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The Oxford Anthology of Statistics in Sports, Volume 1: 2000-2004

James J. Cochran, Jay Bennett, and Jim Albert, editors
Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 
Number of Pages: 
[Reviewed by
Brent Kelderman
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The Oxford Anthology of Statistics in Sports (Volume 1: 2000–2004) is a collection of thirty-seven different publications that cover various sports topics. Each sport discussed is given its own part of the book, including an introduction with rules of play and other information needed for the reader to understand the articles that follow without having to worry about the minutia of the sport being discussed. The book is broken down into parts as follows: Baseball, Olympics/Track & Field, American Football, Cricket, Golf, Soccer, Other Sports, and Miscellaneous Topics. Credit must be given to the editors in their work for compiling such an anthology of literature about statistics in sports with this organizational system that makes this book a joy to read.

The introduction to each part of the book is a major highlight, being written by an expert in the field of statistics of the specific sport, giving the reader a frame of reference for the discussion of the sport that follows in the articles. Each introduction gives sufficient detail and information about the sport in a manner that it is well balanced for readers of all levels of prior knowledge of the sport. This collection is written in such a way that it is not necessary to read it in a linear fashion: the reader can easily skip over different chapters without causing a gap in understanding, making it a helpful aide for finding relevant statistics examples. American society seems to have had an increase in knowledge and use of statistics within the world of sports, spanning from the movie Moneyball to an increase in the discussion regarding the BCS in college football. As a result, this anthology is becoming ever more relevant to understanding the statistics in sports that we see today.

Though this book is very useful and interesting in its discussion of the topic, a word of warning to any potential reader: the articles do, at times, delve into some higher level statistics. That being said, the discussions of the statistics provided help the reader understand the analysis and usefulness of such statistics without fully requiring the reader to understand every step of the calculations performed.

This book would be a useful addition to any library of statistical literature to have at hand for both personal enjoyment and also for supplementing discussions in a classroom setting. Though the level of statistics varies, it would probably be best served in application of a graduate level student, though could be used to help encourage and challenge a determined undergraduate student.

Brent Kelderman is a high school math teacher at Millard West High School and an adjunct mathematics professor at Grace University in Omaha, Nebraska.

Baseball Introduction, Hirotsu Nobuyoshi
1. Were the 1996-2000 Yankees the Best Baseball Team Ever?, Gary A. Simon and Jeffrey S. Simonoff
2. Comparing the Performance of Baseball Players, Gary Koop
3. Career Records for All Modern Position Players Eligible for the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, James J. Cochran
4. Streakiness in Team Performance, Jim Albert
5. Do Baseball Players Regress toward the Mean?, Teddy Schall and Gary Smith
Olympics/Track & Field
Olympics/Track & Field Introduction, Gerard Sierksma
6. Gold Medals, Protests, and Trading Ratings: The 2002 Winter Olympics Figure Skating, Scott M. Berry
7. One Modern Man or 15 Tarzans?, Scott M. Berry
8. Evaluation of the Current Decision Rule in Figure Skating and Possible Improvements, Samuel S. Wu and Mark C. K. Yang
9. An Analysis of Decathlon Data, Trevor F. Cox and Ryan T. Dunn
American Football
American Football Introduction, Sharif Melouk
10. College Football Rankings, Scott M. Berry
11. Tiered Polychotomous Regression: Ranking NFL Quarterbacks, Chris White and Scott Berry
12. The Cold-Foot Effect, Scott M. Berry
13. A Penalized Maximum Likelihood Approach for the Ranking of College Football Teams Independent of Victory Margins, David Mease
14. The Return of a Missed Field Goal in Canadian Football, Keith A. Willoughby
15. Statistics and the College Football Championship, Hal S. Stern
Cricket Introduction, Paul van Staden
16. A Fair Result in Foul Weather, Frank Duckworth
17. Rating Teams and Analysing Outcomes in One-Day and Test Cricket, P. E. Allsopp and Stephen R. Clarke
18. Rain Rules for Limited Overs Cricket and Probabilities of Victory, Ian Preston and Jonathan Thomas
19. Batting Strategy in Limited Overs Cricket, Ian Preston and Jonathan Thomas
Soccer Introduction, Phil Scarf
20. Is the USGA Golf Handicap System Equitable?, Lawrence L. Kupper, Leonard B. Hearne, Sandra L. Martin, and Jeffrey M. Griffin
21. A Game of Which I am Not Familiar, Scott M. Berry
22. Equitable Handicapping in Golf, Derek R. Bingham and Tim B. Swartz
23. Exploratory Analysis of European Professional Golf Association Statistics, Robert Ketzscher and Trevor J. Ringrose
24. An Improved Award System for Soccer, Eduardo Fernandez-Cantelli and Glen Meeden
25. Balance in Competition in Dutch Soccer, Ruud H. Koning
26. Dynamic Modelling and Prediction of English Football League Matches for Betting, Martin Crowder, Mark Dixon, Anthony Ledford, and Mike Robinson
27. An Evaluation of Characteristics of Teams in Association Football by Using a Markov Process Model, Nobuyoshi Hirotsu and Mike Wright
28. Making up the Results: The Work of the Football Pools Panel, David Forrest and Robert Simmons
Other Sports
Other Sports Introduction, Frits Spieksma
29. Coach Markov Pulls Goalie Poisson, Zia Zaman
30. The National Hockey League Entry Draft, 1969-1995, Don Dawson and Lonnie Magee
31. Bowlers' Hot Hands, Reid Dorsey-Palmateer and Gary Smith
32. Did Lennox Lewis beat Evander Holyfield?, Herbert K. H. Lee, Daniel L. Cork, and David J. Algranati
Miscellaneous, Tim Swartz
33. Analysis of Sports Data By Using Bivariate Poisson Models, Dimitris Karlis and Loannis Ntzoufras
34. Dynamic Rating of Sports Teams, Leonhard Knorr-Held
35. Inferences about Testosterone Abuse among Athletes, Donald A. Berry and LeeAnn Chastain
36. Investigating the Economic and Demographic Determinants of Sporting Participation in England, Lisa Farrell and Michael A. Shields
37. Using Model/Data Simulations to Detect Streakiness, Jim Albert and Patricia Williamson