So I’m a day late on this, and that probably means you’ve read about it in 900 other places already, but I suppose when there’s a day game featuring Clayton Kershaw vs Cliff Lee, having your attention in other places is somewhat understandable.
As of yesterday, a project I’ve been eagerly anticipating – The Hall of Nearly Great – is now available to the public. I first heard about this a few months ago when Marc Normandin (formerly of Baseball Prospectus, now at Baseball Nation & Over the Monster and probably 30 other places) and Sky Kalkman (also of BP) announced they were putting together a project to celebrate… well, let them tell you:
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.
This is not a numbers-driven project (although our contributors lean analytical in their views). Our plan isn’t to be overbearing with stats and spreadsheets to convince you that these players are worth remembering. What we aim to do, instead, is accomplish that same task through stories. Think of your favorite players growing up: they have their moments, games, seasons, quirks, personalities, and legends worth remembering and sharing. Now, combine the best of everyone’s forgotten favorites, and you’ve got a Hall of Nearly Great. Ask the people who have those memories and love for these players to write essays about them, and you have The Hall of Nearly Great ebook.
This is an ebook, available in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats, suitable for reading on a computer, iPad, Kindle, Nook, other e-reader, or smart phone.
I’ve had it for about a week now, since I was an early contributor to their Kickstarter, and I must say it’s fantastic. Just look at the outstanding list of authors below, many of whom I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person, a few I count as pals, and all of whom rank among the best baseball writers in the business:
R.J. Anderson * Cee Angi * Tommy Bennett * Ted Berg * Jon Bernhardt * Jon Bois * Grant Brisbee * Craig Brown * Dave Brown * Craig Calcaterra * Carson Cistulli * Cliff Corcoran * Bradford Doolittle * Craig Fehrman * Chad Finn * Steven Goldman * Owen Good * Jay Jaffe * King Kaufman * Jonah Keri * Matthew Kory * Will Leitch * Ben Lindbergh * Sam Miller * Rob Neyer * Marc Normandin * Eric Nusbaum * Bill Parker * Jason Parks * Jeff Passan * Joe Posnanski * Old Hoss Radbourn * David Raposa * David Roth * Jon Sciambi * Emma Span * Cecilia Tan * The Common Man * Wendy Thurm * Jon Weisman * Josh Wilker * Jason Wojciechowski
In addition to Jon Weisman taking on the under-appreciated Reggie Smith, there’s also chapters on former Dodgers Fernando Valenzuela, Ron Cey, Andy Messersmith, Eric Davis, Kenny Lofton, Robin Ventura, Dick Allen, Fred McGriff, Bob Carruthers (of the 40-11, 2.4 K/9 1889 season) and current Dodger manager Don Mattingly. But this isn’t really about the Dodgers, it’s about baseball, because you don’t need to love the Giants to enjoy an anecdote about former San Francisco first baseman Will Clark, a portion of which you can preview at Deadspin.
I’ll be honest here: I’m not only posting about this because friends of mine are doing a cool thing. I’m posting about it because it’s an off-day and I can’t stand to think about Juan Uribe for one second longer. Well, okay, not only that; if you purchase through the book image above or simply by clicking here, not only will you get 193 pages of baseball writing that you can’t find anywhere else for only $12, I’ll receive $3 that I can put towards keeping this site active so we can all talk about how much we love bunting.
The Hall of Nearly Great, now available.