You will buy this book. You MUST buy this book.

Which book? Why, The Hall of Nearly Great, of course. I’ll tell you below why you will and must buy this book, but first let’s learn about what it is you’ll be buying.

This grand e-book is officially out today and features 42 of the best baseball writers around (folks like Joe Posnanski, Craig Calcaterra, Rob Neyer, Jonah Keri, and Josh Wilker) covering the careers of numerous great but not all-time great players. It’s published by Sky Kalkman & Marc Normandin.

Taken straight from the book’s website:

The Hall of Nearly Great is an ebook meant to celebrate the careers of those who are not celebrated. It’s not a book meant to reopen arguments about who does and does not deserve Hall of Fame enshrinement. Rather, it remembers those who, failing entrance into Cooperstown, may unfairly be lost to history. It’s for the players we grew up rooting for, the ones whose best years led to flags and memories that will fly together forever. Players like David Cone, Will Clark, Dwight Evans, Norm Cash, Kenny Lofton, Brad Radke, and many others.

The book totals more than 97,000 words about 42 players, meaning that each guy gets several pages. Here are a few snippets to read as you get out your wallet:

Steve Goldman, on Don Mattingly:

“Having hit only one home run in his first 99 plate appearances of 1984 and just five in the first 417 plate appearances of his major-league career going back to 1982, Mattingly homered in three consecutive games against the Indians and was off, knocking 22 balls over the fence over the remainder of the season. In September, someone asked Berra if Mattingly had exceeded his expectations, and the manager replied with a basic Yogiism: ‘I’d say he’s done more than that'”

King Kaufman, on Ron Cey:

“I’m on the phone with Ron Cey and he’s not getting why I think he’s a vastly underrated player.

‘There has to be a basis behind it,’ he’s saying, ‘so why do you feel that way? And then maybe I can respond to it.’

I’m a little hung up. I hadn’t expected to have to defend this idea. I’d figured if I were ever going to find a friend for the thought that Ron Cey, the squat, power-hitting third baseman for the longest-running infield in baseball history, has not gotten his historical due, that friend would answer the phone when I called Ron Cey’s house.

I can’t go with ‘Well, when’s the last time you heard anyone talk about Ron Cey?’ because he’s Ron Cey. He probably hears about Ron Cey all the time.”

Tommy Bennett on Fred McGriff:

“Over his career, McGriff played for six different teams in 19 seasons. He played baseball at the highest level. He was five times an All-Star, three times a Silver Slugger recipient, and six times a top-ten MVP finisher. His visage graced some of the most coveted Donruss baseball cards of his era: Rated Rookie, Diamond King, and Triple Play Nicknames. But despite his accomplishments, cable-television notoriety, and Super Star nickname, every bio of the Crime Dog ever written, no matter how short, will note that he hit 493 home runs, just seven shy of excellence.”

These are just a few short bits drawn from a long volume covering lots of wonderful players. Some of the stories involve interviews, while most involve statistics (the authors are, for the most part, sabermetrically-inclined.)

Now, here’s why you need to buy this book:

1. First and foremost, it’s awesome. It’s got a lot of different writing styles (all good) and shines a lot of light on players who don’t appear nearly as brightly as they once did.

2. This project was funded by Kickstarter.com, a crowdsourcing mechanism that supports great projects. I paid for my copy of the book already, on the day that Sky first launched the Kickstarter drive. This sort of model just makes tons of sense, and I really want to see Sky and his team succeed, and succeed wonderfully. Rather than some crusty old publisher in a dusty office deciding whether this book should get written, we (the baseball public) decided, gave the group the money they needed to make it happen, and now get to reap the benefits. Let’s help make this program a massive success so that we can get more like it.

3. Yes, High Heat Stats is an affiliate promoter for The Hall of Nearly Great, so if you buy a copy of the book using any of the links on this page, we get a small piece of the action. That means you’re supporting the authors, supporting your favorite blog, and, oh yeah, GETTING AN AWESOME BOOK.

4. By my quick count, the book has at least a handful of women authors. These are folks like Wendy Thurm, Cee Angi, and Emma Span: experienced writers who have more business contributing to a book like this than I do. Until the day comes when talent alone dictates who gets opportunities, I will always go out of my way to support hard-working people who are under-represented in their profession. I’d buy this book if it contained only the pieces written by women.

5. Ready for the kicker? THE BOOK COSTS ONLY TWELVE DOLLARS. Yeah, $12. So that’s less than 30 cents for each essay. You’ve read this far. Buy it now.

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61 Comments on "You will buy this book. You MUST buy this book."

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JSE
Guest

I see a list of the authors, but before I purchase, I want to see a list of the players!

JSE
Guest

It says something about the Orioles, how many of these folks played for the Orioles, but aren’t primarily identified with the Orioles: Belle, Lonnie Smith, Valenzuela, Will Clark, Eric Davis, Dwight Evans…. and I would say Grich and Martinez as well, though they have slightly better cases for Oriole-identification.

kds
Guest

Note that almost all you list are from the bad years after 1983. Though some where there with Davey Johnson in ’96 and ’97. Most of the rent-a-players were after the “Oriole Way” was gone.

