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Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame [Kindle Edition]

Bill James
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $18.00
Kindle Price: $11.14
You Save: $6.86 (38%)
Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc


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Book Description

Arguing about the merits of players is the baseball fan's second favorite pastime and every year the Hall of Fame elections spark heated controversy. In a book that's sure to thrill--and infuriate--countless fans, Bill James takes a hard look at the Hall, probing its history, its politics and, most of all, its decisions.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

James examines the history, politics and voting decisions surrounding the controversial elections to baseball's Hall of Fame.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Dan Gutman Newsday Let's just let Bill James decide who belongs in the Hall of Fame. He's proven that he knows more about baseball than anybody in the whole world....

Product Details

  • File Size: 2639 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00BORSOME
  • Publisher: Free Press (April 6, 1995)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,299 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
38 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hot Stove League Commissioner? May 2, 2002
After reading "Politics of Glory" I would like to nominate Bill James for Hot Stove League Commissioner. The Hot Stove League is where baseball hungry fans spend their winter days arguing that "My favorite player is better than yours!" James approaches baseball arguments the way a Philadelphia lawyer evaluates lucrative contracts, by examining every point with microscopic clarity.
A book about the Hall of Fame, with its unending controversies over just who is truly deserving of entry and who is not, is ideal grist for the analytical mind of James. He covers many controversies, two of which surround Dodger pitcher Don Drysdale and Yankee shortstop Phil Rizzuto. Drysdale had been voted into the Hall by the time James wrote his book while Rizzuto was elected just as James was completing his final chapter. The evaluations of both players were so thorough that James concluded his analysis of Drysdale by covering the tall right-hander's performance in pennant stretch drives of the Dodgers as well as in the twelve games James deemed the most crucial of his career excluding World Series performances. Rizzuto's Hall of Fame worthiness was ultimately evaluated by a statistically microscopic comparison of the Yankee star with his counterpart New York contemporary at shortstop, Pee Wee Reese of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In addition to comparing and contrasting players both in and out of the Hall, James also delves into the politics of Cooperstown. He decries the period of the fifties and sixties for what he deems less than deserving choices made by the Veterans Committee.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Sabermetrics is all about November 29, 1999
Back in the 70s, when Tony Kubek was considered a baseball savant, Bill James began popularizing a rigorous statistical analysis of baseball. In the 80s, when the pedantry of the Elias Baseball Analyst team threatened to remove the ideas from the study of the game, James kept chugging along with his yearlies, and the Historical Abstract (another must read). Later he produced this, probably his best work. For anyone who shakes his head at a player or manager dismissing another's opinion by saying "He never played the game;" for anyone who is not cowed by the received truth of an inside "authority" or eyewitness, for anyone who loves baseball and thinks we can do better by using the tools at our disposal, Bill James is a godsend. If you're a big baseball fan and you don't know who he is, get this for yourself. It will open up your appreciation of the game, its history, and the numbers and debates that keep its history alive.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Elightening Look at the Hall of Fame February 1, 2004
For anyone who has ever been interested in baseball's Hall of Fame, from being a serious historian of the game to simply being a fan who wanted your favorite player to be honored, this book will teach you a great deal.
Bill James, in a very entertaining style, will show you how some of the game's greatest players have been overlooked for the game's highest honor, while lesser men have been awarded. He will show you the passion of those who promote a certain player for election, while also demonstrating how illogical many can be as they argue for their favorites. He shows the inconsistency of the various voting bodies, the chronyism, the politics, and most other aspects of the long history of the Hall of Fame's process for determining the game's greatest players. It is a subject not often outlined in this depth, and James does a splendid job with it.
There are some flaws. James, as he often does, contradicts his own previously stated views on some players, and does so without explanation, which can be maddening to anyone who has read most of his work. He also has the unnecessary habit of insulting people for no real reason. As a man who can write so well and express his views in such detail and with such clarity, it doesn't appear to be necessary, when citing an example of one fan's opinion about Mickey Lolich, to answer this question:
"Am I the only baseball fan who feels that statistics provide, at best, a meager measure of a player's worth?"
with this answer:
"Well, no, Mr. Miedlar, actually, there are an amazing number of idiots in the world."
Stooping to that level is entertaining at times, but it also serves to convince the reader that James is a bit full of himself, and a bit of a bully to boot.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, refreshingly logical February 2, 2005
Noted baseball analyst Bill James, author of the famous annual Baseball Abstracts of the 1980s and other baseball books, turns his considerable talents to Cooperstown. Here, James discusses the ultimate baseball question: Who belongs in the Hall of Fame?

