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Wizardry: Baseball's All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealedby Michael Humphreys
Synopses & Reviews
Much of the credit for helping the Red Sox win the World Series went to a more scientific approach to baseball statistics, dubbed "sabermetrics" by its greatest proponent, Bill James. But one aspect of the game has defied quantification: the number of runs individual fielders save. Traditional fielding statistics count errors and plays made, but not hits fielders 'should' have reached. Major League teams have recently addressed this gap using proprietary records of the location of every batted ball, but the underlying data has been kept secret and will never exist for the first century of modern major league baseball history.
Now, in Wizardry, comes the long-awaited breakthrough, Defensive Runs (or Regression) Analysis (DRA), created by Michael A. Humphreys. Drawing on entirely public information available to any fan, and using clear concrete examples, Humphreys demonstrates how to apply classic statistical methods to estimate runs saved by fielders going back to 1893. Humphreys tests his results against other fielding measures, including published ratings based on proprietary batted ball location data, and explains their respective strengths and limitations. More than that, Humphreys introduces the first method for adjusting historical player ratings to take into account the expansion of baseball's talent pool due to population growth, integration, and international recruitment. From shortstop to left fielder, he presents and defends his list of the greatest fielders of all time with anecdote-rich essays. And he caps off this book with extensive on-line appendices, including downloadable files of single-season DRA ratings for every fielder since 1893.
Sabermetrics changed baseball and introduced a generation of young people to the art of statistical inference. Now a seasoned analyst makes the case for the biggest changes in historical player valuations in decades, while opening up new approaches for further exploration.
One of the most influential and controversial team owners in professional sports history, Walter Oand#8217;Malley (1903and#8211;79) is best rememberedand#8212;and still reviled by manyand#8212;for moving the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Yet much of the Oand#8217;Malley story leading up to the Dodgersand#8217; move is unknown or created from myth, and there is substantially more to the man. When he entered the public eye, the self-constructed family background and early life he presented was gilded. Later his personal story was distorted by some New York sportswriters, who hated him for moving the Dodgers.and#160;and#160;
In Mover and Shaker Andy McCue presents for the first time an objective, complete, and nuanced account of Oand#8217;Malleyand#8217;s life. He also departs from the overly sentimentalized accounts of Oand#8217;Malley as either villain or angel and reveals him first and foremost as a rational, hardheaded businessman, who was a major force in baseball for three decades and whose management and marketing practices radically changed the shape of the game.
WINNER OF THE 2014 SEYMOUR MEDAL sponsored by the Society for American Baseball Research; Finalist for 2014 SABR Larry Ritter Award
Though his pitching career lasted only a few seasons, Howard Ellsworth and#8220;Smoky Joeand#8221; Wood was one of the most dominating figures in baseball historyand#8212;a man many consider the best baseball player who is not in the Hall of Fame. About his fastball, Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson once said: and#8220;Listen, mister, no man alive can throw harder than Smoky Joe Wood.and#8221;and#160;
Smoky Joe Wood chronicles the singular life befitting such a baseball legend. Wood got his start impersonating a female on the National Bloomer Girls team. A natural athlete, he pitched for the Boston Red Sox at eighteen, won twenty-one games and threw a no-hitter at twenty-one, and had a 34-5 record plus three wins in the 1912 World Series, for a 1.91 ERA, when he was just twenty-two. Then in 1913 Wood suffered devastating injuries to his right hand and shoulder that forced him to pitch in pain for two more years. After sitting out the 1916 season, he came back as a converted outfielder and played another five years for the Cleveland Indians before retiring to coach the Yale University baseball team.
With details culled from interviews and family archives, this biography, the first of this rugged player of the Deadball Era, brings to life one of the genuine characters of baseball history.
About the Author
Michael A. Humphreys advises on tax aspects of international capital markets transactions at Ernst and Young LLP.
Table of Contents
Part One: Motivations and Methods
1. The Big Picture
2. One Way to Measure Fielding
3. Measuring the Many Measures of Fielding
4. Summing Up Fielding Careers in One Number . . . and Attaching Asterisks Thereto
5. Putting Top Players from Different Eras on 'Equal' Footing
Part Two: The Greatest Fielders of All-Time
7. Second Base
8. Center Field
9. Third Base
10. Right Field
11. Left Field
12. First Base
Part Three: Fielding in the Context of Pitching, Hitting and Base Running
14. (A Select Few of) Baseball's All-Time Greatest Pitchers
15. Incorporating Fielding Ratings into Overall Player Ratings
A. Defensive Regression Analysis ("DRA")
B. Notes on the history of fielding analysis
C. Chart of alternative fielding systems
D. Career DRA ratings for all fielders with 3,000 innings or estimated innings at one position
E. Single-season DRA ratings for all fielders since 1893 (Available book's website)
F. Certain data used to develop DRA (Available book's website)
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