The co-author of an acclaimed book that I can’t wait to read later this summer — Fastball John, written with heat-throwing 1970s journeyman pitcher John D’Acquisto — and the founder of Instream Sports (“the first athlete-author website”), Dave Jordan combined a lengthy review of The Cooperstown Casebook with an epic Q&A, then studded it with some fun videos relevant to the topic at hand. You’ll want to pack a lunch for this one.
This is a fantastic reference tome, and yet for guys like me who were more Zander Hollander than Bill James growing up, you’ll find the individual career recaps reminiscent of The Complete Handbook of Baseball, if not the late 90’s-early aughts STATS Inc Scouting Handbook annuals. What sets the 400-plus page book apart from those that preceded it is Jaffe’s sensitivity to historical context, in addition to his passion at seeking as impartial a determination of greatness as possible. It’s also a classy touch that he uses the introduction to applaud every single ballplayer who ever stepped over the white lines in an official Major League game. Jaffe’s presentation betrays a nuance, a deft touch, whether it’s praising the achievements of a disgraced player or a social media pariah. A baseball writer and sabrmetrican, highly-respected by the younger statisticians in the sport, Jaffe displays a humanity for the achievements of these great men without losing objectivity, and in some cases, a biting sense of humor.