The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia (4th Edition)
This recent encyclopedia (2007) contains over 1700 pages of factoids on the world of baseball. No sport has taken statistics to the level that baseball has, and this book contains the proof. It is broken into 16 sections beginning with a section called The Long Season: The Historical Record which gives the final standings and stats for every season from 1871-2006. It ends with The Global Game which tells the story of international and amateur baseball. In between there is information on the usual statistics (batting, pitching, lifetime leaders) but also information on such topics a: the names and seasons worked by all of the major league umpires, big league ballparks of yesterday and today and rosters for all the major league teams throughout history. There are short articles at the beginning of each section which decode the shorthand used for the statistics and contain stories drawn from the lore of the game.
The listing for each player in the batting and pitching sections gives all of their nicknames in addition to their given names. So although Babe Ruth is listed by his nickname, his given name (George Herman) and other nicknames (Sultan of Swat, The Bambino) are listed along with his statistics. Did you know his lifetime winning percentage as a pitcher was .671? And that Sammy Sosa’s highest batting average was .328 in 2001 or that he was intentionally walked 151 times in his career? These and many other statistics can be found in this indispensible reference for baseball fans.