The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “holy book of baseball.” Now, baseball's beloved “Sultan of Stats” (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium.Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth o...

Details The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

TitleThe New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
Release DateJun 13th, 2003
PublisherFree Press
GenreSports, Baseball, Sports and Games, Nonfiction, History, Reference

Reviews The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

  • Dan
    Things got so bad for the 1899 Cleveland Spiders that they canceled their home games, and turned the last two months of the season into a long road trip. No one was going to their home games, so shortterm economics favored playing road games and taking their cut of the gate. The team finished with 134 losses, including 101 losses on the road (now there is a record that will be tough to beat) and a 1–34 record after September first.There is an e...
  • Lyn
    Required reading for a modern fan.
  • Ellis Katz
    This is one book I would rather have in hardback rather than read on my IPAD because (1) it is a book to be enjoyed by reading short sections here and there, although one could certainly read the entire 1,000+ pages straight through, from beginning to end, and (2) the pages are not numbered on my IAD edition, making it very difficult to go back and forth. For example, after I read the section on Mickey Mantle as a centerfielder, I might want to g...
  • Steve Rosenberg
    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 spe...
  • Bern
    I don't think you're supposed to read this book cover-to-cover, but it's an amazing compendium of information and I did anyway. Sometimes James assumes that the reader shares his encyclopedic knowledge of baseball. I don't, but then again, only one of us wrote an encyclopedia.I'm giving the book four stars rather than five because of some chip-on-James's-shoulder ranting that's great when defending the preposterous lifetime ban on Pete Rose, but ...
  • Leah
    I absolutely ADORE this book. Anyone who likes baseball, whether a casual or hardcore fan, should immediately get this book. It's perfect for a bathroom book, even! It goes through baseball by the decade since the 1870s, and makes it INTERESTING! Bill James emphasizes that we love baseball b/c we are emotionally invested in it. So he writes the history of the game in a way that we can be emotionally invested in historical players and teams. It co...
  • Int'l librarian
    This is my favorite book of all-time. I’ve spent more hours reading this book than any other 10 books combined. I completely wore out my first copy with rereading, and was excited to buy a replacement. It’s my sports Bible. I love the blurbs about the players, the decade-by-decade league snapshots, and everything to do with how Bill James assesses the value of baseball players and the sport itself. Bill James isn’t the greatest writer ever ...
  • Ben Wilson
    I love deconstruction. Tear down your idols and your mythology and get right to the meat of it. Understand your history to create a new future. Bill James has done this with baseball. Instead of just slapping hits, runs and errors into a petri dish, he's got his own (well-researched) spin on things and looks at baseball through a totally different lens than his forerunners, making it at one time both a game of statistic and of individuals. He cov...
  • Troy Goodfellow
    Bill James again brings original insight to historical debates without losing track of what makes baseball the best sport. His closing sections that rank players through the ages will remain readable and valuable for years, and James's own open reconsideration of stands he once took is a testament to his value as a thinker and writer.
  • Neal Umphred
    If you're only going to own one baseball book, this should be the one. Aside from all the great things people say about the content, few people point out that James is one fine writer—engaging, warm, witty, and very adept at presenting his arguments, even when you don't agree with him.
  • Chris Dean
    Interesting analysis, especially what the playoffs would have looked like using today’s metrics
  • Terry
    Massive amounts of information here.Took a long time to read, but I feel likeI know baseball even more than I did.Will be keeping this book close by for future reference.
  • Steven Belanger
    Love this stuff! I could talk about sabermetrics ALL DAY! In fact, I recently had a discussion with a friend of mine who hates OPS, and I proved why it was important--not to prove that Pujols is better than Johnny Damon, for example, but to show that Gehrig was better than Foxx--in fact, MUCH better. So, anyway, I digress, as Bill James does. A critic has said that James is wasting his brilliant mind on baseball, but of course there's no such thi...
  • Jef Cotham
    This book should be to ardent baseball fans what the Bible is to devout Christians. Although James ostensibly allows understandable disdain for players such as Rogers Hornsby to slightly affect his judgment (as evidenced by ranking Joe Morgan as a better player than Horsnby), on the whole James probably does the most effective job ever of objectively ranking baseball's greatest players. This is a gargantuan task, arguably one that cannot be done ...
  • Art
    I was a big fan of the Bill James yearly abstracts. He then turned to doing this Historical Abstract which reviews how baseball was played decade by decade AND ranks the top 100 players at every position. The book tries to explain the statistics he uses, in some cases, developed. Most of the time he is successful. In one instance, he didn't even try and left it at "it's too far over your head, just believe me it works" which was extremely annoyin...
  • Brian S
    Great book. The all-time rankings, overall and by position, are fun to read through. I wish there was a 2015 update. I’d like to know where James ranks Derek Jeter on the all-time shortstop list, likewise Ivan Rodriguez on the catcher list, etc. James uses some excellent concepts, like secondary average (which is meant to capture a similar thing as OPS) and the basic idea that you need to look at players’ stats in comparison to the other play...
  • Scott
