Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team's analytical, evidence-based, sabermetric approach to assembling a competitive baseball team despite Oakland's small budget. A film based on the book, starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill, was released in 2011.
The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
|Publisher||W. W. Norton & Company|
|June 17, 2003|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|LC Class||GV880 .L49 2003|
|Preceded by||Next: The Future Just Happened|
|Followed by||Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life|
The central premise of Moneyball is that the collective wisdom of baseball insiders (including players, managers, coaches, scouts, and the front office) over the past century is subjective and often flawed. Statistics such as stolen bases, runs batted in, and batting average, typically used to gauge players, are relics of a 19th-century view of the game and the statistics available at that time. Before sabermetrics was introduced to baseball, teams were dependent on the skills of their scouts to find and evaluate players. Scouts are experienced in the sport, usually having been players or coaches. The book argues that the Oakland A's' front office took advantage of more analytical gauges of player performance to field a team that could better compete against richer competitors in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Rigorous statistical analysis had demonstrated that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success, and the A's became convinced that these qualities were cheaper to obtain on the open market than more historically valued qualities such as speed and contact. These observations often flew in the face of conventional baseball wisdom and the beliefs of many baseball scouts and executives.
By re-evaluating their strategy in this way, the 2002 Athletics, with approximately $44 million in salary, were competitive with larger market teams such as the New York Yankees, who spent over $125 million in payroll that season. Because of its smaller budget, Oakland had to find players undervalued by the market, and their system has proven itself thus far. The approach brought the A's to the playoffs in 2002 and 2003.
Lewis explored several themes in the book, such as insiders vs. outsiders (established traditionalists vs. upstart proponents of sabermetrics), the democratization of information causing a flattening of hierarchies, and "the ruthless drive for efficiency that capitalism demands". The book also touches on Oakland's underlying economic need to stay ahead of the curve; as other teams begin mirroring Beane's strategies to evaluate offensive talent, diminishing the Athletics' advantage, Oakland begins looking for other undervalued baseball skills, such as defensive capabilities.
Moneyball also touches on the A's' methods of prospect selection. Sabermetricians argue that a college baseball player's chance of MLB success is much higher than a traditional high school draft pick. Beane maintains that high draft picks spent on high school prospects, regardless of talent or physical potential as evaluated by traditional scouting, are riskier than those spent on more polished college players. Lewis cites A's minor leaguer Jeremy Bonderman, drafted out of high school in 2001 over Beane's objections, as an example of the type of draft pick Beane would avoid. Bonderman had all of the traditional "tools" that scouts look for, but thousands of such players have been signed by MLB organizations out of high school over the years and failed to develop. Lewis explores the A's approach to the 2002 MLB draft, when the team had a run of early picks. The book documents Beane's often tense discussions with his scouting staff (who favored traditional subjective evaluation of potential rather than objective sabermetrics) in preparation for the draft to the actual draft, which defied all expectations and was considered at the time a wildly successful (if unorthodox) effort by Beane.
Moneyball traces the history of the sabermetric movement back to such people as Bill James (now a member of the Boston Red Sox front office) and Craig R. Wright. Lewis explores how James's seminal Baseball Abstract, published annually from the late 1970s through the late 1980s, influenced many of the young, up-and-coming baseball minds that are now joining the ranks of baseball management.
Moneyball has entered baseball's lexicon; teams that value sabermetrics are often said to be playing "Moneyball." Baseball traditionalists, in particular some scouts and media members, decry the sabermetric revolution and have disparaged Moneyball for emphasizing sabermetrics over more traditional methods of player evaluation. Nevertheless, Moneyball changed the way many major league front offices do business. In its wake, teams such as the New York Mets, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians, and the Toronto Blue Jays have hired full-time sabermetric analysts.
When the Mets hired Sandy Alderson – Beane's predecessor and mentor with the A's – as their general manager after the 2010 season, and hired Beane's former associates Paul DePodesta and J.P. Ricciardi to the front office, the team was jokingly referred to as the "Moneyball Mets". Like the Oakland A's in the 1990s, the Mets have been directed by their ownership to slash payroll. Under Alderson's tenure, the team payroll dropped below $100 million per year from 2012 to 2014, and the Mets reached the 2015 World Series (defeating MLB's highest-payroll team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, en route).
Lewis has acknowledged that the book's success may have hurt the Athletics' fortunes as other teams accepted sabermetrics, reducing Oakland's edge.
Daryl Morey's own unorthodox approaches in the NBA have been called "Moreyball".
Since the book's publication and success, Lewis has discussed plans for a sequel to Moneyball called Underdogs, revisiting the players and their relative success several years into their careers, although only four players from the 2002 draft played much at the Major League level.
