9780670860999 / 0670860999

Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball, Fourth Edition


Publisher:Viking Adult



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About the book:

Once the upstart reference for fans, Total Baseball, now in its sixth edition, has evolved into the official encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. It's not hard to see why. Like its older cousin, the Baseball Encyclopedia, it is a mammoth volume filled with yearly results, awards, detailed postseason and all-star accounts, and the complete career statistics of every major-league player through 1998. But while the Encyclopedia has basically remained a book of numbers, Total Baseball crams in hundreds of pages of words: there are essays on everything baseball. The lineup covers the bases from the traditional (team histories, baseball reporting, and the 400 best players) to the marvelously esoteric (baseball families, baseball movies, and women and baseball).

Sadly, some terrific veteran pieces--poet Donald Hall's provocative analysis of the national significance of "Casey at the Bat," an essay on baseball and the law, an account of Jackie Robinson's signing, and a comprehensive chronicle of rule and scoring changes--have been retired, so don't banish your Fifth Edition to left field. Happily, their replacements are equally all-star: a Robert Creamer essay on Casey Stengel, greater coverage of the game outside the United States, a thorough Bartlett's of baseball quotations, and Warner Fuselle's engaging history of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and other noted arias. Finally, a caveat: the player statistics are crammed in so tightly you'll wish Total Baseball included a magnifying glass. Still, squinting is a small price to pay for so Ruthian a chunk of baseball heaven. --Jeff Silverman

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