Mathematics professor publishes new textbook on statistics

Stanley Rothman
Stanley Rothman displays his new book "Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics With Baseball"
Oct. 2, 2012 - Stanley Rothman, professor of mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences at Quinnipiac University, has written an innovative textbook that makes learning statistics both more interesting and relatable.

In his new book, "Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics With Baseball," Rothman uses baseball as a guide to understanding statistics and probability.

The book, which encompasses 18 chapters spanning 592 pages, includes dozens of illustrations, exercises and examples designed to make his points more easily understood and relatable.

The first 15 chapters teach the basic principles of probability and statistics and the final three chapters are devoted to his research in sabermetrics, the application of statistical analysis to baseball.

Rothman has taught a course on baseball statistics at Quinnipiac since 2008.

"When you teach a course, you need a textbook," he said. "I looked and looked, but there was no statistics book which taught statistics through baseball. There are several books which use statistics to research baseball topics but none of them could be used as a textbook.

Rothman utilized his own extensive knowledge of baseball to help his students to better grasp the subject. An editor from Johns Hopkins Press discovered the course listing and asked Rothman if he would be interested in writing the definitive textbook on the subject.

Rothman said he continually refined his notes and asked students for feedback for several years.

"He takes away the stigma from statistics," said Kevin Faggella, a senior at Quinnipiac, who completed Rothman's course. "A lot of times, people think statistics are boring and something you will never actually use, but the way he presents the subject matter demonstrates how it is quite relevant in our daily lives."

Learning statistics through baseball gives the subject more real-world meaning, Faggella said.

"It's a lot easier to become engaged," he said. "I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It's like a 'Statistics for Dummies' book, but a lot more interesting."

Among the topics covered: descriptive and inferential statistics, linear regression and correlation, probability, sports betting, probability distribution functions, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals and chi-square distribution.

The book, which can be preordered now, will be released on Oct. 11 to bookstores across the United States.

Rothman said anyone with a basic understanding of baseball terminology and algebra 1 skills will understand the materials presented.

"It's written to be self-read," he said. "You're not just learning statistics; you are learning how to use them in your everyday life."