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Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders: A Complete Guide to the Worst Decisions and Stupidest Moments in Baseball History Paperback – June 5, 2006
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While the first blunder examined took place in 1917, this book is heavily weighted towards modern times. Only 15 take place before 1960, and almost half take place after 1970. Each incident is given about 4-7 pages of analysis, and many of the entries include side stories that Neyer includes in the margins. Many of the entries will be very familiar to baseball fans - the selling of the Babe, the trade of Roger Maris, and the Bagwell-Andersen deal. There are, however, many that aren't nearly so famous, like Tom Runnells' decision to shift Tim Wallach across the diamond, or the Pirates' benching of Kiki Cuyler during a stretch run. It's a good mix that Neyer has created.
Along with the regular entries, there are several "interludes" to break things up, including a couple about bad trades, and a funny entry about managers who never should have been in that position.
Neyer is, in my opinion, the most improved baseball writer over the past several years. He's always been a brilliant baseball mind, but now he seems to have found his touch as a writer. This book is enjoyable not only because of the cases he chooses to discuss, but also because of his style. There's plenty of analysis, some good humor, and little in the way of ridiculing or finger-pointing, which would have been easy to do in such a book.
An excellent book, and it's tough to beat the price. I'd recommend it for any baseball fan, even if not everything in here is new to you.
One of the stories that touched me more was the one about the Oakland A's pitching staff of the early 80's. As an A's fan I clearly remember the Billy Ball era, the A's had a great starting rotation (Norris, Keough, Langford, Kingman, McCatty) and Billy Martin had them pitched some 96 complete games in 1980, after the strike shortened season of 1981 these 5 guys just disappeared from baseball , all of them plagued with arm injuries, undoubtly they had paid the price for all those complete games for an Oakland team that finished 83-79 that year, in a far second place from Kansas City.
This is a great book from Rob Neyer, you won't regret to get it
I especially liked the interludes about bad drafts (all the teams that passed on Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens for "sure things" you've never heard of) and the chapters on unqualified managers (the chapter on Maury Wills bumbling with the Mariners is hilarious). A lot of the chapters have a theme of "no one could have known how good "X" would turn out to be," which gets a little repetitive, but overall this is a fine addition to your baseball library.
The best parts are when Neyer is revisiting well-known "bad trades" of all time, such as Jay Buhner for Ken Phelps, giving them context and often reaching conclusions different from the conventional wisdom. The worst parts are when he focuses on a single game or a single player as being the reason a particular team did or did not succeed; it's simply unconvincing. Yes, that .220 light-hitting shortstop might have used up a lot of outs, but the guy on the bench may or may not have had a hangnail and couldn't play; Neyer doesn't do enough research to tell us.
Also fun are the lists of bad managers. I must admit when I read them, I wondered out loud, "where is Maury Wills?" only to discover he had his own chapter (someone should write a whole book about it). And the list of bad draft choices (though the Phillies picking J.D. Drew and passing on Troy Glaus might have had something to do with Scott Rolen, a point Neyer misses) is also fun; the basic idea is that no one in baseball knows anything.
The highlight, to me at least, is the discussion of Spike Eckert, and all the silly decisions that went into his being appointed and his tenure as commissioner. We do have to give the Lords of Baseball this, though: they did get rid of him.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great snarky style great sense of humor and its about baseball what else could you need I loved it itPublished 3 days ago by R. jonas
An entertaining, highly-readable collection of anecdotes that's great for bits-and-pieces reading or for reading straight through.Published 15 months ago by Denise Paolucci
Stats aficionado Rob Neyer examines bad player trades, foolish manager decisions, and failed draft picks (post-1965) throughout baseball history. Read morePublished on February 2, 2013 by K.A.Goldberg
If Rob Neyer could write, there would be more value to this book, but he never varies the formula throughout this book: He chooses an error (which, to a well-read baseball fan are... Read morePublished on December 18, 2011 by Randal S.
It's not so big. Really. Only 288 pages, and that includes an index.
It's good, though. Quite good. Read more
Neyer brings together in one volume many legendary blunders across the history of Baseball and evaluates on his own their legitimacy. Neyer is a master at this analysis. Read morePublished on September 2, 2011 by Robin Gipson
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it was all in bite size chunks. It reads like a collection of columns from a website or magazine. Read morePublished on March 23, 2010 by Patrick M. Carroll
Again, Amazon comes through for me when I don't want to spend too much, but want the item. This arrived quickly and in great shape - thanks again AmazonPublished on February 1, 2010 by Patti J. Syverson
I'm a huge Rob Neyer fan. I've read almost every (free) column he's published on the Internet since 1997, and I've read most of his books (and plan to buy and read ALL of them,... Read morePublished on February 13, 2009 by ERIC M HUYNH