The Diamond Appraised

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The Diamond Appraised, written by Craig Wright and Tom House, was published in 1989.

The structure of The Diamond Appraised provided for Wright to compose a chapter on a baseball topic from a sabermetric point of view, which was then complemented by a chapter written by House addressing the same topic from the perspective of a player and coach.

Wright's contributions to the book encompass the following issues:

  • a catcher's contribution to his pitcher's performance as measured by Catcher's Earned Run Average (CERA);
  • a repudiation of the fielding error as a valid statistic;
  • an unfavorable comparison of Pete Rose to Ty Cobb in light of Rose breaking Cobb's career hits record;
  • an advocation of the knuckleball as an underused pitch which practicioners were undervalued by major league clubs;
  • a discussion of home-field advantage;
  • a lengthy (three-chapter) examination of young pitcher workload and its effect on long-term health (one of the earliest published systematic studies of the issue of pitcher abuse), including a call for a limit on young pitchers to an average of 25 batters faced per start and a return to the four-man rotation;
  • a menu of rule changes meant to improve the game;
  • a comparison of the relative quality of the National and American Leagues;
  • a discussion of park effects and measuring same;
  • a look at MVP awards, including consideration of defense and clutch hitting; and
  • an appreciation of Honus Wagner.

Several of the issues Wright raised in this book went on to be at the center of various sabermetric debates and discussions over the next decade, particularly that of pitcher abuse and usage, which Baseball Prospectus would devise metrics to define.