Joey Bartz
Guest

Alan Trammell before Lou Whitaker? I just hope this means that Lou is going to the Hall, eventually. Can’t wait to read the book, I’m a huge fan of the project from reading the excerpts.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

I’d bet a secondary list will be springing up here over the next couple of days, and given the knowledge of some of the folks here, there’s no reason why the discussions on all those players can’t be as good as what you’ll find in the book. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Nash Bruce
Guest

@Joey: it is good stuff!!

Sky
Guest
Hey all, just wanted to clarify about the player list. It is NOT a ranking of the best guys not in the HoF or the players “most deserving” of articles. Clearly some are better than others and clearly many names that fit in between these names are not included. This book is not about drawing another imaginary line in order to define the greatness of an insiders’ club by excluding others. The book IS about 43 players who are deserving of our remembrance and have great stories to tell. We celebrate them without taking a stance on others, as much… Read more »
Ed
Guest

Okay but then maybe the books needs a different title. Rusty Greer in the “Hall of Nearly Great”??? Sorry but I don’t see that at all.

Sky
Guest

Perhaps you’re right. There are 5 words in the title and over 97,000 in the book. Each person can choose which ones they focus on.

John Autin
Editor

Homer Simpson, after seeing the movie “Naked Lunch”:

“I can think of two things wrong with that title!”

Thomas Court
Guest

It was Nelson who stated that.

birtelcom
Editor

Rusty G.: Undoubtedly, the best Texas Rangers left fielder ever, and probably the second best (behind Jose Cruz) in the history of MLB in the state of Texas. Clearly eligible for the “Hall of Good Players About Whom An Interesting Essay Can Be Written and Who Inspired a Good Baseball Writer to Write One” (sometimes the most technically accurate title is not the most marketable).

Abbott
Guest

I was excited when I saw a picture of an actual book. Sadly, I don’t have any e-reading devices.

Brent
Guest

Sounds awesome. The great thing about “The Glory of Their Times” was that it didn’t just repeat the same stories about the Greatest players of the early 20th century, but also focused on guys who would fit in well in this book, like Smokey Joe Wood and Hans Lobert. I will be reading this with interest.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Hey, those of you who have already criticized the book (content, title, etc.) before actually reading it, please back off a little. As someone who has written a book, and is about to self-publish for the first time, I can tell you this:

1. It is a ton of work.
2. It is a sickening feeling to know you are going to be critiqued by strangers, most of whom have no idea how hard you worked or how much you have personally invested in the project.
3. It is a ton of work.

Jim Bouldin
Guest

What Voomo said. Good research–which all nonfiction work entails–is a great deal of work, far more than those who don’t do it realize.

Mike L
Guest

Hey, I’m going to second and third that. I bought it. Just spent a few minutes with it. Nice graphics, different outlook on players we don’t always think about. Less than the price of a couple of beers at the ballpark, and I’ve got something fun to read on the train. It’s hard work to write, to research, to present, and to stick your neck out there and let others critique you. Kudos to those who do.

Hartvig
Guest

Voomo- When you do publish, please let us know even if it’s not a baseball book. I’d still be interested in reading it.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Well, its not a baseball book. But there is some baseball talk. Travel adventure. And at one point the narrator is picked up hitchhiking by an old fella wearing a game-worn Gene Brabender Pilots’ cap. And that may have actually happened.

PP
Guest

Offhand, I’d add Darrel Evans. Lenny D, huh? How about Pinson? Are we all sure Dewey isn’t a HOFer? Better than Rice and other HOFers IMO, though probably not better than Dick Allen. Concepcion wqas close, no? Is it the assumption that Boyer was a great player and not a near great?

Mike L
Guest

I have to say, having just read the first 50 pages on the train, that people who read this blog will enjoy the book. Not every piece is of the same quality but every writer shares our passion for the game. This isn’t a rehash of a Tim Raines argument. It’s texture and detail you don’t get in the ordinary course. I suggrst people should stop fussing around the edges and give it a shot.

Dalton M
Guest

Psyched to download a copy when I get home. This is right up my alley.

vincent
Guest

You had me at “Graig Nettles.” Will this ever be available as a hard copy?

Sky
Guest

No specific plans, as Andy said. After the work involved in launching the ebook dissipates I’d like to look into it, though.

In other words, don’t expect one soon. 😉

Hub Kid
Guest

I second Vincent’s request for publishing a hard copy. great idea, although I know that it is probably not feasible unless the e-book sells like hotcakes.

MikeD
Guest
Great idea. When it comes to the written word, in some ways it’s better to be either the clearly great or the simply good. The near greats get a great deal of attention, but usually what’s written about them is why they shouldn’t be in the HOF, or where they come up short. It’s too bad since these players are among the very best ever, and in essense it is their existance and their exclusion from the HOF which gives the Hall meaning. The HOF rests on the shoulders of these nearly great players. So when’s the paperback version coming… Read more »
MikeD
Guest

Updating myself, I have purchased the ebook. I am now printing out all 193 pages and have the ability to bind it so I can read it in bed. See, even book Luddites have solutions for the dastardly modern world.

Arsen
Guest

I’d love to read it. When will there be a physical edition? I’m not really interested in reading books on the computer. I’m on the computer all day at work. As a Phils fan I’m interested in Dykstra, Smith and of course Allen. He was a great, great player in his prime.

RichW
Guest

I just bought it. It’s ideal for my short commuter flights.

Jose
Guest

I am having a difficult time trying to purchase. Is there anyway to still buy?

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