Bill James
Bill James
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Bill James
pieces, culled from the Bill James Online archives (see below). In 2008, James launched Bill James Online. Subscribers can read James's new, original writing

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For other people with similar names, see Bill James (disambiguation) and William James (disambiguation). Bill JamesJames in 2010BornGeorge William James
(1949-10-05) October 5, 1949 (age 69)
Holton, Kansas, U.S.OccupationHistorian, statisticianKnown forSabermetrics

George William James (born October 5, 1949) is an American baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR),[1] scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose.

In 2006, Time named him in the Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world.[2] He is a Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.

  • 1 Early life
  • 2 The Bill James Baseball Abstracts
  • 3 Post-Abstracts work
  • 4 Innovations
  • 5 STATS, Inc.
  • 6 Acceptance and employment in mainstream baseball
  • 7 In culture
  • 8 Dowd Report controversy
  • 9 Paterno controversy
  • 10 Other activities
  • 11 Bibliography
  • 12 Books about James
  • 13 See also
  • 14 Notes
  • 15 References
  • 16 Further reading
  • 17 External links
Early life

James was born in Holton, Kansas; his mother died in 1954 when he was five. His father was a janitor and a handyman. After four years at the University of Kansas residing at Stephenson Scholarship hall, James joined the Army in 1971. He was the last person in Kansas to be sent to fight in the Vietnam War, although he never saw action there. Instead, he spent two years stationed in South Korea, during which time he wrote to KU about taking his final class. He was told he actually had met all his graduation requirements, so he returned to Lawrence in 1973 with degrees in English and economics. He also finished an Education degree in 1975, likewise from the University of Kansas.[3]

The Bill James Baseball Abstracts

An aspiring writer and obsessive fan, James began writing baseball articles after leaving the United States Army in his mid-twenties. Many of his first baseball writings came while he was doing night shifts as a security guard at the Stokely-Van Camp's pork and beans cannery. Unlike most writers, his pieces did not recount games in epic terms or offer insights gleaned from interviews with players. A typical James piece posed a question (e.g., "Which pitchers and catchers allow runners to steal the most bases?"), and then presented data and analysis written in a lively, insightful, and witty style that offered an answer.[4]

Editors considered James's pieces so unusual that few believed them suitable for their readers. In an effort to reach a wider audience, James began self-publishing an annual book titled The Bill James Baseball Abstract beginning in 1977. The first edition, titled 1977 Baseball Abstract: Featuring 18 categories of statistical information that you just can't find anywhere else, presented 68 pages of in-depth statistics compiled from James's study of box scores from the preceding season and was offered for sale through a small advertisement in The Sporting News. Seventy-five people purchased the booklet.[5] The 1978 edition, subtitled The 2nd annual edition of baseball's most informative and imaginative review, sold 250 copies.[6] Beginning in 1979, James wrote an annual preview of the baseball season for Esquire, and continued to do so through 1984.[7]

The first three editions of the Baseball Abstract garnered respect for James's work, including a very favorable review by Daniel Okrent in Sports Illustrated.[8] New annual editions added essays on teams and players. By 1982 sales had increased tenfold, and a media conglomerate agreed to publish and distribute future editions.

While writers had published books about baseball statistics before (most notably Earnshaw Cook's Percentage Baseball, in the 1960s), few had ever reached a mass audience. Attempts to imitate James's work spawned a flood of books and articles that continues to this day.

Post-Abstracts work

In 1988, James ceased writing the Abstract, citing workload-related burnout and concern about the volume of statistics on the market. He has continued to publish hardcover books about baseball history, which have sold well and received admiring reviews. These books include three editions of The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (1985, 1988, 2001, the last entitled The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract.)

