From Tony Suck to Roberto Succo…a terrific look at Bill James.
Still prolific, James remains more writer than mathematician, more warm-blooded historian than cold-storage calculator. He’s more outgoing than he was when he coined the term sabermetrics, and he’s written a nonfiction book on crime that is soon to be published. But while he has other interests, that morning round of Ball Park reveals a perception that is true: He has one obsession.
“Every morning when I wake up I always remember dreams, and I always have,” James said. “Seven days out of 10, I remember a dream about baseball. Baseball is central to how my view of the world is organized, and I tend — to my detriment — to see the rest of the world as an extension of the principles that I look for in the study of baseball.
“I don’t think you could take baseball out of it for me at all.”
...“Look at the state of baseball today, how it’s covered and how it’s run. All of that is Bill,” said Rob Neyer, who writes for SB Nation. “Without him, ‘Moneyball’ isn’t published. There aren’t as many websites doing this stuff. Some jobs don’t exist. If it hadn’t been for Bill, it would still be a cult thing. There were other sabermetricians working, but they never reached the audience that Bill reached, and then populated the front offices of baseball a decade later.”
Keith Law, part of that audience who went from Toronto’s front office to now writing for ESPN.com, stated in an e-mail: “James didn’t discover fire, but he invented the match.”