Steve Galbraith, chief investment officer at Morgan Stanley, is a big baseball fan, with utter devotion to the Boston Red Sox. A new book out called Moneyball by Michael Lewis, fascinated him and coincidentally, his fascination was the same as mine when I read the book. It seemed to me to be more about investing than about baseball.
The tome centers on the Oakland A's who have had enormous success recently with some rather different views of how to stock players. Galbraith feels that the heart of the A's success comes from questioning conventional wisdom. In baseball terms, he says that the A's managers found that convention tended to overrate such achievements as stolen bases and batting averages while underestimating the importance of on-base percentages and walks. To the initiated, this is known as Billy Beaneball. Beane is the general manager of the A's and he looks to a player getting on base as being the most important thing. In other words, an ability to draw walks which he says are highly correlated with productivity. In other words, walks equal success.
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