James has also written several series of new annuals:

  • The Baseball Book (1990–1992) was a loosely organized collection of commentary, profiles, historical articles, and occasional pieces of research. James' assistant Rob Neyer was responsible for much of the research, and wrote several short pieces. Neyer went on to become a featured baseball columnist at ESPN and SB Nation.
  • The Player Ratings Book (1993–95) offered statistics and 50-word profiles aimed at the fantasy baseball enthusiast.
  • The Bill James Handbook (2003–present) provides past-season statistics and next-season projections for Major League players and teams, and career data for all current Major League players. Results for the Fielding Bible Awards, an alternative to the Gold Glove Awards voted on by a 10-person panel that includes James, are also included.[9][10]
  • The Bill James Gold Mine (2008–2010) was a collection of new essays and never-before-seen statistics, as well as profiles of players and teams.
  • Playing off the name of the earlier series, Solid Fool's Gold: Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom (2011) was a mixed collection of both baseball-related and miscellaneous pieces, culled from the Bill James Online archives (see below).

In 2008, James launched Bill James Online. Subscribers can read James's new, original writing and interact with one another —- as well as with James —- in a question-and-answer format. The web site also offers new "profiles" of teams and players full of facts and statistics that hope to one day map what James has termed "the lost island of baseball statistics."


Among the statistical innovations attributable to James are:

  • Runs created. A statistic intended to quantify a player's contribution to runs scored, as well as a team's expected number of runs scored. Runs created is calculated from other offensive statistics. James's first version of it was: Runs Created = (Total bases * (Hits + Walks))/(Plate Appearances). Applied to an entire team or league, the statistic correlates closely to that team's or league's actual runs scored. Since James first created the statistic, sabermetricians have refined it to make it more accurate, and it is now used in many different variations.
  • Range factor. A statistic that quantifies the defensive contribution of a player, calculated in its simplest form as RF = (Assists + Put Outs)/(Games Played). The statistic is premised on the notion that the total number of outs that a player participates in is more relevant in evaluating his defensive play than the percentage of cleanly handled chances as calculated by the conventional statistic Fielding percentage.
  • Defensive Efficiency Rating. A statistic that shows the percentage of balls in play a defense turns into an out. It is used to help determine a team's defensive ability. Calculated by: 1 – ((Opp. Hits + Reached on Error – Opp. Home runs) / (Plate appearances – Walks – Strikeouts – HitByPitch – Opp. Home runs)).
  • Win shares. A unifying statistic intended to allow the comparison of players at different positions, as well as players of different eras. Win Shares incorporates a variety of pitching, hitting and fielding statistics. One drawback of Win Shares is the difficulty of computing it.[11]
  • Pythagorean Winning Percentage. A statistic explaining the relationship of wins and losses to runs scored and runs allowed. In its simplest form: Pythagorean Winning Percentage equals Runs squared divided by the square of Runs plus the square of Runs Allowed. The statistic correlates closely to a team's actual winning percentage.
  • Game Score is a metric to determine the strength of a pitcher in any particular baseball game.
  • Major League Equivalency. A metric that uses minor league statistics to predict how a player is likely to perform at the major league level.
  • The Brock2 System. A system for projecting a player's performance over the remainder of his career based on past performance and the aging process.
  • Similarity scores. Scoring a player's statistical similarity to other players, providing a frame of reference for players of the distant past. Examples: Lou Gehrig comparable to Don Mattingly; Joe Jackson to Tony Oliva.
  • Secondary average. A statistic that attempts to measure a player's contribution to an offense in ways not reflected in batting average. The formula is (Extra bases on hits+Walks+Stolen Bases)/At bats. Secondary averages tend to be similar to batting averages, but can vary widely, from less than .100 to more than .500 in extreme cases. Extra bases on hits is calculated with the formula (Doubles)+(Triplesx2)+(Homerunsx3) or more easily, (Total Bases)-(Hits).
  • Power/Speed Number. A statistic that attempts to consolidate the various "clubs" of players with impressive numbers of both home runs and stolen bases (e.g., the "30/30" club (Bobby Bonds was well known for being a member), the "40/40" club (José Canseco was the first to perform this feat), and even the "25/65" club (Joe Morgan in the '70s)). The formula: (2x(Home Runs)x(Stolen Bases))/(Home Runs + Stolen Bases).
  • Approximate Value. A system of cutoffs designed to estimate the value a player contributed to various category groups (including his team) to study broad questions such as "how do players age over time".
  • "Temperature gauge" to determine how "hot" a player is, based on recent performance.[12] The gauge has been used in NESN Red Sox telecasts and has provoked mixed reactions from critics.[13]

