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Archive for Sunday, April 25, 2004

Less prolific, more popular

April 25, 2004

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Bill James publishes far less often now than he did in his writing prime 20 years ago, but his fame is peaking.

James' mainstream popularity has skyrocketed since he was hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2002 as senior baseball operations adviser.

The most recent Business Week magazine cover story discussed the Red Sox's hiring of James in 2002 as one of the team's prime acquisitions in its battle against the New York Yankees.

Part of the increased publicity for James is the increased use of his methods in baseball front offices. Along with the Red Sox, the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals have become sabermetric proponents.

The Athletics have won the second-most games in baseball during the past four seasons and have six more victories during that span than the New York Yankees despite having a much smaller payroll.

Oakland, and, to a lesser extent, James, was the subject of Michael Lewis' 2003 book "Moneyball," which covered the Athletics' strategy of finding players who were cheap because their skills -- such as getting on base -- were undervalued by other teams.

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