Baseball Hacks
Tips & Tools for Analyzing and Winning with Statistics
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: January 2006
Pages: 472

Baseball Hacks isn't your typical baseball book--it's a book about how to watch, research, and understand baseball. It's an instruction manual for the free baseball databases. It's a cookbook for baseball research. Every part of this book is designed to teach baseball fans how to do something. In short, it's a how-to book--one that will increase your enjoyment and knowledge of the game.

So much of the way baseball is played today hinges upon interpreting statistical data. Players are acquired based on their performance in statistical categories that ownership deems most important. Managers make in-game decisions based not on instincts, but on probability - how a particular batter might fare against left-handed pitching, for instance.

The goal of this unique book is to show fans all the baseball-related stuff that they can do for free (or close to free). Just as open source projects have made great software freely available, collaborative projects such as Retrosheet and Baseball DataBank have made great data freely available. You can use these data sources to research your favorite players, win your fantasy league, or appreciate the game of baseball even more than you do now.

Baseball Hacks shows how easy it is to get data, process it, and use it to truly understand baseball. The book lists a number of sources for current and historical baseball data, and explains how to load it into a database for analysis. It then introduces several powerful statistical tools for understanding data and forecasting results.

For the uninitiated baseball fan, author Joseph Adler walks readers through the core statistical categories for hitters (batting average, on-base percentage, etc.), pitchers (earned run average, strikeout-to-walk ratio, etc.), and fielders (putouts, errors, etc.). He then extrapolates upon these numbers to examine more advanced data groups like career averages, team stats, season-by-season comparisons, and more. Whether you're a mathematician, scientist, or season-ticket holder to your favorite team, Baseball Hacks is sure to have something for you.

Advance praise for Baseball Hacks:

"Baseball Hacks is the best book ever written for understanding and practicing baseball analytics. A must-read for baseball professionals and enthusiasts alike."

-- Ari Kaplan, database consultant to the Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, and Baltimore Orioles

"The game was born in the 19th century, but the passion for its analysis continues to grow into the 21st. In Baseball Hacks, Joe Adler not only demonstrates that the latest data-mining technologies have useful application to the study of baseball statistics, he also teaches the reader how to do the analysis himself, arming the dedicated baseball fan with tools to take his understanding of the game to a higher level."

-- Mark E. Johnson, Ph.D., Founder, SportMetrika, Inc. and Baseball Analyst for the 2004 St. Louis Cardinals

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oreillyBaseball Hacks
 
4.3

(based on 7 reviews)

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(0 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

WOW Mind Blowing

By JAdler Sucks

from San Francisco Bay Area

Pros

    Cons

    • Too basic

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      This book is terrible, Joseph couldn't be so far off.

      (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Some suggestions to readers

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      To start, this is an extremely well done book. If you are proficient in programming/databases and love baseball statistics you should enjoy these hacks. Please Note: you will need to refer to the book's errata to complete/understand a few of the hacks (i.e. fetchretro.pl if you use WinXP). Doing this will save you a great deal of time. Enjoy!

      (4 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Adler jacks SABRmetrics!

      By cactusmitch

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      I forgot to mention that the sub-title "Tips and tools for analyzing and winning with statistics," is applicable to most any topic that has lots of measurements.

      Stuff that matters like the financial crisis, health care, school policy....

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Adler jacks SABRmetrics!

      By cactusmitch

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      "Moneyball," perhaps the greatest of all sports books, showed us the utility, nay the necessity of "SABRmetric" thinking. Michael Lewis' showed how smarts makes for competitiveness even in unfair pursuits.

      In "Baseball Hacks," Joseph Adler shows how to get those "smarts."

      With "Baseball Hacks" any contender has a shot at becoming a champion. Any industrious kid now has access to the information, and tools to play smart. Think of "Baseball Hacks" as legal intellectual steroids!

      Now, (mid Feb. 2009,) anybody with some free time should get and read this book. Use the knowledge to work on the "stuff that matters" much more efficiently.

      The "hacks," is just a hip word for creative, analytical techniques. See Stewart Brand's definition in "Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums" for a pre criminalized definition of "Hacker."

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      A Must for baseball geeks like me!!!

      By Jjerg

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      Amazing tool for baseball study and analysis. I've been creating and manipulating data for years and I am finally having fun with it! My eight years of college are finally being put to use!!!!

      If you are in to baseball and statistical theory, pick this gem up. One warning; If you are married or have a significant other that likes to spend time with you, please don't purchase. There is so much to do you may lose all social life.

      Thanks Mr. Adler

      Jj

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      4.0

      Very Good Indeed!

      By Anonymous

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      Walking into my favorite bookstore last summer I was surprised as all get out when I saw an O'Reilly book - being very familiar with the look of their books - and being a baseball fan, I picked it up. I loved it! Not only did it give me a chance to further my enjoyment of the great American pasttime, I was introduced to several new data analysis tools - which I have subsequently used in my job.

      Well written and perfectly detailed - I recommend this book highly.

      (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Take Me Out to the Bookstore!

      By R. Bryant

      from Undisclosed

      Comments about oreilly Baseball Hacks:

      I have to say that I have only read four or five chapters thus far, and yet this is the best book I have read in a long, long while. The breadth is both deep and wide: it covers a lot of ground regarding baseball's rules, statistics, history, etc.; and somehow no subject is given short shrift.

      The writing is lively--Mr. Adler's love for the game shines through on every page. But here is the best part: if you are a new fan of baseball, or a diehard who remembers the pre-DH days, there is something for you. So far, all the code examples I have tried are correct. I am just not seeing much "first edition"-isms in this book. Again to be fair, I have not read the whole book yet, but what I have read is truly excellent.

      Can't wait for opening day!

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