Although James may be best known as an inventor of statistical tools, he has often written on the limitations of statistics and urged humility concerning their place amid other kinds of information about baseball.[14] To James, context is paramount: he was among the first to emphasize the importance of adjusting traditional statistics for park factors and to stress the role of luck in a pitcher's win-loss record.[15][16] Many of his statistical innovations are arguably less important than the underlying ideas. When he introduced the notion of secondary average, it was as a vehicle for the then-counterintuitive concept that batting average represents only a fraction of a player's offensive contribution. (The runs-created statistic plays a similar role vis-à-vis the traditional RBI.) Some of his contributions to the language of baseball, like the idea of the "defensive spectrum", border on being entirely non-statistical.


In an essay published in the 1984 Abstract, James vented his frustration about Major League Baseball's refusal to publish play-by-play accounts of every game. James proposed the creation of Project Scoresheet, a network of fans that would work together to collect and distribute this information.[17]

While the resulting non-profit organization never functioned smoothly, it worked well enough to collect accounts of every game from 1984 through 1991. James's publisher agreed to distribute two annuals of essays and data – the 1987 and 1988 editions of Bill James Presents The Great American Baseball Statbook (though only the first of these featured writing by James).

The organization was eventually disbanded, but many of its members went on to form for-profit companies with similar goals and structure. STATS, Inc., the company James joined, provided data and analysis to every major media outlet before being acquired by Fox Sports in 2001.[18]

Acceptance and employment in mainstream baseball

Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane began applying sabermetric principles to running his low-budget team in the early 2000s, to notable effect, as chronicled in Michael Lewis' book Moneyball.

In 2003, James was hired by a former reader, John Henry, the new owner of the Boston Red Sox.

One point of controversy was in handling the relief pitching of the Red Sox.[19] James had previously published analysis of the use of the closer in baseball, and had concluded that the traditional use of the closer both overrated the abilities of that individual, and used him in suboptimal circumstances. He wrote that it is "far better to use your relief ace when the score is tied, even if that is the seventh inning, than in the ninth inning with a lead of two or more runs."[20] The Red Sox in 2003 staffed their bullpen with several marginally talented relievers.[21] Red Sox manager Grady Little was never fully comfortable with the setup, and designated unofficial closers and reshuffled roles after a bad outing. When Boston lost a number of games due to bullpen failures, Little reverted to a traditional closer approach and moved Byung-hyun Kim from being a starting pitcher to a closer.[22] The Red Sox did not follow James' idea of a bullpen with no closer, but with consistent overall talent that would allow the responsibilities to be shared.[21] Red Sox reliever Alan Embree thought the plan could have worked if the bullpen had not suffered injuries.[22] During the 2004 regular season Keith Foulke was used primarily as a closer in the conventional model; however, Foulke's usage in the 2004 postseason was along the lines of a relief ace with multiple inning appearances at pivotal times of the game.[23] Houston Astros manager Phil Garner also employed a relief ace model with his use of Brad Lidge in the 2004 postseason.[24]

As of 2014[update], James is still employed by the Red Sox,[25] having published several new sabermetric books during his tenure (see Bibliography, below). Indeed, although James is typically tight-lipped about his activities on behalf of the Red Sox, he is credited with advocating some of the moves that led to the team's first World Series championship in 86 years, including the signing of non-tendered free agent David Ortiz, the trade for Mark Bellhorn, and the team's increased emphasis on on-base percentage.

After the Red Sox suffered through a disastrous 2012 season, Henry stated that James had fallen "out of favor over the last few years for reasons I really don't understand. We've gotten him more involved recently in the central process and that will help greatly."[26]

During his time with the Red Sox, Bill James has received three World Series rings for the team's 2004, 2007, and 2013 victories.[11]

In culture

James was profiled on 60 Minutes on March 30, 2008, in his role as a sabermetric pioneer and Red Sox advisor. In 2010, he was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.[27]

Michael Lewis, in his book Moneyball, dedicates a chapter to James' career and Sabermetrics as background for his portrayal of Billy Beane and the Oakland Athletics' unlikely success.

