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Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame Paperback – April 6, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Daniel Okrent Once again, typical James: informative, insightful, amusing, and utterly persuasive. It will, I should add, be absolutely infuriating to the remaining baseball Luddites who don't realize what a genius Bill James is.
Richard Corliss Time For 452 sizzling pages, the game's premier stats solon and most passionate fan stir-fries the old debate about who does and doesn't deserve to be [in the Hall of Fame].
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....
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the book as a baseball junkie, but there were times when it was even a little too stat heavy for me. I did love the history of the HoF personally. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mark S. Randles
Loaded with facts, logical arguments, and counter-arguments from various perspectives, and some very clever dry humor to boot. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Pete Birmingham
Great book, but I docked it one point for the title. The original title,"The Politics of Glory," was perfect.Published 18 months ago by Capybara12
Bill James is the dean of baseball statistics for a reason, and that reason's readily apparent when he's on a roll. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Bill Slocum
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 morePublished on December 29, 2013 by Jesse Radin
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 on December 11, 2013 by Brian K. Brinkman
I have always been intrigued by Bill James. He is most likely the premier baseball scholar of all time. Read morePublished on April 5, 2011 by Patrick M. Carroll