Overall Summary

by The Quicklet Team

This chapter is a free excerpt from Quicklet on Moneyball.

Michael Lewis focuses largely on the economics of baseball from the onset of the book. Throughout, players are presented in numerical values based on their physical attributes, stats, and professional demeanor. Almost instantly, Lewis touches on the personal desires of scouts, many of which stem from their own failures as players.

The book also takes the reader through the terminology, deep history, and economics of the game of baseball. We are enlightened to the creation of a new era of baseball analysis – an era aided by statisticians, Harvard graduates, numbers, and cash flow, rather than raw talent. During the draft, Beane uses unusual grounds for his selections, and is successful in securing almost all of his desired picks, largely because no other scouts wanted his players. Jeremy Brown, for instance, is selected for his ability to reach base by walking; while he is overweight and atypical, Beane sees in him a statistical goldmine.

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Michael Lewis focuses largely on the economics of baseball from the onset of the book. Throughout, players are presented in numerical values based on their physical attributes, stats, and professional demeanor. Almost instantly, Lewis touches on the personal desires of scouts, many of which stem from their own failures as players.

The book also takes the reader through the terminology, deep history, and economics of the game of baseball. We are enlightened to the creation of a new era of baseball analysis – an era aided by statisticians, Harvard graduates, numbers, and cash flow, rather than raw talent. During the draft, Beane uses unusual grounds for his selections, and is successful in securing almost all of his desired picks, largely because no other scouts wanted his players. Jeremy Brown, for instance, is selected for his ability to reach base by walking; while he is overweight and atypical, Beane sees in him a statistical goldmine.

Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s, uses these numbers to propel his team into the spotlight. With a budget of only $41 million, Beane outperforms teams with three times his budget by selecting no-name players in the draft and crafting them into hardy utility players capable of reaching base and scrapping out runs for the team.

Oakland garners a reputation for being a true team rather than an amalgamation of isolated, pampered superstars. During the course of the second half of the 2002 season, the Oakland A’s set a Major League record by winning 20 straight games – a record that has not even been close to being broken – and they reach the playoffs, winning 103 games.

Lewis chronicles all of this while almost seamlessly blending in with his surroundings and his story has a lasting effect. The book became so popular after its publication that the term “Moneyball” is a fixture in the Major Leagues today, meaning the utilization of stats and analysis to measure a team or player’s worth. In 2011, the book was made into a major motion picture, starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.
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