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.