Stats Don’t Tell The Whole Bill James Story

From Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on February 27:

The bearded face that launched a thousand stats and gleefully capsized as many baseball doctrines, Bill James could really have some fun letting his inner contrarian go to work on his public image.

For all the articles and stories that call him “King of Stats,” “baseball’s Pythagoras” or, as “60 Minutes” did, simply “Stat Man,” in his office sits an unfinished essay that he’s writing on a subject other than baseball. A self-described breakfast hobbyist, he enjoys going somewhere tasty enough to return to and quiet enough to write.

The reality of James sitting there some mornings and writing fiction in longhand contrasts with the notion he’s some statistical turtle, a recluse numbers whiz awash in box scores. Without breaking a sweat, he could unravel the misconceptions about him as quickly as he incinerated the belief that batting average is the best way to measure a hitter.

James deserves the James treatment.

Read the full article here:

Further reading:

  • In 2010, Bill James was part of the inaugural class of Chadwick Award winners, honoring baseball’s greatest historians, researchers and statisticians.
  • Read Don Zminda’s profile of James in the Summer 2010 edition of the Baseball Research Journal.

Originally published: February 27, 2011. Last Updated: February 27, 2011.