Billy Beane lived every boy’s high school dream when he signed with the New York Mets. His career wasn’t defined by record-breaking home runs or spectacular catches. Instead, his career mirrored many other players’ who found themselves benched on the sidelines. No one knew who he was until he became the manager of the Oakland A’s.
From there the book diverts into a new approach at recruiting. With a lack of funding to draw the star power, Billy Beane looked at a new way of recruiting using computers. His theories about the stats that work and those that don’t are prominently displayed. From an insider perspective, he changed some of the ways recruiters look at baseball stats.
His means of recruiting are still somewhat controversial. But it did produce him a winning season that put the Oakland A’s on top despite the miserly amount of money allotted to the team. Baseball is still a business and profits are made in winning, not losing.
However, many are not so certain that this scientific approach to baseball is valid. They point to the fact that not all of the players were recruited by this scientific methodology and that it failed to take into account the short term player flaws. They also point out that the Oakland A’s have not yet won a World Series, which some would say is the ultimate validation.
However, for Billy Beane, the ultimate validation came when other teams began adopting his method of recruiting. It will take time to see whether it will pay off.
Moneyball is an entertaining book even if you aren’t that into baseball. But you must have at least a little interest to understand why baseball is so resistant to changing the way things are done. There are also a lot of personal details left out about Billy Beane’s life and his team’s lives. It is all about the game and the numbers. So if you pick it up expecting some love story, you will be disappointed.
The book will appeal more to baseball fans, especially those of the Oakland A’s. If you aren’t fans of either Billy Beane or baseball, then chances are you won’t want to pick this up.
The movie version of this book was released on September 23, 2011.