really Root For One of Them
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.