James made a guest appearance on The Simpsons episode "MoneyBART".[28] He claimed "I've made baseball as fun as doing your taxes."

Steven Soderbergh's planned film adaptation of Moneyball would have featured an animated version of James as a "host".[29] This script was discarded when director Bennett Miller and writer Aaron Sorkin succeeded Soderbergh on the project.

Ultimately, the film as produced mentions James several times. His unlikely bio is briefly recapped, and Billy Beane is depicted telling John Henry that Henry's hiring of James is the reason Beane is interested in the Red Sox general manager job.

Dowd Report controversy

In his Baseball Book 1990, James heavily criticized the methodology of the Dowd Report, which was an investigation (commissioned by baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti) on the gambling activities of Pete Rose. James reproached commissioner Giamatti and his successor, Fay Vincent, for their acceptance of the Dowd Report as the final word on Rose's gambling. (James' attitude on the matter surprised many fans, especially after the writer had been deeply critical of Rose in the past, especially what James considered to be Rose's selfish pursuit of Ty Cobb's all-time record for base hits.)

James expanded his defense of Rose in his 2001 book The New Historical Baseball Abstract, with a detailed explanation of why he found the case against Rose flimsy. James wrote "I would characterize the evidence that Rose bet on baseball as...well, not quite non-existent. It is extremely weak." This countered the popular opinion that the case against Rose was a slam dunk, and several critics claimed that James misstated some of the evidence in his defense of Rose. Derek Zumsteg of Baseball Prospectus wrote an exhaustive review of the case James made and concluded: "James' defense of Rose is filled with oversights, errors in judgment, failures in research, and is a great disservice to the many people who have looked to him for a balanced and fair take on this complicated and important issue."[30]

In 2004, Rose admitted publicly that he had bet on baseball and confirmed the Dowd Report was correct. James remained steadfast, continuing to insist that the evidence available to Dowd at the time was insufficient to reach the conclusion that it did.

Paterno controversy

On November 4, 2011, Jerry Sandusky was indicted for committing sex crimes against young boys, which brought the Penn State child sex abuse scandal to national attention. On December 11, 2011, James published an article called "The Trial of Penn State", depicting an imaginary trial in which Penn State defended itself against charges of "acting rashly and irresponsibly in the matter of Joe Paterno, in such a manner that defamed, libeled and slandered Paterno, unfairly demolishing his reputation."[31]

On July 12, 2012, the Freeh report was released, charging Paterno and three other University officials with covering up reports of sexual assaults and enabling the attacker to prey on other children for more than a decade, often in Penn State facilities. Soon afterwards, during an interview on ESPN radio, James claimed that the Freeh report's characterizations of Paterno as a powerful figure were wrong, and that it wasn't Paterno's responsibility to report allegations of child molestation to the police. " had very few allies. He was isolated and he was not nearly as powerful as people imagine him to have been."[32] When asked if he knew anyone who had showered with a boy they were not related to, James said it was a common practice when he was growing up. "That was actually quite common in the town I grew up in. That was quite common in America 40 years ago."[33]

The July 2012 interview comments were widely criticized.[34][35][36][37] Rob Neyer wrote in defense of James.[38] James' employer, the Boston Red Sox, issued a statement disavowing the comments James made and saying that he has been asked not to make further public comments on the matter.[39]

Other activities

James is a fan of the University of Kansas men's basketball team and has written about basketball. He has created a formula for what he calls a "safe lead" in the sport.[40]

James has written two true crime books, Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence (2012) and The Man from the Train (2017), the latter with his daughter Rachel McCarthy James.

In The Man From the Train, published in 2017, the Jameses attempt to link scores of murders of entire families in early 20th century America to a single perpetrator. Those murders include the Villisca axe murders. The Jameses propose a solution to the murders based on the signature elements these killings share in common with each other.

