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Teaching Statistics Using Baseball Paperback – July, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0883857274 ISBN-10: 0883857278 Edition: #REF!

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The Mathematical Association of America; #REF! edition (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0883857278
  • ISBN-13: 978-0883857274
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #249,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jim Albert a Phd in statistics from Purdue University in 1979. He has taught at Bowling Green State University since 1979 and is currently a Professor of Mathematics and Statistics.

More About the Author

Jim Albert is Professor of Statistics at Bowling Green State University. His interests include Bayesian thinking, statistics education, statistical computation, and applications of statistics to sports. He is former editor of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis of Sports.

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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Michael R. Chernick on April 18, 2008
Format: Paperback
Jim Albert is a Professor of Statistics at Bowling Green University. He is an excellent teacher and researcher. He has written a number of fine statistics books including a recent one on doing Bayesian statistics using R. He is also an avid baseball fan and has published statistical articles and books on the subject. My favorite is "Curve Ball" which he coauthored with Jay Bennett. He is one of the leaders in the American Statistical Associations section on statistics in sports.

Once at an ASA meeting I heard him give a talk about how he was able to make statistics exciting for non-statistics majors by teaching it solely using baseball examples. His course became one of the most popular in the school which is amazing. Most students who are required to take statistics don't understand why it is an important discipline to learn about. They are usually bored to tears because of the dry presentation of the usual statistics lectures. These courses are generally hated by these students and they avoid them if at all possible. Albert's approach is new and seems to be working. I think he wrote this book for statistics teachers to help them learn how to teach a course like this. This book can serve as a basic statistics text or as a reference for those fond of sabermetrics.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
If there is one thing that separates the baseball fan from those of other sports, it is their fascination with statistics. By this, I mean the raw data, not the detailed analysis. An enormous amount of data is kept about baseball players and their accomplishments, and nearly all of it is online. It is very detailed, as it is possible to obtain data regarding how a particular batter performed when facing a particular pitcher with a particular ball and strike count. With all of this data available, it is possible to find some raw data that can be used to illustrate any analytical technique demonstrated in basic statistic classes.
Using this data, the authors have hit a resounding home run, and touched all the bases. The examples are easily understood, even if you have limited knowledge of the game. Nearly all of the techniques of a basic statistics class are covered, making this suitable for use as a textbook. The main points of difference are the absence of a great deal of hypothesis testing and the inclusion of a chapter on the events of an inning modeled as a Markov chain.
Baseball fans will want to read this book to settle arguments and start new ones. One can argue, as I have on many occasions, about which of two players is the best or which one should have been the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for a particular year. There are some very detailed comparisons of players, showing conclusively, at least to me, which one was best. I was fascinated about the run producing value of all of the possible offensive outcomes of a batter getting on base by getting a hit, walk or being hit by a pitch. Their analysis includes the value of advancing runners already on base, which explains why a single is worth 1.0 and a walk worth 0.61.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Gabriel Murray on August 9, 2003
Format: Paperback
What a great way to learn some of the basics of statistics. This book is meant to cover most of the material that a standard statistics textbook would, but using solely examples from the game of baseball. I picked it up primarily for the sections on probability, but have enjoyed the entire thing so far. Obviously a lot of work went into its preparation, and one of the most impressive aspects is the sheer number of exercises at the end of each chapter -- more than enough to reinforce the central points.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RoyHobbs on June 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book works well for what it was written to do. I like it most for the intro to Markov Chains.

I have been a big sabermetrics fan for several years and come to appreciate the application of Markov Theory to Baseball. It's hard to get the basics of Markov Theory without getting into all the profound formulas and higher math. This is a great start.

The best baseball books I keep going back to for sabermetrics:

1. The above book, by Jim Albert, for Markov Chains.

2. "The Book" is fantastic. I'm still re-reading Chapter 1, The Toolshed for the 5th time. It's also a great way to further understand Markov Chains. Everything in this book is top notch.

3. The two stats books by Michael J. Schall are first class. Would like to see him come out with something new that applies all the more modern sabermetrics and maybe something about pitching.

4. Moneyball is a great way to see all all this mumbo-jumbo put into practice in the real world. After all, isn't that what it's all about? It was mesmerizing to see how Billy Beene not only talked the talk but walked the walk as he buys into "the new sabermetrics" 100%. I avoided this book until a month ago because I thought it was another stupid gooey baseball story. Man, was I wrong. It's a great way to see how all this stuff works.

5. Of course the web has it all Baseball_Reference and Fangraphs are #1 followed by the bunch - Beyond The Boxscore, Baseball Prospectus, etc.
AND Check out lookoutlanding.com at SBNation for all the sabermetrics you need.

The best baseball books I keep going back to for General Interest and Fantasy Baseball:

1. Bill James Historical Abstract.

2. David Nemec's "The Great American Baseball Team Book"

3.
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