- Hardcover: 464 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (July 25, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250071216
- ISBN-13: 978-1250071217
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #285,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Cooperstown Casebook: Who's in the Baseball Hall of Fame, Who Should Be In, and Who Should Pack Their Plaques Hardcover – July 25, 2017
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"There is no one whose insights I value more, come Hall of Fame season, than Jay Jaffe. And there is no one whose invention (JAWS) has made my life easier as a voter than Jay Jaffe. He's Bill James and Thomas Edison rolled into one!" ―Jayson Stark, baseball writing legend
"With The Cooperstown Casebook, Jay Jaffe has given us the definitive guide to the greatest players in baseball history, and the Hall of Fame. Smart and a lot of fun, this book reads like some of Bill James's finest work, which is the highest compliment a seamhead who grew up on Bill James can offer." ―Jonah Keri, bestselling author of The Extra 2% and Up, Up, & Away
"Jay Jaffe has revolutionized how we think about not just the Hall of Fame, but about baseball itself. This book taught me much about the Hall of Fame, but it taught me even more about baseball. I am smarter for having read it, and, even better, it's a blast to read." ―Will Leitch, author of Are We Winning? and God Save the Fan, senior writer for Sports On Earth, and founder of Deadspin
"Jaffe pulls no punches here, yet he shares enough pure information to make this nearly indispensable for informed debate." ―Booklist (starred review)
"For those who like to wade into the statistical weeds of baseball – to analyze player performance using today’s advanced metrics – The Cooperstown Casebook delivers." ―The Christian Science Monitor
"Jay Jaffe's The Cooperstown Casebook reminds me so much of vintage Bill James writing, like the New Bill James Historical Abstract, in the best possible way." ―Keith Law, ESPN.com senior baseball writer
About the Author
JAY JAFFE is a contributing baseball writer for SI.com. He is the founder of the Futility Infielder website, one of the oldest baseball blogs, and from 2005-2012 was a columnist for Baseball Prospectus. He has been a recurring guest on MLB Network’s MLB Now and Clubhouse Confidential shows and a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America since 2011. He lives in Brooklyn. The Cooperstown Casebook is his first book.
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We know, of course, that various iterations of Veterans Committees enshrined some undeserving players while failing to honor other, much better players. It seems to me that we need to come to an understanding of the subjective and irrational nature of stardom. There is a difference between being a star player and winning ball games. For example, recent inductee Vladimir Guerrero was almost identical in value to Bobby Abreu or Bobby Bonds. All have below the average performance statistics for Hall of Fame right fielders, but only Vladdy is seen as a star. A prime example of the shortcomings of sabermetrics is Rabbit Maranville, a genuine star recognized by the BBWAA whose value is not captured by the statistics of the era. We won't even try to discuss the weirdness surrounding third baseman.
One cannot be considered a true baseball nerd without having read this book. This baseball nerd recommends it highly despite its limits.
Mr. Jaffe is able to combine some basic statistical analysis with a good narrative style along with some funny comments. The first hundred pages has a number of chapters that provide the history, methods, and insights about the hall of fame. The next three hundred pages are evaluations of players in the Hall of Fame and those that are currently eligible or will be eligible soon (Mr. Jaffe also makes the case for people that have been unfairly passed over - Alan Trammel rates high on that list). I'm comfortable saying that there are two great books on the baseball hall of fame: Bill James's "The Politics of Glory" and now "The Cooperstown Casebook." If your favorite player didn't make the cut, Jaffe happily points out that it is because he hates that player, your team, and you.
* that last bit is a joke, but baseball writers get inundated with angry emails and comments about how they hate that particular fans' team