Updating my book


Watching Baseball Smarter has been selling pretty well since it came out in March (thanks in part to the many people on this blog who’ve bought copies). For some reason, I’m not allowed to say how many copies have sold, but I can tell you that the book recently went into its 10th printing.

Anyway, that’s not the news.

THE NEWS is that I was just asked to update the book for the 2008 season–and I could really use everyone’s help. But before you all start telling me what I should change, there are a few things you should know:

1) The purpose of this update is NOT to add new sections or chapters or anecdotes. The purpose is simply to update the facts and stats that changed during the 2007 season.

2) Because it will cost Vintage (my publisher) a lot of money to make changes at this point, I’ve been asked not to change the length of any pages. More specifically, if I want to delete two words, I’m supposed to replace them with EXACTLY two words. This might seem strict and bizarre, but here’s the reason why: if I were to add one line in the middle of a page, it would bump down all the lines below it. The last line would then be forced to spill onto the following page and bump all of THOSE lines down.

3) The exception to No. 2 is if there’s blank space at the end of a page. If you have a copy of the book, go get it and turn to page 41. See all that blank space? If I wanted to add a whole paragraph about the Cy Young Award (which I don’t), it wouldn’t be a problem. Turn the page and check out the last line on 42. See how there’s an inch and a half of space after the word “them”? I can also play with space like that at the end of paragraphs. See how the first paragraph on page 43 has even more space at the end? I’d be able to add about 10 words to that paragraph, and it wouldn’t be a problem BECAUSE it wouldn’t bump down the other lines. Get it?

4) I made a few tweaks over the course of the season, but these tweaks didn’t start appearing until the third printing. How can you tell what printing you have? It’s easy. Turn to the copyright page, which is on the back of the title page. You’ll see “A VINTAGE ORIGINAL, MARCH 2007,” followed by the copyright and a little paragraph that begins with “All rights reserved.” At the bottom of the page, it’ll say “Printed in the United States of America” followed by a list of numbers in descending order. The smallest number indicates what printing you have. If you see all the numbers from 10 down to 1, congratulations, you are the proud owner of a First Edition. If you see the numbers “10 9 8 7 6 5,” that means you got the book when it was in its fifth printing. Turn to page 21. See the last line above the “EEPHUS” section? If you have an early edition of the book, it’ll say “Burleigh Grimes threw the last legal spitball in 1934.” If you have a later edition, it’ll say “Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes threw the last legal spitball in 1934.” I was able to make that addition because it didn’t bump the lines down. Anyway, the point is that if you have an early edition of the book, you might end up suggesting something that’s already been changed.

I’ve already combed through the entire book and made a list of all the things that need to be updated, as well as all the stuff that MIGHT need to be updated. I’ll admit it. I don’t know EVERYTHING that happened in baseball this past season, and that’s where YOU come in (if you’re up for the challenge). I’m not getting paid to update the book–hopefully it’ll help sell a few more copies–so obviously I can’t pay you. It’s just a labor of love, and if anyone wants to help out, that’d be awesome.

Here are the things I know should be updated:

MY BIO — Update my number of baseballs (to 3,277) and stadiums (to 42).
PAGE XIV — Update my number of stadiums.
PAGE 9 — Change “Devil Rays” to “Rays.”
PAGE 21 — Mention Dice-K in the “gyroball” section.
PAGE 42 — New title for Hank Aaron under his quote at the top. (Any suggestions?)
PAGE 101 — Update the number of Gold Gloves for Andruw, Pudge, and Maddux.
PAGE 133 — Update Bonds/Aaron in the last paragraph.
PAGES 142/143 — Use 2007 stats and update the commentary in the “you stink” section.
PAGE 165 — Fix the typo…yikes…9th line from the bottom.
PAGE 182 — Update the fact that Manny Ramirez is now the career playoff HR leader.
PAGE 184 — Update the last paragraph of the steroids section.
PAGE 238 — Update Rollins’ AB record and Bonds’ HR record.
PAGE 239 — Update stats (Howard Ks, Bonds career BB/IBB, Trevor career saves, etc.).

