Championship Thinking in Sports

Jim Meier

Championship Thinking in Sports – Our Two Cents Worth on Moneyball

The book and movie, Moneyball is about how, in 2002, the Oakland A’s, under the leadership of its General Manager, Billy Beane, flipped the process for assembling baseball players on its head. That process: taking a much more analytical, evidence-based approach driven by the key measures of on-base percentage and slugging percentage vs. the more traditional qualities of speed and contact. (Web search-Sabermetrics). This risky, untested leadership decision has today, made a significant mark in professional baseball with many Major League teams using it or creating their own versions. Show guest Steve Baker*, and I share our assessment of Moneyball’s value, and there certainly is value, while also not discarding what remains four key player make-up factors: personality, psychology, intelligence and relatedness. Ultimately, Moneyball is about leadership. Steve is the Commissioner of the Mid-South Conference. Prior to this work he was President and CEO of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and Vice-President of Marketing and European Operations for Major League Baseball International. Following his baseball career he earned his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.