    This book is a very entertaining reference for baseball fans. Bill James has made his name through quantitative analysis of the game, looking for answers to questions that could not be answered, or had unsatisfying/incomplete answers, through "traditional" baseball statistics. James does not mean for this book to be definitive; when he ranks the 100 best players of all time at each position, he provides statistical reasoning, but also funny anecd...
  • ACS Librarian
    This is my favorite book of all-time. I 19ve spent more hours reading this book than any other 10 books combined. I completely wore out my first copy with rereading, and was excited to buy a replacement. It 19s my sports Bible. I love the blurbs about the players, the decade-by-decade league snapshots, and everything to do with how Bill James assesses the value of baseball players and the sport itself. Bill James isn 19t the greatest writer ever ...
  • Davy Cee
    Definitely my favorite in the William James oeuvre. It's too bad he wrote all those books about philosophy and not more like this one about the great american pastime. His brother Henry had to move to England to get away from, "that damn insidious game played by thieves and drunkards and loud-voiced imbeciles, while those who go by that most disharmonious appellation of 'kranks' look on from the bleachers where they shout their vituperations in t...
  • Steve Miyamoto
    Best historical book on baseball from the founder of sabermetrics, which is the modern statistical analysis of players. (Zzzzzzzzzz) Yet, it is the stories of the people are what brings life to the book. From one of the earlier editions he writes about Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown, who was an early 20th century pitcher who lost two fingers in a farming accident. He was able to throw a ball with a motion unlike any other player because of his los...
  • Jeremy
    What a ride! As far as historical baseball reference books go, "The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract" is second to none. Admittedly, most people don't find terms like "baseball" and "historical abstract", particularly exciting, so don't make this your next book club read. It's not meant for everyone. However, it is the perfect bedside book for the passionate fan with a healthy respect for stats.The 1000 page tome contains fascinating a...
  • Dave Wilson
    Few writers can claim to have changed the world, but Bill James probably comes as close as anyone, as his musings on baseball changed the way both fans and professionals see the game.This book is split into a couple of sections, the first looking at how the game has changed over the years, the second providing player ratings. The main interest in the second part is the player essays - James is a good writer, much more than a stats guru, as he has...
  • Mike
    The godfather of modern statistical analysis gives his take on, uh, everything baseball. Team histories, decade-by-decade comparisons, the top 100 all-time players at every position, random essays, win shares, and much, much more. Throw in an acerbic wit and common sense approach to baseball and you've got 998 pages of pure baseball bliss. Yes, its a 998 page baseball encyclopedia and I read it cover-to-cover. Twice. (Just kidding about the "twic...
  • Clyde
    I was a big fan of Bill James' annual Baseball Abstract when he started issuing them in the 80s. His statistical analysis of teams and players provided a startlingly unique viewpoint, and his readable writing style was the clincher. This reference (2001 edition) entertainingly summarizes, decade-by-decade, the highlights of professional baseball from the 1870s, then goes on to rate the 100 best players at each position, each with revealing biogra...
  • Jake March
    Im a avid fan of Bill James and his work after watching the movie "Money Ball" a year or two ago! I think he explains everything quite well and expresses his opinion very well! As a baseball player my self Im quite the stat rat all ways wanting to know my batting avg ops slugging percentage etc etc ... ANd I can relate to it really well also!So over all this book was a pleasure to read and I'm looking forward to more books by Bill James!
  • Ron
    Although I am no fan of today's sabermetric groupthink, Bill James has the gift of making things interesting. Even if I may disagree with many things he writes about, he has unique insights that make his books worthwhile reading. Baseball players are rated by position in this huge volume, but James finds interesting angles to pursue which can go anywhere. For the fan of historical baseball this book is a must.
  • Brian
    A magnificent book on the history of baseball. The book is divided in two sections, the first is the game broken out by decade, the second explores the best players by position. The stories are remarkable, the scope stunning. James's ability to put time and context into an easy to read format is amazing. I have read and re-read this book many times and each time find something new. Very highly recommended.
  • Douglas
    I doubt I'd like Bill James in person, he's occasionally wrong-headed and reactionary, neither of which is to my taste. But there's no gainsaying he has been a groundbreaker and puts a lot of work into this volume and it's fascinating and readable. I'd give it a 9 out of 10, and if I were politically conservative (which I'm not) and felt that those types of views should mix with sports (which I don't) then I'd probably give it 10.
  • Arthur
    This is a book I will keep forever, reading and re-reading segments. A collection of essays and annotated lists. James is heavy on rationality and light on nostalgia - he shows how some of the legendary players from the early 1900's are a bit overrated, and advocates convincingly for some 80's and 90's players. One particularly lucid essay contains concrete suggestions on how and why to speed up baseball games.
  • Tom
    THE baseball book to end all baseball books. Jam packed with so much freaking information about America's pastime at times it is almost overwhelming. However, if you have questions about the sport of baseball this book will give you answers. From the mid 1800s to today Bill James book is great when used for reference. Upon thoroughly reading through cover-to-cover I was able to produce a publishable college book report/research project.