Hot Hands, Draft Hype, and DiMaggio's Streak

Debunking America's Favorite Sports Myths

Sheldon Hirsch

In sports there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. Joe DiMaggio’s fifty-six-game hitting streak was magical. The three-point shot is an essential part of NBA basketball. Babe Ruth shouldn’t have attempted to steal second base in the ninth inning of the 1926 World Series. Scientist and researcher Sheldon Hirsch has taken a decidedly unorthodox approach to sports history. He looks at myths, legends, conventional wisdom, shibboleths, and firm convictions of all kinds that sports lovers hold to be true, and demonstrates how analysis of facts and figures disproves what tradition—and sportswriters—would have us believe. Divided into three parts, on baseball, basketball, and football, Hot Hands, Draft Hype, and DiMaggio’s Streak contains enough clear-sightedness and shocking conclusions to delight any sports lover.

Cover Image of Hot Hands
Paper: $17.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781512600636
Pages: 240 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: April 4, 2017


  • If you grew up as a sports fan you found yourself engrossed in discussion, and quite possibly arguments, about your sports heroes, their accomplishments, and their teams. Should you fit this profile, this book is required reading. Hirsch provides a fascinating and typically unconventional take on some of the most heated debates in sports. It is meticulously researched and the author’s background as a physician makes him well acquainted with two of sports most important areas-its science and its statistics-and makes this an essential part of any sports library. . . You will be smarter after reading it.

    Cory Franklin
    Editorial Board contributor to the Chicago Tribune and author of Chicago Flashbulbs
  • Hirsch is one of the shrewdest and liveliest of baseball analysts, and Hot Hands, primarily a baseball book though it deals with some basketball and football myths as well, is grist for the mill at your favorite pub. . . . Not the least of Hirsch's virtues is a fearlessness in debunking sacred cows. . . . Essential reading for sports fans who love to argue. Or stated a simpler way: essential reading for sports fans.

    Allen Barra
    Dallas News
  • The author provides fascinating and typically unconventional takes on some of the most heated debates in baseball, football and basketball, while occasionally tossing in intriguing digressions. The book is meticulously researched, and the author’s background as a physician well acquainted with two of sports most important facets – its science and its statistics – makes this an essential part of any sports library.

    RealClear Books
  • Hirsch’s analytic approach dispels myths, ponders hypotheticals, and leads to refreshing conclusions. You’ll find everything he writes interesting and thought-provoking. This is unlike any other book about sports.

    Samuel Chi
    editor of RealClear Sports
  • Sheldon Hirsch stands conventional sports wisdom on its head. Whether the purveyors of sports clichés are announcers, journalists, coaches, or commissioners, Hirsch pokes holes right and left. Hirsch makes us rethink our comfortable assumptions about player records, game strategies, injuries and disabilities, and the futures of baseball, basketball and football.

    Andrew Zimbalist
    author of Circus Maximus and No Boston Olympics

About the Author

SHELDON HIRSCH grew up in New York and wrestled at Amherst College. He is a kidney doctor and a self-professed sports geek. He lives in Chicago (but still roots for the Yankees). He is the coauthor of The Beauty of Short Hops.

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