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BOSTON (AP) _ The Boston Red Sox will hire author and statistical expert Bill James as a senior adviser, assistant general manager Theo Epstein said Wednesday.

James attracted fame and wide respect in the 1980s for his annual book, ``The Bill James Baseball Abstract,'' which analyzed the game with easily understood but unconventional statistics that tried to quantify players' contributions to their teams.

James, who is from Kansas, worked for the Royals in the late 1990s.

In the mid-1990s, then-Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette employed Mike Gimbel, a New York City water meter reader who didn't watch games but had a book-length formula to rate players. Boston players complained that such analysis didn't take into account intangibles such as leadership and clubhouse chemistry _ two big problems for the Red Sox of late.

Gimbel predicted that the Red Sox would win the AL East in both 1996 and '97. They finished third in '96 and fourth, 20 games back, in '97.