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  • Baseball Encyclopedias

    I've been doing some digging around to unearth the most recent versions of each of the major references and here's what I've uncovered. I would greatly appreciate any comments or pointers to correct any of this and fill in any missing sources that should be included.

    The Baseball Encyclopedia (the "Big Mac") - last published in 1996 (10th edition)
    The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball by David Neft - last published in 2007
    Total Baseball by John Thorn - last published in 2004 (8th edition)
    The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia - last published in 2008 (5th edition)

    Granted, Baseball Reference and other internet based sites make the continued publishing of large works like these impractical, but it seems to me (a) there's still a market for a hardcopy of the information in a well-presented format and (b) no one site (not even BB-Ref) has all the information these works collectively contained.

    Thoughts? Corrections? Additions?
    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

  • #2
    I'm a great fan of Printed Sports Encyclopedias myself. It seems like they've become outmoded due to internet sites, but I wish this weren't the case. There's nothing like having a hardcover encyclopedia around to answer baseball or other sports questions "within arms reach".

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Brad Harris View Post
      I've been doing some digging around to unearth the most recent versions of each of the major references and here's what I've uncovered. I would greatly appreciate any comments or pointers to correct any of this and fill in any missing sources that should be included.

      The Baseball Encyclopedia (the "Big Mac") - last published in 1996 (10th edition)
      The Sports Encyclopedia: Baseball by David Neft - last published in 2007
      Total Baseball by John Thorn - last published in 2004 (8th edition)
      The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia - last published in 2008 (5th edition)

      Granted, Baseball Reference and other internet based sites make the continued publishing of large works like these impractical, but it seems to me (a) there's still a market for a hardcopy of the information in a well-presented format and (b) no one site (not even BB-Ref) has all the information these works collectively contained.

      Thoughts? Corrections? Additions?
      I'm not at home so I don't have it at hand, but Bill James published (or had published) a terrific baseball encyclopedia around 2000.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by BigRon View Post
        I'm not at home so I don't have it at hand, but Bill James published (or had published) a terrific baseball encyclopedia around 2000.
        Stats, Inc., I believe. There is a book for players and one for team and year by year history.
        Dave Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Dick Alex Sparky
        Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
        Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
        Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
        Robin Bill Ernie JEDI

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        • #5
          The price of the set would be high, but the only way to make it "practical" today would be to publish a two-volume set (three?) every 5 years or so, and then volumes published as addendums in the in-between years. This would be expensive, but some inclusion would have to be included for modern metrics and then presented in a way which is enjoyable to read. In other words, the font-size of the old Big Mac was the ideal setup because old folks like myself did not have to get out a magnifying glass to read it. I have the ESPN Encyclopedia and it does an excellent job for thoroughness, but that magnifying glass must be handy. No kidding. This would be a pricey purchase.

          As for other modern media, I once had a conversation with someone who suggested that this information should be placed on a DVD/CD-Rom. As we know, technology is evolving which might make that impractical anyway, regardless of how affordable this option might be.

          It needs to be said however..... there are still people of all ages who distrust internet sites for the same reason they distrust Wikipedia. A typo on a printed page is fun to search for and to catch, but misinformation on a website blows apart the credibility of the site altogether.
          Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

          A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

          Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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          • #6
            I consider the Baseball America Super Register a standard reference. I watch a lot of minor league ball and am interested in performance there and in the zone of borderline major-league players (guys who are up and down). Looking at development arcs across multiple levels is often pretty telling.

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            • #7
              I have every volume of "The Baseball Encyclopedia" and "Total Baseball" and I love them. Their only drawback is each one weighs about 5 to 10 pounds each. Years ago I wrote each publisher and asked if they would ever add new volumes and they both said no. I also have 2 volumes of "The Official Encyclopedia of Baseball" which first came out in 1951 which was Baseballs Jubilee year. These are not as extensive as the other ones mentioned but they are cool to read and look at.

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              • #8
                Anyone remember...I think it was Franklin that put out an electronic handheld version of a baseball encyclopedia around 1988-1990 or so? Who did they use for their info? Big Mac?
                NY Sports Day Independent Gotham Sports Coverage
                Mets360 Mets Past, Present and Future
                Talking Mets Baseball. A baseball blog with a Mets bias

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