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Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups: A Complete Guide to the Best, Worst, and Most Memorable Players to Ever Grace the Major Leagues Paperback – June 2, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The title says it all: by compiling lists of players in a baseball "lineup" format, the author, an columnist, manages to catalogue the game's all-time greats-and all-time bums. In the process, he also creates a kind of capsule history of every major league team. The secret is in the categories: along with the "All-Time" bests of each club, the book also includes such lineups as All-Rookie, All-Defensive, All-Traded Away (players who became great after their original team got rid of them), and All-Bust (players who never came close to living up to the hype). And because not even diehard fans can live on lineups alone, Neyer has also packed his pages with little sidebar essays, ranging from analytical (in which he explains how he chose Mickey Mantle over Joe DiMaggio as All-Time Yankees center fielder) to eye-opening (in which Reggie Jackson tells how his ASU coach warned him that the New York Mets would shy away from drafting him because he had a white girlfriend) to puzzling (Neyer suggests that the Chicago Cubs should have kept Rafael Palmeiro instead of Mark Grace to play first base-on the same page that he lists Grace as the Cubs' All-Time first baseman). It may be a book of lineups, but these colorful sidebars supply most of the real conversation pieces. This volume wouldn't be nearly as hard to put down without them.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"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

"You will argue with some of Rob's picks, and you will provoke many an argument with your baseball friends, but you will not be able to put this thought-provoking book down." - Jon Miller, ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball

"Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups is about baseball history, but Neyer's brand of cutting-edge analysis and objective evaluation is influencing baseball today." - Billy Beane

"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." - Michael Lewis, author of Liar's Poker and Moneyball

"Mantle or DiMaggio? Spahn or Maddux? Terry or McCovey? Don't guess -- read Neyer's book and learn the answers. In these pages, it's production (not nostalgia) that matters, and the result is a cogent parsing of baseball's all-time greats (and worsts)." - Joshua Prager, The Wall Street Journal

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743241746
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743241748
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael H. Siegel on June 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
Rob Neyer's "Book of Baseball Lineups" is a solid addition to any well-stocked baseball shelf. It goes right next to Bill James' glorious Historical abstract.
Lineups basically goes through the major leagues team by team. We're given an all-time lineup for each team as well as best homegrown players, gold gloves, iron gloves, all-bust, all-name and used-to-be-great -- which catalogues what great players eeked out their declining years on a certain club. This is accompanied by little essays in the margins detailing certain selections and a short essay for each team addressing some topic. The essays are actually pretty good, sort of like little columns that you might have missed on his espn gig.
Neyer has put together a rather unique look at the game. Most books of this type look at the best players of all time from all of baseball, but Neyer's book focuses on *teams* and gives you a sense of the ebb and flow of each team's history. You'll see how all thre greatest players in Royals history bunched up in the late 70's and early 80's, how Atlanta's best players all came in the 90's. The traded away section will detail eras of stupid management for each team. And in the back, you get year to year lineups.
I can't think of any other book that does this. Most books focus on the history of one team (usually the Yankees) or one great year (Yankees again, '27 or '98). But this book will give you your first real sense of the history of other organizations like the Expoes and Brewers and so forth -- teams I didn't know HAD a history before I read this.
It's not as big, bad and beautiful as the Historical abstracts but this is a book you'll find yourself leafing through frequently. Definitely worth buying.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Todd Hawley on May 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
Among baseball fans, it's always fun to "pick" the "all-time best players" at any position. And Neyer in this book has taken what he feels to be the all-time best lineups for every current major league team, as well as teams that started in one location and moved elsewhere (like the Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves, Brooklyn/LA Dodgers, NY/SF Giants, Wash Senators/Texas Rangers, etc.). While you may not always agree with his choices, Neyer in my opinion has done a wonderful job with these "lineups." He also has a lineup of 'best individual seasons,' a gold glove team and an "iron glove" team (for worst fielders), his "all-bust" teams, rookie teams, traded away teams, and his "used to be great" teams. Having followed baseball since the late 1960s, I vividly remember many of the names in this book, as well as knowing numerous others whose names appear here. Some of the associated vignettes with each team are also fascinating. Like the story of David Clyde, the 18-year-old pitcher for the 1973 Rangers, or "Generation K" of the 1995 Mets. Or how the Devil Rays' management philosophy in Neyer's opinion has contributed to them having some terrible teams. Or how the famous line about the late, lamented Washington Senators, "first in war, first in peace, and last in the American League" really isn't all that true.
Neyer gives a lot of credit where credit is due. His "iron glove" teams are at times a hoot. Neyer mentions the infamous Johnie LeMaster of the Giants at shortstop on their "iron glove" team, Jose Offerman his counterpart for the Dodgers, Eddie Matthews at first base for the 1967 Astros, and so on. His all-rookie teams include notables like Mark McGwire for the '87 A's (well doh) and Stan Musial for the 1942 Cardinals. For some long-time teams, he lists 2 greatest lineups.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought the book because I really enjoy Neyer's columns on He is the only columnist I read regularly. Being a book of lists it is a great book for "bathroom reading" because you can pick it up and read just a few pages at a time and enjoy it without losing any storyline or continuity.
I enjoyed the appendix as much as any other part of the book. It showed the typical starting lineups for each team in every different year of their existence. It was interesting to see how stable the lineups were before free agency.
It is truly a book of lists, with little esle. If you have been a baseball fan for decades, you will enjoy a wonderful trip down memory lane. If you are a casual fan who has an interest in one or two teams, it may not be worth it.
I did not feel that the sidebars added that much to the book. They were too short to have the depth of information/analysis that I have come to enjoy in Rob's columns on
That being said, I enjoyed the book and will keep it and refer back to it for years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
It seems that Rob Neyer is still looking for an argument.
Last year he published BASEBALL DYNASTIES, in which he and co-author Eddie Epstein discussed the relative merits of some of the great teams in the long history of the game. Such "absolute" declarations fairly beg knowledgeable fans to take umbrage and offer counterpoint. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Meaningful discussion (i.e., anything that doesn't end with a beer bottle broken over your head) is an ancillary benefit of rooting for your favorites.
The author picks up where he left off with his fun new offering, ROB NEYER'S BIG BOOK OF BASEBALL LINEUPS. A senior writer and baseball columnist for, Neyer takes a very calculated measure of each team in creating these various lists. These include the greatest players for every ballclub (along with an "all second" team); players who enjoyed one especially fantastic year; an all-rookie team; a line-up of players who came up through the organization's minor leagues and another consisting of those traded to other teams; a best-defensive lineup, along with those who sported "iron gloves"; a roster of the worst players and another of those who were great at one time --- for other teams; and finally, a collection of the greatest "nicknames" at each position.
The lists consist of thumbnail sketches elucidating the author's choices and sidebars for those selections requiring a more extensive explanation. Neyer finishes off each chapter with a brief essay on a topic dear to his heart.
The enjoyment (or frustration) begins as the reader thumbs through each section. "Hey, why was Joe Shlabotnick left off of the list of all-time greats?" one might ask.
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