Saturday, June 28, 2008

Moneyball - a Facinating Look at Where Dollars Meet "Real" Stats in Baseball

It's been over a year since I initially read Moneyball and going in was skeptical about how much I'd enjoy Michael Lewis' 2003 take on the finances behind Major League Baseball. Upon completion I'd have to say it's easily one of my 10 favorite books of all time and unquestionably my favorite sports book.

As a Met fan I was pleasantly surprised to find that roughly the first third of the book focused on the draft and development of the early 80s Mets including my all time favorite baseball player Darryl Strawberry, Len Dykstra and of course the star of Moneyball - Billy Beane. I was fascinated to find out that there was a lot of debate within the organization between drafting Strawberry or Beane with their firt pick - as it turns out they had 2 in the top 10 and grabbed them both. Many thought Beane the better prospect of the two and he even started at a higher level of A ball in the minor leagues than Strawberry.

It was through his failure as a player that Beane embraced Sabermetrics, in part, to explain his lackluster career as a professional baseball player. Beane's obsessive behavior combined with the new math, developed by among others Bill James, allowed him to propel the Oakland A's to perennial success on a shoestring budget.

The irony of Moneyball is just how resistant people are to change and embrace new ideas. Despite unquestionable success, black and white numbers, multi-million dollar contracts, and the high pressure competitiveness of running a Major League Baseball team most owners and GMs in baseball continue to pass on this new way of thinking.

Whether your an A's fan, Mets fan, baseball fan, or fantasy baseball geek like myself you will love this book.

Pick up your copy of Moneyball on eBay!

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