Moneyball has also influenced and been influenced by other professional sports teams including European club association football (soccer). Beane has regarded Arsenal's former manager Arsène Wenger as a personal idol. Beane has held discussions with Wenger, former Manchester United F.C. manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and Liverpool F.C. owner John W. Henry. His friendship with ex-Arsenal scout Damien Comolli and Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke allowed him to delve deep into the world of English football.According to El País, Liverpool F.C. co-owner John W. Henry didn't trust public opinion so he looked for a mathematical method similar to the one used for Boston Red Sox (in guiding them to three World Series wins) which he also owns via Fenway Sports Group. The mathematical model turned out to be that of Cambridge physicist Ian Graham, which was used to select the manager (Jürgen Klopp) and players essential for Liverpool to win the 2018-19 UEFA Champions League.
Moneyball also covers the lives and careers of several baseball personalities. The central one is Billy Beane, whose failed playing career is contrasted with wildly optimistic predictions by scouts.
Players and people discussed in Moneyball:
Beane assembled a list of twenty players they would draft in a "perfect world"; meaning if money was no object and they didn't have to compete with the other twenty-nine teams.
The list, and the teams who drafted them:
Richard H. Thaler of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and Cass R. Sunstein of the University of Chicago Law School described the book as a "sensation... Lewis has a wonderful story to tell, and he tells it wonderfully... Lewis also raises some serious puzzles that he does not resolve, and his account has some large and perhaps profound implications that he does not much explore."
David Haglund of Slate and Jonah Keri of Grantland have both criticized the book for glossing over key young talent acquired through the draft and signed internationally. Specifically, they have argued that the book ignores the pitching trio of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito, as well as position players such as Eric Chavez and Miguel Tejada, all of whom were discovered via traditional scouting methodology and were key contributors to the success of the 2002 Athletics. In 2002, Barry Zito received the AL Cy Young Award and Miguel Tejada received the AL MVP Award.  
A movie based on the book was released in 2011. Actor Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, while Jonah Hill plays a fictional character based on Paul DePodesta; Philip Seymour Hoffman plays A's manager Art Howe. Academy Award-winning screenwriter Steve Zaillian was hired to write the script, and Steven Soderbergh was slated to direct, replacing David Frankel. But in June 2009, because of conflicts over a revised script by Soderbergh, Sony put the movie on hold just days before it was scheduled to begin shooting. Soderbergh was eventually let go.
Bennett Miller took over directing duties, and Aaron Sorkin rewrote the script. Shooting began in July 2010 at Blair Field, the Sports Stadium for Wilson High School (Long Beach, California), Sony Studios in Culver City, Dodger Stadium, and the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum. The film was released in theaters on September 23, 2011. Moneyball was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Picture.
The book is parodied in the Simpsons episode "MoneyBART", in which Lisa manages Bart's Little League baseball team using sabermetric principles. Bill James made an appearance in this episode. The film adaptation is mentioned in Brooklyn Nine-Nine as being Captain Raymond Holt's favourite film because of the beauty of its statistical analysis.
The 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft, was held on June 4 and 5.
It is featured in Michael Lewis' 2003 book Moneyball.Bennett Miller
Bennett Miller (born December 30, 1966) is an American film director, known for directing the acclaimed films Capote (2005), Moneyball (2011), and Foxcatcher (2014). He has been nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Director.Billy Beane
William Lamar Beane III (born March 29, 1962) is a former American professional baseball player and current front office executive. He is the executive vice president of baseball operations and minority owner of the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB); he is also minority owner of Barnsley FC of EFL Championship. From 1984 to 1989 he played in MLB as an outfielder for the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, and Oakland Athletics. He joined the Athletics' front office as a scout in 1990, was named general manager after the 1997 season, and was promoted to executive vice president after the 2015 season.
A first-round pick in the MLB draft by the Mets, Beane failed to meet the expectations of scouts, who projected him as a star. In his front-office career, Beane has applied statistical analysis (known as sabermetrics) to baseball, which has led teams to reconsider how they evaluate players. He is the subject of Michael Lewis's 2003 book on baseball economics, Moneyball, which was made into a 2011 film starring Brad Pitt as Beane.Brad Pitt
William Bradley Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is an American actor and film producer. He has received multiple awards and nominations including an Academy Award as producer under his own company, Plan B Entertainment.
Pitt first gained recognition as a cowboy hitchhiker in the road movie Thelma & Louise (1991). His first leading roles in big-budget productions came with the drama films A River Runs Through It (1992) and Legends of the Fall (1994) and horror film Interview with the Vampire (1994). He gave critically acclaimed performances in the crime thriller Seven and the science fiction film 12 Monkeys (both 1995), the latter earning him a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination.
