George William ‘Bill’ James was born on October 5, 1949 in Holton, Kansas.
He joined the University of Kansas and studied there for four years before he was sent to join the U.S. Army in 1971. He was sent to fight the Vietnam War, although he never saw any action at the front.
He spent two years in South Korea documenting his experiences as a young lad and wrote to the University of Kansas about taking his final class as he had not completed his semester.
He returned in 1973 with degrees in Economics and English and graduated with an Education degree from the University of Kansas in 1975.
After he left the U.S. Army, he began doing night shifts as a security guard at a pork and beans cannery. It was during this time one of his articles on baseball was published, which received fair and encouraging reviews.
In an effort to reach a wider audience, he self-published a volume on baseball, incorporating his in-depth studies of box-scores and statistics called ‘The Bill James Baseball Abstract’ in 1977.
Over the subsequent years, James became a household name in the world of baseball and by 1982; the sales for his book had almost reached ten-fold. He partnered with a media multinational, who offered to issue forthcoming editions.
In 1988, James ceased writing the ‘Abstract’ due to work-related burnout. He continued to publish hardcover books about baseball history such as ‘The Baseball Book’ (1990-1992) and ‘The Player Ratings Book’ (1993-1995).
For a deeper understanding the game, he developed a couple of statistical tools to aid his in-depth baseball research. A couple of these innovations are ‘Runs Created’, ‘Range Factor’, ‘Win Shares’, ‘Pythagorean Winning Percentage’ and ‘Power/Speed Number’.
He proposed the formation of ‘Project Scoresheet’, a group of fans who got together and collected play-by-play accounts of every game from 1984-1991. However, the group never functioned smoothly.
He joined the company STATS, Inc., who provided data and analysis to all major media outlets, but was eventually acquired by Fox Sports in 2001.
He authored ‘The Bill James Handbook’, releasing the first part of the publication in 2003. He is currently working on the latest volume of the same. He was also employed by the Boston Red Sox, a baseball team for his writings.
In 2008, he launched ‘Bill James Online’, where subscribers of the website could interact with the one another and also view profiles of teams, players and other exhaustive, statistical information of players, matches and events.
He was reported on ’60 minutes’ on March 30, 2008 as a sabermetric pioneer and advisor for the Red Sox team.
He authored ‘Popular Crime- Reflections on the Celebration of Violence’ and ‘Solid Fool’s Gold’, in 2011.
As of 2012, James published a series of ‘sabermetric’ books and is currently a Senior Advisor for the Boston Red Sox team.
Bill James Baseball Abstract
The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
This Time Let’s Not Eat the Bones
The Bill James Baseball Book
The Politics of Glory
The Bill James Player Ratings Book
The Bill James Handbook
The Bill James Gold Mine
Popular Crime- Reflections on the Celebration of Violence
Solid Fool’s Gold
World Series Rings, 2004 and 2007
He was named in the Time 100 as ‘one of the most influential people in the world’, 2006
Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, 2010
He made a special appearance on a Simpson’s episode; ‘MoneyBART’.
He is also an ardent fan of the University of Kansas men’s basketball team.
A number of books have been written on James such as ‘The Mind of Bill James’ and ‘How Bill James Changed Our View of Baseball: By Colleagues, Critics, Competitors and Just Plain Fans’.