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Behind the scenes of baseball stats,
This review is from: The Numbers Game: Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics (Hardcover)
Alan Schwarz has written a book that will appeal to all baseball fans, but particularly those who are as interested in the statistics of the game as the game itself. Beginning with the creation of the basic box score and scorecard and continuing to the development of statistical measurements only an MIT scientist could comprehend, Schwarz takes the reader behind the scene into the evolution of baseball statistics in the mid-18th century through the recent years of sabremeticians such as the well known Bill James and a host of lesser known, but no less important, creators of new methods to analyze the sport of baseball.
Schwarz wisely does not get heavily into the statistical design of new formulas that correlate batter activities with runs, or pitcher strikeouts with runs prevented. Instead he attempts to bring into focus the individuals who collected, sorted, and analyzed the data. There are many baseball fans who are likely to recognize names like Seymour Siwoff, John Thorn, Peter Palmer, and John Dewan as editors of several major baseball reference works, but how many know who these men are and why they
have spend years of their lives devoted to baseball statistics? Schwarz provides mini-biographies of many of these individuals as a means to understanding their life long devotion to baseball stats.
Schwarz covers a wide area: the history of today's recognized baseball statistics; the pioneers and today's computer geeks; the rivalries (such as Elias verus STATS); the slow accceptance of new analytical methods of player capabilities among the baseball establishment and the very recent rise to power of statistic gurus without ballplaying experience into the executive levels of team baseball. Anyone who found Michael Lewis' Moneyball of interest should run out and get this book to learn the background story behind the use of computer-generated baseball statistics as the logical replacement tool for old-timer gut instinct to analyze ballplayers.