Posted by Neil Paine on March 18, 2009
This is a basketball blog, as I'm sure you're aware of by now, but the plain truth is that much of the statistical analysis we do here is either derived from, inspired by, or at least tangentially connected to the pioneering work done in baseball's Sabermetrics, the older, more well-known sister field of APBRmetrics.
And for many of us, the epochal moment of our sabermetric lifetime came when Michael Lewis wrote a little book called Moneyball way back in 2003. The concepts were old hat to Bill James devotees, but never before had they been presented in such a mainstream way, with such a compelling test case as Billy Beane's Oakland A's. For all intents and purposes, statistical analysis in sports hit the big-time with the publishing of Moneyball.
And yet, for such an important work, few books were (and still are) as misunderstood as Moneyball... No, Billy Beane did not write it. And no, it's not "about" on-base percentage per se (it's about finding & exploiting market inefficiencies, people!). So, 6 years later, don't you think it would be interesting to go back and annotate the book, commenting on the common misconceptions that arise and discussing the contents with the benefit of hindsight? Well, I think so -- and so did Eric Seidman,
yesterday last year. Read up and remember how great Moneyball actually was, folks. Or even change your misguided thoughts on the book (although I'm sure none of our readers hold such ill-informed opinions!).
(I realize this isn't specifically a basketball-related topic, but I thought it was pertinent given that Moneyball has played a large role in the growth of quantitative analysis in basketball as well.)