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HoF Debate: Bill James

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Postby DK » Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:42 pm

Matthias wrote:Agree. At a minimum, you have to be associated with a baseball franchise. And yah, he's now doing some consulting work for the Red Sox but no.


This is the weirdest logic I've ever heard. You have to be associated with a baseball franchise to be part of the HoF, and James is associated with a baseball franchise, so for that reason, we should keep him out. :-?

Put him in as a pioneer/exec.
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Postby j_d_mcnugent » Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:53 pm

i was under the impression a writer wouldnt qualify as a pioneer but after reading about this guy i'd probably vote for him.
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Postby davidmarver » Thu Aug 10, 2006 5:58 pm

johnsamo wrote:I could make exceptions for a Harry Carry, Mel Allen or Vin Scully...

See, here's the problem I have with that; anyone can announce a baseball game. Sure, Scully does it better than almost anyone, but there are many announcers that would suffice fine. Bill James has come up with statistical formulas that are un-matched and have given us statheads a new, more accurate way of examining the game of baseball. He has done more for baseball than any announcer -- disregarding their playing careers -- IMO.
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Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:17 pm

Can someone familiarize me with what sabermetrics are?
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Postby DK » Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:23 pm

Dr. Duran Duran wrote:Can someone familiarize me with what sabermetrics are?


http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabermetrics
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Postby looptid » Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:26 pm

davidmarver wrote:
johnsamo wrote:I could make exceptions for a Harry Carry, Mel Allen or Vin Scully...

See, here's the problem I have with that; anyone can announce a baseball game. Sure, Scully does it better than almost anyone, but there are many announcers that would suffice fine. Bill James has come up with statistical formulas that are un-matched and have given us statheads a new, more accurate way of examining the game of baseball. He has done more for baseball than any announcer -- disregarding their playing careers -- IMO.

James has done more than anyone else to popularize statistical analisys in baseball, but he built on the work of others that came before him. There were other runs created models before James published his Abstracts, and Win Shares has its flaws. Unmatched, no. Important, yes.
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Postby Dr. Duran Duran » Thu Aug 10, 2006 6:39 pm

DK wrote:
Dr. Duran Duran wrote:Can someone familiarize me with what sabermetrics are?


http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabermetrics


Thanks. ;-D
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Postby DK » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:12 pm

looptid wrote:James has done more than anyone else to popularize statistical analisys in baseball, but he built on the work of others that came before him. There were other runs created models before James published his Abstracts, and Win Shares has its flaws. Unmatched, no. Important, yes.


Not really. There were no RC formats that even came close to working as well as James's did, Branch Rickey had some interesting theories but nowhere close to James's work. WS has definite flaws as does every metric but it set the framework for guys like Palmer and TangoTiger.
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Postby Amazinz » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:14 pm

I say no.

James is only responsible for a fraction of the ideas termed sabermetrics. Even though his name has become synonymous with the research, I think that a strong case could be made that there are others in the field that have been far more influential. Does James deserve bonus points simply because his name is so familiar?

I do think that it’s valid to consider James one of the pioneers of sabermetrics but I question whether or not sabermetrics research has influenced the game of baseball enough. My personal opinion is that it has not. The fact that batting average is still the popular standard for hitters is evidence in that regard.

My final point deals with the worth of sabermetrics. I am a big fan of sabermetrics and baseball stats in general. I love playing with numbers and never get tired of reading new theories on how to accurately measure the worth of fielders. But I also have to admit that most conclusions achieved through sabermetrics are “fuzzy”. I don’t think there have been enough concrete proofs. Sabermetrics has revolutionized the way we look at baseball statistics but in my opinion it has not yet revolutionized the way we understand the game.
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Postby DK » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:35 pm

Amazinz wrote:I say no.

James is only responsible for a fraction of the ideas termed sabermetrics. Even though his name has become synonymous with the research, I think that a strong case could be made that there are others in the field that have been far more influential. Does James deserve bonus points simply because his name is so familiar?

I do think that it’s valid to consider James one of the pioneers of sabermetrics but I question whether or not sabermetrics research has influenced the game of baseball enough. My personal opinion is that it has not. The fact that batting average is still the popular standard for hitters is evidence in that regard.

My final point deals with the worth of sabermetrics. I am a big fan of sabermetrics and baseball stats in general. I love playing with numbers and never get tired of reading new theories on how to accurately measure the worth of fielders. But I also have to admit that most conclusions achieved through sabermetrics are “fuzzy”. I don’t think there have been enough concrete proofs. Sabermetrics has revolutionized the way we look at baseball statistics but in my opinion it has not yet revolutionized the way we understand the game.


I have to disagree with you on a couple of counts. It's true that batting average is still a widely used statistic, but is that James's fault? That lies more within the structure of the game; it is something that can never be taken away. The batting champ will always be more important to the casual fan than the OBP champ, but in terms of value I know now that the OBP champ is far more important in terms of run creation.

If you want to find influence of Jamesian techniques in baseball look no further than the 2004 Red Sox, who changed an entire nation of Red Sox fans with guys who got on base and hit home runs. I agree there are no concrete proofs and that sabermertics cannot tell you absolutely everything (especially defensively) but my understanding of the game has evolved by leaps and bounds after reading sabermetric books and books about the history of statistics in the game. It is also true that James is not the only proponent of statistics in baseball - I mentioned that earlier- but he is the face of it, and he revolutionized a ton of baseball theory with his work. For this, I think he deserves at least a Pioneer induction.
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