Monday, November 5, 2018


Baseball writer Tom Stone believes he started writing this book in 1983. He was 10 years old and growing up in western New York. When famously snowy Rochester winters left baseball-loving kids with few options other than trading baseball cards, playing video game versions of baseball or counting the days until spring training, Stone spent long hours debating who would be on the greatest baseball teams of all-time.
Fast-forward 35 years, and Stone is your guide through the exhaustively researched and carefully considered new book “NOW TAKING THE FIELD: Baseball’s All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises” (ACTA Sports, November 2018) where “making the roster” takes on an entirely new meaning. With WAR (wins above replacement) as the basis of comparison, Stone also used other modern-day stats from baseball’s sabermetric revolution—W3 (top 3 WAR seasons), W/G (WAR per game), OPS+ and ERA+—and more traditional stats like home runs, stolen bases, batting average, and earned run average to compare the players across eras. Before making his selections, he also considered key awards like MVPs, Cy Youngs, Gold Gloves and the Rookie of the Year, as well as a player’s postseason performance.
Stone did his best to be consistent when the stats themselves have been inconsistent over the years, looking at and through the numbers to present a balanced and comprehensive look at the best players at each position for every major league team. Some were obvious selections: the Hall of Famers and star players who played their entire careers for the same franchise. But who joins them to fill out each dream team roster? Who stands with them in each starting lineup? For the Cardinals, who will join Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Albert Pujols and Bob Gibson on this roster for the ages in St. Louis? Does current North Side of Chicago star Anthony Rizzo join Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks and Ron Santo in the all-time Cubs infield? Does he even make the team?
Stone re-introduces readers to the great players of bygone eras, too long under-appreciated in the all-time greats conversation, like Nap Lajoie, Kid Nichols, and Cap Anson, and honors them for the roles they played in building Major League Baseball in the early days of the professional game. A highest-honor “franchise player” is chosen for each club, with some being obvious like Tony Gwynn for the Padres, Cal Ripken, Jr. in Baltimore, or George Brett in K.C. But some of his choices will become the fodder for some great debates. Is Jackie Robinson or Sandy Koufax the franchise player for the Dodgers? The dominance of Clayton Kershaw complicates that debate even further. What about Johnny Bench or Pete Rose in Cincy? Is it Honus Wagner or Roberto Clemente over the long history of the Pirates franchise? There are catalysts for debate on every page of “NOW TAKING THE FIELD.”
NOW TAKING THE FIELD” also raises, evokes and/or answers these fascinating questions:
  • Who is Eddie Joost and can he keep Miguel Tejada off the A’s all-time squad?
  • How would the all-time lineups differ vs. right-handed and left-handed pitching?
  • Who is the best all-time CF for the Braves? Dale Murphy or Andruw Jones?
  • Who makes it at 2B for the Yankees? Robinson Cano, Joe Gordon, Tony Lazzeri, Gil McDougald, Willie Randolph?
  • What does WAR have against Indians- and Blue Jays-great Joe Carter?
  • What do the depth charts look like for the teams selected?
  • Who starts for the all-time Astros squad at 2B? Craig Biggio or Jose Altuve?
  • Who beats out the all-world Max Scherzer as the ace for the Expos / Nationals franchise?
  • Where does Manny Machado rank in the all-time list of Orioles greats? Does he even make the roster?
  • What are the prospects for other current players to make the franchise rosters?
  • Who is the top pitcher for the Red Sox, Cy Young or Roger Clemens?
  • How do Stone’s teams differ from other baseball writers and fan surveys that have selected all-time teams?
  • How did suspected PED use effect Stone’s considerations?
  • Is “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks the Cubs franchise player? If not, who is?
  • Which team has the best all-time lineup?
Tom Stone’s prose is revelatory and celebratory as he brings life and adds fuel to decades-old arguments, and ones that he creates himself. He shuns “recency bias” faithfully as a historian and celebrates the characters and eras that have shaped the game over the last century and a half. Andrew McCutchen or Max Carey in CF for the Pirates? Dave Stieb or Roy Halladay as ace of the Blue Jays staff? Terry Puhl or George Springer in RF in Houston? Do the Reds have a better all-time lineup than the Yankees? How about the Giants with Mays, Bonds, McCovey and Ott batting 2-3-4-5 vs. right-handed pitching? There is limitless content here.
NOW TAKING THE FIELD” also puts the emphasis back on the players who had longevity with one or two teams. These are the players that made the most impact, on the field and with the fans.
So pore through the all-time dream teams. Join the discussion. Let the debates begin!
“Mantle or DiMaggio? Campanella or Piazza? Cedeno or Wynn?
Tom Stone ends every old baseball argument—and starts new ones—
in a guide that is as breezy to read as it is meticulously researched.
You will lose yourself in pages that bring the histories of 30 franchises to life,
and go willingly. This is the joy of Now Taking the Field, a massive undertaking
executed with style and substance. Mantle or DiMaggio? Hmm. Both?”
—Tim Brown, National baseball writer for Yahoo Sports
and New York Times bestseller author
“Stone takes a look at each franchise’s history through a unique lens,
spanning the generations by using modern-day metrics.
This takes the classic baseball bar room debate to the next level.”
—Mark Feinsand, Executive Reporter
“The only thing that dedicated baseball fans like more than a good argument
is having 30 good arguments. Tom Stone presents his studious case
for every franchise's all-time team, which no doubt will spark many lively conversations
and inspire a lot of interesting thought.”
—Mark Herrmann, Newsday columnist
“Tom Stone's Now Taking the Field is a great reminder that there is nothing more fun
than a good baseball argument. This book is filled with them.
For instance, Thurman Munson. Really? Thurman Munson? I have very strong feelings
about Thurman Munson's place in Tom's all-Yankees team and
I would very much like to argue with him about it for the next three days.
This book is filled with countless Thurman Munson-like arguments,
which will make it endlessly fun for baseball fans everywhere.”
—Joe Posnanski, Columnist for
and New York Times bestseller author
About the Author
For the past ten years, Tom Stone has written on a variety of baseball topics at At a very early age Tom started to develop a keen interest in baseball’s rich history and statistics, including how to compare players across time. Now Taking the Field is the result of nearly twenty years of research and is the first of several baseball books he plans to write.
Tom is married to Kassy LaBorie and lives in Rochester, New York with their son Wyatt and two cats Speedy and Luna.
NOW TAKING THE FIELD: Baseball’s All-Time Dream Teams for All 30 Franchises
Author: Tom Stone
ACTA Sports / November 2018
Paperback / 614 Pages / $18.95
ISBN 13 978-0879466664

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