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The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers: From 1870 to Today
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The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers: From 1870 to Today

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  196 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Consider the fact that although more than fourteen thousand men have appeared in a lineup of at least one major league baseball game, fewer than six hundred have managed one. Small though that number is, it is inflated by dozens of skippers with only a few weeks or months at the helm of a club. If we were to define "real" managers as those who have managed a thousand games ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published December 31st 1997 by Free Press (first published 1997)
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Chris Rhatigan
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A delightful collection of anecdotes about some of the game's larger-than-life figures. And some interesting analysis of how different aspects of managing (sac bunts, hit and runs, lineup order) have changed over time. An essential read for anyone with even a passing interest in baseball's history.
Terry Pair
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
The most enjoyable of the Bill James works I've read. It doesn't become bogged in reams of stats and focuses far more on the personalities and approaches to management employed by the games most important managers. James does use some statistical tests to see how the historical records shed life on how each manager handled his team. Those statistical bits are fascinating. But mostly you'll find here some telling quotes about the managers and James' own attempt to paint a word profile of each. Hi ...more
Dec 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
How exciting can a book about managers really be? I am a huge fan of the Bill James Historical Abstract and I like a lot of James' other work (What Happened to the Hall of Fame, etc). So I was willing to give this book a try. 4 stars is probably generous - 3.5 would be better - but James does as good a job as can be expected given the material he has to work with.

The format is similar to the Historical Abstract - it has the "Decade in a box" feature which provides some common data about each de
R.G. Belsky
Jul 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Bill James made his name with the ground-breaking baseball abstracts during the '80s. They were must reading for any baseball fan, and opened up new areas of fanaticism involving sabermetrics, fantasy baseball etc. Sadly, he stopped writing the abstracts a long time ago.

But he's done four other books which are great. This is one of them. I've never been a huge fan of his numbers stuff, I really like his overall take and insight on baseball. Especially the way he's able to make a lifelong fan lik
Henry Sturcke
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It bugs me that Bill James' contribution is reduced to statistics. Yes, he uses them, but not exclusively. To me, his brilliance lies in his quest to find the best way to think about a problem. This is one of his best books. Whether a given manager is any good or not is endlessly debated on radio call-in shows and in bars, generally on the basis of whether one's favorite team is doing well at the moment. James tries to approach the question by breaking the tasks of a manager down, then asking ho ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Unfortunately James never seems to be able to pull off the "goal" of this book, which is to determine manager quality -- or at least managers' qualities -- with any degree of precision.

Some of the stories are good. Some of the side-essays are even better. But most of it is attempting to separate roster construction and brute luck from manager ability -- or to categorize managers -- and it does not really leave a strong sense that we know that much about managers.
Chris Witt
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Going through Bill James books is a damned relaxing way to spend off-season months.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some articles are five stars, others are one. Dense but worthy read to learn more about baseball, strategy and its managers.
Ray Charbonneau
Mar 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sports
Re-reading again. Sometimes you need comfort food.
Eric Hines
Bill James is a fine teller of baseball history with a long list of axes to grind and some pretty interesting evidence to deploy in his own support. Highly recommended to serious baseball fans.
Thomas Nahigian
Aug 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book on managers by the great Bill James.
Frank Chimkin
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
finished sometime around 2000
Richard Stubbe
Aug 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good stuff. Wish there were an update.
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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
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