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The BILL JAMES GUIDE TO BASEBALL MANAGERS: From 1870 to Today Hardcover – May 14, 1997
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James has built a career on finding the art and wisdom in baseball's numbers. Here he answers--in words as well as the numbers to back them up--everything you've ever wanted to know about dugout skippers, from the game's dinosaur days in the 1870s right up to today. Dividing his book into decade stretches, James examines the best managers of each time period, analyzing their contributions, detailing their styles, pointing out quirks, dissecting strengths and weaknesses, and comparing them with others. Along the way, he adds some fascinating essays--on the Dodger farm system, for example, the influence of Ned Hanlon, and the worst single managerial job of all time. Like all of James's work, it's filled with charts and statistics that open doors to both the managerial mind and baseball's inner workings. --Jeff Silverman, Sports editor
From Library Journal
The manager's job is to organize the work of all the team members, and anyone whose job is to manage will readily recognize the delights and frustrations of looking after "the boys of summer." Prolific baseball writer James has compiled a who's who of baseball managers from 1870 to the present day, organized by decade. Each section is essentially a snapshot featuring the most successful managers with profiles, statistics, and detailed explanations as to why each stands out from the rest. A delightful collection that will satisfy baseball fans of all ages.?Larry Little, Penticton P.L., British Columbia
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
The book has the feel of something written on-the-fly almost like an article in a cheap magazine. He often left ideas hanging as though the reader knew where he was going or what he meant to say. The author attempts to explain his philosophy about two-thirds of the way through the book and then not in what I considered a satisfactory manner. If you are a casual or not a baseball fan, you will most likely skip right through this section. The names of the teams managed by the managers are also either left unidentified or hidden within the written material.
I did like his attempt at mathematical modeling of performance although trying to decipher the tables and ideas would take someone really interested in the subject a long time to verify and understand. His section on revising the back of a baseball card to statistically represent what a manager did during his managing career and not his playing career was something I had never really considered.
If you are a speed reader, it is not an easy read due to what I consider poor structure. If you are a leisurely reader and don’t mind just reading for entertainment, you might like this book especially if you are a baseball fan.
A feature of the book that I particularly appreciate is that the chapters are relatively short and self-contained. I like to keep a book that I can read in short bursts on my Kindle, so I'll have something to occupy my time while waiting on others, during shopping trips, for instance! This book fills the bill perfectly.
There a couple things to note, though: The anecdotes and asides sometimes border on tedious, but they do underscore James's arguments well as he meanders through the history of baseball. Also, as can be expected, there is much overlap in terms of managerial style throughout the decades, which forces James to repeat a fair amount of information or reference earlier chapters. While this sort of writing reinforces the points made, it makes the book rather long.
Still, this book is definitely worth the read for any baseball fan, though I wouldn't recommend it for those just entering the world of baseball literature.