Deconstructing Major League Baseball, 1991–2004

How Statistics Illuminate Individual and Team Performances

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About the Book

Baseball is a readily quantifiable sport, and baseball historians, journalists and front office personnel often use sabermetric statistics to rank the performance of a particular player or team. To many, these statistics can be intimidating and unwieldy, and the reliance on numerical data to explain a cherished pastime often meets with skepticism and confusion. For researchers and for serious fans, however, the truth is in the numbers, and statistical rankings offer an easy and accurate way to understand the game.
Covering almost a decade and a half, this work scrutinizes statistics from both leagues and proves just how useful and straightforward numerical rankings can be. It examines pitching, offense, defense, and competition based on the information reflected in various stats. Many of these figures are explained, simplifying seemingly complex metrics while illuminating 14 years of baseball. Twelve appendices cover topics ranging from fielding averages, starting pitchers’ won-loss records and leading closers’ saves versus blown saves to total team offensive efficiency, and quarterly standings in divisional races.

About the Author(s)

William Darby teaches English in Detroit. He is also the author of John Ford’s Westerns (1996).

Bibliographic Details

William Darby
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 516
Bibliographic Info: tables, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2537-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction      1

Part I. Measuring The Majors

1. Pitching      7

2. Offense      34

3. Defense      48

4. Longevity and Patterns of Competition      71

Part II. Appendices: Performance Records and Statistics

A. Starting Pitchers’ Adjusted Won-Loss Records      81

B. Relievers’ Shutout Performances vs. Run-Yielding Performances      102

C. Leading Closers’ Saves and Blown Saves, 1991–2004      139

D. Total Offensive Averages      145

E. Team Total Offensive Efficiencies      308

F. Winning and Losing Teams, Winning Percentages, Average Won-Loss Levels and Runs-Per-Game for Seasonal Offensive Efficiency Levels      316

G. Starters’ Fielding Averages and Percentages      317

H. Double Plays      376

I. Errors      413

J. Team Fielding Efficiency Percentages      450

K. Quarterly Standings in Divisional Races      459

L. Won-Lost Records by Run Differentials      470

Bibliography      479

Index      481

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice.