I own the 1988 Baseball Encyclopedia (stats through 1987, at any rate), and
the 1987 Sports Encyclopedia--Baseball. I find the two books, despite the
very large overlap in information, to be useful in complementary ways. In
essence, the Baseball Encyclopedia is individual-oriented; it gives player
(offensive) stats one player at a time, year by year. The same is true of
pitching stats. This is essential to being able to follow the rise and fall
of careers, and is not done by SE--B. In addition, BE has an extensive list
of all-time records, including fielding records and relief pitching. There is
also a section on managers, a section for home/away performance of all teams
ever, and discussion of rule changes. Finally, there is a section giving all
playoff and World Series results.
SE--B, on the other hand, is season-oriented. Each season includes a brief
essay on the significant events/climate of the season, a list of the team
stats for each team that season (broken down by player), and line scores of
the playoff and series games, with a composite box score for the whole thing.
At the end of the book are lists of lifetime/single-season/yearly leaders in
many offensive and defensive categories, team records, and HOF/Award histories.
You cannot use the BE to see at a glance what the '57 Indians were like. On
the other hand, you can't use SE--B to see at a glance what Minnie Minoso's
career was like. SE--B doesn't include any defensive stats; BE doesn't give
team totals by season for many offensive and pitching categories. Both books
can be very useful references; BE is by far the more expensive of the two (but
also has better printing and fewer typos). You choose.
Perhaps someone familiar with "Total Baseball" could post a similar comparison
for it with one or both of the above.
[Incidentally, if you are interested in the history of baseball at all, I
would highly recommend "The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract", one of
the most enjoyable and dense-with-fascination books I have ever seen...]
David M. Tate | "It made the basses of their being throb in
| pizzicati of Hosanna..."
"A Man for all Seasonings" | -- Wallace Stevens