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The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz

Baseball statistics are more than just random bits of information we use to describe a player's season or career. Baseball stats are currency in the land of hardball fandom. They are fighting words in the analyst's arena. They are the meticulous details and eccentric facts that make baseball a beautiful yet excruciating sport.

Baseball has always been preoccupied with the numbers. Since its inception, fans have always tried to use various data to define a player's value or lack thereof. As the sport evolved so did its stats, from "hand outs" and "bound catches" to "OPS" and "runs created." The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz painstakingly details this evolution of game with the same precision maintained statisticians themselves.

Numbers infiltrate every aspect of the game: fans to argue and defend, analysts to inform the masses, managers to set lineups and rotations, GM's to find trades and draft picks, and players to negotiate contract. Anyone interested in baseball numbers will love this book. Though it might not be as riveting as Moneyball by Michael Lewis, The Numbers Game presents the history of baseball through the stat sheets of its most devout and geeked out fans.