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Library JournalWhen rating baseball’s all-time greats we usually round up the usual suspects: Cobb, Ruth, DiMaggio, Williams, Mantle, Mays. Think again, suggests baseball historian Fleitz. Drawing from ratings based on statistical analyses undertaken around 30 years ago, he states that turn-of-the-20th-century star Nap Lajoie, who played for the Cleveland Indians (often then fondly called the Naps) from 1896 to 1916, should be considered among the top three in any such conversation. Fleitz follows with a straightforward, detailed account of Lajoie’s years in baseball, during which the Hall of Famer compiled a .338 lifetime major league batting average, won the Triple Crown, and earned a reputation as a far-ranging, sure-handed second baseman, the first elected to the Hall of Fame. Nap’s non-baseball years are covered much more briefly.
VERDICT Though unlikely to capture the popular imagination, this full biography of Lajoie, the first ever, will be welcomed by baseball history buffs. —JB
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