The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

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by Bill James
     
 

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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.

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

bn.com
This much-anticipated revision of the classic bestseller -- now long out of print -- will have baseball fans drooling. Divided into two major sections, The Game and The Players, the book provides a detailed history of the sport, decade by decade, and backs it up with pages and pages of stats and quirky facts. This new updated edition includes key new features, such as a history of baseball in the 1980s and 1990s, rankings of the greatest managers, and rankings of the top 100 players of all time at each position.
Publishers Weekly
A premier baseball analyst and brand name, James (The Bill James Player Ratings Book, The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers) releases a revised edition of his 1985 classic, with expanded player and team histories and reconsidered commentary. Divided into two sections, "The Game" and "The Players," this comprehensive and opinionated tome describes the evolution of the sport over the decades (uniforms in the 1890s, best minor league teams of the 1930s, the Negro Leagues, etc.) and the characteristics of its players (stats, injuries, habits and proclivities). The thumbnail player sketches in the second section (the 100 greatest players at each position) vary widely in content and tone: the entry on Lefty Gomez includes a page on his public-speaking abilities, while of Kevin Brown, James merely writes, "I don't root for him, either, but he is a great pitcher." (James has assigned the rankings according to a statistical rating formula he calls Win Shares, which he explains conceptually and mathematically.) The game section, though, is the standout. It may not contain detailed statistical leaders or standings for each year, or even who won each World Series, but it does offer information on new stadiums, the competitiveness of different leagues and shifts in the way the game was played. At the end of each chapter, a "decade in a box" lists major statistics and Jamesian awards, varying from the quantitative (the team with the best record) and the qualitative (the best switch hitter) to the quirky (the decade's ugliest player). (Dec.) Forecast: There are enough baseball and Bill James fans to ensure steady sales, and the pub date near enough to the World Series might encourage a few extrareaders. A uniquely personal, even iconoclastic guide, this belongs in baseball libraries to counterpoint The Baseball Encyclopedia and Total Baseball. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743227223
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
05/06/2003
Edition description:
Revised
Pages:
1024
Sales rank:
177,693
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

from Part 2: Player Ratings and Comments

Introduction to the Player Ratings

There are three things that I need to discuss before I can explain how I arrived at the player ratings which appear throughout this section. Those three things are:

  1. Runs Created.
  2. Win Shares.
  3. The Meaning of Statistics.

Those three things will be the next three articles, after which we will get to:

  1. The Ratings System Used Here.
  2. Clutch Performance.
  3. Win-Based Analysis of Fielding.

Copyright © 2001 by Bill James

Meet the Author

Bill James made his mark in the 1970s and 1980s with his Baseball Abstracts. He has been tearing down preconceived notions about America's national pastime ever since. He is currently the Senior Advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox. James lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with his wife, Susan McCarthy, and three children.

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