Baseball and the Blame Game

Scapegoating in the Major Leagues


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SKU: 9780786429066 Categories: ,

About the Book

Most baseball fans know what links Fred Merkle, Fred Snodgrass, Mickey Owen and Bill Buckner. It’s a pantheon of public failure. They would be harder put to say what links Eric Byrnes, Tony Fernandez, and Babe Ruth, though these players made misplays every bit as egregious.
In this smart, highly readable history of scapegoating, John Billheimer identifies the elements that combine to condemn one player to a life sentence while another gets a wrist slap for the same offense. As it turns out, the difference between a lower-case e in some forgotten box score and a lifetime of ignominy can hinge on a number of factors, including timing, geography, reputation, misunderstanding, media bias, and just plain bad luck.

About the Author(s)

SABR member John Billheimer is also a member of Mystery Writers of America. A transportation analyst, he lives in Portola Valley, California.

Bibliographic Details

John Billheimer
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: 74 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2906-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0559-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

Introduction: Disgrace Under Pressure      3

1. He Who Hesitates      11

2. Baserunning Gaffes      21

3. Muffed Fly Balls      39

4. Dropped Foul Pop-Ups      50

5. Botched Grounders      58

6. Gopher Balls I      72

7. Gopher Balls II      85

8. Errant Throws      101

9. Weak-Fielding Pitchers      111

10. Passed Balls      119

11. Wild Pitches      129

12. Asleep at the Switch      139

13. Misjudgments and Miscommunication      148

14. Managerial Misfires      155

15. Fan Interference      169

16. Blown Calls      178

17. Errors, Scapegoats, and Escaped Goats      191

EPILOGUE: Injustice, Failure, and Redemption      200

Bibliography      205

Index      211

Book Reviews & Awards

“well researched and documented tour through baseball history….very interesting to read…very detailed”—SABR Deadball Committee Newsletter.