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Hot hands, draft hype, and DiMaggio's…
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Hot hands, draft hype, and DiMaggio's streak : debunking…

by Sheldon Hirsch

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1311723,089 (3.41)5

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book got me thinking about sporting records in ways I hadn't before. There's a good discussion of some of the new baseball stats like BABIP, and the weakness of stats like WAR. The author addresses questions like "who was the better player Mantle or Mays? And how to compare a player from the 1930s to a current player. Hirsch shows different ways of looking at such questions that point out why such comparisons are difficult to do.

Is DiMaggio’s 56 game hitting streak overrated? Hirsch provides a good statistical argument that it is! He offers unconventional ideas about other debatable topics like Mantle vs Mays, Cabrera vs Trout, Buckner's error, pitcher arm injuries and much more. With stats, formulas and statistics to back up those debates.
Hirsch explains why what we believe to be conventional wisdom in sports, needs to be re-examined and includes detailed explanations of why we need to do so.
A good book which challenges common beliefs about important athletes, events and feats. I enjoyed the book, but sometimes I got lost in the statistical formulas presented in it. ( )
  mjv0 | Jun 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The book has three sections, baseball, basketball and football. I'm a big baseball fan, and loved the baseball section. There's a good discussion of some of the new baseball stats like BABIP, and the weakness of stats like WAR. Asking questions like "Who was the better player Mantle or Mays? or how to compare a player from the 1930s to a current player are the stuff of baseball and may never be answered satisfactorily. But Hirsch shows some different ways of looking at such questions, which at least, point out why such comparisons are difficult.

Basketball is my least favorite sport and I don't know much about it. The baseball and basketball sections are about the same length and I ended up skipping most of the basketball section as it was getting technical and I don't know the players or situations he was writing about. There was some interesting stuff. I never heard of the controversy concerning 2002 NBA Finals, that the league conspired to fix the 6th game of the Lakers-Kings series to force a 7th game. This seems absurd on the face of it, for any and all the reasons Hirsch describes.

The football section was the shortest, and more general in tone, and an interesting read for a casual football fan like me. Hirsch spends little time on football injuries, such as concussions. As a medical doctor I'd have expected more. He seems to think that the data isn't in to conclude that long term injuries are a problem with football.

I'm giving this 4 stars because I thought the baseball section was excellent. I don't know enough about the game to evaluate the basketball section but if it was as good as the baseball part, then the book deserves 4 stars. The football section was comparatively weak, so I can't give 5 stars. ( )
  capewood | Jun 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hot Hands, Draft Hype, DiMaggio's Streak: Debunking America's Favorite Sports Myths is a book about sports and science. This is a fascinating book for anyone, but especially if you are someone who both enjoys sports, but wants to understand the science behind it. Every sport has its myths and traditions and conventional maxims, but are they really true, or just considered true based solely on tradition ? Using science, statistical and otherwise, Sheldon Hirsch tells entertaining but enlightening tales of many hoary beliefs. For me it was satisfying to read about the title myth, that "DiMaggio's streak is the greatest record ever," because I had always doubted it and wondered why it was such a big deal, when there are many other more impressive records. Each viewer, if he loves sports and has an inquiring mind, will find his own favorite story in this book. ( )
  RickLA | Jun 1, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In hot Hands, Draft Hype, DiMaggio's Streak: Debunking America's Favorite Sports Myths, Sheldon Hirsch addresses the three "myths" in the title as well as a number of other conventional sports beliefs. In the section about baseball he he tries to use statistics and probability to minimize the significance of DiMaggio's hitting streak. He also attempts statistical analysis to discredit the "hot hand" concept.

The book is an easy read, but most of the arguments are the sort of thing you can hear on any sports radio call-in show. It was an okay way to kill a few hours, but I wouldn't go out and buy it thinking that there is anything groundbreaking in it.

Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book in a Librarything giveaway. ( )
  kristenembers | May 28, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book has a catchy title which is a bit misleading. Although all three topics are discussed in Hirsch’s book, only a couple of pages are devoted to each one. Hirsch is both a physician and a sport’s fan; this book contains his opinions on a number of topics, primarily in baseball and men’s basketball, and to a much lesser extent in football. The very brief epilogue deals with boxing. Most of the book is concerned with professional sports although one section is about college basketball. The end of the baseball section is very statistical.

Hirsch briefly discusses specific commonly held ideas or “myths” about these sports, and states his opinions about them. He does have some very good suggestions concerning a few topics such as voting for the baseball hall of fame, and how games in the different sports can be made more exciting. However, he deals so briefly with some many ideas that his key suggestions tend to get lost. Many of the topics are not overly important such as who is the greatest in a particular sport, and which teams or players from different eras are greater. Unfortunately, Hirsch gives short shrift to some very important topics, especially those concerned with players’ health, specifically concussions. As a medical doctor he could have discussed these in detail and given specific suggestions concerning players at different ages (young children through professionals). He talks most about concussions in the section concerning basketball instead of football.

Contains detailed table of contents, end-notes containing additional text, and index. ( )
  sallylou61 | May 20, 2017 |
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