Wednesday, February 01, 2006

For All of You Who Believe Bill James Invented the Wheel

For All of You Who Believe Bill James Invented the Wheel

From The Sporting News, November 10, 1932:

Only one Texas League team batted better last season in night games than during the day.  The Galveston club hit .269 at night and .233 by daylight.  The champion Beaumont team batted .290 in the afternoon and slumped to .247 beneath arclights.  Tony Governor, Galveston outfielder, batted .497 in daylight and only .228 at night.  Edgar Carroll, Galveston pitcher, won 13 games and lost six at night, but in the afternoon contests, he scored only two victories against ten defeats.

The more you read, the more you realize that sabrmetrics began in the far, far past.  People were putting numbers together back to the beginning of baseball. Bill James’ range factors revolutionized the way we look at baseball fielding.  But then somebody pointed out that Branch Rickey had done something similar prior to James.

Actually, Rickey first read the theory of rating fielders by Total Chances per Game in an off-season article in The Sporting News in the 1920s.

What happens is that people forget, and are lost to history.  And thus have to be reinvented.  Maybe time after time, in the case of Range Factors.


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