  • Bill James Baseball Abstract (annual editions published 1977–1988)
  • The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (1985; revised edition 1988) .mw-parser-output cite.citation{font-style:inherit}.mw-parser-output q{quotes:"\"""\"""'""'"}.mw-parser-output code.cs1-code{color:inherit;background:inherit;border:inherit;padding:inherit}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-free a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-limited a,.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-registration a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-lock-subscription a{background:url("//")no-repeat;background-position:right .1em center}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration{color:#555}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription span,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration span{border-bottom:1px dotted;cursor:help}.mw-parser-output .cs1-hidden-error{display:none;font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-visible-error{font-size:100%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-subscription,.mw-parser-output .cs1-registration,.mw-parser-output .cs1-format{font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-left,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-left{padding-left:0.2em}.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-right,.mw-parser-output .cs1-kern-wl-right{padding-right:0.2em}ISBN 978-0394537139
  • This Time Let's Not Eat the Bones (1989) ISBN 978-0394577142 (selection of comments from Abstracts and articles)
  • The Bill James Baseball Book (annual editions published 1990–1992)
  • The Politics of Glory (1994) (revised as Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame?), ISBN 978-0684800882
  • The Bill James Player Ratings Book (annual editions published 1993–1996)
  • The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers (1997) ISBN 978-0684806983
  • Bill James Present STATS All-Time Major League Handbook (1998; 2nd ed. 2000) ISBN 978-1884064814
  • Bill James Present STATS All-Time Major League Sourcebook (1998) ISBN 978-1884064531
  • The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (2001) ISBN 978-0684806976
  • Win Shares (2002)
  • Win Shares Digital Update (2002) (PDF form only)
  • The Bill James Handbook (annual editions published 2003–present)
  • The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers (2004, with co-author Rob Neyer) ISBN 978-0743261586
  • The Bill James Gold Mine (annual editions published 2008–2010, ISBN 978-0879463205, ISBN 978-0879463694)
  • Popular Crime – Reflections on the Celebration of Violence (ISBN 978-1-4165-5273-4, published 2011)
  • Solid Fool's Gold (2011), ISBN 978-0879464592 (articles from Bill James Online website)
  • Fools Rush Inn (2014), ISBN 978-0879464974 (more articles from Bill James Online website)
  • The Man From the Train (2017), ISBN 978-1-4767-9625-3
Books about James
  • The Mind of Bill James (2006) ISBN
  • How Bill James Changed Our View of Baseball: by Colleagues, Critics, Competitors and Just Plain Fans (2007) ISBN 978-0879463175
See also
  • Baseball portal
  • Baseball Prospectus
  • Defensive spectrum
  • Keltner list
  • Similarity score
  • Win shares
  1. ^ Steve Sullivan, State of the Art: The Actuarial Game of Baseball, Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Henry, John (April 30, 2006). "Bill James". Time. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ James, Bill (2010). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781439106938. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  5. ^ Lewis, Michael (2004). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. W. W. Norton. pp. 65–66. ISBN 0393066231.
  6. ^ Lewis (2004), p. 73.
  7. ^ Belth, Alex (2016-03-31). "How Esquire Discovered Bill James". Retrieved 2017-05-22.
  8. ^ "He Does It by the Numbers". CNN. May 25, 1981. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  9. ^ "Franklin Gutierrez wins the 2008 Fielding Bible Award for best fielding right fielder in Major League Baseball". October 30, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2010. Cleveland Indians third-year man Franklin Gutierrez won the 2008 Fielding Bible Award for right field in an announcement made November 1, 2008, in The Bill James Handbook 2009.
  10. ^ Gleeman, Aaron (November 1, 2010). "Yadier Molina leads fifth annual "Fielding Bible Awards"". Archived from the original on November 3, 2010. Retrieved November 18, 2010. Voted on by a 10-person panel that includes Bill James, Peter Gammons, Joe Posnanski, Rob Neyer, and John Dewan as well as the entire video scouting team at Baseball Info Solutions, the award sets out to recognize the best defensive player at each position, regardless of league.
  11. ^ a b Jaffe, Chris (February 4, 2008). "Bill James Interview". The Hardball Times. Archived from the original on February 7, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  12. ^ "Bill James Explains New 'Temperature Gauge' Statistic to Determine How Hot or Cold a Hitter Is". NESN. May 7, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  13. ^ "Movie Review: "Moneyball," starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill". Sports of Boston. September 22, 2011. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012. Retrieved June 25, 2012.