Here are the things that MIGHT need to be updated:

PAGE 3 — Average MLB annual salary still $2.9 million? What about meal money?
PAGE 7 — Minor league meal money and starting monthly salary?
PAGE 11 — Does the Grapefruit/Cactus League breakdown need to change?
PAGE 14 — Average MLB salary mentioned again.
PAGE 35 — Is the team record for consecutive games without a CG still 194?
PAGE 44 — Is Bob Buhl’s 0-for-70 slump still the single-season record?
PAGE 76 — Newer guys for the The Shift? (Prince, Dunn, Howard, Hafner, Morneau?)
PAGE 105 — Is 303 still the record for homers in one stadium in one season?
PAGE 106 — Footnote at bottom…any other balls that defied gravity?
PAGE 114 — Is $1,800 per month still the starting salary for minor league umps?
PAGE 122 — What IS the deal with instant replay in MLB? Official yet? If so, how?
PAGE 172 — Did Bobby Thomson recently/finally admit it?
PAGE 190 — What are some names that could replace Mike Mussina here?
PAGE 196 — New terms for the glossary? I have a bunch. Not sure if there’s space.
PAGE 239 — Less obvious stats? (GIDP, for example.) Which ones need an update?
PAGE 243 — Did the single-season holds record change this year?
PAGE 245 — Is Vernon still the all-time double play leader?
PAGE 246 — Who to add/delete from the “uniform numbers” section? (Add Peavy!)

So yeah, these are all the things I still need to research, and I might have missed some. If you have an answer/suggestion/opinion, please leave a comment and let me know. If you track down any info online, please copy and paste the link into the comments section so we can all double-check. If you don’t have an MLB.com account and can’t leave comments, send me an email at zack@zackhample.com…but I’d prefer comments so everyone can be involved. This is a lot of work, but I think it could be lots of fun.


  1. puckcollector@optonline.net

    In your last entry, when you commented to Leigh, by Teddy Bear, do you mean how that woman got fired cuz she let her class in like Sudan name a Teddy Bear Muhammed?

    Hank Aaron’s title should not be changed. He is still the legal home run king.

  2. hdavid_27@yahoo.com

    Hey Zack its Darron and i want to say a couple things like i have one of the first edition books becuase the people at the book store wernt exactly fighting over your book and they had some dust on the so they have been up there for awile and also to puckcollector very good point about bonds well bye for now Darron

  3. Zack

    Yeah, that’s what I was talking about, but for now I’d rather keep the focus on baseball. I thought about keeping Aaron’s title as it is, but I really feel like I should change it, if only a little. Maybe say “all-time (legal) home run leader” or “all-time home run leader among non-steroid users”? What does everyone think?


    So it goes. In some places, the book sells like crazy. In other places, it falls through the cracks and gets forgotten.

  4. puckcollector@optonline.net

    I think that Bobby Thompson is like the Patriots. He(the team) stole signs.

    And Aaron, just mention that the record was unfairly taken from him.

  5. eddiebyun@yahoo.com

    Hey Zack. That’s great to hear you’ll be update your book. I think a book like that will need some updates every few years or so. I guess here’s my 2 cents of help. Concerning your page 114 topic on starting salaries for minor league umps, here some info I found:

    “monthly salaries for umpires in the Florida Rookie League (forerunner of the Gulf Coast League) ranged from $175 to $200 per month and umpires were given from $150 to $200 for expenses. In comparison, the starting salary in the GCL is currently $1,900 per month.”


    All the best to you Zack! If I come across anything else, I’ll post it up.

  6. db3par@aol.com

    Did you mention anything about Glavine and his 300 career wins? That is DEFINITELY something that has to go in there if it isn’t already. And now that we know the truth about Dice-K, you should take the gyro ball out. Concerning Bonds, put an asterisks, or just wait until his trial sometime later this month.

