Baseball Magazine

"Now Taking the Field"

By Theomnipotentq @TheMightyQuinn
I'm a sucker for a good book on baseball statistics. I always have been, since those days of my youth when I would buy a book on all-time baseball records and practically study the book. I haven't done that in many years, but I recently read a book that comes close to those golden days of my baseball youth. It's called "Now Taking the Field: Baseball's All-Time Dream Team for All 30 Franchises" by Tom Stone (available now from Acta Publications).
Stone attempts to settle once and for all some debates as to who were the greatest players for each team, puts together a 25-man roster for each, as well as who was the "franchise player" for each club. He breaks it down by all positions, including starting pitchers and relievers. He also names the best managers, as well as for all teams, their current prospects eventually making their club's dream team.
He also puts together starting lineups for each team, one against right handed pitchers and another against lefties. but one section for each team I found fascinating was (for the older clubs) surveys taken from magazines going as far back as 1958 putting together their all-time teams. They come from sources such as Sport magazine, the Sporting News, and up to current day baseball writers such as Rob Neyer.
Stone did over 20 years of research on all the clubs, and he leaves hardly a stone (sorry Tom) unturned. For each player he gives their basic stats just with their club, and it includes the "new fangled" ones such as WAR (Wins above replacement) and each players best three WAR years. He doesn't list every player who played for a team, as they had to have played a significant amount of seasons to be considered, or put up big numbers in a short period of time. 
Stone doesn't go in any particular order, but starts with the most successful franchises first. (I don't have to tell you which team he begins with.) Current clubs that played in more than one city are listed as one (such as the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals). he goes back into the pre-1900s for those teams that played back then, but doesn't list those pitchers who pitched 600 innings for example, as you simply can't compare them to the modern game.
I found "Now Taking the Field" quite an enjoyable read. I would read one or two teams a day to try to digest all the stats that Stone presents, It will certainly cause some debate among fans as to who he picks, but that's been true for baseball since its beginning. Tom Stone clearly did some back-breaking work putting his book together, but it surely was worth it. It gets five out of five stars from me.

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