Balls and Strikes by Kenneth Jennings: a short review

The first few pages of this book have enough easily-contested “factual” assertions to be off-putting. It’s worth continuing, but I’d personally want to verify any fact presented in this book from another source. Citing this work could damage a reputation.

The book is essentially descriptive, but has pretensions toward analysis. There’s a lot of good material here. The first three chapters are a history of player/management relations in baseball. The remaining six chapters are topical, and examine such matters as agent behavior, player interactions with field managers, race relations, and salary arbitration. Unfortunately, the presentation is largely anecdotal; even when the author tries for analysis the result is often inconclusive, superficial, or unconvincing. I was, frankly, hoping for more.

Nonetheless, lots of data is presented in this book, and it’s well-organized. The weakness is in execution, not in design or intention.


This short review was originally published on LibraryThing.