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Congratulations to Bill James and Rob Neyer

January 25, 2019
 My good friends, Bill James and Rob Neyer, both received great recognition for their work recently.

I have known Bill for the last 35 years. When I first read his work in the Baseball Abstract series way back then, it hit me. Bill was doing the exact kind of work with baseball numbers that I was doing, as an actuary, with insurance numbers. When he decided to start Project Scoresheet, a grassroots effort to collect and computerize baseball scoresheets, I immediately called him via directory assistance. And amazingly, I got through to his assistant, Jim Baker. I eventually became the Executive Director of Project Scoresheet.

I am honored to be able to consider Bill my friend. Over the years we have stayed at each other’s homes, remained in regular communication, and worked together on a lot of projects. Friendship is more important to me than most other things, but one other important thing you should know (and probably already do) is that Bill is an absolute genius. His way of analyzing baseball and problems in general demonstrates that.

And I couldn’t agree more with the article in the New York Times last Sunday. It says that Bill should be in the Hall of Fame. The Hall is for players, umpires, executives and writers who have had the greatest impact on the game. Analytics have had a huge positive influence on the game of baseball over the last two decades and no one is more responsible for that than Bill James.

I am also honored to consider Rob Neyer my friend. I mentioned Jim Baker as Bill’s assistant; Rob worked as Bill’s assistant after Jim. I got to know Rob a bit when he worked with Bill, but I got to know him a lot when he came to work with me at STATS Inc. in the 1990s. Rob’s creativity and talent really showed in the books called The Baseball Scoreboard that we did back then. He brought so much to the table. And he has done even more since then at places like ESPN, SB Nation and FOX Sports. His most recent book is Power Ball: Anatomy of the Modern Baseball Game.

We had a ton of fun working together, but the most fun we had was playing basketball together. Rob was (is? – Rob, can you still play?) the prototypical speedy scoring-and-dishing point guard. I can’t tell you how many times he left me standing in one spot while he drove around me.

And I am super thrilled for Rob that he won the CASEY Award for the best baseball book of the year. It is an awesome book! 

Rob, congratulations!


COMMENTS (8 Comments, most recent shown first)

Bill James and Rob Neyer are two of the best. Any honors that come their way are well-deserved.
9:35 AM Jan 28th
The Casey Award is well deserved. Congrats Rob.
11:18 AM Jan 26th
Rob Neyer's Baseball Lineups book from 2002 is good reading. I also enjoyed the pitching guide he and Bill did in 2004 I think it is? I'm interested in checking out the new one here. Sounds kinda different for him.

As for Bill going into the Hall-why yes. Duh.
11:04 AM Jan 26th
every book by both authors is in my library at home, and their books are purchased long before release.

I also am very proud to have scored games for the Project in Pittsburgh back in the day.
8:53 AM Jan 26th
Both Bill and Rob have given me countless hours of pleasurable reading. I am beholden to them for the joy they've added to my life, and it is only fitting that they are recognized for their contributions!​
10:47 PM Jan 25th
Neyer's award for Power Ball is well deserved. It is the best baseball book I've read in several years.​
4:42 PM Jan 25th
Nice -- and especially appreciate the personal aspects.

I'm impressed about Rob being a good point guard. Me, that's kind of what I aspired to be, but when I'd get the ball, I'd think for a couple seconds, and of course by then, there wasn't anything to do except to run the other way down the court.
2:01 PM Jan 25th
I still occasionally go back and read my Baseball Scoreboard books. They are still fun to open up.
1:53 PM Jan 25th
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