This is the third book I’ve read in the past year about Bill James – the guy credited with developing the current storm around baseball statistics – you might be familiar with the term “sabermetrics,” well that’s what Bill James is deemed the father of.
And frankly – I’m not crazy about this one. In short – it’s a tribute to James – 12 pieces about how he’s affected the lives of some fairly prominent writers and analysts of the game. You’re not going to learn a lot – if anything – about baseball from this book. Sadly, it’s a glorified tribute book. It’s not very analytical – it’s a feel good book.
And while James was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world –this book doesn’t give you enough meat to chew on to see if you agree with them.
In some ways – I’m puzzled as to why this book was published — I kept feeling like I was reading a “Congratulations on your 30th Anniversary with the Company” greeting card. While not everyone who contributes agrees with James — the basic premise is that the guy is pretty much a saint – I use the term loosely, of course.
Don’t get me wrong – James has affected the game tremendously. He fought to have detailed accounts of ballgames made available to the public – and he has challenged the commonly accepted ideas of how baseball works. While I don’t agree with everything he says – I do agree that he has had a major impact.
But do I want to read about it? Not really. There’s better options to go to if you want to learn about James – start with The Mind of Bill James or the anti-Bill James work, Covering the Bases. Or better yet – just read James’ own work.
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