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
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