In this corner, wearing a red cover, Who’s Who in Baseball. In the other corner, changing many times over the years, The Baseball Register published by The Sporting News.
Who’s Who in Baseball
WWIB has been around for more than 90 years. The format has basically remained unchanged: a list of "traditional" stats for a player’s enitre career (minor, major, and foreign leagues) along with a thumbnail photo. It also makes not of his league-leading accomplishments, as well as major awards won (MVP, Rookie of the Year, Cy Young, but no Gold Gloves). If the player has been fortunate enough, his post-season stats are also listed.
The Baseball Register
The Baseball Register, like many TSN products, has undergone transformations over the years. One of the more expensive of the publisher’s titles, it was a rich man’s version of WWIB and contained pretty much the same format. But it had a more concise layout, iisting awards and statsitical highlights of the players’ careers, hobbies, colleges and degrees, where applicable and whether they were related to others athletes. Managers anc coaches also received props in their own section.
Over time, of course, TSN made some changes, often based on the bottom line:
- They ceased printing the players’ "mugshots" in 1971
- Dropped the hobbies in 1981
- Changed the typeface from classic serif to more modern san serif in 1992
- Took up with STATS Inc. for a few years, giving the company cover credit
- The 2006 edition promoted itself as a register and fantasy guide.
An acquaintance with intimate knowledge of TSN’s editorial policy acknowledges that it has become almost a given that the industry caters more and more to younger readers and fantasy fanciers. "As for catering to young people, well, that’s where the money is, apparently. [The] books have fallen by the wayside because sales have been decreasing for years."
By the way, the claim of "every stat" on this year’s edition is obviously erroneous, since they omit several of the newer numbers that have become commonplace for roto-heads and sabremetricians in recent years.