“In Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball”

Baseball fans have asked for years why some teams win and others don’t. In this book, the author has done extensive research into the question and is sharing the findings that give hints to the answer.

The authors go back many decades to make a point about the very successful Pittsburgh Pirates that was run by Barney Dreyfuss. He was a hands-on general manager that went to games everywhere that he could. He checked out players from near and far but jumping on a train and watching them play. He didn’t always rely on what others told him about players.

The Yankees had tons of success in the 1920’s and even into the 1940’s that was the responsibility of Colonel Rupert. It was his brainchild to get a field manager that knew what he was doing when it came to field development. From there it was on to general manager to handle all parts of the game.

None were better and handling the game than Branch Rickey. He was successful in many facets of the game with a strong emphasis in developing players through a farm system where players were playing in a lower level while under contract to the major league team.

The executive came next that took part in the game and George Steinbrenner was a hands-on owner that used his resources to help players become better It was his teams that produced a long string of success. The next wave in baseball came from general manager Billy Beane and his concept of Moneyball.

The authors go on to names some dynasty and how they were assembled like the Los Angeles Dodger, New York Yankees, and the St. Louis Cardinals of Bing Devine. It helped teams to develop in the mid 60’s an acumen for drafting players from a pool of amateur players.

This book is extremely well researched and a solid basis for how teams have changed the fortunes of their franchise was accomplished for many seasons. If you love baseball and some history this book would look good on your bookshelf. Pick up this book and take your time reading it as it is a plethora of baseball information.

 I would like to thank University of Nebraska Press for sending a copy to me for a fair and honest book review.

About the Authors:

Mark L. Armour is the author of Joe Cronin: A Life in Baseball and the editor of The Great Eight: The 1975 Cincinnati Reds.

Daniel R.Levitt is the author of Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees’ First Dynasty and The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball. He is the coauthor of Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way.