cover image The Politics of Glory: How the Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works

The Politics of Glory: How the Baseball's Hall of Fame Really Works

Bill James, Author MacMillan Publishing Company $25 (452p) ISBN 978-0-02-510774-8

James, the acknowledged authority on baseball statistics ( The Baseball Abstract ), discusses how players have been selected in the past and are chosen now for the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y. The Baseball Writers of America, which picks contemporary players, has been sparing in its inductions, he argues, while the groups (now called the Veterans Committee) that have picked past players have been overly generous. The criteria for selection are so nebulous and the voting so capricious that nobody should be surprised at any choices, James cautions. The hook on which he hangs his study is the battles over whether Phil Rizzuto and Don Drysdale belong in the Hall of Fame. Neither does, he concludes. James shows that injustices have been perpetrated and presents his own sensible criteria. The book is filled with such a plethora of numbers that its main appeal may be more to statisticians than to baseball fans, although James maintains that ultimately statistics are all there are: everything else, in time, is forgotten. Photos not seen by PW . (May)