Monthly Archives: May 2012

Command a King’s Ship by Alexander Kent: a short review

Except for the exotic location–the Malacca Strait–this is a perfectly typical novel in the Kent’s Richard Bolitho series. In fact, I’d happily recommend it on that basis: If you wanted to read exactly one Bolitho novel, Command a King’s Ship would be a fine choice. Romance, grand strategy, sea and land battles, and a bit of politics. Quite gory.

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The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1988: a review

The team essays are, as in the 1987 edition, focused on the teams; most, frankly, are pretty dull. The Twins essay did a fine job of dissecting their success, though, and a followup essay skewered the notion that the Twinkies were unusually dependent on two pitchers. The Oakland chapter is largely devoted to trying to understand LaRussa’s quirks, which turned out to be an ongoing sabermetric theme. The excellent Cards essay triggered a second excellent essay which used Herzog as an excuse to examine the field manager’s job. And the Astros essay is one of the finest analyses of a team’s season anyone’s written.

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Win Shares by Bill James with Jim Henzler: a review

I originally read Win Shares just after the book was published, then studied it a year or so later when I adapted its framework for a minor league research project. I found that the practical application was really helpful to understanding how the pieces fit together (although, sadly, it didn’t much help my project). This decade-later read benefits from familiarity, now, and from watching other folks apply Bill’s methods. Nonetheless, this is a difficult book.

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