Steve Rosenberg's Reviews > The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James
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's review
Aug 14, 07

Recommended for: any baseball fan
Read in August, 2007

They asked me to guess the date I read this book. I put down August 2007. The reality is, I first picked up this book in August 2003 and have not put it down since, except to eat, sleep, good to the bathroom, go to work, etc. etc. etc. It is like a bible to me. Okay, that is putting it mildly. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is quite possibly - no, absolutely - the best book written about baseball, ever. Hands down. What is so special, you may ask? Well, the stats, for one. James lays out his methods and arguments for sabrmetrics, the art of judging baseball talent through a historical lens, through the use of stats and a reasonable analysis thereof. And he makes it INTERESTING. It reminds me of the tax professor I had in law school; he could teach federal income taxation to a reasonably bright 5-year-old, and make it fun; well, Bill James is like that. But more than the stats are the stories; the historical anecdotes are those that you can find only by combing the baseball section of your local city library for weeks on end, or by accosting some crazy old guy who once saw Babe Ruth pitch for the Red Sox. And best of all, James injects a healthy dose of opinion and attitude into everything he says. If you cannot tell by now, I am in love with this book; it has gotten me through more than one night of insomnia; if I had one book to bring with me to a desert island, this would be the one. If you are a baseball fan, this book is required reading.
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