Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Lineups Review

Time to read: 2 minutes

My wife got me this book for my birthday, and it seemed like a book right up my alley. I love baseball, and I love keeping track of players from the past, and where they travel during their careers. This book does a wonderful job of bringing together lists of players for all the current (and some historical) teams. Rob Neyer picks the best players on a team, a “B” team of greatest players, then other categories like “Best Single Season”, “Gold Glove”, “Iron Glove”, “Past their prime”, “Traded Away”, and others. I, of course immediately looked at the two teams I’m most familiar with, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Texas Rangers. I read those, and it was a like “COOL!”; I loved seeing all these player names. I was excited about reading this book, so I started in from the front of the book.
And that’s where the problems started. For awhile, it was cool reading all the lineups and players. But after awhile, the amount of players I’d never heard of really sucked the enjoyment and rush I got when first picking up the book out of me. I had to force myself to finish it, and while I can put the book in the “I enjoyed it” group, it’s not by much. I’m 38 as I write this in October 2003, and a lot of the players are people I’d never heard of, and as the pages wore on, it just became a big mishmash of players that I dint’ care to be reading.
I did enjoy the sections on players who joined the team past their prime (like Pete Rose in Montreal, Richie Ashburn for the NY Mets, things like that). But overall, as one other review I read about this book said, “…my eyes started to gloss over”.
If you’re a stat hound, you’ll probably dig this book. I don’t want to sound like I’m totally dumping on it, it was enjoyable, but wasn’t something I could read quickly, nor something that I can say I’d want to read again, although I will keep it around as a “reference” book of sorts. Kudos to Rob Neyer for the extreme research I’m sure in putting all this together.

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