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The Baseball Talmud: The Definitive Position-by-Position Ranking of Baseball's Chosen Players Hardcover – March 31, 2009
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“What is there to say about a book that, among its many merits, invents the “value-added Judaism” statistic? With high humor and a strong grasp of his facts, Howard Megdal answers questions and addresses issues that Jewish fans have long wondered aboutand fans of other faiths will also enjoy.” (John Eisenberg, author of The Great Match Race)
“Howard Megdal’s witty and informative book gives the definitive rabbinic commentary on the 160Who knew?Jews who played in the Major Leagues. These guys could pitch, field and hit. Plus, they loved their mothers.” (L. Jon Wertheim, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated and author of Running the Table and Blood in the Cage)
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Top Customer Reviews
An example of the humor is this line used when talking about Sid Gordon's ability to draw a walk... "This is a recurring theme for so many Jewish players - unlike Eliot Spitzer, they grasped the value of not paying for something they could get for free."
Sure, many could squabble over where he ranks the players... but basically he's got it down. He ranks the players much like Jayson Stark does in his great book, "The Stark Truth". (...where he ranks Sandy Koufax as the most overrated left handed starting pitcher ever, and Hank Greenberg as the most underrated first baseman of all time. Talk about food for debate!)
This is one of those books that I just can't put down. The only major criticism is the omission of catcher Johnny Kling... probably the greatest catcher of his time. (Early 1900's for the Chicago Cubs) Now I know that there's still some who don't think he was Jewish, but most feel the preponderance of evidence clearly points to Kling as a Jew. (See Gil Bogen's engrossing bio "Johnny Kling" which features some well researched, compelling evidence... as well as a heartwarming foreword by Ernie Banks!)
Overall Megdal's "Baseball Talmud" is quickly turning into one of my favorite baseball books!
And for anyone who belongs to the Bill James' school of thought, Megdal is a huge proponent of sabermetrics. Of course, he provides you with the traditional statistics, but he goes into greater depth with nifty stats like VORP, WARP, and Pythagorean won-loss record. Megdal also digs up remarkable numbers that often go overlooked (like Lou Boudreau's walk/strikeout ratio in 1948: 98/9). Megdal even enlists the help of a baseball statistician to figure out how effective the All-Jewish team would be in a neutral environment. I won't give away anything. Let's just say they wouldn't be pushovers...
At first, I thought I would skim through The Baseball Talmud and only check out my favorite players, but I really couldn't put it down; it's extremely immersive. From cover to cover, you'll learn something new about players you thought you already knew everything about. You'll see names long forgotten by most fans that conjure up images of different eras, egos, and ballparks. You'll be reminded of how good some of these players were. You'll be encouraged to see how good some of the current players are - and still can be. Most of all, you'll be filled with an indescribable sense of pride. When you see the formidable All-Time Jewish Team Megdal puts together, you may even let your imagination run wild and envision "the eventual cosmic baseball tournament between religions."
Being a lifelong "old-school" baseball fanatic and trivia statistic "buff"... I knew I was in trouble... when instead of seeing lifetime statistics and year by year historical data... you know... like on the back of baseball cards and in the encyclopedia of baseball and the baseball almanac...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just a listing of Jewish ballplayers, with a lot of fantasizing about what might have been had they played in different times, different ballparks, or had avoided injuries. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Still a Phillies Phan
Chose this as a gift for a family member for his birthday and he was thrilled to receive it! Hoping he enjoys it as much as I enjoyed giving it to him!Published 20 months ago by Evanna L. Dunlop
I bought this as a Hanukah present for my son. He said the author is a Jewish guy with glasses who loves sports and math, just like him. It's perfect. Read morePublished on December 6, 2013 by Amazon Customer
I didn't know that some of the baseball players in this book were Jewish...The book is full of very interesting information. Great reading!Published on September 8, 2013 by jerry l
This book was fun to read. Lots of susrprises and virtually unknown players.
Once you get past a hand full of players, from Kofax, Greenberg, there aren't
too many... Read more
Great for Trivia conversation and general knowledge. An easy read.Found information that I was not aware of but will share with others.Published on January 31, 2013 by Barry Wilensky
Great book, arrived promptly.Don't want to do any more reviews if I have to write more than I want to.Published on December 11, 2012 by Junellen Schleifer