(1) Thomas Jefferson vs. (16) Bill James
(1) Thomas Jefferson
The scouting report on our third president is awe-inspiring. Declarer of Independence. Purchaser of Louisiana. Designer of buildings. Founder of universities. Rewriter of the Bible. Lover of wine. Conceiver of illegitimate children. A true Renaissance man, Jefferson had all of his bases covered. He's got to be a favorite to make it to the finals.
(16) Bill James
For years, baseball scouts and executives went by what their eyes told them. It took a former night watchman for a Stokley Van Camp pork and beans factory to set them straight. Their eyes could lie, but the numbers didn't. James, the patron saint of baseball's statistical revolution and the field of sabermetrics, was the true hero of Michael Lewis' controversial Moneyball and helped show us that above all, a player should strive to avoid making an out. Since being hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2003, James has had an opportunity to put his academic theories into practice, and the results are convincing: a pair of World Series rings.
James has irrevocably changed the way fans and front offices think about America's game, but without Jefferson, there might not even be an America. James may well take the loss here, but don't discount him as a genius. If Jefferson had been alive to watch baseball, he wouldn't have supported giving outs away through sacrifice bunts, either.
[See the whole bracket here.]