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Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (March 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525953647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525953647
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Peta, a successful Wall Street trader, found himself confined to a wheelchair in early 2011—he had suffered multiple injuries after being struck by an ambulance as he was walking in Lower Manhattan—and then fired by his employer, Nomura Securities. Reengaging with the world by joining his love of statistical analysis to baseball, Peta created a reliable system for beating Vegas odds throughout the 2011 Major League season. It would be easy to call out Peta for cynically using sport for financial gain—and he can be unnervingly detached when crunching numbers—but it’s clear that he loves the game itself as much as the winnings. Moreover, he asks a number of salient questions, such as: How can businesses on Wall Street and beyond apply the thinking used by baseball sabermetricians to strengthen their own organizations? The answers, and how Peta arrived at them, make for great reading. --Alan Moores

Review

"Peta created a reliable system for beating Vegas odds throughout the 2011 Major League season.  (B)ut it's clear he loves the game as much as the winnings. Moreover, he asks a number of salient questions, such as: How can businesses on Wall Street and beyond apply thinking used by baseball sabermetricians to strengthen their own organizations? The answers, and how Peta arrived at them, make for great reading." -- Booklist

"A fun approach to developing the discipline necessary to separate reproducible skills from the disruptive effects of chance in baseball, finance, and life. Peta's approach is helpful to understanding statistical analysis in any field, not just the chosen baseball specialty. The main focus on baseball provides a starting point for much more." -- Kirkus Reviews

"You don’t have to be a baseball analyst or former stock trader to connect with Trading Bases...Trading Bases will help you to be that fan." - Dallas Morning News

More About the Author

Raised in West Chester, PA by a first generation Italian-American father who adopted baseball as a symbol of his love of America, Joe Peta quickly learned the joy of following the sport --- and the pain of being a 1970s-era Phillies fan. Undaunted, by the time he was a teenager, Joe felt certain that his heroes Mike Schmidt, Larry Bowa, Steve Carlton, et al would one day be his co-workers.

While his father instilled a love of baseball in him, sadly, Joe inherited his mother's throwing arm, so by the time he was in college at Virginia Tech he turned his career ambitions toward the glamorous and fast-paced life of a Certified Public Accountant. His new heroes were men like Bill James and Warren Buffett and Joe parlayed his love of numbers into an MBA from Stanford University. Even in business school, sports were never far from his mind. At Stanford, Joe penned columns in The Stanford Daily and The Reporter that earned him a following in spite of constant references to Melrose Place, and his turning down the opportunity to interview campus golfer Tiger Woods to fruitlessly pursue an interview with Olympic Gold Medal winning swimmer Summer Sanders.

In 2011, while recovering from a massive leg injury which curtailed his trading career on Wall Street, Joe began writing Trading Bases, A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball. The book will be published on March 7, 2013 by Dutton Books, a division of the Penguin Group (USA).

Joe lives in San Francisco with his wife and two daughters, and while none of them really like baseball, the youngest one does enjoy saying "Marco Scutaro."

Customer Reviews

Mr. Peta keeps it very simple and entertaining as well.
CRAIG MICHAELS
I loved the stories from Wall Street and hearing how Mr. Peta grew up loving baseball.
T. Karr
If you have any interest in baseball and/or sports betting, this book is a must read.
William W. Barnes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By takingadayoff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Trading Bases is an appealing mix of memoir, baseball stats, and gambling strategy. By combining the elements, author Joe Peta has managed to make a book that could have been too detailed for anyone but the most dedicated baseball fan or gamblers, into a narrative that reaches beyond those groups. Peta's amiable style is also a real plus -- this could easily have been another ego-driven story about the wonderfulness of a former Wall Street insider and his financial brilliance. Instead, Peta manages to convey his success and chops without coming across as what Michael Lewis called a BSD in Liar's Poker.

Be warned however, that if you are hoping for a black box method to riches or a sure-fire formula to instant wealth, you won't find it here. Peta is a huge baseball fan, and doesn't mind spending hours every day poring over statistics and crunching numbers. He also is deeply into odds and probabilities. If you are too, then there are enough graphs and charts in the book to make your mouth water. Peta has found a way not to beat the odds, but to make sure you only bet when the odds are in your favor. It takes a lot of time and math, and if you aren't seriously interested in baseball and numbers, this isn't the plan for you.

As a fun read though, if you just zip past the charts and formulas, there's an engaging story here by an author that knows his stuff and still seems like a nice guy.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Larry Underwood on March 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Joe Peta seemed to have it made, landing a very lucrative job with a Japanese investment bank on Wall Street. Unfortunately, fate dealt him a bad hand - or in this case, a badly injured leg - after an out-of-control ambulance put the pedestrian in a wheel chair for an extended period of time, and ultimately out of that very lucrative job; just like that.

As Peta was recuperating, he would immerse himself in the latest Baseball Prospectus for hours on end, to take his mind off his plight; at least for a while. One day he had a brainstorm - he would apply his analytical knowledge of baseball, crunch the numbers, and develop a model for predicting with a relatively high level of probability, how the games themselves would play out. He was going to beat Las Vegas; not an easy proposition, but one that ultimately paid a very nice annual return - 41% to be exact.

As Peta's engaging tale unfolds, he walks the reader through the various formulas for predicting certain outcomes in MLB, and how luck - good or bad -sometimes comes into play in making things unpredictable. The baseball sabermetric community will love this book, as will anyone who likes to gamble a bit, or figure out what's going to happen on Wall Street.

Of course, the usual disclaimer applies here: *The results were attained by a trained professional. Your results may vary.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Girl of Summer on March 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It starts with the dedication.

Before you ever get to a word about Wall Street, about gambling, or even baseball in Joe Peta's memoir, there is an 11 word dedication -- shorter than the average tweet -- that gives you a clue Trading Bases isn't your run-of-the-mill book about any of those topics. I won't reveal it here, but it's sweet, funny and charming and by the time I got to the middle of the book where the numbers-heavy passages subtlely morphed into unexpectedly charming storytelling, I realized, just like the "not necessarily in that order" subtitle, it provided a clue as to what was to come.

The chapters dealing with sabermetrics -- the science of baseball statistics Peta credits men like Bill James and Nate Silver with creating -- are fortunately filled with pop culture references and analogies not related to numbers so that they read easily, even for those who are inclined to skip the tables scattered across those early chapters. But once the foundation of those early chapters are set, they serve as a starting point for discussions on Lehman Brothers, the financial crisis, the similarities between Las Vegas bookmakers and Wall Street traders and, of course, being a baseball fan. It's the baseball discussions -- the experience of enjoying a game in a bar with friends, the oh-so-American tradition of having a catch with your dad, etc -- that are so moving I found myself reaching for tissues. Chapter 12 alone, which I won't spoil with details, earns this book 5 stars.

It won't surprise me if the gamblers and traders that share Joe's interests love this book. What might shock them is how much their wives and parents do too.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Blue Wave on June 13, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are an observer of Wall Street, baseball, or just gambling in general, you need to read this account of a personal journey from an individual who really started as a technician and ended up as a statesman and consultant. The best part is that he kept his roots of family and what makes a well founded personal life (keeping his roots in San Francisco when issues developed in his journey of challenges).

This is readable, yet challenges one to grasp mathematical concepts and analysis that can serve as great brain teasers.

Anyone can get better at whatever they are trying to do by this read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By nate smith on June 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book. Would recommend to anyone that is a gambler, baseball fan, or both. The only issue is that it isn't longer.
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