Curve Ball

Baseball, Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game

Authors: Albert, Jim, Bennett, Jay

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About this book

In its formative years, from the 1970s through the 1990s, sabermetrics was p- marily an amateur undertaking. Publications were aimed at a relatively small audience of baseball fans. To be sure, this ever-growing group of aficionados brought a lot of sophistication to baseball analysis, and were constantly looking for statistical insights beyond the listings of the top ten batters found in popular newspapers and magazines. But their influence on the baseball profession was very limited. A few consultants like Craig Wright developed temporary relati- ships with various teams, but none were able to stay long enough to create a p- manent sabermetrician staff position. (See Rob Neyer’s November 11, 2002, arti- 1 cle on ESPN. com. ) All of this changed, however, in 2002 with the hiring of Bill James by the Boston Red Sox. With that move, we have seen the admittance of the foremost proponent of sabermetrics into the top echelon of professional ba- ball management. The art and science of careful statistical analysis, it now seems, had made it into the big leagues. Since the publication of the first edition of Curve Ball in 2001, we have been overwhelmed by the positive responses from readers and critics. We’re pleased with the reception, of course, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. Like a pitcher refining his repertoire, we’ve revised, expanded, and updated the book for its publication in this paperback edition. Several readers and critics took us 1 http://espn. go. com/mlb/columns/neyer_rob/1456664.

Reviews

From the reviews:

"...a most interesting and useful introduction to the subject. It should make enjoyable reading for physicists who are also baseball fans, and it ought to be required reading for baseball managers, executives, and commentators."   PHYSICS TODAY


"...a smart and energetic collection of essays on baseball statistics. Curve Ball doesn't play misty-eyed homage to baseball's traditions and conventional wisdoms....This is great stuff....Curve Ball makes clear how pleasurable [stats] can be, and arguably how important, to view the great American game with real precision." -- The Wall Street Journal

"Rating: 4.5 out of 5. Must own!" -- Baseballnotebook.com

"In [Curve Ball] Albert & Bennett explain the game in ways the conventional press - even titans such as Bill James - cannot." -- Baseball America

"[The book] illustrates how statistical reasoning can be useful in teasing out the role of chance from performance in baseball to better assess ability....Curve Ball represents another advance in the genre of baseball and statistics books." -- Journal of the American Statistical Association

"This is a very good, fun and highly interesting book, applying some straightforward, and some more difficult, statistical estimation and modeling concepts to baseball. … I am a statistician, and mostly Bayesian at that, and this definitely enhanced my interest and enjoyment of the book. … Initially this book starts out as a sneaky introduction to statistics and Bayesian concepts, however, it turns into a delight for sports fans and statisticians alike. Highly recommended … ." (Richard Gerlach, Gazette, Vol. 31 (5), 2004)

"This book treats a wide variety of topics, including: comparing measures of batting ability; the impact of situation on performance; streaks; measuring a player’s clutch performance; and did the best team win the World Series. This book has the appealing quality that you can start reading at almost any chapter and enjoy and understand the journey. And for those of us who are not statisticians by training, we can also learn some statistics." (Zentralblatt für Didaktik der Mathematik, September, 2003)

"Curve Ball … is a necessary addition to any library. … Written for all followers of baseball, this book caters to those who find joy in reading (and if you are like me, memorizing) the statistics on the backs of baseball cards or who played baseball simulation games … . For readers possessing no knowledge of statistics, this book is a great way of learning how to view and interpret data from a statistician’s standpoint. Readers with statistics backgrounds will enjoy the book … ." (Jonathan L. Templin, Chance, Vol. 15 (4), 2002)


Table of contents (13 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $14.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-0-387-21512-9
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $29.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-98816-0
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $19.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-387-00193-7
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Curve Ball
Book Subtitle
Baseball, Statistics, and the Role of Chance in the Game
Authors
Copyright
2001
Publisher
Copernicus
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media New York
eBook ISBN
978-0-387-21512-9
DOI
10.1007/b97222
Hardcover ISBN
978-0-387-98816-0
Softcover ISBN
978-0-387-00193-7
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 350
Topics