Six Baseball Books Worthy of Christmas Wrapping Paper

This maybe a little late, what, with Christmas being Friday and all, but if you're still in search of a gift for a baseball fan in your family, or simply want to spend some of that Christmas cash on baseball books, here's a quick rundown of some to keep in mind.

Baseball Between the Numbers by Jonah Keri and the Baseball Prospectus Staff

Amazon.com price: $12.20

Why is it worth your time?

1. It's a great introduction to sabermetrics and some of the concepts discussed here on a near-daily basis. Why batting orders are largely irrelevant, the relief ace concept, and why matchup statistics nothing 99% of the time.  

2. Jonah Keri and James Click are heavily involved. Try and remain unexcited after you read Click's chapters and realize this guy is paid by your favorite team to figure out similar questions.  

3. At that price, why not?

4. The cover photo was taken inside of the Trop.

Edit: And Jonah is the nicest person on Earth because he's offering to send an autographed copy of this very book to the first person to comment with six players/coaches (past or present) who toiled for both the Rays and Expos at one point in their career.

The Book by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andrew Dolphin

Amazon.com price: $14.93

Why is it worth your time?

1. Pretty much the ultimate in-depth reference book around. Be warned, the writing and some of the math involved is pretty dry and technical.

2. Lots of nifty tables and figures with run and win expectancy tables.

The Cheater's Guide to Baseball by Derek Zumsteg

Amazon.com price: $0.28 from various sellers (plus roughly $4.00 in shipping)

Why is it worth your time?

1. Written by DMZ of USS Mariner fame. Even so, it's not a sabermetric voyage, but rather an appreciation of cheating throughout the game's history.

2. The steroids chapter is dead-on. If you think all steroid users should be burned at a stake be prepared to be annoyed.

3. Look at the price and then the author. Zumsteg could write 250 pages about the mating habits of sloths and I would buy at least five dollars to read it.

Other suggestions:

Diamond Dollars by Vince Gennaro ($16.47 at Amazon): For those more interested in the business side of the game, some good talk about win curves an marginal revenue. Clearly not for everyone.

Moneyball by Michael Lewis ($10.04 at Amazon): Read it if you haven't. It's a great intro book to sabermetrics as well, but some of the concepts and thoughts included are dated and misunderstood constantly. No, Billy Beane doesn't just value OBP and defenseless players anymore.

The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski ($10.07 at Amazon): I think that sells itself.

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