The Cooperstown Casebook by Jay Jaffe

Who is the best ever to play in Major League Baseball? That is an extremely difficult question to answer. There are simply way too many factors to consider. First, you have to separate pitchers from position players. They are both vital to the game yet a pitcher’s contribution is categorically different from a position player. After the creating the partition, you have to assign value. Advanced metrics has helped create meaningful value to individual players however there is no consensus on the weight of each value. Additionally, do you consider this value throughout a ball players entire career or just the peak? How much should the postseason be a factor?

Even after a season has ended and the World Series champion is crowned, we argue who was the best team in baseball that year. Baseball, and all sports, work in an imperfect system.

Everything is relative, even in baseball, and especially in the Hall of Fame. There is never going to be a consensus on who should be in the Hall or not. Everyone has a bias and it shows in the voting, both the Baseball Writers Association of America and the other Veteran Committees.

The Cooperstown Casebook is another chapter in the Shame the Hall of Fame anthology. I love advanced metrics. I believe in them and I fully support teams using them to win. I believe Hall of Fame voters should consider these advanced metrics when voting. This book does a great job diving into advanced metrics and showing us who should be in the Hall and who should have never been in.

But all in all I found this book less than engaging. This first third of the book is a persistent airing of grievances towards the Hall. You get the message within the first few pages, but then you are forced to listen to the author continue his lamentations.

The rest of the book goes through the different positions around the diamond and in the dugout. You get an in depth case or two for each position, and then some briefs about others. If you are not interested in the players discussed, it can get boring really quickly.

This a decent book, but something I would not pass on to another fan.