every American boy a chance to excel. Not just to be as good as someone
else but to be better. That is the nature of man and the name of the
"Baseball isn't statistics, it's Joe DiMaggio rounding second
Breslin has this much
right: there's more to baseball than mere numbers. But for those of us
who never saw DiMag on the basepaths, statistics form the essential
foundation and context for understanding baseball. And understanding
baseball is a truly noble endeavor - it is the first introduction for
most American children to an activity that values victory, honors
achievement, rewards teamwork and promotes heterodoxy, excellence and
professionalism. Through baseball, America learned to honor men of
diverse backgrounds like Babe Ruth (who came from an orphanage), Joe
DiMaggio (the son of Italian immigrants) and Willie Mays (who grew up in the
Jim Crow South) for their deeds and actions.
It is a great disservice
to the game, and to the heroes it has spawned, to rely on anecdotes
alone in sifting through the game's rich legacy; but it is also
misleading to rely on numbers alone in evaluating the game's greatest
players. For that reason, even though I have tried to make this site one
of the most factually comprehensive website on the Internet, I have
also included as much opinion and analysis as possible.
In that spirit, here is a story
about a pitcher whose talent is evident from the numbers he posted,
which are available on this website, but whose true greatness requires a
deeper understanding of the game. I urge you to take this example to
peruse this site, but to be humble about the conclusions to be drawn
When he was seven years
"Three-Finger" Brown lost the tip of his index finger in his uncle's corn
shredder. A few weeks later he broke his third and fourth fingers while chasing a
hog (no rest for the weary, I suppose), and they healed into a gnarled, unnatural shape.
Despite his handicap,
Brown became a semipro infielder. One day, the team's star pitcher broke
his arm and Brown took over; in five innings, he struck out fourteen,
using a devastating curve ball that broke unusually because of the shape
of his hand. Brown became a big league pitcher, and was perhaps the National League's premier hurler between 1905 and
1910. His 1906 season may be the best
ever, and he still has the
third-lowest career ERA of all time.
- Aman Verjee
top five league leaders since 1876 in various hitting and pitching
categories: home runs, batting average, on-base average, slugging
percentage, wins, strikeouts, "runs created" and more...
ballparks is the key to understanding baseball - the ball just
flies out of some parks and dies in others. Here is detailed
information on all current and past ballparks - park
factors, playing statistics, characteristics, seating charts,
diagrams, stories, trivia and exclusive analytical essays and
Hall of Fame page
biographies of all the major leaguers ever inducted into the Hall
of Fame, plus career statistics by position. Also, the 1999 and
2000 Hall of Fame ballots.
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