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HBOK 1-515

Title Fair or Foul?
Author(s) I. Elaine Allen and Julia E. Seaman
Source Quality Progress
Topic Strategic Planning Process

Data Analysis


Abstract Many businesses have looked with interest at the Moneyball system pioneered by Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. In Moneyball, potential recruits’ hitting is rated by a statistician on their on-base percentage (OBP), which counts all times on base rather than simply tracking hits. The authors examine data from the pre-, during-, and post-Moneyball eras to determine whether a different tracking scheme would have produced better results for Beane’s A’s. The analysis shows that while the A’s were the only team using Moneyball, the correlation between payroll and OBP lessened. Oakland’s performance during these years led them to the playoffs, but never to the World Series. Modeling of the teams that did reach the World Series shows that while OBP is enough to make a team perform well; it is pitching that determines whether the team will rise to the top. Beane’s methods, while not enough to allow his team to dominate, improved the team’s performance. By focusing on a simple metric that was an indicator of broad success and bucking tradition, he achieved good performance on a limited budget. However, he might have achieved even better performance over a longer period if he had also included traditional performance measures in his hiring model. Ultimately, his edge was eliminated as other teams began applying Moneyball methods.
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Reference Code 1-515


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