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Total Baseball, Completely Revised and Updated: The Ultimate Baseball Encyclopedia (Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball) Hardcover – June 2, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The eighth edition of Total Baseball lives up to even the highest expectations. By continuing to supplement, amend, and expand, this publication reminds us how hard work and dedication can result in a reference book that significantly improves with each edition. Thorn, chief editor, has masterfully integrated previous editions with much new content from many new and old contributors. Covering major league baseball in wondrous detail, this is, as the new subtitle proclaims, truly the ultimate baseball encyclopedia.

Improvements and enhancements since the seventh edition include the introduction of new statistical measures, a new organizational structure, and detailed table of contents. The important and well-written essays (many new to this edition, others revised from previous editions) that appear here set this volume apart from other comprehensive baseball reference works. These essays are sprinkled throughout the volume and cover ideas such as a discussion of the secret behind the recent success of the Oakland Athletics ("Moneyball"), a ranking of the greatest teams of all time (the '39 Yankees rank first), and an overview of recent research that uncovered the appearance of William Edward White in a 1879 Providence Grays game. White was the first black man, and only former slave, ever to appear in major league game, predating Jackie Robinson's breaking of the color barrier by a full 68 years.

Sections 2 through 5 highlight another new feature in this edition, year-by-year essays covering every single year of major league baseball from 1873 to 2003. As in previous editions and other sections of the encyclopedia, statistics supplement the knowledgeable prose. The reader will also find some wonderful historical essays that originally appeared in the pages of SPORT magazine.

About half of the volume is made up of detailed statistics for every player ever to appear in a major league game. Other statistical sections, including records, awards, and MVP and Hall of Fame voting results, help round out this tribute to the statistical minutiae that fascinates many baseball fans. For anyone who wants to know all about baseball statistics, the detailed "Glossary of Statistical Terms" will delight (and perhaps overwhelm).

Total Baseball demonstrates how a fanatical commitment to sharing the love of the game can produce a truly remarkable reference work. If your library can only afford one book about baseball, this is it. Highly recommended; supercedes the seventh and all previous editions. Jeff Kosokoff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"The book is essential, irreplaceable..." -- Katherine A. Powers in Boston Globe on October 24, 2004

Product Details

  • Series: Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball
  • Hardcover: 2688 pages
  • Publisher: Sport Media Publishing; 8 Rev Upd edition (June 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 189496327X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1894963275
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 3.1 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #627,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By M. Carroll on June 29, 2004
I have read two previous editions of Total Baseball and this 8th edition is the very best. For all TB readers out there the 8th edition still has complete statisical player guide with the standard statistics baseball historian tend to expect. The newest stat added is the Win Shares for each season and carrier. Anyone would has read Bill James' Historical Baseball abstract is familiar with this stat.
What makes the 8th ed of TB a better book than all that have come before are the essays on both the historical progession of the game and on hot botton issues. Essays take on hot button subjects as the greatest team of all time (not the '27 Yanks) and whether Bonds is the greatest ever. Also included are essays from contemorary SPORT magizines on player profiles.
In short this book is simply the greatest as far as historical reference and as always is the greatest stat guide ever produced. 5 stars +
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Purplelabrador on January 2, 2005
This is the best statistical resource I have seen. It is comprehensive; you will find just about anything you're looking for in here. All of the traditional statistics plus many of the analytical stats developed by the Society of American Baseball Research to determine more accurate measures of a players actual impact on winning games. It also includes a number of interesting articles on the evolution of the game, which anyone with an interest in baseball history will find invaluable. This reference tool is well worth the price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K.A.Goldberg on November 13, 2010
I was once addicted to the Baseball Encyclopedia, but Total Baseball is even better. As with the former, Total Baseball provides the complete annual and career pitching and batting statistics of every man that ever played in a major league contest; from ancients like Cap Anson and the Delahanty brothers, to stars like Babe Ruth, DiMaggio and Aaron, to great no-names like Yam Yaryan, midget Eddie Gaedel, and Archibald "Moonlight" Graham of the 1905 NY Giants (and the movie "Field of Dreams"). But Total Baseball goes much further. First, it presents a lot of sabermetrics, the science of baseball stats developed by guru's like Bill James and Rod Thorn. Thus we get a host of scientific statistics like on-base percentages and OPS (on-base plus slugging). There are also seasonal attendance figures, post-season play, plus the starting lineups of every big league squad from the Cleveland Spiders of the late 1800's, to the 1904 New York Highlanders (Yankees), 1922 St. Louis Browns, 2003 Pittsburgh Pirates, etc. Then there are the all-time records, like most doubles in a career (Tris Speaker, 792) and a season (Earl Webb, 67), most strikeouts (Nolan Ryan, 5714 career, 383 season), etc. At 2,500 pages this is a rather massive book; you'll probably end up placing it on a table and pulling up a chair to read it (they probably should have divided it into two volumes). Still, this is an excellent reference and great reading for everybody from casual fans and to hardcore baseball addicts.

I was sorry to see that Total Baseball has apparently been discontinued, although increasingly such information is available on the internet. Still, this large and wonderful book is a treasure.
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