Monday, January 19, 2009

A Tip of the Yarmulke to The Baseball Talmud

Howard Megdal, author of The Baseball Talmud, was kind enough to send me a copy of his book recently. The book chronicles and ranks Jewish baseball players position-by-position since the game's inception and is an excellent reference for anyone interested in the subject (Pretty much a given if you're reading this blog entry right now). All of the players hitherto mentioned on Jews in Baseball are analyzed and humanized by Megdal. There are also many, many more players that I haven't even scratched the surface with. Players like Andy Cohen, Moe Berg, and Jose Bautista.

And for anyone who belongs to the Bill James' school of thought, Megdal is a huge proponent of sabermetrics. Of course, he provides you with the traditional statistics, but he goes into greater depth with nifty stats like VORP, WARP, and Pythagorean won-loss record. Megdal also digs up remarkable numbers that often go overlooked (like Lou Boudreau's walk/strikeout ratio in 1948: 98/9). Megdal even enlists the help of a baseball statistician to figure out how effective the All-Jewish team would be in a neutral environment. I won't give away anything. Let's just say they wouldn't be pushovers...At first, I thought I would skim through The Baseball Talmud and only check out my favorite players, but I really couldn't put it down; it's extremely immersive. From cover to cover, you'll learn something new about players you thought you already knew everything about. You'll see names long forgotten by most fans that conjure up images of different eras, egos, and ballparks. You'll be reminded of how good some of these players were. You'll be encouraged to see how good some of the current players are - and still can be. Most of all, you'll be filled with an indescribable sense of pride. When you see the formidable All-Time Jewish Team Megdal puts together, you may even let your imagination run wild and envision "the eventual cosmic baseball tournament between religions."

The Baseball Talmud will hit stores on March 31, 2009. Get it, enjoy it, and call it an early Hanukkah present. If you'd like to pre-order a copy, simply follow the link provided below.

The Baseball Talmud at Amazon.com

5 comments:

William said...

Your regularly visting, non-Jew appreciates the book tip and will order a copy.

I'm glad the book gives you pride in who you are.

Anonymous said...

Your previous book recommendation, "The Color of Her Panties", has ruined your legitamacy as a book critic in my eyes. Sorry.

Josh Borenstein said...

For everyone who isn't in the know, Mike is referring to a Piers Anthony book that belonged to my mom that we found in an old box.

Ben said...

You suspect incorrectly, Boy Blue.

Josh Borenstein said...

Ben! I hear you're coming back for Pat's wedding. Excellent news! I trust you're steering clear of Gaza...