  14. ^ "SportsNation:Chat with Bill James". ESPN. Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  15. ^ Tristan H. Cockcroft (March 18, 2010). "Ranking The Ballparks". ESPN.
  16. ^ "Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball". Retrieved July 5, 2014.
  17. ^ Glenn Miller (April 28, 1984). "Top Secret: Project Scoresheet to bring hidden facts to the fans". Evening Independent.
  18. ^ Danny Ecker (May 15, 2014). "Stats LLC sold to private-equity firm". Crain's Chicago Business.
  19. ^ Baseball Prospectus 2005, pp.69–70
  20. ^ Baseball Prospectus 2005, p.66
  21. ^ a b Baseball Prospectus 2005, p.69
  22. ^ a b Baseball Prospectus 2005, p.70
  23. ^ Baseball Prospectus 2005, p.64
  24. ^ Zachary Levine (March 31, 2008). "Sabermetrician Bill James on CBS' '60 Minutes'". Houston Chronicle.
  25. ^ Rick Doyle (February 11, 2014). "Bill James: Will Middlebrooks Primed For Monster Season With Red Sox". New England Sports Network.
  26. ^ "Bill James to assume a more prominent role in the Red Sox front office". HardballTalk.
  27. ^ Didier Morais (August 6, 2010). "Cashman among Irish HOF's 2010 class".
  28. ^ Hurley, Michael (October 11, 2010). "Sabermetrician Bill James Pokes Fun at Himself on 'The Simpsons'". NESN. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  29. ^ "Exclusive: Steven Soderbergh To Use Animated Bill James Character In 'Moneyball'". MTV News.
  30. ^ Zumsteg, Derek (October 31, 2002). "Evaluating the Dowd Report". Baseball Prospectus.
  31. ^ "The Trial of Penn State".
  32. ^ "Sox advisor Bill James defends Paterno". ESPN. July 12, 2012.
  33. ^ "Bill James doubles down on the Joe Paterno defense". NBC Sports. July 14, 2012.
  34. ^ "Someone Actually Thinks The Freeh Report Exonerated Joe Paterno, And It's Bill James". Deadspin. July 13, 2012.
  35. ^ "Should Bill James Be Fired?". Sportsradio WEEI. July 16, 2012.
  36. ^ "Bill James Gets It Wrong on Penn State". The Faster Times. July 18, 2012.
  37. ^ "Bill James: Showering With Boys Was "Quite Common In America 40 Years Ago". Deadspin. July 15, 2012.
  38. ^ Rob Neyer (July 16, 2012). "Bill James and Joe Paterno". Vox Media.
  39. ^ "James asked to curb Paterno talk". ESPN. July 16, 2012.
  40. ^ "The Lead is Safe". Slate. March 17, 2008.
  • Baseball Prospectus (2005). Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series, and Created a New Blueprint for Winning. New York City: Workman Publishing Company. ISBN 978-0-7611-4018-4. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
Further reading
  • Lewis, Michael (April 10, 2003). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 45–47. ISBN 0-393-05765-8.
External links
  • Bill James Online –interactions with James through statistics, articles, conversations and more
  • Works of Bill James
  • Audio interview by Jesse Thorn, public radio program The Sound of Young America (April 29, 2008)
  • Chronister, Levi (April 25, 2004). "Grassroots Guru". Lawrence Journal-World (Lawrence, KS).
  • Interview at Baseball Digest Daily – Part I, Baseball Digest
  • Interview at Baseball Digest Daily – Part II
  • Interview at Baseball Digest Daily – Part III
  • McGrath, Ben (July 14, 2003). "The Professor of Baseball". The New Yorker
  • Wall Street Journal profile
  • Okrent, Daniel (May 25, 1981). "He Does It by the Numbers". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on February 4, 2009.
  • Wright, Craig R. "Dick Allen:Another View". White Sox Interactive. – contrary to James
  • Schwarz, Alan (July 18, 2006). "25 For 25: Don Fehr, Peter Gammons, Pat Gillick, Bo Jackson, Bill James". 25 for 25: Stars in the Baseball America Universe. Baseball America.
  • Henry, John (May 8, 2006). "Scientists & Thinkers: Bill James". The 2006 TIME 100. TIME.
  • Surowiecki, James (June 10, 2003). "Moneyball Redux: Slate talks to the man who revolutionized baseball.". Slate.
  • Lederer, Bill (February 28, 2005). "Breakfast with Bill James". Baseball Analysts (
  • Bill James at Library of Congress Authorities, with 18 catalog records
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Bill James Handbook Paperback 2019
Bill James Handbook Paperback 2019
The first-to-market, most comprehensive, insightful, and groundbreaking annual baseball book on the market. A must-have gift for every true fan, with lifetime statistics and leader boards for every player in the major leagues and projections for how they might do in the future. Redesigned! Hard Hit Balls AnalysisImproved! Injury Info TablesNew! Strike Zone Runs SavedExclusive! Annual FieldingBible AwardsComplete! Career Data for every 2018 Major LeaguerUnique! Win Shares, Career Targets, Shifts,Instant Replay AnalysisFirst! Hitter and Pitcher Projections for 2019 This is the paperback version. The exclusive collectors spiral bound edition is available only from ACTA Sports

