Monday, April 21, 2008

Reading now: Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends

Right now, the baseball book I'm reading for fun is Rob Neyer's new one: Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends. He's a writer for ESPN, and this book is the third in his series of "Big Books." They're all very fun and interesting and full of great stories.

What he's done with "Baseball Legends" is investigate the truth behind dozens and dozens of the stories and tall tales that have appeared in books, articles, and broadcasts. If Bobo Newsome claims he faced Lefty Grove 18 or 20 times and never lost to him, Neyer checks it out. He usually discovers that the stories are exaggerated but almost always have a grain of truth. For example, it's true that Newsom never lost to Grove, but it wasn't 18 or 20 times; it was more like 5 or 6.

This is exactly the kind of book I love to read -- not because it debunks fun stories, but because it shows that the truth is often at least as interesting as the myth. I strongly recommend it.

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