A Summary and Review of The Book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis

This summary and review of the book, Moneyball, was prepared by Matthew Martin while an Accounting student in the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana.

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Executive Summary: Doing more with less

There are plenty of talented GMs in MLB, but Billy Beane might be the best.  From the start of his baseball career to the elimination game in the ALDS vs. the Yankees, Micheal Lewis gives readers an exclusive glimpse into the organization who has taken the cutting edge to an extreme.

Billy Beane has always been considered the best when it came to sports. From the time he was a young child, till he was a grown man playing in Major League Baseball, a lot was expected out of him.  People saw a special talent that no one in their community possessed and new that he was destined for greatness. Six years jumping around from one baseball team altogether. He decided that he was no longer competitive in the job he loved and decided to change his position in the organization to scout.

While scouting with Athletics Billy was introduced to a new form of player valuation that was different than anything he’s ever seen.  The GM a t the time, Sandy Alderson, believed that the only true way to scout players in the MLB was through statistical analysis not by radar guns and the naked eye.

Saber metrics was the brainchild of Bill James, a economist and baseball enthusiast.  James wrote a series of books called Baseball Abstract to combat the conventional wisdom of baseball analyst throughout the world.  He argued that many baseball stats created by “experts” were flawed and did not represent an accurate account of how good a player was.  James’ work would help the A’s create a winning team in the late 90’s and early 2000s.

After the 2001 season the Oakland Athletics were going through a transitional period.  Johnny Damon and Jayson Giambi were both lost to Free Agency to teams that were willing to spend more than the Oakland A’s. This was devastating to the Athletics.  In order for Beane to fill in the gaps left by these two players, Billy Beane would have to find two great hitters that were relatively cheap.  Instead of looking at high dollar players that could do many things well, Billy looked for players who were strong hitter and defective in other areas.  Beane offered Scott Hatteberg, former Red Sox catcher, a 200,000 contract and David Justice, an aging all star, one for 3.5 million.  This was a fraction of what they would have to pay Giambi and Damon.

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