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Moneyball: 15 years of ‘breaking the game’

On 17th June 2003, American journalist and author Michael Lewis published his most revolutionary book – Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.

Moneyball tells the story of Billy Beane – then General Manager of American baseball side the Oakland A’s.

Because the A’s never had the money of teams like the New York Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, Beane set about trying to build the best team he could using mathematics.

Rather than recruiting players based on potential, talent or style, Beane rummaged for diamonds in the rough in attempt to ‘buy wins’ by signing two or three low-ranked players who boasted the collective stats level to the best players in the league.

As Michael Lewis put it: “People operate with beliefs and biases. To the extent you can eliminate both and replace them with data, you gain a clear advantage.

Moneyball is credited with sparking a revolution in statistical measurement and analysis in global sport. Nowadays, almost every professional team in the country has dedicated statisticians looking over the finer points of every game, trying to find the perfect statistics.

On the 15th anniversary of Lewis publishing Moneyball, Cam Reddin spoke to Professor Uwe Dulleck about the book’s legacy and its lasting impact on world sport.