Having enjoyed last year’s edition, I was looking forward to checking out “The Bill James Gold Mine 2009.” And, when my copy arrived three weeks ago, I quickly found out that this year’s edition met all my expectations – and then some.
“The Bill James Gold Mine 2009” provides all the great statistical profiles and snapshots type stuff that could be found in the 2008 version. And, just getting that fun and informative statistical analysis on every big league team from Bill James alone makes this a great read for the thinking baseball fan.
However, as was the case last season, James truly hits a homerun with the essays that one can find in “The Bill James Gold Mine 2009.” Among my favorites were:
- “Gems” – here James details a new stat for starting pitchers, gems, where the pitcher has a Game Score of 65+ or 6+ shutout innings in a game.
- “Wipeout” – where James studies pitchers who have gone from a “Cy Young Award” type season to bombing out the next year.
- “Gold Glove Sluggers” – where James looks at the question of whether or not big name/offensive players win Gold Gloves they don’t deserve.
- “Pitch Load” – which is a James study on the suggestion that strikeout pitchers throw more pitches than non-strikeout pitchers.
- “Catcher Pride Points” – a very detailed look at all the things a catcher can do in his career in which he would take pride (such as catching a no-hitter, working with a rookie pitcher who has a good season, playing in an All-Star game, etc.) and then determining which catcher had the most career pride points.
- “Triple Crowns” – where James looks at the greatest and weakest triple crown seasons in baseball history.
- “What I Have Learned About Fly Balls And Such” – an excellent study on what truly makes batters different from each other.
- “U Scores” – where James shows us which batters in baseball history have posted some “unusual” numbers in their career (like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa).
Also, there’s a fun little entry on “The Ten Commandments of Sabermetrics” which I’m sure will be referenced for years to come.
In summary, “The Bill James Gold Mine 2009” is one of those baseball books that’s so much fun, and enlightening, that you’ll want to re-read it, again, and again. And, with the baseball season starting today, it’s the perfect primer to kick-start your season. I highly recommend “The Bill James Gold Mine 2009.”