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The 1993 Phillies were the inspiration for “Moneyball?” Really?

Feb 13, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Billy Beane AP

Well, they were the inspiration for Billy Beane who, in turn, inspired the book and movie. At least that’s what Beane says.  Here’s Beane talking at Villanova Law School the other night:

“I was right here in Philadelphia watching the World Series [which the Phils lost to Toronto],” said Beane, who was part of a panel discussing “Moneyball’s Impact on Business and Sports.” “Those ’93 Phillies took a ton of pitches, walked a ton, and scored a ton of runs. That’s when it hit me.”

Which should be awesome because some of the most ardent anti-sabermetrics dudes on this blog are Phillies fans.  This is your doing, Chris! Look what your Phillies hath wrought!

But really, the 1993 Phillies were probably not that important in this. Beane would have read Bill James eventually anyway. Or, you know, he could have just listened to his mentor and predecessor Sandy Alderson, who was on to the whole OBP=good thing before 1993.  So it’s all good.

(thanks to Jonny 5 for the heads up)

  1. proudlycanadian - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I also have fond memories of the 1993 Phillies team. I expected a 4 game sweep by the Jays, but the Phillies made the series a little more exciting.

    • cur68 - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      “I also have fond memories of the 1993 Phillies team”
      Me too, PC, me too. Great days, summed up and capped off by the ultimate home run ever hit an ballgame ever.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        You guys can just shut up about that anytime. Now would be cool. 😉 j/k I still have issues with Mitch Williams over that.

      • paperlions - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

        Damn, Jonny. I got to “you guys can shut up any…” and spit soda on my screen.

    • Jonny 5 - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:51 PM

      Yeah, back then the Jays had the largest payroll of any team (46M), And the Phills were paying out like 45% less. The Rockies payroll was almost 9 million in 1993.

      Wow, have times changed….

      • Francisco (FC) - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:15 PM

        Wait! Are you saying the Blue Jays BOUGHT a Championship!? [GASP!] (j/k)

      • proudlycanadian - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:16 PM

        You are absolutely correct Jonny.

      • bloodysock - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        Who would have thought the Reds would have had a higher payroll than the Yankees in 1993.

        And the Royals actually had a higher payroll in 1993 ($40.1 million) than in 2011 ($36.1 million).

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        That Royals fact just blows my mind. Wow. No wonder the fans are, uhhh, less than happy.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        I’ve always thought we Royals fans to be completely happy people who never let the small things in life bother us.

  2. phillyphever - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    So the 1993 Phillies were one of the reasons why Oakland has become the laughing stock of the decade? Sorry A’s fans.

    And Craig, any chance you head to ST sites for NBCSports Network?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      I will be in Arizona from March 6-12th.

      • oikosjeremy - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

        Are the thumbs down from people who were hoping Craig would be in Florida that week?

    • dw3dw - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:22 PM

      Which decade? Since Beane took over in 1997, only six teams in MLB have won more games: the Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Angels and Giants. Too bad they haven’t sunk a little lower–drafting higher would help them stockpile more talent.

      • phillyphever - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM

        If the Rays can make it to the WS with their limited funds, the A’s should have at least once made it to the WS. Face it, Beane cannot build a winner. Hell, IDK why he still has a job.

  3. mdpickles - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    For one whole year, and at no other time in his career, Lenny Dykstra was the ultimate leadoff batter. Took a ton of pitches and fouled off a ton more. By the time Kruk and Incaviglia came to bat, the pitcher was in a full sweat, 25 pitches deep and 6 throws over 1b to keep Lenny close. If Lenny got on second, he did what he could to steal signs. Now THAT is Moneyball!

  4. randygnyc - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:40 PM


    • proudlycanadian - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      When the Troggs sang “Wild Thing! I think I love you.” they were anticipating Joe Carters homer.

  5. phisticuffs - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    The best part of the Villanova Moneyball panel was the fact that Omar Minaya was a featured speaker. Nothing says Moneyball like throwing tons of cash at aging, declining players!

  6. badmamainphilliesjamas - Feb 13, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Beane also recalled his days rooming with Lenny Dykstra . . .

    “And believe it or not,” Beane said, shattering a popular stereotype of Dykstra, “he was the neatest roommate I ever had.”

    • fuggles7 - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:20 PM

      Probably Lenny was actually picking up the tab for the hoes at that time instead of stiffing them.

  7. APBA Guy - Feb 13, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Sounds like a fun event. Note he wasn’t doing this in the Bay Area.

    Let’s start a rumor:

    – Billy Beane is job hunting!
    – “The owner signed Cespedes. I was in Philadelphia”
    – The A’s are scouting relocation possibilities!

    You choose which one, or all, to believe.

  8. chiadam - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Moneyball is the best!! It totally deserves the naueseating level of attention it gets! Just look at all the rings Beane has! Oh, wait….

    • JBerardi - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

      So you’d rather have Brian Sabean running your team, then?

      World Series titles aren’t the be all and end of of GM performance.

    • patg1041 - Feb 13, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      I have to be honest, I really haven’t been impressed with Billy Beane in a while. It’s almost like he took Moneyball in too extreme of a direction. For all of the emphasis on OBP and workIng the count, they haven’t developed hitters in a long time. Walking is great, but this isn’t little league. Major League pitchers aren’t going to walk in runs. At some point you need hitters to drive the base runners in. I’d give him more credit for the influence of saber metrics throughout baseball, but he didn’t even start that movement in Oakland. Sandy Alderson did. So basically, Beane is a more or less average GM who to some extent was lucky in the early 2000’s that other organizations were really just starting to understand sabermetrics. Since that time, it really just kind of feels like he hasn’t been able to adjust and adapt to the rest of the league.

  9. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    For fun, I’m just going to go ahead and say Moneyball was inspired by Mitch Williams.

  10. cktai - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    “Which should be awesome because some of the most ardent anti-sabermetrics dudes on this blog are Phillies fans.”

    Some of the most ardent pro-sabermetrics dudes on this blog are Phillies fans too. And everybody loves Chase Utley. Especially fWAR.

  11. crankyfrankie - Feb 13, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    I heard Beane was scouting stadium locations to bring the A’s back to Philadelphia and build a new Connie Mack Stadium.

  12. Walk - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:12 PM

    That phillies team was one of my favorite all time teams. I should note that this is coming from a braves fan too. As a man of mediocre looks my self esteem was raised just seeing those guys deplane in town, and im kidding, well a little bit any way. I did love to watch that team. Eisenreich, kruk, incaviglia, daulton, kinda forgot 3b name holland or something, but those guys had great swings. I truly loved to watch them hit and run the bases. I think kruks famous slide may have happened that season too, one where he used his jaw to steam shovel his way into third. And to cap it off the world series they lost but i consider one of best i have ever watched.

  13. love4cle - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks Billy Bob should have played Billy Beane in Moneyball??

  14. bdawk20 - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Well this just helps the anti-sabremetrics folks, such as myself. The ’93 Phillies were the epitome of the steroid era in MLB. Sure they walked and took pitches, but when they hit and benefited from those walks and pitches, it was a juiced up Lenny Dykstra or Pete Incaviglia or Wes Chamberlain driving them in!

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