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The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery
An Edgar Award finalist for Best Fact Crime, this “impressive…open-eyed investigative inquiry wrapped within a cultural history of rural America” (The Wall Street Journal) shows legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applying his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Some of these cases—like the infamous Villisca, Iowa, murders—received national attention. But most incidents went almost unnoticed outside the communities in which they occurred. Few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station. When celebrated true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal and uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America. “A suspenseful historical account” (Publishers Weekly, starred review), The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history. “A beautifully written and extraordinarily researched narrative…This is no pure whodunit, but rather a how-many-did-he-do” (Buffalo News).

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Bill James Handbook 2018
Bill James Handbook 2018
The Must-Read Book for Serious Baseball Fans, Players, and Coaches Improved! Hall of Fame MonitorExclusive! The Annual Fielding Bible AwardsUpdated! Leader Boards, Defensive Shifts, Pitch Velocities, Managers, Park IndicesNew! Hard Hit Balls AnalysisComplete! Career Data for Every 2012 Major Leaguer (and a few bonus players)Unique! Win Shares, Career Targets, Shits, Instant Replay AnalysisFirst! Remodeled Hitter & Pitcher Projections for 2018 Bill James and Baseball Info Solutions team of analysts continue to pack in new content, including a fresh look at the continues rise and effectiveness of The Shift and a new breakdown of home runs and long flyouts. And, as always, the book forecasts fresh hitter and pitcher projections for those looking to get an early jump on the next season.

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The President Is Missing: A Novel
The President Is Missing: A Novel

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The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the "holy book of baseball." Now, baseball's beloved "Sultan of Stats" (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium. Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called "Win Shares," a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself.

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Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence
Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence
From the one-of-kind mind of Bill James, famous for revolutionizing the way we think about baseball, comes a “thought-provoking meditation” (Seattle Times) and epic tour through American crime—now available in paperback.The man who revolutionized the way we think about baseball examines our cultural obsession with murder—delivering a unique, engrossing, brilliant history of tabloid crime in America. Celebrated writer and contrarian Bill James has voraciously read true crime throughout his life and has been interested in writing a book on the topic for decades. With Popular Crime, James takes readers on an epic journey from Lizzie Borden to the Lindbergh baby, from the Black Dahlia to O. J. Simpson, explaining how crimes have been committed, investigated, prosecuted and written about, and how that has profoundly influenced our culture over the last few centuries—even if we haven’t always taken notice. Exploring such phenomena as serial murder, the fluctuation of crime rates, the value of evidence, radicalism and crime, prison reform and the hidden ways in which crimes have shaped, or reflected, our society, James chronicles murder and misdeeds from the 1600s to the present day. James pays particular attention to crimes that were sensations during their time but have faded into obscurity, as well as still-famous cases, some that have never been solved, including the Lindbergh kidnapping, the Boston Strangler and JonBenet Ramsey. Satisfyingly sprawling and tremendously entertaining, Popular Crime is a professed amateur’s powerful examination of the incredible impact crime stories have on our society, culture and history.

