When Dick Cramer started analyzing baseball data in the 1960s, the term sabermetrics hadn't even been coined yet. Cramer joins us to discuss his pioneering work in the field, including his role in the founding of STATS and in disproving the concept of clutch hitting.
Featured song: "2000 Man," the Rolling Stones.
The "Moneyball" era is over, and MLB teams have moved on to the next revolution: the high-tech quest to build better players. Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik join us to talk about how this approach is transforming the game in numerous ways — and not always for the better.
Featured song: "The National Anthem," Radiohead.
Are bat flips OK? What does it mean to "respect the game?" How has the influx of Latin American players affected baseball's culture? Veteran writer Danny Knobler joins us to discuss MLB's shifting attitudes towards once-sacred player codes.
Featured song: "Respect," Otis Redding.
Author Richard Hershberger joins us to discuss how baseball evolved into the game we know today through a series of wide-ranging and radical rule changes throughout the 19th century.
Featured song: "Little Games," the Yardbirds.
Ronald Reagan called to offer support. So did the Pope. And Bill Cosby. None of it helped. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles started the season 0-21, setting a record and becoming a national laughingstock. Author Ron Snyder joins us to discuss one of the worst teams in baseball history.
Featured song: "I Hate Myself for Loving You," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
In 1981, after a strike nearly ended the baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the most unusual World Series title in history. Author Jason Turbow joins us to discuss Fernandomania, Steve Garvey, Marvin Miller and more.
Featured song: "This Town," the Go-Go's.
Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger joins us to discuss the the inextricable link between the history of baseball stadiums and the growth of the American city.
Featured song: "Bright Lights, Big City," the Animals.
It might be! It could be! It is the 200th episode of Baseball by the Book! Author Don Zminda joins us to discuss the life of Harry Caray, the legendary broadcaster known for his work with the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs. Holy cow!
Featured song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Harry Caray and the Wrigley Field crowd.
On the afternoon of May 17, 1979, the Phillies and Cubs played in one of the wildest, craziest games in baseball history. Author Kevin Cook joins us to discuss Dave Kingman, Mike Schmidt, WGN and MLB on the precipice of great changes.
Featured song: "Blow Away," George Harrison.
Legendary New Yorker writer Roger Angell is considered to be one of baseball's finest chroniclers by generations of fans. Author Joe Bonomo joins us to discuss more than four decades of extraordinary Angell essays.
Featured song: "Angel Eyes," Roxy Music.
On April 29, 2015, the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox at an empty Camden Yards. Author Kevin Cowherd joins us to discuss the surreal game that was played in the wake of major civil unrest following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, a young African-American man.
In the summer of 1981, with major league players on strike, the powerhouse Triple-A Columbus Clippers became the talk of the baseball world. Author J. David Herman joins us to discuss Steve Balboni, Dave Righetti, Buck Showalter and other members of one of the best minor-league teams ever.
Featured song: "Talk of the Town," the Pretenders.
Fifty years ago, the Miracle Mets stunned the baseball world by defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Author Wayne Coffey joins us to discuss the Mets and the other amazin' events of 1969.
On the 30th anniversary of Field of Dreams, William Steele joins us to discuss the life and works of author W.P. Kinsella, whose novel inspired the movie. Kinsella's controversial literary legacy goes beyond his celebrated baseball writings, Steele explains.
Featured song: "I'm Writing a Novel," Father John Misty.
César Brioso joins us to discuss how the Castro Revolution spelled the end of a once-thriving professional baseball scene in Cuba.
Featured song: "Havana Moon," Chuck Berry,
Hop into the DeLorean with author Chris Donnelly and take a trip back to the summer of the 1985, when the Mets and Yankees vied for baseball supremacy in New York. Meet Dwight Gooden, Don Mattingly, Gary Carter, Billy Martin and the rest who made it such a memorable season in the Big Apple.
Featured song: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Tears for Fears.
Because of the the success of "Moneyball," many baseball fans believe in a fundamental divide between talent evaluators: Old-school, backward-thinking scouts vs. new-school, progressive analysts. But Christopher Phillips rejects this simplistic notion and tells us scouts and scorers have always had much in common.
New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner joins us to discuss his new book, which includes more than 300 interviews with major league pitchers of the past and present. Join us as Kepner explains how pitches from the fastball to the screwball to the slider have affected the development of baseball.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the infamous Black Sox scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for throwing the World Series. Author Jacob Pomrenke joins us to discuss his book, plus the classic "Eight Men Out" and several other books on the Black Sox and their legacy.
"Eight Men Out," by Eliot Asinof
"Burying the Black Sox," by Gene Carney
"Black Sox in the Courtroom," by William Lamb
"Shoeless Joe," by W.P. Kinsella
"Shoeless," by David Fleitz
"Say it Ain't So," by Donald Gropman
"The Ginger Kid," by Irving Stein
Featured song: "New Era Rag," James Scott.
From Ty Cobb to Derek Jeter, baseball has always been inseparable from advertising. Author Roberta J. Newman joins us to discuss her look at the long, intertwined history of two American institutions.
Featured song: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet," 1970s commercial.
In 1968, major pitchers dominated as never before as hitters looked helpless at the plate. Author Sridhar Pappu joins to discuss Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, Luis Tiant and the rest of the hurlers who defined the year of the pitcher.
Featured song: "White Light/White Heat," the Velvet Underground.
More than six decades after they left Flatbush, the Brooklyn Dodgers continue to resonate in the American imagination, particularly in pop culture. Author David Krell joins us to discuss the legacy of Rickey, Robinson, Reese and the rest of the Boys of Summer.
Featured song: "(I Used To Be A) Brooklyn Dodger," Dion.
For five decades, Joe Cronin had a front-row seat for some of the biggest events in baseball history. Author Mark Armour joins us to discuss the remarkable baseball life of the Hall of Fame shortstop who became American League president.
Featured song: "Hey Joe (
Author Doug Wilson returns to the podcast to talk about his new biography of the legendary Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. The Hall of Fame sluggers was a more complicated personality than his sunny reputation would suggest, Wilson says.
Featured song: "Boom Boom," John Lee Hooker.
Author Jonathan Eig joins us to discuss his Casey Award-winning biography of legendary Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig. Eig conducted dozens of new interviews and relied on hundreds of pages of previously letters to tell the story off baseball's Iron Horse.
Featured song: "Lucky Man," the Verve.