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Showing 1-10 of 11 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 23 reviews
VINE VOICEon July 2, 2007
Rob Neyer's book of baseball blunders is sure to please any baseball fan with a sense of history. Neyer analyzes 50 trades and decisions from 1917 through 2003. They range from well-known events such as Grady Little's decision to lift Pedro Martinez in the eighth inning of the 2003 American League Championship series and the trade of Roger Maris from the Kansas City Athletics to the New York Yankees in 1959 to lesser-known events such as the sale of Pee Wee Reese from the Boston Red Sox to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939 and the Kansas City Royals' signing of pitchers Mark and Storm Davis in 1989.

Neyer astutely analyzes these events, challenging long held opinions and impressions by looking at the facts. Neyer is a keen observer of baseball history and his analyses are interesting and sound. His sidebars in the margins of chapters are irresistible. Baseball fans can open this book to any chapter and start reading.
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on February 13, 2009
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, past and future). So it's with a little regret that I give this one a mediocre review. (I'd give it 3.5 stars if possible.)

First of all, it's called "Big Book of Baseball Blunders," which would naturally lead you to believe that it will be a ranking (or chronological list) of the biggest "mistakes" in baseball history. We get a clarification very early on that it's not about on-field mistakes or "boners," but rather premeditated errors, usually made by management. OK, so far, so good: Rob Neyer makes fun of stupid front offices with the benefit of hindsight AND a logical mind. That should be fun, right?

But once the book starts, you realize that this is NOT Rob's personal ranking of the biggest blunders in baseball history. Rather, it's a list of moves that were considered blunders by historical consensus, and then Rob does some research and evaluates whether they were truly blunders. (This is the same M.O. he uses in the later "Baseball Legends.") So it's more like "Rob Neyer's Big Book of Famous Alleged Baseball Blunders and His Analysis of Whether They Were Blunders or Not."

Fair enough, this could also be a good book if the opinions were interesting or eye-opening... but they're really not. A disappointing proportion of them end up with Rob meekly concluding: "We can't really tell one way or the other." This diplomatic response may make Rob seems like a "nice guy" (so many stats-oriented baseball writers come off as smug and arrogant, and I think he was specifically trying to avoid that) but it makes for a disappointingly flat baseball book. A little controversy isn't bad! I'm able to come up with NO OPINION without reading a book, thank you very much.

This book is also a victim of some careless copyediting. It's not as bad as the typical edition of "Baseball Prospectus," but there are a lot of little typos and a few actual mistakes that should have been caught. And if you've already read his earlier "Big Book of Baseball Lineups" (a superior product IMHO), there's quite a bit of thematic repetition.

On the positive side, Neyer's prose is always readable, he's a good storyteller, and there's some valuable baseball history in here. I definitely learned some stuff from this book, and it wasn't a chore to get through. But Neyer is capable of much better -- I preferred "Baseball Dynasties" and "Baseball Lineups," and his mid-'90s columns on ESPN.com completely changed the way I look at baseball.

Fine for the fanatic or Neyer completist, but not an essential book. I'd recommend "Lineups" or "Dynasties" before this one.
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on March 23, 2010
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. There are some really good stories here and some great analysis. The only thing that detracted from the book was there was a lot material that was pre-1980's which is when I was growing up. If you know a lot about baseball in the 1940's-1960's, this book will be more appealing. That being said, he does make the time period more accessible, it just really isn't my main area of interest.
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on August 23, 2016
Great snarky style great sense of humor and its about baseball what else could you need I loved it it
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on May 7, 2015
An entertaining, highly-readable collection of anecdotes that's great for bits-and-pieces reading or for reading straight through.
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VINE VOICEon April 29, 2006
Given the title, one might think that this is a book where Neyer spends 250 pages criticizing boneheaded decisions, but it's not. Instead, Neyer takes the time to examine about 50 blunders, taking the time to analyze each decision instead of simply pointing fingers at those making the blunder.

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.
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on July 17, 2006
If you've been a baseball fan for 20 or more years, many of the blunders will sound very familiar, no new ground broken. On the other hand, if you're a rookie, you may find it very enjoyable. I appreciated Neyer's placing certain transactions in their proper context, especially the Brock trade, for which the Cubs have never been forgiven. Neyer, however, sorts outs all the facts and the trade, at that time, was about equal. Later on, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, the media blew it way out of proportion while conveniently ignoring the proper context of this deal. The use of win shares in analyzing selected transaction adds a new insight into the long range evaluation of whom got the edge in trades. A bunch of blunders are given real short treatment and one wonders why the author even bothered to include them. There were two baseball history errors in this book, which are inexcusable, especially by such an authority as Neyer. Curt Simmons is described as a right-handed starter while Dale Murray is listed as a left-handed reliever...now that's careless research. In brief, if you a veteran baseball fan, you could pass on this one; however, if you value win shares, you may enjoy its application to certain trades.
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on May 23, 2007
While I did enjoy this book, I have to admit that many of the events are too far in the past for me to truly appreciate them. I can't knock Neyer for not going into elaborate detail, because that's not really what this book is about. It isn't his job to build the social climate of the time, clubhouse pressures, etc. It is an interesting read that truly highlights the "hindsight is 20/20" cliche. I'd love to read the next version of this book 50 or 60 years from now so that I can read "Blunder: Pittsburgh Pirates trade Oliver Perez and Roberto Hernandez to Mets for Xavier Nady."
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on May 6, 2006
This one is very well written baseball book about some very famous and some not so famous decisions made throughout the history of the game. As a baseball fan, and I think you would have to be one too to really enjoy this book, I was looking forward to read about recent blunders , things that I had witnessed in my lifetime or be familiar with, so when I saw that it started with the 1917 Chi Sox swapping firstbasemen I thought I wouldn't enjoy it that much. Well, wrong I was, that first story set the tone of the book and from then on I just couldn't put it down until I finished it.

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
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on February 1, 2010
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 Amazon
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