Tuesday, March 10, 1970

Author - James, Bill

Birth: October 5, 1949.

Death: Still alive and analyzing baseball.

Comments: Bill James is a baseball analyst and writer, who was at the forefront of the development of statistical evaluation of baseball performance. He is generally associated with the Society for American Baseball Research, and is credited with coining the word "sabermetrics" to describe the statistical analysis the society members engaged in. When he began writing about baseball, publishers assumed that the general public would have no interest in his articles about statistical analysis, which were usually aimed at evaluating some piece of traditional baseball lore and assessing whether it was true. (For example, does having a power hitter hitting fourth in the lineup behind another power hitter hitting third in the lineup "protect" the player hitting third and make him a better hitter?) Starting in 1977, James self-published his writing in an annual book called The Bill James Baseball Abstract, a publication that proved quite popular. He has since published numerous other works on a mostly annual basis, including The Baseball Book (1990-1002), The Player Ratings Book (1993-1995), and The Bill James Handbook (2003-Present).

James has developed a number of statistical tools to use to evaluate player performance, including the Runs Created statistic, a model for making performance predictions for hitters, and a less effective one for making performance predictions for pitchers. My favorite analytic tool is one that James calls the "favorite toy" which he uses to evaluate the likelihood that players will reach particular "significant" career milestones like 300 pitching wins, 3,000 hits, or 500 home runs. James has his own website full of analysis and commentary. James is also a long time Kansas City Royals fan, but is currently the Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.

My reviews of Bill James' books:
The Bill James Handbook 2010

Other books by Bill James that I have read but not reviewed:
The Bill James Handbook 2008
The Bill James Handbook 2009

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