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Sports journalist Schwarz brings to the fore this intelligent, smartly researched and often hilarious look at the use of statistics in baseball, which Schwarz definitively shows to "date back to the game's earliest days in the 19th century." It will delight any fan who memorizes the numbers on the back of trading cards or pores over newspaper box scores. The book's success is rooted in its focus on the people "obsessed with baseball's statistics ever since the box score started it all in 1845," rather than being about the statistics themselves. The reader is presented with enthusiastic but unvarnished looks at such key figures as Henry Chadwick, whose love for numbers led to his inventing the box score grid that remains, Schwarz shows, "virtually unchanged to this day"; Allan Roth, the numbers man hired by the Brooklyn Dodgers who was as important to the team's success as its famed GM Branch Rickey; and the all-but-forgotten work of George Lindsey, one of the first people to apply statistical analysis to weigh various baseball strategies. Delivered in a delightfully breezy and confident style, this volume also serves as an excellent alternate or parallel history of the sport, as we see how the statistics influenced the game itself—such as the banning of the spitball—as much as they were used to detail individual games.
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One of the most engrossing histories of baseball ever. (From the Foreword by Peter Gammons)
A romp . . . Schwarz merrily keeps ratcheting up the book's wows-per-page average. (The Washington Post)
The pastime behind the national pastime . . . a very human look at generations of baseball fanatics. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
A riveting history of the search for new baseball knowledge. (Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball)
The language of baseball is statistics, and Alan Schwarz gives us an unprecedented look at one of the world's great romance languages. Schwarz deftly illuminates the history and relevance of baseball statistics and is at the tops of his game introducing the people behind the numbers. (Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated)
Alan Schwarz makes statistics as interesting as games and the people who play them. Who knew that numbers could have such personality? (Sally Jenkins, author of Funny Cide and the bestselling It's Not About the Bike)
One of the very best baseball journalists working today, (Schwarz) has written a wonderful history that will appeal even to those with no particular interest in the game . . . Remarkable. (The New York Observer)
An enormously entertaining and engrossing book that should be read by everyone. (The Seattle Times)
An essential book for any baseball library, one that simultaneously makes for breezy reading and holds up as an essential piece of research. (The Chicago Sports Review)
What sounds potentially dry -- a stat freak family tree -- is instead a lush landscape of eccentric scientists, pack-rat alcoholics, back-stabbing partners and a minimum-wage night watchman whose essays created a sensation (perhaps you've heard of Bill James). (The San Jose Mercury News)
Reads like a whodunit . . . with a season-full of heretofore under-reported facts, nuances and stories. (Long Beach Press-Telegram)
Intelligent, smartly researched and often hilarious. (Publishers Weekly)
Alan Schwarz turns the numbers of baseball into musical notes. He makes you understand them, he makes you care about them, and in the end, he makes you share his passion for them. (Mike Lupica, New York Daily News)
If you want to understand all the buzz about "Analytics," then read Alan Schwarz's book. The field of statistical analysis is in business, politics and every profession... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Mark Souder
if you are a coach, or parent, these are some great stories and lessons to be learned. its so fun that its a quick read.Published 21 months ago by Jason Miller
What a delightful read! I have been a stats geek ever since I first started cutting out baseball cards on the back of Post Cereal boxes. Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by M. Hearing
After the ORIGINAL Bill James' Historical Baseball Abstract, this may be the best nuts & bolts baseball book I have ever read. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by King Leo
Baseball statistics are more than just random bits of information we use to describe a player's season or career. Baseball stats are currency in the land of hardball fandom. Read morePublished on July 16, 2012 by Reid Mccormick
The Numbers Game is a tribute to 140 years of obsessive interest in baseball statistics. Until the 1980s, most of these obsessives were either journalists or fans, rather than... Read morePublished on May 28, 2012 by C. Griffith
Author Alan Schwartz examines baseball statistics and the individuals that developed and promoted them. Read morePublished on February 26, 2011 by K.A.Goldberg
This book traces the evolution of baseball statistics as well as the fight to have accurate historical records. Read morePublished on June 5, 2009 by Michael L. Slavin
Yes, this is a book about baseball statistics and the numbers - but more than that, it discusses the people who made these statistics more important, starting with Henry Chadwick... Read morePublished on July 3, 2007 by Jeff Bullock