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Customer Review

14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One glaring problem, January 28, 2002
This review is from: Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball (Hardcover)
This is a vital book if one is a serious baseball fan. It has all the key (and not so key) stats from every season of big league ball. It also has team histories, greatest player profiles, and an overview of the game's history by John Thorn. So yes, I recommend this. However....
The editors made a decision to revert to the 1876 and 1887 scoring methods. (In 1876 walks were outs; In 1887, they were hits). So Tip O'Neill is now listed as having the best batting average ever (.492 in 1887).
While I disagree, I could respect the decision if it were consistent. However, the editors themselves can't even agree. In the Braves' team history, it says that Hugh Duffy's .440 mark in 1894 is the best average ever. This completely contradicts the book's listing of all-time top averages.
Furthermore, saves did not become a stat until 1969, so if Thorn & Co. were serious about going with how things were scored in a certain year, there would be no saves listed before that season.
Finally, if it is revealed that batting averages from a given year were in error, the correct totals are listed instead. But (and this is just plain nuts), if the correct totals result in a change to the batting champion, they list the person with the lower average first! For instance, for the year of the Cobb/Lajoie controversy, it lists the batting leaders as:
Cobb .383
Lajoie .384
Total Baseball recognizes that Paul Hines led the NL in average, home runs and RBI the same year. Yet it refuses to list him as a Triple Crown winner because that year it was erroneously believed he did not lead the league in average! Such silliness is not in keeping with an otherwise excellent reference.
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