A Management in a Minute Book Overview of Moneyball by Michael Lewis

This summary and review of the book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, was prepared by Ricky Albin while a Marketing student in the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.

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Executive Summary

Everyone has heard, at least once in his or her life, of the sport of baseball being referred to as “The American Past-time”. The sport is filled with a deep history of players, fans, and enthusiasts who have come to know, or think they know, the game of baseball all too well. It almost went without challenge they the most important part of offense was hitting the ball, and the most important statistic for a player was his batting average.

    Moneyball tells the true story of a poor baseball team forced to compete in an unfair game. Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team, was only given about $41 million dollars by the teams owners to assemble a competitive baseball team. While $41 million dollars may seem like a lot of money, it was the second-lowest payroll in all of baseball. Before the start of the 2002 season, Beane was faced with the seemingly impossible task of replacing Oakland’s two greatest offensive weapons, Jason Giambi and Johnny Damon, who were lost to richer teams. While anyone who wasn’t named Billy Beane had given up all hope, the General Manager set out to find an answer.
    Billy quickly became interested in the ideas of a man named Bill James, who wrote books about statistical analysis of Major League Baseball. Although the game was notoriously impacted by things that could only be described as feats of luck, Bill James believed heavily in a little thing called “probability.” James’ strongest beliefs were that the most important statistics in baseball were the ones that proved to have a direct impact on a team winning or losing a game. He concluded that the two most important statistics on offense that improved a team’s probability of winning were (and still are) On Base Percentage (OBP) and Slugging Percentage. When you combine the two statistics, you get OPS (on base plus slugging). As for pitching and defense, the keys to winning were deemed by James to be the amount of strikeouts and walks a pitcher gives up. Beane had read many of James’ books and quickly became a believer of these ideas as well. Before the Billy Beane era, no one had ever really heard of OPS, but this was all about to change.

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8 Comments
  1. Dana
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I really enjoyed Ricky’s Presentation in class it was great!! I gained alot of interest hearing about what this book was about. What interested me the most was how even though the Oakland A’s only had 41million dollars to work with they never gave up! Instead they found new ways of recruiting and studying potential players! They did things differently than everyone else did, i think everyone in the world should try to be a leader instead of a follower!

  2. Elizabeth Bee
    Posted April 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm

    I think the most important things listed that managers need to know is to differentiate yourself from the ideas of others and know where your competitors stand. If you do these two things, then you will likely be able to come up with a good strategy against your competitors. I think it is very interesting that $41 million dollars was the second-lowest payroll in all of baseball. It’s amazing how much money they pay baseball players!

  3. Megan Stevens
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    I wish I would have been in class to see Ricky’s presentation on “Moneyball”. I considered myself reading this book when I saw it on the list. I didn’t simply because I knew that I would try to watch the movie and write my paper (so kudos to you Ricky). Reading his summary I got a lot more insight than what I did in the book and I truly enjoyed reading about Moneyball. It just goes to show what you can do when you really put your mind to making something out of nothing.

  4. victoria bergeron
    Posted April 22, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I think that Ricky did a great job on his presentation. I’ve never seen the movie, and didn’t realize it was from a book. I learned a lot from his presentation that I hadn’t known before. He did a great job an being informative on all the information from the book. It makes me want to go read the book. Lots of interesting facts. Great Job.

  5. Jason Munch
    Posted April 26, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    After seeing the movie, and now reading this article, I think you did a great job of picking apart this book and giving in-depth information about the key points of the book. The idea of using statiistical analysis to develop a winning team instead of just looking for the biggest and best, was very interesting. Your presentation was also very enlightening and look forward to picking this book up over the summer to read.

  6. Bridget Beninate
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Ricky did a really good job on this book. I have not seen this movie but just seeing this presentation really makes me want to watch it. It is very interesting to know that someone like Beane really believed in that Oakland A’s when no one else did. Other people would have just said that $41 million is not enough and just would have went about their job. But Beane really tried and succeed.

  7. Megan VanderMeulen
    Posted May 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Good Job Ricky! I havent seen the movie yet! I never realized the movie was based off of a book. Very informative! Im not much of a reader … but this makes me want to go see the movie haha … Great Job!

  8. Preston
    Posted May 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    I really want to see the movie…. I don’t know if you actually read the book by Lewis is a good author; it is probably a good read. It was one of the more interesting presentations of the semester.

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