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This Time Let's Not Eat the Bones: Bill James Without the Numbers Hardcover – April 8, 1989

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Known for his annual Baseball Abstract , James here puts aside his persona as a sabremetrician (read statistician) and presents excerpts from that publication and from his articles in Esquire . The book is divided into five sections, four of which deal with various teams, players and other figures in the sport, mostly managers. The bits and pieces here, some only a sentence or two in length, make fragmented reading. The fifth section, titled "Essays," offers longer, interesting pieces, particularly selections like "A History of Being a Kansas City Baseball Fan" and "On Salary Arbitration Cases." Readers who are already devotees of James will find this a pleasurable book; others will be less impressed.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 489 pages
  • Publisher: Villard; 1st edition (April 8, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394577140
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394577142
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,940 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John E. Old on November 4, 1998
Format: Hardcover
As a baseball fan, Bill James speaks his mind entertainingly, and as a student of statistics, he puts evidence where his mouth is, convincingly. This collection brings together excerpts from a number of his earlier books, with the focus on the entertaining and opinionated writing, rather than the statistical analysis. The intelligent baseball fan will find this, like his other books, to be unputdownable reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Davis on September 18, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A truly wonderful book. James writes profound essays on all aspects of baseball. He cuts through the nonsense that ignorant journalists write and say about baseball. He proves he can write intelligently on baseball without throwing statistics at the reader.

The book is basically four parts: reviews of the state of the baseball teams in the 1980s which is somewhat obsolete, critical comments on baseball players and managers, various essays on all aspects of baseball, and various studies discussing issues like the platooning advantage and the effect of stolen bases on team performance. Disdaining baseball "purists" , he offers controversial ideas, some of which he continues to put forth in his recent New Historical Baseball Abstract.

Even though this was written almost 20 years ago, it is still relevant today. If you are a fan of good baseball writing, you should pick this up ASAP.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Bullock on June 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a Bill James fan, I admit - i enjoy his books and his writing style, and i find myself agreeing with most everything he has to say. Some of his lines have been classics, like the one about Greg Luzinski in his New Historical Abstract - with this book, i can see how he was putting more anger and vitriol into his later abstracts and I understand why he stopped writing them.

My big question is this, and i pose it to everyone - Bill James himself, the book publishers, Ballantine books, and just the whole doggone publishing industry - if his yearly baseball abstracts were so good and so revolutionary then, including the early mimeographed versions, why hasn't anyone put them ALL into a complete book version? Why let them change hands, dog eared copies and all, thru various used book dealers and the sort, at outrageous prices, when I'm sure there are quite a few people who would love to buy them in a complete single book? I understand that this would be a big book at a pretty prohibitive price but i have always wanted to be able to read those earlier abstracts.

This book is a good book but I didn't like the shorter pieces - it sometimes felt like a haphazard magazine article that was just thrown together - the short tidbits are just that; short tidbits that generally want me leaving more. It felt like stop and go driving at a racetrack.

EDIT (February 27, 2014) - my question about his yearly baseball abstracts not being compiled into a single book was answered by James' agent; James himself does not want to do it. I would pay a decent penny for that book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Josh on October 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Outstanding. The chapter on arbitration in particular is riveting. If you think Bill James is only about the numbers, you need to pick this book up and you'll be thinking again. James has a first rate analytical mind and he doesn't need metrics to break down and explain baseball. If you're a fan of James, or the game, this is a must read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By V. Tirumalai on August 13, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
dated.
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