Picks and Pans Review: The Bill James Baseball Abstract

updated 06/03/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/03/1985 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Bill James

While James is more experimental than Siwoff, his annual compilations are indispensable to the baseball-impaired. While the material in the 1985 edition is all new, the format is the same as in years past. Breakdowns of each team and unforgiving player analyses are interspersed with learned commentaries on such subjects as the effect of rain on the attendance at Seattle Mariners games and the subsequent effect on the team (none). Along the way there are invaluable nuggets: Why is the Milwaukee acquisition of Jim Sundberg an iffy proposition? Given the brutal demands of the position, the "genetic limit" for catchers seems to be 1,800 games. Sundberg has already caught 1,450. (Ballantine, $7.95)

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