Preface and Chapter 1 Summary
Michael Lewis explains in his preface that he wrote Moneyball because he fell in love with a story about
a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball.
However, the idea for the story formed when Lewis noticed that the Oakland Athletics (the A's) were winning a lot of baseball games, even though they were one of the poorest teams in baseball.
The A's were not physically or athletically inferior to other teams; instead, they were at a financial disadvantage. The New York Yankees, for example, had a payroll of $126 million in 2002. Just a decade before, the New York Mets had the highest payroll in the league at $44 million. Although it seemed like money buys wins, Lewis notes that some high payroll teams have nevertheless failed to win. Oakland, meanwhile, had won more regular seasons games than every other team but the Atlanta Braves, in spite of having the second lowest payroll in the league. The A’s general manager, Billy Beane, realized that he would never have as much money as the Yankees, so he began to look for “inefficiencies in the game.” He had his staff investigate the market price for undervalued skills such as "foot speed," and they began recruiting bargain players with those skill sets. They achieved great success. Before long, bigger market teams like the Red Sox began reinventing their organization in the image of Beane’s A’s, establishing Beane's reputation as one of baseball's great modern innovators. What, however, made Beane reevaluate player selection in the first place?
In the opening chapter, “The Curse of Talent,” Lewis explains how scouts have traditionally searched for talent in their prospects. He begins in San Diego in 1980 where managers from...
(The entire section is 607 words.)