I recently picked up my copy of Moneyball, the #1 national bestseller by Michael Lewis, and quickly began scanning chapters and revisiting some of my favorite quotes that were highlighted during my earlier reads. The quotes are listed in the order in which they appear throughout the novel. Without further ado...
1. “Over and over the old scouts will say, ‘The guy has a great body,’ or ‘This guy may be the best body in the draft.’ And every time they do, Billy will say, ‘We’re not selling jeans here.’”
2. “A young player is not what he looks like, or what he might become, but what he has done.”
3. “By analyzing baseball statistics you could see through a lot of baseball nonsense.”
On why he was only interested in baseball statistics and not other things like the stock market, crime rates, etc...
4. “Because baseball statistics, unlike the statistics in any other area, have acquired the powers of language.” –Bill James, 1985 Baseball Abstract (Chapter 4 preface)
5. [Fielding] statistics were not merely inadequate; they lied…[they] made sense only as numbers, not as language.”
6. “Bunts, stolen bases, hit and runs—they were mostly self-defeating and all had a common theme: fear of public humiliation.”
7. “What was happening to capitalism should have happened to baseball: the technical man with his analytical magic should have risen to prominence in baseball management, just as he was rising to prominence on, say, Wall Street.”
8. “[The Oakland A's] weren’t getting worse, they were getting better…Maybe they were just lucky. Or maybe they knew something other people didn’t. Maybe they were, as they privately thought, becoming more efficient.”
9. “In human behavior there was always uncertainty and risk. The goal of the Oakland front office was simply to minimize the risk.”
10. “Trading players wasn’t any different from trading stocks and bonds. A trader with better information could make a killing, and Billy was fairly certain he had better information.”
BONUS: "How can you not be romantic about baseball?"
Comment with your favorite or provide one of your own.