One of the neat things about having a blog is that people will sometimes send you free stuff to review. However, that also results in me feeling badly, oftentimes, because I get busy and don't review what I've been sent. With the season over, I'm going to try to fix that by talking about some books that have been sent to me.
Today, I'd like to talk about Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends (the link takes you to the Amazon page). Rob Neyer, of course, is a columnist/blogger for ESPN, who has written several books, three of which I'm going to review in the next week or two.
RNBBOBL is the best of the three of his I've read, I think. I really got a kick out of it, although I will warn you, this book probably isn't for everybody.
You see, Neyer takes various anecdotes and stories that have been passed down through the years, many through books and articles, some from broadcsts, and, in essence, Fisks the stories -- going back through Retrosheet box scores, old newspaper accounts, etc., and determining what part of the story is true, and what is the product of bad memories or storytelling liberties.
My pseudo-sister-in-law says that part of the problem with Ben and I is that we like popping bubbles, and there is a lot of bubble-popping in this book...some stories where it turns out the tale is only about half-accurate, some where there appears to be just a nugget of truth, and some where it appears to be completely fabricated. But at the same time, there are several where there is a remarkable degree of verification that is able to be made.
Neyer's book is 352 pages, and has probably 100 anecdotes examined...its format of having each "chapter" be, in essence, a standalone 4-5 page segment makes it perfect bedside table material, as you can flip it open to any page and start reading, although I will admit that it can be a bit addicting.
With the one caveat that some might feel this takes away some of the "magic" of the game and the stories associated with it, I highly recommend this book. If you think it is something you'd be interested in, there are a few excerpts included on the Amazon page, so feel free to click on it and check it out.