Bill James visits Sabermetrics 101 class at Tufts

From Matt Berger at The Tufts Daily on March 2, 2012, on SABR members Andy Andres and Bill James:

Renowned “sabermetrician” Bill James, who laid the groundwork for alternative baseball analysis techniques now used by many MLB front offices, stopped by an Experimental College class on Thursday afternoon to discuss the thinking that fueled his statistical methods. James famously inspired the baseball decisions made by Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, the main character of Michael Lewis’ “Moneyball” (2003), a book that James told the students he didn’t actually read.

James spoke to the students of Sabermetrics 101: The Objective Analysis of Baseball, a weekly full-credit class taught by Boston University Professor of Natural Science Andy Andres, who has been studying sabermetrics himself for more than 15 years. Andres met James at the 2005 [SABR] (Society for Advanced Baseball Research) convention in Toronto, and the two have remained close friends ever since.

“I think [James] genuinely was surprised that [sabermetrics] had become academic,” Andres said. “He was really on his own, doing something that very few people had interest in, and all of a sudden it becomes a college class. That’s a big transition, to go from something quite obscure to something more mainstream.”

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Originally published: March 2, 2012. Last Updated: March 2, 2012.