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Hardcover Leveling the Field: An Encyclopedia of Baseball's All-Time Great Performances as Revealed Through Adjusted Statistics Book

ISBN: 1579122558

ISBN13: 9781579122553

Leveling the Field: An Encyclopedia of Baseball's All-Time Great Performances as Revealed Through Adjusted Statistics

Who are the all-time greatest and why? This groundbreaking new method for ranking players and teams rewrites the record books and sets forth bold new answers to the age-old debates of baseball. It is nothing less than a revolution in baseball statistics. G. Scott Thomas has developed a series of mathematically precise, computer-generated formulas that adjust the statistics of every team. The results "level the field," creating a fair basis of comparison...

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Customer Reviews

5 ratings

First class all the way

I love this book. I love the fact that it's well written. I love the fact that it makes perfect sense. And I love the fact that it angers the statistical nerds so much!

Home run (the rest are using baseball cliches, why not me?)

I have enjoyed reading the other reviews of this book. It seems that people either love it or they hate it. My sense is that statistical purists seems offended that the author has decided to deviate from the Bill James Party Line by offering his own theories about the changes in the game, while fans of a more normal stripe seem to find the author's ideas to be challenging or invigorating. Well, it should be obvious from the title that I'm in the latter camp. To me, Thomas's theories are well-grounded. He's right that a player who was 20 percent better in 1920 would be 20 percent better today. I took statistics courses in college, and I know that to be one of the basic rules of statistical theory. I'm sorry if it doesn't agree with something in SABR's secret bylaws. The book also makes a good point with its adjusted divisional standings for seasons before 1969. Quite clearly, it makes the point that the Yankees wouldn't have been able to amass all the world titles they did if they had had to go through divisional playoffs. The Yankee-lovers of the world don't like to hear that, but it's true. I enjoyed Leveling the Field. In my opinion, it was well-written and well-researched. And it makes sense, no matter what some of my anger-driven, statistically challenged fellow reviewers might think. My advice? Buy it and enjoy it and don't worry what those computer geeks might think.

SURE TO ENRAGE THE PURISTS, BUT SO WHAT?

I've always found it maddening that baseball considers all statistics to be equal. Somebody hits 50 home runs in 1920, somebody else hits 50 home runs today, all the same thing, right? Obviously not, but baseball would have us think that that's the case. What I like about this book is that it turns that assumption on its head. It recognizes that home runs were worth more in the olden days than they are now and it weights them accordingly. The same with other stats.I found Leveling The Field to be fluidly written, easy to understand, and pretty darn provocative. The statheads, those nerds who wish to overanalyze the game, hate it because it doesn't use any of their absurd statistical tools. Where oh where are the linear weights? In the garbage can where they belong. The author of this book deals only with the conventional numbers that any fan can understand and appreciate -- and he does a nice job of it.Baseball doesn't need more mindnumbingly boring SABR analyses of night games in 1953 or the Philadelphia Phillies' ability to beat lefties during the 1960s. Blah blah blah. It needs more mainstream books that the average fan can enjoy. Like this one.

Interesting concept, nice presentation

baseball fans love statistics and love to debate the merits of players across generations, so this book has a strong appeal, using computer simulation to rewrite baseball history using the game as played 1996-2001 as a standard. Year-by-year results are presented, followed by season and career batting and pitching records, and the lifetime records of a number of outstanding players from yesterday and today. The only problem is, who says souped-up, steroid-fed 1996-2001 ought to be the standard? Essentially what results are beefed-up home run and strikeout totals, somewhat depressed batting averages, and much-inflated earned run averages. There is also some liberty taken in having each league divided into two divisions from 1901, three divisions from 1969, and so on, with a corresponding playoff system each year. Still, this sort of alternate history can be fun, especially in baseball, and the presentation is easy and fun to pore over. Sure to spark debate, and that's something baseball fans love almost as much as the game itself.

Clever idea, nicely written

I'm a fan of alternate history, and this book really serves as an alternate history of baseball. It shows what would have happened if the majors had been split into divisions from the beginning, right down to the simulated results of playoff games. You want to know who would have won the 1915 ALCS, if there had been one? It's all in here.But the heart of the book is the conversion of players' statistics to what they would have been today. For example, Babe Ruth would have made Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire and the rest of them look silly if he had played today. According to this book, Ruth would have hit more than 90 homers in a couple of different seasons.Also, I was fascinated by the author's salary calculations. He estimates what Hall of Famers would have earned if they played today. The numbers are stratospheric, as they should be. All in all, this is a great way to start (and settle) arguments and a great addition to a baseball reference library.
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