James spoke for approximately 15 minutes, covering the broad topic of progress. Bill tried to deflect some of the credit that he has received over the years but admitted somewhat jokingly that he was more “arrogant” than “modest.” James doesn’t see himself as a “statistician,” saying he doesn’t produce any stats. “The players produce the stats,” adding that baseball has been engaged in stats since the beginning. Speaking of which, James doesn’t think 19th century baseball has much, if anything, to do with the modern game. He touched on steroids, racism, and other issues that have tainted the sport, suggesting that we should put the times in perspective, forgive and move on.
The man who hopefully one day will be enshrined in Cooperstown stuck around afterwards, speaking to attendees one-on-one, shaking hands, signing autographs, and conducting interviews with a few media outlets. He was generous with his time and the attention that he gave everyone.
Back in the mid-80's, Bill had a service you could call to get advice about various players. I was playing in a rotisserie league based on Okrent/Waggoner's book, and I probably called him a dozen times over the season. The thing I remember about him was that he was never in any hurry, always took his time to talk to you (well, I was paying by the minute so that makes sense ), but he really just seemed to love baseball.
Bwanna wrote:Back in the mid-80's, Bill had a service you could call to get advice about various players.
Over the last year, I contemplated the feasibility of starting something like that up.
I'm guessing it wasn't profitable.
No idea. At the time (mid 80's), there weren't many (any?) near real-time source of advice like there are now with the web, so it was really cool to be able to make a call and talk to a guru. IIRC, he had a very sophisticated queuing system for calls -- if he was on another call, the line was busy.