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The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball Paperback – March 10, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc. (March 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597971294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597971294
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,550 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I can heartily recommend . . . The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, by a trio of talented sabermatricians." -- Rob Neyer

From the Publisher

"I can heartily recommend . . . The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, by a trio of talented sabermatricians." -- Rob Neyer, co-author of The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers

"It's the book I've always wanted to do."--John Dewan, author of The Fielding Bible


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Customer Reviews

The research done in this book is very strong.
Jesse Radin
The book walks you through the analysis of the game of baseball using various statistical methods and a recent dataset.
D. Peters
This book is at the top of my recommendation list for thinking baseball fans.
King Yao

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By King Yao on June 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other sabermetric books have been written in the last few years, The Book is the best one by far. It is chock full of information, results from research and answers a lot of interesting baseball questions. The three authors, Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin have academic backgrounds and work for major league teams as employees or consultants. They use statistical methods to extract and comprehend information from a massive database of baseball games.

For the layman, there may be too much math throughout the book. However, they do a fantastic job of summarizing each idea in plain English at the end of each section. For example, in chapter 2 on hot and cold streaks, after presenting data, explaining their process and interpreting results, they summarize the section with "Knowing that a hitter has been in or is in the midset of a hot or cold streak has little predictive value. Always assume that a player will hit at his projected norm (adjusted for the park, weather, and pitcher he is facing), regardless of how he has performed in the very recent past. A player's recent history may be used as a tiebreaker."

Managers, players, fans and the media often put too much emphasis on results from small samples sizes. The authors warn against making this mistake. "One of the pervasive themes of this book is the danger of inferring too much from too little by underestimating the influence of randomness". For example, they summarize a section on pitcher-batter matchups with: "Knowing a player will face a particular opponent, and given the choice between that player's 1,500 PA (plate appearances) over the past three years against the rest of the league or twenty-five PA against that particular opponent, look at the 1,500 PA.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Angus on December 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the single most important math-centered analysis of baseball since The Hidden Game of Baseball came out over 20 years ago. I unreservedly recommend it for those already experienced with statistical analysis of baseball (the authors are much better at insight and explaining to the initiated than they are the Dick & Jane bits).

They attack a sequence of important subjects, mostly around game-tactics and, by consequence, roster-construction with hard data. And they are aware of an important bit of knowledge: (a) that not everything is measurable, and (b) that some aspects of the not measurable are important.

One star short of maximum because it's not a page-turner for most readers; the writing is more than adequate, but not energizing, so it's a book most will pick up, read 15 pages, put down to digest.

I'm very glad I read it. This is a keeper even for a limited-shelf-space baseball reader; I'm squeezing it in right next to "Hidden Game".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elihu D. Feustel on October 1, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The authors of "The Book" reveal truths of baseball derived from careful statistical analysis. The clear explanations are such that any person who can understand percentages will gain insight from the book. The conclusions (and data upon which they are based) are truly amazing. I have never read a book on baseball in this league. Every angle of the game is analyzed objectively. While it is presented such that "non-math" people can understand it, there is enough meat to the analysis that substantiate the conclusions without scaring the average reader.

My purpose in studying baseball is from a sports betting perspective. The conclusions (such as run equity and win percentages given different situations) make this book a mandatory purchase for anyone who bets on Baseball live, or conducts a very thorough analysis of moneyline prices.

There has never been a book on baseball so well written that targets all ranges of sabr-metric fans. This will teach you the subtleties in baseball that add small percentages to winning games and scoring runs. If you are a fantasy baseball player, a lot of this content is invaluable to you as well.
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Eric M. Van on November 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Take it from a professional sabermetrician: this might be the best and most important single volume in our field. It's a splendid complement to Baseball Between the Numbers, addressing many of the same questions but in many cases digging deeper. The authors have impeccable reputations in the online sabermetrics community. While they can't match Bill James for wit or BP for snarkiness, the writing is clear and solid.

I don't think that any of the findings here (some of which are truly eye-opening) will end up as the very last word on the subject: but more often than not they are the latest word. And that makes the book an essential purchase for anyone serious about understanding the game of baseball.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Russell A. Carleton on August 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
A strictly Sabermetric book (the table of contents has a listing of tables and figures... there's 100+ of them in here.) The work is strong, especially the chapter on Game Theory. If you liked Baseball Between the Numbers and are hungry for more, this is a good next step. If you're already into Sabermetrics, get this one. This is a model work.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Arturo M. Perez on September 24, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me start off by saying the book has very interesting information. However, the publishing part of it was very poor. There are grammatical errors, typos, missing spaces, etc. I am not sure if I got a preliminary version or what but it is just awful.

The book does miss a key idea on the bunting chapter. It does not differentiate between sac bunts and bunts for base hits. Some of the information is a little redundant. I recommend "Baseball Between the Numbers" if you want to keep reading about interesting baseball stats.

Also, the information on this book is a little outdated. It would be interesting to see "The Book 2" or something with more recent numbers
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