Book Review - Baseball Hacks by Joseph Adler
While I'm not a diehard baseball fan, there is a certain appeal (or perhaps nostalgia) about "America's Pastime". And there isn't another sport around that takes their statistics as seriously as baseball does. So if you're a computer geek who loves baseball and statistics, what do you do? You get Baseball Hacks: Tips & Tools for Analyzing and Winning with Statistics by Joseph Adler. Even I, a non-baseball fanatic, can appreciate the appeal of this book.
Contents: Basics of Baseball; Baseball Games from Past Years; Stats from the Current Season; Visualize Baseball Statistics; Formulas; Sabermetric Thinking; The Bullpen; Where to Learn More Stuff; Abbreviations; Index
The author and his co-contributors have come up with 75 statistical "hacks" all related to baseball. In here, you'll learn how to keep a scoresheet in the traditional fashion as well as how to use a format that is generally used for computer entry and analysis. After showing you where to find downloadable stats and how to get them in a format you can use, they then take you through open source packages like MySQL and R (a statistical software offering) as well as standards like Access and Excel. By loading the data into these formats, you can then slice and dice with the best of them. Some of the hacks show you common statistical generation like batting average or on-base percentage, but there are more esoteric ones you can look into, like Park effect and Fan Save value. If you've always dreamed of combining your love of statistics and baseball into a single passion, this book will push you over the edge. Once you get done here, you should be able to figure out the batting average of Barry Bonds on Tuesday night games against left-handed pitching with two men on base... :)
Seriously, a very well-done book that will appeal to both the baseball fan interested in statistics, as well as the computer geek who loves his (or her!) baseball recordkeeping...