Pitt starred in the cult film Fight Club (1999) and the heist film Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). His greatest commercial successes have been Troy (2004), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), and World War Z (2013). Pitt received his second and third Academy Award nominations for his leading performances in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and Moneyball (2011). He produced The Departed (2006) and 12 Years a Slave (2013), both of which won the Academy Award for Best Picture, and also The Tree of Life (2011), Moneyball, and The Big Short (2015), all of which garnered Best Picture nominations.
As a public figure, Pitt has been cited as one of the most influential and powerful people in the American entertainment industry. For a number of years he was cited as the world's most attractive man by various media outlets, and his personal life is the subject of wide publicity. In 2000, he married actress Jennifer Aniston; they divorced in 2005. In 2014, Pitt married actress Angelina Jolie. They have six children together, three of whom were adopted internationally. In 2016, Jolie filed for a divorce from Pitt, which was finalized in 2019.Casey Bond
Casey Bond (born October 5, 1984) is an American actor, film producer and retired professional baseball player. He is most noted for playing Chad Bradford in the 2011 film Moneyball. Before becoming an actor, Bond played as an outfielder within the San Francisco Giants organization.
Bond attended Birmingham–Southern College and Lipscomb University, playing college baseball for both schools, before he was drafted by the Giants in 2007. After playing in minor league baseball for two seasons, the Giants released Bond in 2009. Rather than continue to pursue his baseball career, Bond chose to become an actor. In addition to Moneyball, Bond has appeared in Nashville, Ring the Bell, Undrafted, My Many Sons, I Saw the Light, Gene Simmons Family Jewels and various other films and commercials.Chris Pratt
Christopher Michael Pratt (born June 21, 1979) is an American actor. He rose to prominence for his television roles, particularly as Andy Dwyer in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation (2009–2015), for which he received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series in 2013. He also starred earlier in his career as Bright Abbott in The WB drama series Everwood (2002–2006) and had roles in Wanted (2008), Jennifer's Body (2009), Moneyball (2011), The Five-Year Engagement (2012), Zero Dark Thirty (2013), Delivery Man (2013), and Her (2013).
Pratt achieved leading man status in 2014 after starring in two critically and commercially successful films, Warner Animation Group's The Lego Movie as Emmet Brickowski and Marvel Studios' Guardians of the Galaxy as Star-Lord. In 2015, he starred in Jurassic World, the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park franchise, which was his most financially successful film up until the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and later Avengers: Endgame; he reprised the former role in the sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in 2018. In 2015, Time named Pratt one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list.Pratt continued his leading man run in 2016 with The Magnificent Seven and Passengers. He reprises his role as Star-Lord in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019).Daryl Morey
Daryl Morey (born September 14, 1972) is an American sports executive and a general manager of the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association since 2007. He is a strong proponent of analytical methods, having created the "true shooting percentage" statistic, and co-founded the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Morey's basketball philosophy, heavily reliant on analytics, favors three-point field goals over mid-range jumpers. This style has been dubbed "Moreyball", as a nod towards Michael Lewis's Moneyball.
During his tenure as general manager for Houston since 2007, he has posted the most wins—second only to the San Antonio Spurs—and since the blockbuster trade bringing MVP James Harden to the Rockets, he has posted the best record—third only to the Spurs and Golden State Warriors.Jeremy Brown
Jeremy Van Brown (born October 25, 1979) is an American former professional baseball catcher with the Oakland Athletics. He is also known for his place in Michael Lewis' 2003 #1 bestseller Moneyball.Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill Feldstein (born December 20, 1983) is an American actor, director, producer, screenwriter, and comedian. Hill is known for his comedic roles in films including Superbad (2007), Knocked Up (2007), Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), Get Him to the Greek (2010), 21 Jump Street (2012), This Is the End (2013), and 22 Jump Street (2014) as well as his performances in Moneyball (2011) and The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
Hill ranked 28th on Forbes magazine's ranking of world's highest-paid actors from June 2014 to June 2015, bringing in $16 million. As a screenwriter, he contributed to the stories of 21 Jump Street, 22 Jump Street, Sausage Party and Why Him?. In 2018, Hill starred in the Netflix dark comedy miniseries Maniac and made his directorial debut with the film Mid90s, from his own screenplay.Kerris Dorsey
Kerris Lilla Dorsey (born January 9, 1998) is an American actress and singer. She is known for her roles as Paige Whedon in the television series Brothers & Sisters, Casey Beane, Billy Beane's (played by Brad Pitt) daughter, in the 2011 film Moneyball, and as Emily Cooper in the 2014 film Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Dorsey plays Bridget Donovan, the daughter of the title character, in the television series Ray Donovan.List of accolades received by Moneyball (film)
Moneyball is a 2011 American sports drama film directed by Bennett Miller. The film features Brad Pitt in the lead role, who also co-produced it, with Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Chris Pratt playing supporting roles. Based on the 2003 nonfiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis, the film focuses on the 2002 season of the Oakland Athletics baseball team. The team's general manager Billy Beane (Pitt), and assistant general manager Peter Brand (Hill), decide to build the team by opting for a sabermetric approach to selecting players. The screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian, while Stan Chervin wrote the story.Made on a budget of $50 million, Moneyball premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2011, and had its theatrical release two weeks later on September 23, 2011. The film was successful at the box office, earning over $110 million. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, surveyed 254 reviews and judged 94% to be positive. The film was nominated for 73 awards, winning 19; its screenplay and the performances of Pitt and Hill received the most attention from award groups.
