Baseball BeatOctober 11, 2004
Archiving the Abstracts
By Rich Lederer

With seven of the 12 Baseball Abstract reviews completed, I thought it would be helpful for reference purposes to link each of them for easy access. The entire series will be added to the sidebar in due time.

1977 Baseball Abstract
1978 Baseball Abstract
1979 Baseball Abstract
1980 Baseball Abstract
1981 Baseball Abstract
1982 Baseball Abstract
1983 Baseball Abstract

In addition to these reviews, I wrote an article ("The James Gang") about the assistants who have worked for Bill James over the years. I am hopeful of posting other related articles at the conclusion of the series as well.

I have added the links to the discussion threads at Baseball Primer at the end of each of the reviews and have inserted an updated reproduction of a classic Bill James graph from the 1982 Baseball Abstract in that particular review. The graph is courtesy of none other than Studes of Baseball Graphs and The Hardball Times.

I may be guilty of being overly ambitious, but I am planning on adhering to the following schedule for the remaining five reviews:

  • 1984 Baseball Abstract -- week of October 18-24
  • 1985 Baseball Abstract -- week of October 25-31
  • 1986 Baseball Abstract -- week of November 1-7
  • 1987 Baseball Abstract -- week of November 8-14
  • 1988 Baseball Abstract -- week of November 15-21

    The 1977-1981 Baseball Abstracts were self-published by Bill James and the 1982-1988 Abstracts were published by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. Copies of the book covers for each of the Abstracts are included at the beginning of the respective review.

    I have enjoyed putting together this series and am looking forward to completing the reviews over the next month.

  • Comments

    Yeah, and when is the Historical Baseball Abstract review coming? It better be that next week you lazy bum!

    and when you're done with that, can you get to work on the old Pyramid Book series of "Baseball Stars of 1960-61-62-63-64-65-66-67-68-69-70"?

    Thanks Rich!

    "James also launches the novel idea that there exists a spectrum of defensive positions, left to right, which goes something like this: first base, left field, right field, third base, center field, second base, shortstop, claiming that each postion is more difficult to play than the position before it."

    Rich, has there been any work that starts from James' premise above that weights a team's defensive performance as to quality of player at the postion's difficulty described above.

    Intuitively, the notion fits with being strong up the middle, but didn't know if you could cite anything since...

    thanks for bringing this back...

    To answer big chef terry's question, the three positions at the far right of the defensive spectrum are all up the middle. There is a larger defensive demand from a SS than a 2B, a larger defensive demand from a 2B than a CF, a larger defensive demand from a CF than a 3B, etc.

    There is usually a high correlation between a team's defensive efficiency record or DER and the defensive value of the individual players. In addition, there is a high correlation between DER and a team's speed in the outfield.

    You might want to check out Tangotiger's True Talent Fielding Level Ratings if you want to delve into this subject in greater detail.

    Thanks Rich, great hunter-thompson take on game 1

    Thanks for this; it's been a great service. I'm really enjoying learning about the early days of Bill James. The one thing I'd like to see is more information about people trying to use James' techniques in football.