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Joseph KahnMichael J. Schell, a biostatistician at the University of North Carolina and a lifelong baseball fan, has tried to rewrite history. He argues that raw batting averages are meaningful only to compare hitters playing in the same park at the same time with the same competition, not to rank superstars in the Hall of Fame. Mr. Schell's new book is a trenchant attempt to reorder the hierarchy using methods like those he applies to cancer research. He submitted batting averages of history's top baseball players to a gantlet of tests. He makes adjustments for the changing baseball talent pool, in part because blacks and other minorities were once excluded from the major leagues. He also tries to eliminate the distorting effects of quirky ball parks, end-of-career slumps and rule changes. The resulting list rocks conventional wisdom. It also takes the numerology among baseball fans to a new level of obsessiveness.
— New York Times