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Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team Hardcover – March 1, 2005

18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling & Ross Publishers (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0976637219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0976637219
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,842,677 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful By King Yao on July 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scout's Honor seems like it was written as an argument against Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Moneyball focuses on the Oakland A's and how their GM, Billy Beane, focuses on stats when evaluating players and relies little on scouts. In doing so, Beane mainly takes college players rather than high school players, because the statistics for college players do mean something due to the strong competition, and the greater sample sizes. Seemingly on the flip side, the Atlanta Braves, an organization just as successful, or even more successful than the A's (at least in the past 15 years), use scouts extensively and focus on high school players. The A's love college pitchers and hate high school pitchers when it comes to drafting them. The Braves love high school pitchers and avoid college pitchers (they focus their scouting in the Georgia and southeast region). It's amazing that two different winning organizations can attack the same problem in such different ways. Moneyball was a great book on how the braintrust of the A's think and how they go about their evaluation. Scout's Honor is an attempt to do the same for the Braves and their scouts.

On the backcover of Scout's Honor is written: "In this fascinating and insightful look into what criteria major and minor league baseball scouts use to determine talent, Scout's Honor shines a bright light on the job done by `old-school' scouts and their killer instincts." That sounds like a great subject, and I really wanted to read about how scouts go about their job, how they evaluate players, especially those still in high school. I have not read any books detailing exactly what the scouts are looking for - is it something they can't explain to the layman like me?
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. McFarland on December 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
If you are a huge Braves fan, you won't mind reading line after line describing how the Braves system can do no wrong. If you are a serious baseball fan, you'll just roll your eyes. Some of the profiles of minor leaguers are interesting at first. But as one other reviewer noted, the profiles all seem to be the same. You'll find yourself skipping several pages at a time.

Most would acknowledge that the Braves are a top-notch organization. It's just silly, however, for anyone to assert the Braves have done EVERYTHING right. I don't think the book contains even mild criticism of a Braves employee, trade or scouting decision. Everything is painted in a light most favorable to the Braves.

In addition, whenever possible, the author takes a shot at Michael Lewis, Moneyball, Billy Beane and the Oakland A's. Fine, the Braves have a different approach and it works. Is there only ONE way to build a solid baseball team? Seems unlikely. And why take cheap shots? For instance, at one point he is discussing the A's acquiring Dan Meyer and Juan Cruz, two young Braves pitchers from the Braves. He sneers at the A's, in effect saying, if Moneyball is such a great system, why did you come crawling to the Braves for young pitching? Well, guess what? Everybody needs young pitching. You know who the Braves got in the Cruz/Meyer trade? Tim Hudson. A pitcher. A pitcher developed in the Oakland A's farm system.

It's just embarrassing. The author is a Braves employee -- and not even a baseball man -- a broadcaster. This book reads like a propaganda piece commissioned by the Braves. As a baseball fan, I'd rather read an objective account of how good the Braves organization is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Switzer on July 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Scout's Honor is a Jekyll-and-Hyde book about the Atlanta Braves. On the one hand, the interviews with current and former scouts, players and managers give the reader some interesting insights on the modern Braves franchise. It successfully documents the rise of the franchise from laughingstock to relevance, which spans about twenty years (1985-2005).

On the other hand, author Bill Shanks sets Honor up as the antithesis to Moneyball, the much-ballyhooed book by author Michael Lewis. Moneyball documented Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's methods of relying almost entirely on statistical data to turn his low-budget Athletics club into a powerhouse in the AL West (again, as of 2005).

You can see it all over the back of Honor's cover:


Stats vs. Scouts
Math vs. Makeup
Computers vs. Commuters
College vs. High School

The debate is a new one in baseball, and it has recently taken on a life of its own. With the Moneyballers on the scene, and spurred by the recent World Series victory by the sabermetric advocate Boston Red Sox, the dispute over the best way to build a professional baseball team has raged out of control-- until now.


Lyle Spencer of [...] provides the quote of praise, saying that "[the] book is a worthy foil to the Moneyballers."

The battle comes to a head in the final chapter when Shanks spends time writing about how the Los Angeles Dodgers were turning into a Moneyball organization thanks to former Oakland assistant GM Paul DePodesta and how it might hurt them. Bill even goes so far as to call it "scary" that the Cardinals and Diamondbacks were contemplating Moneyball-style scouting methods.
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