At the 84th Academy Awards, Moneyball received six nominations including Best Picture, Best Actor for Pitt, Best Supporting Actor for Hill, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Sorkin, Zaillian and Chervin, winning none. The film earned four nominations at the 69th Golden Globe Awards, and three nominations at the 65th British Academy Film Awards. Pitt, and Sorkin and Zaillian won the Best Actor and Best Screenplay respectively at the New York Film Critics Circle. At the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards, both Pitt and Hill received nominations for their roles. The film earned four nominations at the 16th Satellite Awards – Best Film, Best Actor – Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Both the American Film Institute and Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association included Moneyball in their list of top ten films of 2011. The film was ranked sixth by the African-American Film Critics Association, and won Best Song for Kerris Dorsey's rendition of the song "The Show". The film's composer, Mychael Danna, won the Film Music Award at the BMI Awards. Miller won for Best Director at the 15th Hollywood Film Awards. Pitt as well as Sorkin and Zaillian were placed in the top ten of their respective categories, Best Actor and Best Screenplay, in the Village Voice Film Polls for 2011.List of awards and nominations received by Brad Pitt
This is a list of awards and nominations received by actor Brad Pitt.Michael Lewis
Michael Monroe Lewis (born October 15, 1960) is an American financial journalist and bestselling non-fiction author. He has also been a contributing editor to Vanity Fair since 2009.
As of May 2019, Lewis has published 18 books, three of which—Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2003), The Blind Side (2006) and The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (2010)—have been adapted into feature films.Moneyball (film)
Moneyball is a 2011 American sports film directed by Bennett Miller and written by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on Michael Lewis's 2003 nonfiction book of the same name, an account of the Oakland Athletics baseball team's 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane's attempts to assemble a competitive team.
In the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant GM Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), faced with the franchise's limited budget for players, build a team of undervalued talent by taking a sophisticated sabermetric approach to scouting and analyzing players. Columbia Pictures bought the rights to Lewis's book in 2004.Moneyball premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival and was released on September 23, 2011 to box office success and critical acclaim. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Pitt and Best Supporting Actor for Hill.Paul DePodesta
Paul DePodesta (born December 16, 1972) is the chief strategy officer for the National Football League (NFL)'s Cleveland Browns.
Formerly a front-office assistant for the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and most recently the New York Mets, DePodesta was also general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The year after leading the Dodgers to their first playoff win in 16 years, he was fired after the 2005 club finished with its worst record in 11 years. He was the ninth general manager in the club's history since its move to Los Angeles. He is also known for his appearance in the book and movie Moneyball, about his time with the Athletics.Scott Hatteberg
Scott Allen Hatteberg (born December 14, 1969) is an American former professional first baseman and catcher. During his MLB career, spanning from 1995 through 2008, he played for the Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, and Cincinnati Reds. Before turning professional, Hatteberg attended Washington State University, where he played college baseball for the Cougars.Stan Chervin
Stan Chervin is a screenwriter.
On January 24, 2012, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie Moneyball. His nomination was shared with Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin.Steven Zaillian
Steven Ernest Bernard Zaillian (born January 30, 1953) is an Armenian-American screenwriter, director, film editor, and producer. He won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA Award for his screenplay Schindler's List (1993) and has also earned Oscar nominations for Awakenings, Gangs of New York and Moneyball. He was presented with the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the 2009 Austin Film Festival and the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement from the Writers Guild of America in 2011. Zaillian is the founder of Film Rites, a film production company.
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Works by Michael Lewis