Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract” as Want to Read:
Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

4.55  ·  Rating Details ·  109 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Paperback, 723 pages
Published March 12th 1988 by Villard
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 166)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 23, 2015 Ted rated it liked it
3 1/2. Before the NEW edition, a 5.

This is a (now) a MINOR LEAGUE book in my baseball library.
Availability. OOP. Available used (cheap), new (expensive).


This book appeared in 1985. At the time it was definitely a Major Leaguer, All Star, Top 10 -type baseball book. I lost myself in it for countless hours. If you have it, you probably agree with my (original) 5 rating, especially if you don’t have the NEW Bill James Historical Baseball Abst
Nov 05, 2007 Gail rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: baseball lovers; statistics freaks
Shelves: nonfiction
I used to read all the Bill James books when he published the Abstracts every year. Even though I'm not good with statistics and had to have the "magic number" (i.e., games left that in some combination must be won by your team or lost by the oppsoing team(s) in order for your team to win the pennant) explained to me several times, I loved these books and would pore over them, absorbing baseball lore through the ink rubbing over my fingers. I was very sad when these were no longer published. Jam ...more
Nov 09, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
There was a time I thought I was going to be a sabermetrician. Yeah, didn't happen. I was trying to teach myself and thought I needed to step back to the beginning. To that end, I was going to pick up all of Bill James' books and read them so I would be able to appreciate how the science developed. That is how I came to this book. I purchased it used off of ebay. I recall it smelled of smoke. Yuck! Years in our basement seems to have cured it of that.

Now it has been added to the To-Read pile. I'
Dec 21, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: baseball
One of my all-time favorites.
I basically tried to build a fantasy baseball league off of this book and his ideas.
Gary Geiger
Dec 31, 2013 Gary Geiger rated it really liked it
IS this better than the 2001 updated new Historical Abstract? I think so. James doesn't use an ultrastat like Win Shares when ranking players. Rather, he ranks them by career value and peak value instead of trying to combine the two. I like that better conceptually than boiling everything down to one number, be it WAR, Win Shares, or for the old guys in the basement, Total Player Rating.
Apr 29, 2008 Peter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: baseball, sports
The Godfather of modern baseball thought and analysis.

This book completely and irrevocably changed me from someone who thought that RBI were an important measure of a players ability to someone who regularly argues that there is no such thing as the 'clutch fairy'. While some of James' ideas weren't yet fully formed, you could see where it was headed.

This is the old 80's edition, someday I will buy an updated edition.
Fill Corey
Feb 04, 2013 Fill Corey rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, baseball
I've had mine for about 25 years, now held together by rubber bands, and I wouldn't part with it. Many (most?) of the best discussions do not appear in "The New HBA". One of the best is the "2-dimensional" analysis of HOF membership: you just can't get around it. If you're a baseball fan, and not just a homer, you MUST read this.
Miles Rose
Dec 10, 2013 Miles Rose rated it liked it
Truly a nerd's baseball book. I'm sure this made a baseball fan out of many curious young nerds (and older ones) after reading through. When I read it (and even now) I was never a total baseball nerd, but I've read through it cover to cover, and flip through it every now and again. Good stuff!
Robb Todd
Nov 30, 2009 Robb Todd added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Bill James taught us to look at baseball differently. His abstracts absorbed me. I got lost in the numbers and, more importantly, the ideas. The questions. The quest for answering the questions.
Rick rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2016
Kristīne Vasiļjeva
Kristīne Vasiļjeva marked it as to-read
Jul 17, 2016
George Poirier
George Poirier rated it it was amazing
Sep 09, 2016
Jeff added it
Jul 05, 2016
AndyL rated it it was amazing
Jun 05, 2016
Geno added it
Jun 05, 2016
Sam rated it it was amazing
May 01, 2016
TSM rated it it was amazing
Mar 22, 2016
Tami marked it as to-read
Mar 14, 2016
Chris rated it liked it
Feb 28, 2016
Drew marked it as to-read
Feb 17, 2016
Matt Lyons
Matt Lyons marked it as to-read
Jan 30, 2016
Ben Schilling
Ben Schilling is currently reading it
Jan 02, 2016
Jamie rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2015
Bob Brooks
Bob Brooks rated it it was amazing
Dec 13, 2015
Rob Neyer
Rob Neyer rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
George William “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949, in Holton, Kansas) is a baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and st ...more
More about Bill James...

Share This Book