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The Bill James Gold Mine Paperback – March 31, 2010


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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bill James is quite certainly the most influential baseball writer of the twentieth century; it's not even close. -- Alan Schwarz, The New York Times

Bill James is the reason many of us think and write about baseball. -- Dave Studenmund, Thehardballtimes.com

If circumstances only allow you to read one baseball book, you cannot make a better choice than The Gold Mine. -- Steve Lombardi, Waswatching.com

Not quite the old Baseball Abstract, but it's as close as we're gonna get. -- Edward Thoma, Makato Free Press

Owing Bill James a debt of gratitude understates the case by a massive margin. -- Voros McCracken, Vorosmccracken.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

Bill James has always been on the cutting edge of baseball analysis. In this all-new book of profiles of some of the most interesting players in Major League Baseball, he breaks new ground again. The Bill James Gold Mine is not just statistics; there are essays, comments and "nuggets" in the Jamesian tradition throughout the book. "We have a book," the author says, "that has some original writing, surrounded by charts showing you things you didn't know. I hope you'll give it a try." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Bill James Gold Mine
  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: ACTA Sports (March 31, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879464119
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879464110
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By JagBag on March 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I admit I have a strong bias in favor of the Gold Mine and the people involved in it. Many of them are friends of mine, but my 5-star reviews of past editions were based on merit, not friendship. I believe the Gold Mine serves a couple of important purposes in the sabermetric marketplace. It's entertaining, accessible, and it keeps Bill's work on the bookshelves -- too much of the sabermetric work being done right now is inaccessible to the vast majority of fans and almost unreadable to anyone with literary standards. That's where the Gold Mine comes in. This year's edition is on par with previous editions, so, in my estimation, the 5-star review is warranted. My challenge is to find something new and honest to say about it.

This year's Gold Mine is, by its own admission, a collaboration among Bill James, John Dewan, editor Greg Pierce, and Baseball Info Solutions (among others). Dave Studeman of The Hardball Times is involved as well. The upshot is that the book is less of a compendium of Bill's essays -- subscribers to his site already get a high volume of essays -- and more of a revival and update of the STATS Scoreboard, using contemporary metrics, supplemented with some of Bill's best essays from 2009. The package is a generous 341-page sample of what's available to subscribers of Bill's website for $3 per month.

Sum: Just like previous editions, the 2010 Gold Mine is a collection of fascinating observations of small but telling details (nuggets), and concise insights drawn from those details, presented in a reader-friendly manner, in addition to Bill's more substantive essays. Unlike much of the academic sabermetric work being done, the Gold Mine's sabermetric work is highly readable, with the reader's entertainment kept in the foreground.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Steven A. Peterson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 12, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is kind of an odd work. It is a book filled with snippets about each of the major league teams. And some of these are delightful! There are also essays interspersed among the team discussions, and intriguing little "sidebars" scattered throughout the volume.

But there are lots more goodies on the web site BillJamesOnline (for $3 per month). I would rather a few more data from that site be in this volume, but--nonetheless--this is still a fun work!

A few illustrations. Do you know the worst middle reliever in terms of highest ERA while recording a "hold"? Doug Brocail of San Diego, with 7.87 (ouch!). Then there is a comparison with the hitter most like a team when it wins--and loses. Take Arizona. When it won in 2007, its hitting statistics were much like Dave Winfield's; when it lost, stats were like Dave Stegman's.

In terms of teams, coverage is a bit thin, as already noted. For my White Sox, I see the 2007 pitching and hitting statistics for the everyday players and top pitchers--but scarcely anything on reserves and lesser used pitchers. There's a nice sidebar on where Jim Thome's home runs go (lots to the opposite field, as a matter of fact).

A nifty little piece is "cigar points," players who came close to milestones and just missed (e.g., one victory short of 20 wins or .299 instead of .300). Top player in "cigar points"? Greg Maddux. Clutch hitter of the year? Brad Hawpe who drove in 45 clutch runs.

One of my favorite bon bons here--consistency. James works on a formula to rank baseball players for consistency, and then assigns them a grade from A+ to F. Can you guess Number 1 all time? Henry Aaron (makes sense, doesn't it?). Least consistent? Bill Sweeney.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Hal Jordan VINE VOICE on March 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been reading Bill James since stumbling on his Baseball Abstracts back in the early 1980s. The Gold Mine is not intended to be the kind of systematic review of players and teams that the Abstract was. For that, you should buy the Baseball Prospectus. The Gold Mine does have a section on each team, but there is no attempt to sum up the 2009 season or look ahead to the 2010 season. Instead, the team entries consist of a one-page statistical overview, which gives the basic stats for "Key Players" and "Key Pitchers." The only non-standard stat given is Win Shares. The rest of the team entries are taken up by "nuggets," which consist of brief entries describing telling -- or oddball -- facts about the team, such as the 2009 Red Sox having given up the worst stolen base percentage allowed in the history of the American League. As I understand it, James researched and wrote only some (a few?) of these, although he apparently looked at them all and, perhaps, did some editing. The nuggets are of varying quality and, frankly, if the book was composed entirely of them, I don't think it would be worth buying.

For my money, the best part of the book is the 16 essays by Bill James. They vary in length, but together take up about half the pages of the book. The essays cover all kinds of subjects, from an in-depth analysis of the two 2009 Cy Young races -- surprisingly, he agrees with the choice of Lincecum in the NL, but thinks Hernandez may have been a better choice in the AL -- to reflections on watching a replay of game one of the 1974 World Series. The essays are tremendously entertaining and have the unmistakeable Jamesian voice. If they dropped the "nuggets" and had twice as many essays by James, this book would be an easy five stars for me.
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