Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Anti-intellectual resentment is common in all of American life and it has many diverse expressions. Refusing to draft college players might have been one of them.

Bill James

Baseball has so much history and tradition. You can respect it, or you can exploit it for profit, but it's still being made all over the place, all the time.

Baseball is a soap opera that lends itself to probabilistic thinking. [Dick Cramer]

Every form of strength is also a form of weakness,” he once wrote. “Pretty girls tend to become insufferable because, being pretty, their faults are too much tolerated. Possessions entrap men, and wealth paralyzes them. I learned to write because I am one of those people who somehow cannot manage the common communications of smiles and gestures, but must use words to get across things that other people would never need to say.

Every form of strength is also a weakness. Pretty girls tend to become insufferable because, being pretty, their faults are too much tolerated. Possessions entrap men, and wealth paralyzes them.

First base was a far richer social opportunity. First base made catching feeling like a bad dinner party - what with the ump hanging on your shoulder and all the fans and cameras staring at you. At first base you could really talk.

For a lot of the players it was their first exposure to the Southern female - the most flagrant cheater in the mutual disarmament pact known as feminism. Lipstick! Hairdos! Submissiveness!

If you challenge conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done.

Bill James

if you challenge the conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done.

If you’ve got a dozen pitchers, you need to speak 12 different languages.

It is the nature of being the general manager of a baseball team that you have to remain on familiar terms with people you are continually trying to screw.

It was hard to know which of Billy's qualities was most important to his team's success: his energy, his resourcefulness, his intelligence, or his ability to scare the living shit out of even very large professional baseball players.

Losing shouldn’t be fun. It’s not fun for me. If I’m going to be miserable, you’re going to be miserable.

Managers tend to pick a strategy that is the least likely to fail, rather then to pick a strategy that is most efficient," Said Palmer. " The pain of looking bad is worse than the gain of making the best move.

No matter how successful you are, change is always good. There can never be a status quo. When you have no money you can’t afford long-term solutions, only short-term ones. You have to always be upgrading. Otherwise you’re fucked.

One absolutely cannot tell, by watching, the difference between a .300 hitter and a .275 hitter. The difference is one hit every two weeks.

People in both fields operate with beliefs and biases. To the extent you can eliminate both and replace them with data, you gain a clear advantage.

That’s all right,” says Billy. “We’re blending what we see but we aren’t allowing ourselves to be victimized by what we see.

That's what happens when you're thirty-seven years old: you do the things you always did but the result is somehow different.

The author refers to a player's affected nonchalance and comments he is, "too young to realize you are what you pretend to be.

The difference in Billy wasn’t what had happened to him, but what hadn’t. He had a life he hadn’t led, and he knew it. He just hoped nobody else noticed.

The great thing about baseball players, from the point of view of personal hygiene, is how seldom they break a sweat.

The inability to envision a certain kind of person doing a certain kind of thing because you've never seen someone who looks like him do it before is not just a vice. It's a luxury. What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job.

The pleasure of rooting for Goliath is that you can expect to win. The pleasure of rooting for David is that, while you don’t know what to expect, you stand at least a chance of being inspired.

There was but one question he left unasked, and it vibrated between his lines: if gross miscalculations of a person's value could occur on a baseball field, before a live audience of thirty thousand, and a television audience of millions more, what did that say about the measurement of performance in other lines of work? If professional baseball players could be over- or under valued, who couldn't?

The sheer quantity of brain power that hurled itself voluntarily and quixotically into the search for new baseball knowledge was either exhilarating or depressing, depending on how you felt about baseball. The same intellectual resources might have cured the common cold, or put a man on Pluto.

They end when the career ends,

What baseball managers did do, on occasion, beginning in the early 1980s, was hire some guy who knew how to switch on the computer. But they did this less with honest curiosity than in the spirit of a beleaguered visitor to Morocco hiring a tour guide: pay off one so that the seventy-five others will stop trying to trade you their camels for your wife. Which one you pay off is largely irrelevant.

What happens when we acknowledge the sovereignty and power of God without trusting in His goodness and faithfulness? A pitcher who saw God's power behind his extremely unlikely rise to the big leagues wondered if, at any difficulty he encountered there, God might be taking his ability away.

Years later he would say that when he'd decided to become a professional baseball player, it was the only time he'd done something just for the money, and that he'd never do something just for the money ever again. He would never again let the market dictate the direction of his life.