If you liked the Abstracts, you'll probably like this too. If you want a calm, logical, insightful discussion of Hall of Fame history and candidates, this is the place.

James uses a number of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, to evaluate whether someone should or should not be in the Hall of Fame. Some of these appeared in his previous books, others are new. Perhaps his most important contribution is a discussion of common fallacies used in hyping Hall of Fame candidates.

James focuses on two candidates in particular: Don Drysdale (inducted 1983) and Phil Rizzuto (inducted 1994, just before this book was released in hardcover). Others who get a good deal of attention include Hall of Famers Bobby Doerr, Joe Tinker, Catfish Hunter, and Pee Wee Reese along with Joe Gordon, George Davis, Jerry Priddy, Luis Tiant, Orlando Cepeda, Tony Oliva, Vern Stephens, Pete Rose, and Joe Jackson. Davis and Cepeda have since been inducted.

James also traces the institutional history of the Hall of Fame: how it was founded, how it developed, how the selection process evolved, when the standards began to get lax (in 1946!), problems with cronyism (he harshly denounces the 1970s Veterans' Committee), the debate over inducting Negro Leaguers, the Pete Rose debate, and more.

A fascinating chapter addresses both sides of that eternal debate: "Are today's players better than yesteryear's?"

This is one of the best books on the Hall of Fame you will find!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Smart But Unfocused
Bill James is the dean of baseball statistics for a reason, and that reason's readily apparent when he's on a roll. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bill Slocum
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book that will leave you wanting more.
Yes, it's a pretty long book, and very thorough as well. Bill James' argues both sides of an issue so well, you'll find yourself agreeing with everything he says until he comes to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jesse Radin
5.0 out of 5 stars If you like baseball stats you'll love this
I enjoyed this book as I do most of Bill's work. I especially like that he agrees with me that Ken Boyer belongs in the Hall.
Published 7 months ago by Brian K. Brinkman
3.0 out of 5 stars This book is not for beginners
I have always been intrigued by Bill James. He is most likely the premier baseball scholar of all time. Read more
Published on April 5, 2011 by Patrick M. Carroll
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book For An Intro To Bill James' Work
Serious students of the grand old game and its magic are by now well familiar with the name Bill James. Read more
Published on February 5, 2011
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Perspective
Bill James has a way of analyzing the game of baseball like no other statistician or baseball guru in the world. Read more
Published on September 26, 2010 by Larry Underwood
1.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book - But It's Old
Great book. Only problem is I already own it and have read it.

More than ten years ago, in the middle of my initial Bill James kick, I bought 'The Politics Of Glory. Read more
Published on May 31, 2009 by Duke C. Cullinan
1.0 out of 5 stars This book had a chance and James choked in the clutch!
The Baseball Hall of Fame is full of paradoxes and Bill James turns into a literary paradoxical decomposition throughout this effort. Read more
Published on November 23, 2007 by Joyce H. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe The Book That Did It For Me
This book may have been the one that finally sold me on Bill James - he asks alot of logical questions about who should and shouldn't be in the Hall Of Fame and I buy most of what... Read more
Published on June 27, 2007 by Jeffrey C. Bullock
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!
Good info inside, the Hall of fame looks likme a social club of some veterans players
Published on November 3, 2006 by Mario H. Rodriguez
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