His public career spanned 43 years. For much of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, he played a major role in shaping state government's achievements. But in the late '80s and '90s, he was a forgotten figure. Not coincidentally, the Annapolis scene deteriorated badly after his humiliating rejection as state treasurer in 1987. His calming, intellectual influence has been sorely missed.
Mr. James spent 20 years as a senator, the last 12 as president of the chamber. He presided over the upper chamber longer than anyone else in Senate history. He left after winning appointment as state treasurer, the position from which he got the boot at the behest of Gov. William Donald Schaefer in 1987. What an ignominious way to go for such a mannered gentleman. He never understood why the governor would treat him so rudely.
So the man who represented the highest traditions of public service, who embodied the best qualities of the citizen-legislator, left Annapolis. For the first time in 43 years, [Bill James] returned to his Havre de Grace farm without a title attached to his name, but with his outlook on life still firmly rooted.