Posts Tagged ‘Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia’


August 29, 2017

Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia

From the beginnings of baseball history people have been obsessed with team and individual statistics. Henry Chadwick invented the box score, others added their own twists until you have what is currently something like a glut of information. There was the Spaulding Guide and the Reach Guide for the early part of the 20th Century. Even magazines like the Sporting News and Baseball Digest could be stat heavy. But for comprehensive stats all in one place you might have to do a lot of research.

In the late 1960s that all changed. the Macmillan Baseball Encyclopedia hit the market and there they were, the statistical information all in one place for every player who’d ever stepped out on a diamond. It was new, it was exhaustive, it was admittedly incomplete, it was occasionally wrong, but it was available for every fan (provided you had the money and the muscle power to lift the thing) to read over to his (or her) heart’s content.

I ran across my first copy in the university library where I was teaching. I checked it out, fell in love with it, and spent more time than I should copying out information. The 1996 version (pictured above) became a household treasure (I still have it) when my wife and son pooled their money and bought it for me for a holiday gift. I always thought it was a gift of love. My son, on the other hand, was a rabid Twins fan and I always thought he went along with purchasing it  in a case of enlightened self-interest (he used to look it over quite a bit). Whatever the motivation, I still have it and still use it sometimes when I just want to browse.

I saw they were still available to purchase. Amazon had one for $12, which surprised me. I hope each of you has occasion to use one, just so you can say you did. When I go, the book goes to my wife. I hope she’ll pass it along to my son so he can continue to enjoy using it sometimes, and maybe think back to a good time he had going over it with the old man.

Now, go get a book on baseball and read it.