- Hardcover: 1298 pages
- Publisher: Total/Sports Illustrated; First Edition edition (May 1, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1892129345
- ISBN-13: 978-1892129345
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.8 x 11.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia Hardcover – May 1, 2000
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Baseball wonks rejoice! Baseball: The Biographical Encyclopedia is here with information about the men behind the magic numbers 755, 70, 56, 1.12, and 4,256. This weighty tome presents 2,000 capsule biographies of players, Negro Leaguers, umpires, executives, minor leaguers, owners, and broadcasters. All the big names--Aaron to Zisk--are included in this treasure trove, as are some lesser-known figures such as D.L. Adams (who has a pretty strong claim as "the father of baseball"), Bill Klem ("the Babe Ruth of umpires"), Branch Rickey (who signed Jackie Robinson to the major leagues), and Charles "Victory" Faust (the New York Giants' good luck charm and occasional pitcher, with no wins, losses, saves, walks, or strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.50, in two innings pitched). Each entry includes cumulative statistics, dates and places of birth and death, and a picture of the subject. The descriptions are warm, if not effusive, celebrating the achievements of the game's greats as well as highlighting the positive contributions of some less fondly remembered by history. Fred Merkle, for example, best known for the "Merkle Boner," is described as a fine player who performed well in six World Series. An excellent addition to any baseball fan's library, destined to be shelved alongside Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. --M. Stein
From Library Journal
This compendium of 2000 baseball-related biographies, from Aaron to Zisk, comes from the editors of Total Baseball. It is no surprise that a multicontributor work this huge has some problems, as when the Smoky Burgess article declares that Burgess ?erased Red Lucas! career pinch hit mark of 114? while the Lucas bio states that ?Lucas! total of 114 lifetime pinch hits was?broken?by Jerry Lynch.? Likewise, some will wonder why Ken Griffey Sr. gets more space than Ken Griffey Jr. and why Phil Linz, best known for playing his harmonica at an inopportune time, is included when over 13,000 other major leaguers are not. But baseball thrives on such arguments. This pleasingly presented and written reference might not supplant The Ballplayers (LJ 4/1/90), with its 6000 entries, as the gold standard for baseball biographical encyclopedias, but with longer bios and an eye for the entertaining story, it belongs next to it on all comprehensive baseball reference shelves.?Jim Burns, Ottumwa P.L., IA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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That said, it isn't without its issues. It would have been great if the header for each player would have included a list of the teams they played for. That information isn't always completely clear in reading their biographies. The biographies themselves are a bit inconsistent. Some provide great detail, while others (for example Gates Brown) leave out critical details (such as his prison time). There are also a few typos, though in a volume this large, I guess that is to be expected.
I originally was upset that there was no mention of steroid use by the likes of Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Then I realized the book was published prior to those issues coming to light.
The book is fairly judicious in its selection of who is represented. However, there do seem to be a few people omitted and people included that I have to question. I completely understand including the likes of Eddie Gaedel and Herb Washington, as they were true aberrations to the game and their stories need to be told. But Joe Charboneau? One good season followed by a complete bust really doesn't justify inclusion. And a player who was in the majors for 15 years, even if he didn't play regularly (Phil Roof), really should have been included.
But these are nitpicks. If you like reading about the players you remember as you were growing up, this is a great book. You can pick it up, flip it open to any page, and start reading.
I have one relatively minor complaint. If they ever produce another edition, I would like to see a somewhat expanded stat line including things like major achievements (MVP's, Cy Young's), teams played for and ranking in important career categories.
Still this is a marvelous resource for finding out something beyond what you can get in just a player's stat line.