A Q&A With SaberWizard Tom Tango

From Justin Bopp at Beyond the Box Score on August 24:

Tom Tango, aka Tangotiger, is without question one of the most influential sabermetricians (though he might say saberist) alive. Not only did he, along with Mitchel Lichtman and Andrew Dolphin, pen The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball, Tango continues to guide the eye-popping explosion of saber-acceptance through one of the best (and the most sober) saber site of all, The Book Blog.

Tom was kind enough to agree to a question and answer session conducted via email. Here’s what we have — hope you enjoy:

[BTB] How did you get into baseball and when did you start seeing the potential for analysis that you’ve done with The Book?

[TT] I definitely remember the Bucky Dent game, with Yaz popping out to Nettles to end the game.  But I’ve also got baseball cards from 1976 and 1977, though I don’t remember any games from back then.  So, I got into it when I was in elementary school.  Probably no different than most kids from my generation.

Potential for analysis, just for myself?  I remember reading a Baseball Digest article that used Linear Weights from [SABR member] Pete Palmer.  That was in the early 80s.  I have the Baseball Abstracts 1985-1988.  Inside Sports (or Sport) carried the annual Tom Boswell Total Average.  So, it was cemented at the start of all that.

Potential for analysis for publication?  Around the first or second year that I started posting at (the now defunct) BaseballBoards.com.  That’s where I (virtually) met MGL (who would be one of my eventual co-authors), Voros, Patriot, David Smyth, and other guys I could relate to.  And that’s right around when I dived into Retrosheet data.  Without Retrosheet data, The Book couldn’t exist.

Read the full article here: http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/8/24/2382055/q-a-with-saberwizard-tom-tango

Originally published: August 24, 2011. Last Updated: August 24, 2011.