Clearing the Bases: The Greatest Baseball Debates of the Last Century

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Macmillan, May 3, 2002 - Sports & Recreation - 261 pages
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Who was better, Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays? Who was the best right-hander of the '60s, Bob Gibson or Juan Marichal? Who is the greatest starting pitcher of all time? At his peak, who was more valuable, Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams? If Lefty Grove, Sandy Koufax, and Roger Clemens had pitched at the same time against the same hitters, who would have won the most games? If Jackie Robinson had been white, would he be deserving of the Hall of Fame? Is Pete Rose overrated? Has Tim Raines been underrated? Who is the best hitter of the game today-- Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, Jr.? Is today's pitching really that bad? Why can't modern pitchers go nine innings? Which are more valuable-- good starters or good relievers? How important is the stolen base? What are the myths that still surround Babe Ruth? What was the most talented baseball team of the twentieth century? Which twentieth-century championship team has been most slighted by baseball historians? What has been the real impact of black and Latin talent on Major League Baseball? Is baseball more competitive now than it was one hundred years ago? Or fifty? Or twenty-five? Who was the greatest all-around player of the last century? Find the answers here.

Clearing the Bases is the first book to tackle these and many other of baseball's most intriguing questions, plus it offers hard, sensible answers-- answers based on exhaustive research and analysis. Sports journalist Allen Barra, whose weekly sports column, "By the Numbers," has earned him millions of readers in The Wall Street Journal and whose outspoken opinions on are discussed regularly on National Public Radio, takes on baseball's toughest arguments. Using stats and methods he developed during his ongoing tenure at The Wall Street Journal, Barra takes you to the heart of baseball's ultimate question, Who's the Best?, in this, the ultimate baseball debate book. It is guaranteed to spark thousands of heated debates and to supply the fuel for thousands more. While including bits on Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Clemens, Lefty Grove, Willie Mays, and Ted Williams, among others, Barra even finds time to argue the case for great players from other sports such as Bart Starr in football and Wilt Chamberlain in basketball.

Regardless of what stand you take in these debates, you'll never think about baseball's greatest stars in the same way again.

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Clearing the bases: the greatest baseball debates of the last century

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Barra, a popular sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal and, holds forth on a variety of baseball subjects and debates, from the mysterious disappearance of the high leg-kick by ... Read full review


1 Getting Tough with Babe Ruth
2 The Most Underrated Team of the First Half of the Twentieth Century
3 Gary Cooper vs John Wayne
4 What If Jackie Robinson Had Been White?
5 OneonOne Once and for All Mickey Mantle vs Willie Mays
6 61Or Should Roger Maris Be in the Hall of Fame?
7 Juan Marichal and Bob Gibson A Reassessment
8 My Player of the Century
13 Competitive Balance Through the Century
14 OnBase Averages
15 Baseballs Greatest SLOBs
16 Why Cant They Go 9 Anymore?
17 Ranking Don Shula
18 Pro Footballs Greatest Quarterback
19 The Great Forgotten Running Back of the NFL
20 Barry Sanders Pro Footballs Greatest Runner

9 The Most Overrated and Underrated Players over the Last Thirty YearsPete Rose vs Tim Raines
10 The Dynasty That Never Was The 1986 Mets
11 Grove Koufax and Clemens A Comparison Across Time
12 Minnie Minoso The New Latin Dynasty
21 Walter Payton Pro Footballs Greatest Player
22 Wilt vs Russell A Reassessment

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About the author (2002)

Allen Barra is also the author of the critically acclaimed biography Inventing Wyatt Earp: His Life and Many Legends. In addition to his column for The Wall Street Journal and, he is a monthly columnist for American Heritage magazine and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, Playboy, The New York Times, and The Village Voice. He is also heard regularly on Major League Baseball Radio.

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