It's a fascinating performance, as insightful as it is argumentative. (Neyer, a columnist for ESPN.com, and Epstein, a former baseball exec, don't always see eye to eye, and some of their disagreements are posted as dialogues.) Along the way, they debunk some myths (Mantle's 565-foot home run) and create new stats to test relative performance (one makes Johnny Bench the best catcher of all time--no problem there--with Mickey Cochrane second). Poignantly, they also project some "what-ifs," as in what if Lou Gehrig had stayed healthy for the '39 Yankees.
After parsing and reparsing team after team, Neyer and Epstein arrive at their conclusion, and while they pretty much disagree on places 2 through 15, they manage to present a unified front for No. 1. It's a team in pinstripes, but probably not the first--or second--to come to mind. Given the precision with which way they lay out their case, you'll have to work awfully hard to overturn their verdict. --Jeff Silverman
Few athletes are part of one baseball dynasty. I was fortunate enough to be part of two. This book captures the unique characteristics that make great teams great. -- Davey Johnson
It's wonderful to read a book by someone who really knows something about the great teams, knows things that I don't know, knows even important things that I didn't know. This is the book that everybody else who writes about great teams, for the next 30 years, will have to begin by reading, just so they know what they're talking about. -- Bill James