2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Another solid effort,
This review is from: Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends: The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else (Paperback)You can count on Rob Neyer for an interesting, informative and entertaining read when it comes to his Big Books. This is his third in the series (Lineups and Blunders being the first two). While it's interesting, I think it's the least interesting of the three. It's not necessarily Neyer's fault.
The premise of the book is that Neyer takes some legendary tales and tracks them down (much easier today thanks to the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) retrosheet web site and some digitized newspapers), trying to prove whether or not they're true. And, if so, to what extent.
Sometimes it turns out the tale is basically true with just a few minor errors. But, who really cares whether the score was 6-5 instead of 5-4, whether the home run was hit in the third inning instead of the fifth inning or if the incident occurred in August rather than July?
Neyer and the book are at their best, however, when he proves a tale couldn't possibly have happened.
Here's an example: Pitcher Nellie Briles tells the story that shortly after he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was pitching in a game with the tying run on second base with two outs in the ninth inning. A left-handed pull hitter was at the plate, but second baseman Bill Mazeroski insisted upon playing up the middle, despite Briles' objections. The hitter singled through the hole, Clemente fielded the ball and threw out the potential tying run at the plate. After the game, Mazeroski explained to Briles that he and Clemente had been working on that play all year.
Sounds like a great story, but Neyer couldn't find any game where the situation closely resembled what Briles described.