Baseball and the Blame Game: Scapegoating in the Major Leagues (Paperback)
Most baseball fans know what links Fred Merkle, Fred Snodgrass, Mickey Owen and Bill Buckner. It's a pantheon of public failure. They would be harder put to say what links Eric Byrnes, Tony Fernandez, and Babe Ruth, though these players made misplays every bit as egregious. In this smart, highly readable history of scapegoating, John Billheimer identifies the elements that combine to condemn one player to a life sentence while another gets a wrist slap for the same offense. As it turns out, the difference between a lower-case e in some forgotten box score and a lifetime of ignominy can hinge on a number of factors, including timing, geography, reputation, misunderstanding, media bias, and just plain bad luck.
SABR member John Billheimer is also a member of Mystery Writers of America. A transportation analyst, he lives in Portola Valley, California.