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Outsider Baseball: The Weird World of Hardball on the Fringe, 18761950 Hardcover – March 1, 2014
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"Scott has amazing things to reveal to us about the game we love—a game we thought we were pretty knowledgable about, until now...Simkus’ book is a major step in rediscovering the talents and accomplishments of an entire class of ball players ignored and forgotten until now. This book will inspire further histories and fuel many a Hot Stove League debate. Outside Baseball is a great story, a collection of amazing, previously unknown statistics, and a first peak at a whole new universe of baseball." —Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine"This book is a total joy to read, and is breezy despite the focu on stats. Simkus clearly loves his subject and it shows. If you have any interest in old-time baseball at all, run, don't walk, to get this book..." —The Book Stew
“A must-read for anyone with more than a passing interest in the national pastime. This careful, provocative examination of baseball’s history and mystery challenges much of the conventional wisdom surrounding the sport, forcing us to see the game in a different light.” —Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
"Simkus is at his best when presenting the wild and wacky leagues and players. He respects the game and its statistics, but he also strikes a balance with his breezy prose that number geeks and casual fans should find appealing." —The Tampa Tribune
“The obsessive author takes you into the world of semipro teams, independent clubs, minor league sides and barnstorming outfits. Think you know the history of the game? Simkus will open your eyes to whole new worlds.” —Newsday
"...the amount of research he's done—not to mention his number-crunching—is heroic. Just for that, Outisder Basebell deserves to be read by every baseball history junkie." —ChicagoReader.com
About the Author
Scott Simkus is the founder and editor of the Outsider Baseball Bulletin. He is the winner of a research award from the Society of American Baseball Research for his work on the Negro League Database.
Top Customer Reviews
Now: imagine there’s the equivalent of another Negro Leagues or two out there that you barely knew existed. In the first half of the twentieth century, the semipro Brooklyn Bushwicks used to draw more people than a lot of MLB teams. There are semipro players who could have had big careers in MLB, but the modest pay in this era wasn’t enough of an inducement to get them to leave the Pacific Coast League, or to have to give up a lucrative day job in their home town selling insurance, say.
There are more offshoots and undercards than just blackball, semipro baseball, and the high minors, but you get the idea. Maybe you didn’t know that Babe Ruth actually hit 1,031 home runs in his career, counting all the exhibitions and barnstorming. The off-the-books game gets it statistical due here, as much as is possible, and it’s all fascinating.
Simkus has a go at estimating old-timers’ pitching speeds. There used to be some interest in the longest distance someone could throw a ball, and he has a way to translate that to speed. (He comes upon his algorithm a bit casually and I’m no physicist.) Unfortunately Walter Johnson isn’t in the data base, but (outfielder) Rocky Colavito and Satchel Paige are. Also Babe Didrickson. This last prompts some deconstruction of an exhibition where she struck out Ruth and Gehrig, who (spoiler alert) weren’t really trying. Still, she threw 70mph in 1931, which is what a good high school pitcher throws.Read more ›
In what I had hoped would be the highlight of the book, the author attempted to devise a scheme to measure teams of different generations and assign them a score so they can be compared. I was very anxious to read this passage and hoped he had accomplished his goal. Instead, he devised an utterly archaic system of an almost unbelievably random nature. Goal…unaccomplished.
I really wish this book could have come through for me in the way I had hoped. I will continue to explore for more books that feed my hunger for baseball history. This book, unfortunately, is going to be returned.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am the granddaughter of Horace Hannaford who is pictured on the cover, 5th from right. My uncle Ezra "Cookey" Hannaford is 5th from left. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A so so rehash of early baseball. I found nothing revealing or a revelation regarding the book.Published 23 months ago by D. W. Nolan
I thought this was a perfect book as a baseball fan. The author introduced me to all these wonderful players both from a personality perspective with these great stories and also... Read morePublished on March 10, 2014 by dogfish
A fantastic read for anyone with an interest in Baseball History. The basic concept of the book is to show just how different the structure and talent distribution of organized... Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Daniel G Hirsch
This book has it all. Infinite research on unique and bizarre baseball history, stats and details which make one contemplate, and most importantly, an author who wonderfully tells... Read morePublished on March 5, 2014 by Vicky Sheynin