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Over a career that spanned two wars, Charlie Keller hit the ball roughly 28 percent of the time he stepped to the plate. The Yankees and Tigers outfielder managed to get on base about 41 percent of the time. He hit 189 home runs and was responsible for 760 runs batted in. Over a career that spanned two wars, Joe DiMaggio hit the ball roughly 32 percent of the time he stepped to the plate. The Yankees outfielder managed to get on base about 40 percent of the time. He hit 361 home runs and was responsible for 1,537 runs batted in. Rob Neyer probably knows who the better player was. But if you look in his Big Book of Baseball Lineups, you’ll find Keller on the Yankees’ “All-Time” best list, ahead of DiMaggio, who’s on the “No. 2” team. “I was pretty strict about picking a left fielder, a center fielder, and a right fielder for each lineup,” Neyer writes, “as opposed to simply picking three outfielders.” DiMaggio patrolled center field in Yankee Stadium. So did Mickey Mantletherein lay the problem. Though Neyer certainly knows a buttload about baseball, it seems that the Big Book of Baseball Lineups, like all decent stat books, was not necessarily compiled merely to settle bar bets. Instead, it was written for baseball-stat junkies who know the sport’s long history and who lust for conversation about their freaky, if socially acceptable, compulsion. Indeed, you could argue about just about anything in this genetically altered appendixfrom Neyer’s rigid methodology to whether the infamous Milt Pappas-for-Frank Robinson deal (which is referenced in the Reds’ “Traded Away” lineup) actually sorta worked out for Cincinnati. Lucky for Neyer, there really are “millions”even if their numbers are dwindlingof people who want to debate whether José Offerman should have spelled Felix Mantilla on the Red Sox’s “Iron Glove” list. And in Borderses across this country, the Joe Rotisseries of this world will no doubt line up to get their vicarious sports fix from Neyer for the same reason that, even as resentment of millionaire players and their billionaire bosses builds, the sport itself will survive: Baseball nerds just can’t shake the bug. Mike Kanin