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The Numbers Game Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics

Howing how baseball and its numbers have been inseparable ever since the pastime's birth in 1845 He tells the history of this obsession through the lives of the people who felt it most Henry Chadwick the 19th century writer who invented the first box score and harped endlessly about which statistics mattered and which did not; Allan Roth Branch Rickey's right hand numbers man with the late 1940s Brooklyn Dodgers; Earnshaw Cook a scientist and Manhattan Project v. Baseball has often been considered the most individual of team sports and because of its tightly formulated format and rules can be easily captured by summary statistics From the very start of the game in the mid nineteenth century fans and the media have charted player and team performances through various batting pitching and fielding measures Since the 1970s some of these statistics have influenced management decisions on trades contract negotiations and on field plays with their authority growing in the last two decades to the extent that every professional baseball team now employs a stats unit and uses a plethora of computer packages to help augment all kinds of decisions in the club and dugout Alan Schwarz s The Numbers Game Baseball s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics charts the evolution of measuring games through box scores basic summary statistics complex measures and algorithms companies that compile and sell stats the development of dice and card games utilising baseball stats statistic societies and initiatives books and chewing gum cards the media s use of stats to help fans follow games via newspapers radio and TV and their seepage into decisions by coaches and general managers The book has both historical depth and width of coverage and provides an engaging account by focusing on key personalities and the innovations they added to baseball s statistical landscape For the most part the structure works well but starts to struggle in its account of developments from the early 1970s up to the present In part this is because there are a number of parallel developments that fracture the timeline The final chapter on academic attempts to make sense of baseball statistics is perhaps the weakest chapter and the book suffers at its end because there is no concluding chapter that summarises the main thread of the argument or postulates as to what developments might or should emerge in the future Overall however an interesting read

summary The Numbers Game Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics

Eteran who retired to pursue inventing the perfect baseball statistic; John Dewan a former Strat O Matic maven who built STATS Inc into a multimillion dollar powerhouse for statistics over the Internet; and dozens Schwarz paints a history not just of baseball statistics but of the soul of the sport itself Named as ESPN's 2004 Baseball Book of the Year The Numbers Game will be an invaluable part of any fan's library and go down as one of the sport's classic books. It s hard to say exactly what I think of The Numbers Game Baseball s Lifelong Fascination with Statistics I d assumed it would be engaging since statistics have played such a large part in baseball for so long But I think this might be a case where the book was researched very well but executed poorlyNo disrespect to Alan Schwarz but I felt The Numbers Game was lacking in that the concept was uniue and interesting but the writing was hackneyed and wooden Like Schwarz was really excited by the concept but that excitement got lost when he put pen to paper As a result it s hard for me as a reader to get excited about itAnother issue I found with this was the style Schwarz adopted describing a person who s important to the topic but an unknown to everyone else Then he sets off their name with a colon and ends a section or a chapter I like to call this the Ken Burns method It goes something like this Then in 2004 a book finally did come out and the author would go down as one of the foremost compilers of nonsensical statistical errata his name was Alan Schwarz Used prudently this can be an effective tool in a writer s toolbox But when you use it as much as Schwarz does it grows tired very uicklyAlan Schwarz is a good writer you can see that from the myriad pieces he s written and the wide readership his articles enjoy But I don t think the transition from short form to long form writing agreed with him all that well The writing is lackluster and full of cliche Although each chapter taken in a vacuum might read well the book taken as a whole is left wanting

characters ¹ eBook or Kindle ePUB ✓ Alan Schwarz

Most baseball fans players and even team executives assume that the national pastime's infatuation with statistics is simply a by product of the information age a phenomenon that blossomed only after the arrival of Bill James and computers in the 1980s They couldn't be wrongIn this award winning book Alan Schwarz whom bestselling Moneyball author Michael Lewis calls one of today's best baseball journalists provides the first ever history of baseball statistics s. Great insights into the numbers of baseball

10 thoughts on “The Numbers Game Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics

  1. says:

    A must for anyone interested in baseball

  2. says:

    Reading this book proves that you think too much about baseball and have too much time on your hands Great read though really enjoyed the evolution of measures throughout the game's history and howwhy we even started recording the wacky things that happened during a game beyond who won and lost

  3. says:

    Great insights into the numbers of baseball

  4. says:

    Surprisingly good history of baseball stats and the people behind those stats Well worth reading

  5. says:

    Baseball and statistics go together like mustard and hot dogs peanuts and Cracker Jack From the games earliest beginnings fans spectators coaches and owners have been obsessed with gathering and analyzing runs outs hits and innumerable other aspects of the game Mr Schwarz's book traces the development of this companionship with w

  6. says:

    Baseball has often been considered the most individual of team sports and because of its tightly formulated format and rule

  7. says:

    It's hard to say exactly what I think of The Numbers Game Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics—I'd as

  8. says:

    My this game has changed and the numbers have driven most of the changes Schwarz may be writing primarily for the fan who digs deep but he te

  9. says:

    A well written book about the history and evolution of baseball statistics This is not a book on numbers rather a book about the peopl

  10. says:

    A great history of baseball and statistics I was impressed with how well it flowed when presenting such a potentially dry subject I wouldn't recommend it to those who aren't baseball fans or statistics fans but I found it very enjoyable

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