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George William “Bill” James (born October 5, 1949, in Hotlon, Kansas) is an American baseball writer, historian and statistician whose work has been widely influential. James began writing baseball articles after leaving the United States Army in his mid-twenties. James self-published an annual book titled The Bill James Baseball Abstract beginning in 1977. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose.
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- I didn't care about the statistics in anything else. I didn't, and don't pay any attention to the statistics of the stock market, the weather, the crime rate, the gross national product, the circulation of magazines, the ebb and flow of literacy among football fans and how many people are going to starve to death before the year 2050 if I don't start adopting them for $3.69 a month; just baseball. Now why is that? It is because baseball statistics, unlike the statistics in any other area, have acquired the powers of language.
- 1985 Baseball Abstract
- Standardization leads to rigidity, and rigidity causes things to break.
- Quoted in Gray, Scott (2006). The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball. New York: Doubleday. pp. 191. ISBN 0-385-51464-6.
- There will always be people who are ahead of the curve, and people who are behind the curve. But knowledge moves the curve.
- The Mind of Bill James, 2006, p. 191