Bill James will be inducted into the Shrine of the Eternals on Sunday, July 22, in Pasadena, California. James, Yogi Berra, and Jim Brosnan comprise the ninth class of electees in voting conducted by the membership of the Baseball Reliquary. All three honorees have made significant contributions to the language and literature of baseball.
According to Terry Cannon, Executive Director of the Baseball Reliquary, the Shrine of Eternals is "similar in concept to the National Baseball Hall of Fame" but "differs philosophically in that statistical accomplishment is not a criterion for election."
Previous honorees have been Jim Abbott, Dick Allen, Moe Berg, Ila Borders, Jim Bouton, Roberto Clemente, Rod Dedeaux, Dock Ellis, Mark Fidrych, Curt Flood, Josh Gibson, William "Dummy" Hoy, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, Marvin Miller, Minnie Minoso, Satchel Paige, Jimmy Piersall, Pam Postema, Jackie Robinson, Lester Rodney, Fernando Valenzuela, Bill Veeck Jr., and Kenichi Zenimura.
Cannon and James have asked me to introduce Bill at the event, a distinct honor unto itself and one that I gladly accepted. Following my introductory remarks, Bill will speak and be presented with his induction plaque.
Here is an excerpt from the press release:
An author, historian, and statistics analyst, Kansas native BILL JAMES has been one of the most influential figures in baseball since he turned his inquisitive sights on the game in the mid-1970s. Using his annual Baseball Abstracts to question conventional wisdom, he developed his own analytical tools (Runs Created, Win Shares, Pythagorean Winning Percentage, et al.) with which he tweaked the nose of the major league establishment and revolutionized the way fans, the media, and baseball insiders think about the game. The corn-fed clarity of his writing style, combined with an acerbic wit and careful presentation of data in the Abstracts and subsequent books, made James the most widely read and imitated apostle of sabermetrics, the search for objective knowledge about baseball (after SABR, the acronym for the Society for American Baseball Research). James’ knowledge of the game also made him a valuable asset for players and agents, some of whom hired him to assist in arbitration battles with management. Since 2003, James has been employed by the Boston Red Sox as Senior Baseball Operations Advisor, giving him a chance to put some of his theories into practice. In addition, since 2006, James’ life and ideas have been chronicled in two books, The Mind of Bill James: How a Complete Outsider Changed Baseball, written by Scott Gray and published by Doubleday, and How Bill James Changed Our View of Baseball, edited by Gregory F. Augustine Pierce and published by ACTA Sports.
Bill James will be in attendance to personally accept his induction, and he will be introduced by RICH LEDERER, a Southern California native and a major contributor to the Baseball Analysts Web site, which utilizes a sabermetric approach in examining college, minor league, and major league players and teams.
As one who owns the entire run of Baseball Abstracts (including the self-published editions from 1977-1981) and all of his other books, I literally bought into James and have been eating up every word he has ever written for more than a quarter of a century. James has had a tremendous influence on the way that I—and most of you—think about, understand, and appreciate the game of baseball. If not for James, the inspiration for Baseball Analysts may never have existed. Without a platform, I would not have undertaken the Abstracts From The Abstracts series, which culminated in Breakfast with Bill James, a three-part interview that took place in December 2004 at the Winter Meetings in Anaheim.
For more on Bill James and his induction into the Shrine of the Eternals, be sure to read Paul Oberjuerge's outstanding article (which appeared in print on Sunday in the Los Angeles Newspaper Group) and interview.
If you live in or around the greater Los Angeles area, I would highly recommend attending Sunday's ceremony. It will be held at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, 285 East Walnut Street, Pasadena at 2:00 PM. Admission is open to the public and free of charge. For more information, please call (626) 791-7647 or visit the Baseball Reliquary website.
Feel free to drop me an email if you're planning on attending and perhaps we can make arrangements to meet in person before or after the event.