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Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends: The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else Paperback – April 1, 2008
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Author of "Liar's Poker" and "Moneyball"
Rob Neyer is one of those writers who can make his subject more interesting than anyone ever imagined it could be. He has written a delightful book for ardent baseball fans, but even people with a casual interest in baseball will find something to think about here.
"Rob Neyer is the best of the new generation of sportswriters. He knows baseball history like a child knows his piggy bank. He knows how to pick it up and shake it and make what he needs fall out."
-- Bill James
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Top Customer Reviews
One caveat: like many books of this sort, this one is best read a few entries at a time spread out over a couple of weeks, rather than in one sitting.Read more ›
In addition to the 60-so chapters, most chapters have margin stories that may relate to the story in the chapter. So the total number of tales looked at is probably about 150 to 200. Many of these are fascinating, but some are not so memorable. There are a few errors--there's a "Last Note of Humility" about Chance and Harper, which belongs with an earlier chapter, for example. The most troubling tale (which I had never heard before) is "Lou Gehrig & The Imposter" about how Gehrig's consecutive-game streak had been broken, with Danny Kaye wearing Gehrig's uniform. Neyer tracks down the story to a men's magazine and finds a piece by Scribbly Tate describing the events. Scribbly Tate--an obvious pseudonym--is Rob Neyer himself, using his favorite alter-ego: he received $[...] for the story in 1951.Read more ›
"Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends" is sort of like reading the diary of a fact checker. Neyer, a writer for ESPN.com and the author of some good baseball books, here takes an approach that must be unique. He has gone through all sorts of material -- autobiographies, other baseball books, newspaper accounts, television commentary, etc -- and tried to find out if they were true or not.
You'd expect that something like Babe Ruth's called shot is examined here, and it is ... in great detail. But all sorts of other stories are checked out, in no particular order. Neyer obviously put a lot of work into this project.
Let's take an example to show you what's going on here. Jim Palmer tells a story about charting a game involving teammate Mike Cuellar, who was facing the Minnesota Twins. Cuellar had given up a leadoff hit, with Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew coming up next. Palmer told manager Earl Weaver that Cuellar had thrown 135 pitches. Weaver responded by saying, "I'll let you know if he's tired."
Neyer went back through Cuellar's starts on Retrosheet, and discovered that Cuellar had 21 starts against the Twins while pitching for the Orioles. The author couldn't find anything that came close to matching that set of circumstances. Neyer concludes that while there's probably some bit of truth in there somewhere, he couldn't find specific evidence of it.
That's something of a theme for the book. The Internet is a great resource for such research these days. Neyer also has a huge baseball library, and access to records from the Society for American Baseball Research and the Hall of Fame (among others).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
....the quote from John Ford's movie "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence". That quote is :"When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." Always. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Joe Mugsy
A nice book about baseball stories. Not in depth enough for me. Too abbreviated. Nothing to tie them together. Get a different book if you want something special.Published on February 18, 2013 by roseramsey
This book while being somewhat humorous was really just a collection of useless trivia about our national game.
I was definitely not overwhelmed.
Rob Neyer has really hit on a winning format. Anecdotes are either famous episodes and we learn something we didn't already know (like they're completely bogus) or the anecdotes... Read morePublished on April 5, 2011 by jason hirsch
Without a doubt, this book is Rob Neyer's weakest. Time is lost reading about how he did some research on baseball facts, and time and time again he share the same tale of... Read morePublished on May 8, 2010 by Marc Ranger
While i really enjoyed Rob's book on Baseball Blunders, this one was not nearly as engaging. It is organized like his other books in what seems to be a series of articles and it... Read morePublished on April 16, 2010 by Patrick M. Carroll
My favorite ESPN writer - love his books as well. This book is broken up into short chapters - best to read them in small sections rather than all at once. Read morePublished on January 8, 2010 by Jaytodd13