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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends: The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else Paperback – April 1, 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Michael Lewis

Author of "Liar's Poker" and "Moneyball"

Rob Neyer is one of those writers who can make his subject more interesting than anyone ever imagined it could be. He has written a delightful book for ardent baseball fans, but even people with a casual interest in baseball will find something to think about here.



"Rob Neyer is the best of the new generation of sportswriters. He knows baseball history like a child knows his piggy bank. He knows how to pick it up and shake it and make what he needs fall out."

-- Bill James

About the Author

Rob Neyer has written about baseball for ESPN.com since 1996 and appears regularly on ESPNews. He has written four baseball books, including The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers (with Bill James) and Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Lineups. His website, www.robneyer.com, contains additional material related to this and his other books.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743284909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743284905
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,365,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Can't say there's been a baseball book quite like this one before.

"Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends" is sort of like reading the diary of a fact checker. Neyer, a writer for ESPN.com and the author of some good baseball books, here takes an approach that must be unique. He has gone through all sorts of material -- autobiographies, other baseball books, newspaper accounts, television commentary, etc -- and tried to find out if they were true or not.

You'd expect that something like Babe Ruth's called shot is examined here, and it is ... in great detail. But all sorts of other stories are checked out, in no particular order. Neyer obviously put a lot of work into this project.

Let's take an example to show you what's going on here. Jim Palmer tells a story about charting a game involving teammate Mike Cuellar, who was facing the Minnesota Twins. Cuellar had given up a leadoff hit, with Rod Carew, Tony Oliva and Harmon Killebrew coming up next. Palmer told manager Earl Weaver that Cuellar had thrown 135 pitches. Weaver responded by saying, "I'll let you know if he's tired."

Neyer went back through Cuellar's starts on Retrosheet, and discovered that Cuellar had 21 starts against the Twins while pitching for the Orioles. The author couldn't find anything that came close to matching that set of circumstances. Neyer concludes that while there's probably some bit of truth in there somewhere, he couldn't find specific evidence of it.

That's something of a theme for the book. The Internet is a great resource for such research these days. Neyer also has a huge baseball library, and access to records from the Society for American Baseball Research and the Hall of Fame (among others).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rob Neyer has really hit on a winning format. Anecdotes are either famous episodes and we learn something we didn't already know (like they're completely bogus) or the anecdotes are, perhaps, something we hadn't heard before. Either way, they are generally well-written none of the self-contained "Legend" really exceeds a few pages, so if you've got a short attention span (and who doesn't these days?), you can pick it up and put it down. All told, a very enjoyable book.
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My first impression was that book would only be for baseball nerds who enjoy puncturing myths/good stories. But the style is not negative at all. The stories are good reads, many of which I'd never heard before and even if they don't always hold up to contemporary records, it's fun to read about what really happened.
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Format: Paperback
You can count on Rob Neyer for an interesting, informative and entertaining read when it comes to his Big Books. This is his third in the series (Lineups and Blunders being the first two). While it's interesting, I think it's the least interesting of the three. It's not necessarily Neyer's fault.

The premise of the book is that Neyer takes some legendary tales and tracks them down (much easier today thanks to the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) retrosheet web site and some digitized newspapers), trying to prove whether or not they're true. And, if so, to what extent.

Sometimes it turns out the tale is basically true with just a few minor errors. But, who really cares whether the score was 6-5 instead of 5-4, whether the home run was hit in the third inning instead of the fifth inning or if the incident occurred in August rather than July?

Neyer and the book are at their best, however, when he proves a tale couldn't possibly have happened.

Here's an example: Pitcher Nellie Briles tells the story that shortly after he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was pitching in a game with the tying run on second base with two outs in the ninth inning. A left-handed pull hitter was at the plate, but second baseman Bill Mazeroski insisted upon playing up the middle, despite Briles' objections. The hitter singled through the hole, Clemente fielded the ball and threw out the potential tying run at the plate. After the game, Mazeroski explained to Briles that he and Clemente had been working on that play all year.

Sounds like a great story, but Neyer couldn't find any game where the situation closely resembled what Briles described.
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While i really enjoyed Rob's book on Baseball Blunders, this one was not nearly as engaging. It is organized like his other books in what seems to be a series of articles and it is an approach that works well. What didn't work well for me was the occasional use of profanity which seemed forced and out of place and that the whole book is about disproving people's baseball stories. As a history teacher, I understand the need to debunk myths. But in baseball, the myths are part of what makes the game great and a book that's only goal is to point out the fact that they are not true seems to be more of a party pooper than a party.
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Format: Paperback
Should be required reading for all citizens to demonstrate what my mom always said "don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see". Tedious in some places, a really good dissection of stories, some a hundred years ago and some only a few months or years old.
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