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Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggers: Adjusted Batting Performance from Strikeouts to Home Runs Hardcover – February 27, 2005

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Baseball fans, ever fascinated with statistics, should enjoy rifling through this information-packed work."--Library Journal

"Michael J. Schell has produced what may be the most rigorous effort yet to compare baseball players from various eras. And in the process, he has offered a tantalizing suggestion that steroids may not have affected the game as much as many people assume."--Christopher Shea, The Boston Globe

From the Inside Flap

"The way these things work, I don't suppose that Michael Schell's book will be the final word on ranking hitters. What I do know is that anybody who wants the final word will have to read this book first. And that will be the easy part."--Rob Neyer, ESPN.com

"Michael Schell has expanded on his original study of Baseball's All-Time Best Hitters to include all aspects of batting. He has written a well thought out and soundly based book, taking into account sophisticated time, age, park and positional adjustments to reach valid conclusions. There is plenty of math, but it is not necessary to understand the intricacies of the equations to appreciate the results."--Pete Palmer, co-editor of The Baseball Encyclopedia (with Gary Gillette) and co-author of The Hidden Game of Baseball (with John Thorn)

"Well-written and organized. Baseball's All-Time Best Sluggersstrikes the right balance between the statistical lingo of the professional statistician and the more familiar verbiage of baseball books."--Daniel Levitt, co-author, with Mark Armour, of Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way

"Some say it's impossible to compare hitters from different eras. In this book, Michael Schell meets that challenge head-on, using modern statistical methods to adjust for differences in eras, ballparks, and the level of competition. It may not settle every argument about the game's best all-time hitters, but it's sure to raise the quality of those arguments."--Tom Tippett, Principal Designer, Diamond Mind Baseball

"A significant contribution to the sabermetrics field. This book will be a fun read for any baseball fan."--Jim Albert, Bowling Green State University.

"Everyone knows that batting .300 in the major leagues is much harder than batting .300 in the minors. Although baseball rules and equipment change over time and parks differ, such differences in difficulty are ignored regularly by those who compare batters who played in different decades and/or in different stadiums. Michael Schell has painstakingly made the needed adjustments for eras, for park factors, for players' ages, and for variability in performances, so as to determine which batters really have been most dominant. There are many other treasures to be found here, and many methodological lessons to be learned and enjoyed by baseball enthusiasts and by those who think about player evaluations."--Carl Morris, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; First Edition edition (February 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691115575
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691115573
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,448,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Schell states the problem, tells you how he's going to analyze the problem and then presents a great read. If you want the details, there included at the end of the book. Just a great approach with solid logic. Two additional points:

1. If you are playing Fantasy Baseball (especially "Old-Timer") then you need this book and the Bill James Historical Abstract. Any other book is a very distant 3rd.

2. For baseball statistics/methods, this book is the best book out there and is addictive. That's why I bought it and I've been spending hours reading this book.

It's an excellent reference and I can't find any fault with it.
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Format: Hardcover
I am almost certain that the first two reviewers of this excellent book are confusing Schell's content in this book with the one he previously released. Mr. Schell has another book entitled "Baseball's All-Time Greatest HITTERS" in which he concludes that Tony Gwynn was the greatest HITTER of all-time. I can easily understand the mis-interpretation of "All-Time Best Sluggers," as Mr. Schell includes several tables, charts, graphs and discussions that would lead an uninformed reader to assume this book was about HITTING instead of SLUGGING. Schell examines all sorts of topics in "Sluggers," ranging from discussions of pure power to ones of walk and strikeout frequency and success.

If you do decide to pick up a copy of "Sluggers," do yourself a favor and also pick up a copy of "Hitters" and read it first. Doing this will give you a MUCH better understanding of the direction that Mr. Schell is taking with his newest book. He is looking at the numbers from all sides in "Sluggers," but his ultimate goal is to derive information about slugging, not pure hitting.
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Format: Hardcover
I think the book is an excellent addition to the work of adjusting baseball statistics because it takes into account many aspects in making adjustments to player batting statistics, not just adjusting for ballpark factor. My only concern is whether it is proper to adjust non-normal statistics to a normal bell curve when making adjustments.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was written by a statistician for other statisicians only. The conclusions reached by the author are better known by any informed baseball fan. His unique calculations show (to him) that Fred McGriff is a better hitter than Al Kaline, Harry Stovey better than Tony Gwynn and Joe Jackson, and Dolph Camilli better than Roberto Clemente. This book is a classic illustration of Mark Twain's saying:"There are 3 types of lies: lies, D___ Lies, and statistics."
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Schell is a professor of statistics at the University of North Carolina. I find that we have much in common. Like him, I work in biostatistics and also I am a great fan of baseball. An age old question in baseball is who is the greatest home run hitter of all time. Maturally Babe Ruth is usually the first name that comes to mind. At the time this book was written the use and affect of steroids on home run hitting was not as evident as it is today. The home run explosion of the 1990s with McGwire, Sosa and Bonds as the key sluggers was viewed as being based more on exceptional talent. We now know that all these players probably used steroids and steroid use may be a key factor in this performance.

Putting that aside Mike Schell uses classical statistical regression models to adjust home run total for effects that don't relate to talent. One of the most important factors is the nall park effect. Everyone knows that Boston's Fenway Park is far different in shape and home run potential than say Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium and before the idea of humidifying baseballs to compensate for the altitude Coors Stadium gave up the most home runs by far. Since ball players play half their games in their home park their home run total is naturally affected by the home field. So without adjustment for the home field it would be impossible to compare even contemporary sluggers among themselves. With DiMaggio being a right hand hitter playing in Yankee Stadium the ball park hurt his home run production. As a left handed pull hitter in Fenway park Williams did not reap the advantages of the left field Green Monster. Yankee Stadium favored left hand pull hitters thus helping hitters like Roger Maris but hurting the right hand power alley hitters like DiMaggio.
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