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Product ID: 246266
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