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Fools Rush Inn: More Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom
Fools Rush Inn: More Detours on the Way to Conventional Wisdom
In this second collection of recent articles (the first was Solid Fool's Gold), groundbreaking sabermetrician and baseball historian Bill James takes his unique way of looking at the world and applies it to topics as diverse as the major league players who went out on top, whether ground ball pitchers are as good (or as bad) as people think, do hitters like Yasiel Puig have hot hand streaks (they do) and why (that's a different question), and do teams have tough stretches and soft patches in their schedules (they do) and how to mention them. Along the way, James takes several detours to discuss his views on classical music, fiction versus non-fiction, keeping will animals in captivity, conservatives and liberals, and several other things that interest or offend him. He even includes a couple of his favorite old baseball stories and a new way to summarize something's or someone's history in exactly 10-25-50-100-200-500 words.The 18 articles included are: -Dividing Baseball History into Eras -Classical Sport -Big Game Pitchers -Going Out on Top -Let Me Offend You -Hot Hand Question -Jumping the Fictional Shark -The Analogy of the Fisherman -Mindless Education -The 300-Win Pool -The Standards of a Hall of Fame Manager -The Liberal Coach and the Conservative Athlete -The Zanesville Animal Massacre -Tough Stretches and Soft Patches -Experiment in Summary -Yaz and Billy -Opinions, Philosophy, and Ideas -Couple of Great Old Baseball Stories

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The Bill James Baseball Abstract, 1982
The Bill James Baseball Abstract, 1982
1982 edition. A new book with almost nonexistent edge wear. There is a small rough spot about 1/8 inch in diameter on spine. Still shiny. From private collection.

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The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball
The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball
The first book to chronicle the life and ideas of “the serious baseball fan’s high priest” (New York Times), the impact of his brilliant and entertaining writings, and how someone who never pitched a ball, held a bat, or managed a team fundamentally changed the way baseball is interpreted, analyzed, and even played. Bill James has been called “baseball’s shrewdest analyst” (Slate) and “part of baseball legend” (The New Yorker), and his Baseball Abstract has been acclaimed as the “holy book of baseball” (Chicago Tribune). Thirty years ago, James introduced a new approach to evaluating players and strategies, and now his theories have become indispensable tools for agents, statistics analysts, maverick general managers, and anyone who is serious about understanding the game.James began writing about baseball while working at a factory in his native Kansas. In lively, often acerbic prose, he used statistics to challenge entrenched beliefs and uncover surprising truths about the game. His annual Baseball Abstract captured the attention of fans and front offices and went on to become a bestselling staple of the baseball book category. In 2002, the Boston Red Sox hired James as an advisor. Two years later they achieved their long-awaited World Series triumph.The Mind of Bill James tells the story of how a gifted outsider inspired a new understanding of baseball. It delves deeply into James’s essential wisdom–including his surprising beliefs about pitch counts and the importance of batting-order, thoughts on professionalism and psychology, and why teams tend to develop the characteristics that are least favored by their home parks. It also brings together his best writing, much of it long out of print, as well as insights from new interviews. Written with James’ full cooperation, it is at once an eye-opening portrait of baseball’s virtuoso analyst and a treasury of his idiosyncratic genius.

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Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame: Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory
Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame: Baseball, Cooperstown, and the Politics of Glory
Arguing about the merits of players is the baseball fan's second favorite pastime and every year the Hall of Fame elections spark heated controversy. In a book that's sure to thrill--and infuriate--countless fans, Bill James takes a hard look at the Hall, probing its history, its politics and, most of all, its decisions.

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