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Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time Paperback – April 17, 2000
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It's a fascinating performance, as insightful as it is argumentative. (Neyer, a columnist for ESPN.com, and Epstein, a former baseball exec, don't always see eye to eye, and some of their disagreements are posted as dialogues.) Along the way, they debunk some myths (Mantle's 565-foot home run) and create new stats to test relative performance (one makes Johnny Bench the best catcher of all time--no problem there--with Mickey Cochrane second). Poignantly, they also project some "what-ifs," as in what if Lou Gehrig had stayed healthy for the '39 Yankees.
After parsing and reparsing team after team, Neyer and Epstein arrive at their conclusion, and while they pretty much disagree on places 2 through 15, they manage to present a unified front for No. 1. It's a team in pinstripes, but probably not the first--or second--to come to mind. Given the precision with which way they lay out their case, you'll have to work awfully hard to overturn their verdict. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Few athletes are part of one baseball dynasty. I was fortunate enough to be part of two. This book captures the unique characteristics that make great teams great. -- Davey Johnson
It's wonderful to read a book by someone who really knows something about the great teams, knows things that I don't know, knows even important things that I didn't know. This is the book that everybody else who writes about great teams, for the next 30 years, will have to begin by reading, just so they know what they're talking about. -- Bill James
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Top Customer Reviews
"Baseball Dynasties" is on its face an examination of 15 of the greatest baseball teams ever, ranging from the deadball-era 1906 Cubs, to the "Team of the Century" 1998 Yankees. It's longer and more detailed than most commercially-available "best teams ever" books, and probably the first one I've seen that's not aimed at kids. "Dynasties" is equal part historical research and statistical argument and, depending on where your interests lie, some parts of the book will be more interesting than others.
Neyer's sidebars and sidesteps tend to be the freshest. The historical research shows best in the articles with his name attached. His game recounts are fresh, his player biographies are original. The 1906 and 1912 World Series summaries come to life in a way that makes you believe Roger Angell was actually there and sending back reports. He's the first author I've ever seen detail just who Walter Beall was, beyond the fact that he pitched one inning for the 1927 Yankees.
Neyer, and mostly Epstein, use the Standard Deviation of a team's runs scored and runs allowed, to compare the great teams of different eras. They never tell us how "SD" is calculated, so those of us with adding machines can't play along at home -- I neglected to take statistics in college but love calculating ERAs and Pythagorean theorems as much as the next baseball nut.Read more ›
The book has its flaws. The attributing of each little section to Rob or Eddie could have been left out and makes the book feel choppy. I think it could have benefited by being written after Bill James' book on Win Shares (then again, so could almost every baseball book). It might even have been preferable for them to talk about lesser-known teams or fewers details but more teams. Do we really need more information on the 1927 Yankees? I didn't think so.
I also think they should have looked at different KIND of dynasties. For example, teams like the 90's Braves, 80's Cards, 60's Reds, 60's-70's Pirates or 70's-80's Royals that weren't particularly dominating in any one year or short span of years, but were consistently good for a long span of time. Interviews with old-timers would have been nice but probably impractical. But I guess these complaints fall under one category -- the book is way too short.Read more ›
The book utilizes a lot of math, with such calculations as "Pythagorean Winning Percentage" and "Standard Deviation Score." If you are scared away by sabremetric geek-dom, beware... The book is full of it. But I assure you, 99% of these calculations are totally valid. Many of them, will open up your mind and challenge your baseball assumptions.
For example, I went into the book as a great proponent of the sacrifice bunt (unlike the authors) and "little ball." I still think that both are underused, even in this era of inflated offense. However, I will now concede that such dynasties are substantially LESS compelled to relinquish any of their 27 outs in a game. Again, truly great teams BLOW AWAY their competition. They don't need to waste time by bunting a guy into scoring position.
Some other reviewers have accused the book of being humorless. Certainly, one-liners occur with less frequency than they do in Rob Neyer's Espn column. I think this is a product of the authors wanting to be taken seriously. Anybody can write a book in bar-room vernacular saying the "'98 Yankees were better than the '75 Reds, Blah, Blah, Blah..." BASEBALL DYNASTIES clearly strives to be THE authority on the subject...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A baseball dynasty is defined as not a single season stat data record, but a team effort pattern of triumph over time, as in at least three WS victories in a decade period. Read morePublished on February 6, 2014 by Tail End Boomer
I tried doing a research piece on the greatest baseball teams, taking the statistics of given years and consectuive years. Read morePublished on April 12, 2013 by william hall
That is always a fun question, and a source of debate for even the most casual baseball fan. Usually the 1927 Yankees are immediately ordained the best of all time, and that team... Read morePublished on October 12, 2010 by Roger D. Launius
I bought this book 7 years ago and i don't know how many times i've read it after reading it cover to cover the week i first got it! Read morePublished on May 16, 2008 by R. Hansen
If you are the type that thinks that pennants are won with 90% guts and a winning attitude, rather than talent, stay away. But if you are a Moneyball fan, you'll like this.Published on October 10, 2004 by Mike Moran
To Bryan Lutes of Aurora, Illinois: The 72-74 A's are covered in the book. They are covered in Chapter 15. They are one of the fifteen teams that are rated as great dynasties.Published on August 9, 2004 by Wayne Chambers
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading the book, but I found the book to be lacking in continuity. It's a difficult book to read from cover-to-cover due to the abundance of... Read morePublished on April 19, 2004 by Bryan
If you enjoy statistical arguments about the relative greatness of different teams, mixed with interesting historical anecdotes, this is for you. Read morePublished on March 27, 2003
I've never heard of Rob Neyer, but from reading other reviews here, he's apparently a modestly well-known figure from espn.com. Read morePublished on November 21, 2001 by David R. Cox