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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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1913765,744 (3.42)6

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The subtitle for this book, Debunking America's Favorite Sports Myths, says it all, as the author offered, at times, an interesting way of looking at well-settled myths in baseball, basketball, and football.

I found the book to be very uneven. My favorite sport, baseball, was probably the worst of the lot. For quite some time, I was soured on the book by the factual errors. On page 9, for instance, Babe Ruth did not allegedly call his shot in the 1932 World Series by pointing at the St Louis Cardinals dugout as the game was played in Chicago's Wrigley Field. That whole section felt weak to me.

However, I'm not all that interested in basketball but the middle section of the book offered up a lot of interesting information on both pro and college hoops.

I have an average interest in football and the final section seemed excessively short and, well, average, to me.

It was very disappointing to me that hockey and other major sports were not covered at all.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to sports fans but could not highly recommend it. Some good material, though I was expecting better, and some very dry portions. Not bad but it could've been much better. ( )
2 vote lindapanzo | Sep 14, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book won’t resolve any arguments but it will be useful for starting a few if you are so inclined. The author cites statistics for each sports issue that sound pretty good and may temporarily get you off the hook in a hot stove league discussion. There is nothing too conclusive, however, on whether Derek Jeter or Muhammed Ali, for instance, were the greatest ever at their respective jobs. An entertaining read. ( )
  ridgeclub | Aug 18, 2017 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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 |
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