When taking on a legend, you'd better be daring, you'd better be different, and you'd also better deliver the goods. Total Baseball
, the upstart reference for cyberfans, satisfies all those criteria, and then some. Like the older, more established Baseball Encyclopedia
, it is a mammoth volume filled with yearly results, awards, detailed post-season and all-star accounts, and the complete career statistics of every major league player. But while the Encyclopedia
is basically a book of numbers, Total Baseball
also crams in hundreds of pages of words: there are essays on everything baseball. The lineup ranges from the traditional--team histories, the 100 best players, baseball reporting--to the marvelously esoteric--Jewish ballplayers, women and baseball, movies, memorabilia, and poet Donald Hall
's provocative analysis of the national significance of "Casey at the Bat." A caveat: the player statistics are crammed so tightly you'll wish Total Baseball
included a magnifying glass. Still, squinting is a small price to pay for so big a chunk of baseball heaven.
Baseball is on a roll, and here is the latest edition of this standard reference source to document such recent highlights as the Mark McGwire^-Sammy Sosa home-run race of 1998.
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