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Customer Review

75 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book explaining what baseball GMs should do, March 3, 2008
This review is from: Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (Paperback)
For a former baseball player Billy Beane is a rare bird as a baseball GM. He used real baseball statistics, the kind the sabermetricians use to make great trade and bring a strong team back to Oakland. He had a great advantage over other GMs because he took advantage of their ignorance and tendencies to rely on the somewhat biased eyes of basebll scouts. What Michael Lewis did with this book was to show the world of baseball how Billy Beane did it and now I am sure that other GMs like Brian Cashman at New York and Theo Epstein in Boston are catching on. I don't know how much Steve Phillips put into action when he was the Mets GM. His lack of great success there indicates that he [robably didn't follow it enough. But now as an ESPN commentator he definitely mentions it. This book si so good that the term moneyball now means the strategy that Billy Beane used. So the title of this book became a baseball term! This book is a must for managers, general managers and owners of professional baseball teams. It is also great for the fans and the fantasy baseball enthusiasts.

Along with Mike Schell's books and the ones like "Curve Ball" written by Albert and Bennett this is one of the most thoughtful and scientific books on the game of baseball, how to win at it and how to build a successful team. The other books I mentioned were written by professional statisticians. It is the great success of the statistical science of sports, sabermetrics that we are now witnessing a scientific and statistical approach to baseball and other sports that had been lacking for many years. What Beane proved with regard to money was that a small market team like Oakland without the big money of a Steinbrenner could build a great team through smart trades and drafts based on looking at the right statistics on the players, the statistics that determine value in terms of run production for offense and run prevention for pitchers and defense.

The amazon reviews of this book are almost unanymous in their praise of Lewis' book. Read it and enjoy it. If I haven't convinced you, read some of the other fine reviews here.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 8, 2008 12:56:56 PM PST
Michael, thank you for teaching me a new word today: sabermetrics. I plan to use this word on my brother tomorrow. He knows a little of everything. I'll let you know. This is a fascinating topic1

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 26, 2008 7:49:30 PM PDT
I am a member of the American Statistical Association's Dtatistics in Sports Section. At the 2002 annual meeting that I mentioned regarding research on terrorism, I was the program chair for the sports statistics section and organized the invited paper session. We really have a stellar list of statisticians involved in this. The list inckudes Mike Schell, Carl Morris, Scott Berry, Hal Stern, David Harville, Jim Albert and Jay Bennett. One of the talks was by a friend I knew from los Angeles named David Rothman. He had a model to rank teams in NCAA football. His program was included as one of the computer programs that went into the BCS system. He spoke about the system which could bw used to predict winners though that was not his intent. At he endof the season his ranking of the number 1 abd nymber 2 teams is combined with the others to decide the teams to play in the championship game. He described the method and explained why he was dropping out of the BCS after being a member for two or three years.

Posted on Dec 5, 2008 5:10:22 PM PST
Patrick Call says:
The reason that this book is a great book has nothing to do with baseball (although it is doubly entertaining if you are interested in the sport). The story here is how a dispassionate and insightful quantitative analytical approach to an over-100 year old business can revolutionize it. That should be an inspiration to leaders in many seemingly "old" businesses in every sector. The other huge part of this story is how the revolution has to be driven down from the top -- an important one for business leaders. My two cents, Pat Call
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