Moneyball Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook
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Billy Beane, general manager of MLB's Oakland A's and protagonist of Michael Lewis's Moneyball, had a problem: how to win in the Major Leagues with a budget that's smaller than that of nearly every other team. Conventional wisdom long held that big name, highly athletic hitters and young pitchers with rocket arms were the ticket to success. But Beane and his staff, buoyed by massive amounts of carefully interpreted statistical data, believed that wins could be had by more affordable methods such as hitters with high on-base percentage and pitchers who get lots of ground outs. Given this information and a tight budget, Beane defied tradition and his own scouting department to build winning teams of young affordable players and inexpensive castoff veterans.
Lewis was in the room with the A's top management as they spent the summer of 2002 adding and subtracting players and he provides outstanding play-by-play. In the June player draft, Beane acquired nearly every prospect he coveted (few of whom were coveted by other teams) and at the July trading deadline he engaged in a tense battle of nerves to acquire a lefty reliever. Besides being one of the most insider accounts ever written about baseball, Moneyball is populated with fascinating characters. We meet Jeremy Brown, an overweight college catcher who most teams project to be a 15th round draft pick (Beane takes him in the first). Sidearm pitcher Chad Bradford is plucked from the White Sox triple-A club to be a key set-up man and catcher Scott Hatteberg is rebuilt as a first baseman. But the most interesting character is Beane himself. A speedy athletic can't-miss prospect who somehow missed, Beane reinvents himself as a front-office guru, relying on players completely unlike, say, Billy Beane. Lewis, one of the top nonfiction writers of his era (Liar's Poker, The New New Thing), offers highly accessible explanations of baseball stats and his roadmap of Beane's economic approach makes Moneyball an appealing reading experience for business people and sports fans alike. --John Moe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Lewis (Liar's Poker; The New New Thing) examines how in 2002 the Oakland Athletics achieved a spectacular winning record while having the smallest player payroll of any major league baseball team. Given the heavily publicized salaries of players for teams like the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, baseball insiders and fans assume that the biggest talents deserve and get the biggest salaries. However, argues Lewis, little-known numbers and statistics matter more. Lewis discusses Bill James and his annual stats newsletter, Baseball Abstract, along with other mathematical analysis of the game. Surprisingly, though, most managers have not paid attention to this research, except for Billy Beane, general manager of the A's and a former player; according to Lewis, "[B]y the beginning of the 2002 season, the Oakland A's, by winning so much with so little, had become something of an embarrassment to Bud Selig and, by extension, Major League Baseball." The team's success is actually a shrewd combination of luck, careful player choices and Beane's first-rate negotiating skills. Beane knows which players are likely to be traded by other teams, and he manages to involve himself even when the trade is unconnected to the A's. " `Trawling' is what he called this activity," writes Lewis. "His constant chatter was a way of keeping tabs on the body of information critical to his trading success." Lewis chronicles Beane's life, focusing on his uncanny ability to find and sign the right players. His descriptive writing allows Beane and the others in the lively cast of baseball characters to come alive.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
And baseball will never be the same again.
Sure it has baseball and statistical analysis for content, but the real story is about a group of underdogs that by wit alone figure out a way to win an unfair game.
What he reveals is that by approaching baseball in a more rational, analytical way and doing away with all the traditional conventions, you can compete with anyone who doesn't do the same. Too many GMs and coaches are seduced by speed, home runs, and batters who swing at bad pitches when the simple truth of it is that in baseball the most precious thing you have are your three outs per inning. Anything that risks losing one or more of those outs is something you should avoid. As a long-time fan of the game, it's hard for me to swallow some of the anti-traditional things Lewis describes in this book. But the proof is in the pudding as they say and the A's success over the past several years is hard to argue with.
The focus of the book is A's GM Billy Beane, a former A's player himself who had a world of talent but could not transform that talent into a Hall of Fame career. He didn't have certain intangibles that are needed. Beane now recognizes those talents in the players he drafts, recruits and trades for. Beane's obsessive personality and unorthdox ways make for interesting reading. He's a man who seems horribly tortured by the game and yet thrives on his success in the game as well.
There are excellent mini-biographies in the book including one on A's first baseman, Scott Hatteberg, a Red Sox catcher who was thought all but done with baseball after he ruptured a nerve in his throwing arm. The A's reclamation project recognized a diamond in the rough and brought him aboard to train him as a first baseman, mostly so they could benefit from Hattie's shrewd batting.
Chad Bradford, the A's middle relief pitcher with the unorthodox pitching style and uncanny ability to get outs, is also profiled. A's minor league phenom Jeremy Brown, a former University of Alabama catcher who broke all sorts of NCAA records but wouldn't get a look from most pro teams, is also profiled. You get the sense from this book that there IS no traditional upbringing for a pro baseball player. The A's unusual collection of "misfits" all came from different backgrounds and most have taken a rather odd path to success.
This book is a great insiders look at a pro baseball team and how they approach the game from a very unique perspective. The most fascinating thing of it is, the A's didn't invent what they're doing at all. They're exploiting baseball wisdom that was anyone's for the taking for the past 30 years. You just need to know where to look.
If you're a baseball fan or just someone who can appreciate creativity and ingenuity in a world that promotes imitation, you'll enjoy this book.
When discussing Beane's player evaluation techniques, Lewis outlines a field of study known as "sabermetrics." For anyone who has not yet been exposed to sabermetrics or has only a passing familiarity with the subject, this will be an eye-opening book and could change the way you view the game of baseball. Many of the things you thought you knew about baseball will be proven incorrect, and you will be introduced to a number of new concepts that you will undoubtedly use in the future.
On the other hand, for anyone who is already quite familiar with sabermetrics (and more specifically, Billy Beane), you will not get much out of this book. Chapters 2, 5, and 9 will be informative, but the rest is either filler or a review of concepts you already know. You won't regret reading the book, but it may not be a particularly memorable one for you (it wasn't for me, hence the three stars). For people in this situation, it would be fine to wait for the book to come out in paperback and save a few bucks.
Overall, I would recommend reading Moneyball, but don't set your expectations too high if you're already familiar with the subject matter.
Just shows you how good this author is: That I would be riveted by a book about baseball! I've never been interested in team sports. But...having read almost everything else by Michael Lewis, am 'reduced' to reading such as this, Enjoying every page (pitch).(play).
He'd better never run out of things to say.
Lewis details all of Beane`s methods of player evaluation. In particular, Beane is impressed with a players on base percentage. He feels getting players on base, is the key to generating runs and winning games. In his opinion, a walk is just as beneficial as a hit. The rest of the scouting community, never even consider a players ability to generate the base on balls. This new set of data, enables Beane to develop an edge in player selection. The other general managers, are unaware of this valuable information. Beane also finds these players carry a cheap price tag, because no one else recognizes the available talent.
Most readers will enjoy, the wheeling and dealing of baseball`s corporate backroom. Beane seems to skate circles around the other baseball general managers. Beane also deals with lots of personnel management issues. It all adds up, to make for a fun read.
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