  7. db3par@aol.com

    Woops, I just read over the entry and I shouldn’t have been so demanding. I think that Glavine’s feat should be considered in your update. That’s better. Those are my opinions.

  8. Zack

    I want to be careful not to confuse fact with opinion, or at least not to editorialize in too many places. I want to avoid making claims that records (even Bonds’) were achieved unfairly, you know? If I did that, then I’d have to consider removing ALL steroid users from the book. I mean, I wouldn’t be able to list Jose Canseco as one of the few guys with a 40-40 season, just to give you one example.


    Thanks. That’s a great link. It could’ve been written more clearly, but I think the $175 indicates how much monthly salaries USED to be. Now it looks like the starting monthly salary HAS incresead from the $1,800 I mentioned in the book to $1,900. So cool. We’ve already knocked one of the items off the list!


    No worries. I like passion. It’s all good. If I had given a list of 300-game winners in the book, then I’d definitely update it to include Glavine. But there isn’t a list like that, and there are other 300-game winners that didn’t get mentioned, so I probably won’t go out of my way to write in Glavine’s latest milestone. As things stand, I already mention him as a “future Hall-of-Fame pitcher” on page 169, so at least he’s IN the book.

  9. Scott

    Oh Zack, Now you are just getting lazy. Why are WE updating YOUR book? SHEESH!


    I am seriously kidding!


  10. hdavid_27@yahoo.com

    Hey Zack this is not about the book but i think im going to try and break the all time dig dug record of 4,388,520 but ive got one of those jakks pacific games so i dont know if it would count but ill try and if i break it i will send it to the video games record page this The Video Game High Score Page but i dont know if it will count becuase its not one of the listed systems

  11. Zack

    Cool. But how do you know that these were the last complete games for these teams? (Pedro Astacio. Heh.)


    Yeah…you didn’t see the link from “sldickinson” to the Nats’ complete game?


    I don’t deny it. I can be totally lazy at times. But if I were REALLY lazy, I wouldn’t’ve even agreed to make these updates in the first place when my publisher asked. (Although THAT would’ve been incredibly dumb.)


    Good luck with the record. I hope you break it, and I hope it counts.

  12. gregorybarasch@yahoo.com

    HOLDS RECORD – Did not change this year. Brandon Lyon led the Majors with 35 holds, which is less than both Scott Linebrink (36 in 2006) and Tom Gordon (36 in 2004). Source: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/pitching?sort=holds&split=0&league=mlb&season=2007&seasonType=2&type=reg&ageMin=17&ageMax=51&hand=a&pos=all&minip=0

    Also, not sure if you mentioned this anywhere in the book, but in 2007 Bobby Cox broke the all-time ejections list this year. I believe he’s currently at 133.

  13. puckcollector@optonline.net

    I saw the link, but I was rushing to eat so I didn’t read it. I think Cox is at like 166. I’m just guessing though.

  14. Zack

    Thanks for the holds link. As for ejections, I never mentioned what the record was or who held it, so that won’t need to change. Still cool to know.




    That’s it? You’re done? Alas…

  15. sldickinson@gmail.com

    Yeah Zack, I’m not 100% positive, but it was the only CG in 2006 for the Nats, and they didn’t have any in 2007.

    162 + 43 games after Astacio’s CG in 06 = 205 and counting, I think.

  16. joneli24@yahoo.com

    zack! long time no post for me, but i have indeed been reading…anyway i know that esteban loaiza pitched a CG for the nats in 05 but thats the last one i can recall…anyway i guess we’re going to have to go down to philly so i can get your updated book signed haha

    anyway im planning on going down i think its the late 20s in may 27/28 somewhere around there…colorado is in town and they come to shea during a weekend in july and its gonna be a mob there for them so…hopefully ill see you down there

  17. Zack

    Yep, I counted 205 as well. Thanks.


    Welcome back to the comments section. You’re really gonna buy a new updated version of my book? And you’re aware of the fact that I’m not planning to add any new sections? I guess it WILL be a mob for the Rockies in ’08. Bleh.

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