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The Billy Beane Hall of Fame fight is gonna be a load of fun, isn’t it?

Dec 18, 2013, 5:16 PM EDT

Richard Justice has a good column up about Billy Beane today. He notes Beane’s role as a transformative figure and how, despite the fact that every GM this side of Ruben Amaro has followed Beane’s approach — and despite the fact most of them have more money to work with than he does — Beane’s A’s still compete and even thrive.

Justice upped the ante a bit in a tweet promoting his column:


I could get on board with that. I think Sandy Alderson should maybe get more credit, as he taught Beane what he knows about exploiting hidden value, looking to analytics such as OBP over traditional ones and all of that, but Beane certainly is the poster boy for the sabermetric revolution in baseball front offices.

But man, I can’t help but think that a Hall of Fame debate about Billy Beane is gonna be a bloodbath. Scores of Hall of Fame voters, be they veterans committee types or otherwise, have spent years decrying and, even more often, misrepresenting sabermetrics.  If you think the august group of Hall of Fame voters is gonna credit Billy Beane the way Justice and I think he should be credited, well, I got a a bunch of bridges to sell you.

  1. chacochicken - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I’m in the market for an all steel K-truss about 250′ long and 18′ wide.
    Joe Morgan can’t believe Billy Beane would write a book about how smart he is.

  2. meatcarroll - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Sabermetrics are the cancer that is killing baseball. Hate to break it to you, turbo-nerds. Beane deserves being tarred and feathered more than he ever does being enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

    • Ralph - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:44 PM

      Jon Heyman, is that you?

    • sandwiches4ever - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      [citation needed]

    • Reflex - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Can you quantify and place this statement in context please? I need more data to properly assess its value among all of the other statements about Beane, Sabermetrics and turbo-nerds.

    • DJ MC - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:56 PM

      3/10. Pretty clever, and “turbo-nerds” is creative. Still, more sad than infuriating.


      • DJ MC - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:57 PM

        Since the image didn’t post…$_35.JPG

    • raysfan1 - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:02 PM

      If it displeases you, then it must be good.

    • Tim OShenko - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:13 PM

      I really like the concept of turbo-nerds. They’re like regular nerds, except they go really fast and run on rocket fuel! Who *wouldn’t* want to be a turbo-nerd?

      • moogro - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        Sounds vaguely macho, and possibly even pre- and post-macho, so I’ll take it. I’ll always take back-rubs from strangers.

    • cohnjusack - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:04 PM

      I think you’ve used the term “tubo-nerds” and “cancer that is killing baseball” in every post you’ve made here so far.
      Come up with some new material kid. This schtick is getting tired.

      • cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        I like the “Turbo Nerd” thing. I fully cop to being a Turbo Nerd.

  3. joestemme - Dec 18, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    I have no issue with Sabermetrics for what they are. Helpful, but, not the whole enchilada.

    But, the HOF for what? Being a “contender”?

    • Reflex - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:06 PM

      For revolutionizing how talent is evaluated, not only in theory ala Bill James, but in practice with his own team. Had the theories failed, he would have been out of a job rather than considered one of the most savvy GM’s in the game.

      • joestemme - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:09 PM

        No issue with giving him kudos.

        But, win a championship or go to the World Series at least (like Tampa Bay).

      • Reflex - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:39 PM

        The best way a GM can win a WS or get there at least is to repeatedly build a team that can make the playoffs in the regular season. What happens after that is often a crapshoot prone to luck and small sample sizes. Witness the Braves dynasty to see how a truly great team can repeatedly miss winning it all.

        Beane has done very well for the A’s. If he keeps building playoff teams they will eventually win it all.

      • dinofrank60 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        Yea, we’ll be all gone while we wai.

        why can’t Beane ever develop position players?

      • Reflex - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:28 AM

        Because he is not a coach?

  4. scatterbrian - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    Being a transformative figure hasn’t helped Marvin Miller….

    • spursareold - Dec 19, 2013 at 10:40 AM

      Or Curt Flood.

      Agents of change are rarely loved. That change causes harm to some, even if the game is probably better for it. BB put a lot of old scouts out of work for using their 5 tool evaluation method. Those scouts have lots of friends, both other talent evaluators and players that they discovered, who will be voting on the HOF candidates.

      It’s ironic, because BB was the epitome of the “can’t miss 5 tool player” who missed badly.

  5. cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    His name is The G&PB! Beane of Beanes!
    Look on his works, ye Mighty, and despair!

    All silliness aside, I tend to approve of The G&PB. Valuing analysis of production over looks and tradition works for me. So yeah, All Hail The G&PB!

    • APBA Guy - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      Yes, The Great and Powerful Beane, indeed.

      Craig’s right in one respect, it was Sandy Alderson who started Beane down the path of applying analytics to baseball front office activities. And let’s be honest, he’s had his missteps (see 2007-2010).

      But his best attribute is that he never gives up. I kind of wonder if some LaRussa rubbed off on him in this respect, as both these guys are relentless.

      • cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 8:21 PM

        True, he never gives up, but lets also acknowledge that he’s seen the results of getting it right. And, from that, he constantly tries to refine the approach. There’s mixed success with this (hence ’07 & ’10), but when he hits, he hits big. His best attribute is his willingness to change what he’s doing to try and win. Unlike lots of GMs before him, Beane is innovative in his approach and embraces new ways of getting a winning team on the field. He’s been plagued with bad luck in the playoffs, but he always seems to get to the playoffs. I think he’s literally one superstar player away from going all the way. If Cespedes matures into That Guy (and by That Guy, I mean “Joey Votto, The Pride of Toronto and Etobicoke, Ontario”), Beane’ll likely have his best chance yet of going all the way.
        Here’s hoping.

  6. chip56 - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Stick Michael and Sandy were using the same approach earlier and with better results. Beane just got more pr for it.

    • clydeserra - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:29 PM

      And Sandy has continued to forge new ground, never having a losing season as a GM

  7. Jack Marshall - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Bill James first, then Beane.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      Beane and Anderson got their information from Pete Palmer. Most of James’s work is in questioning stuff and getting people to think. The actual sabremetric work was done by other people.

      • clydeserra - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        Beane’s stuff isn’t just about OPB or whatever you are thinking is in the catch all “sabermetrics.” The 2012 team was 24th of 30 in OBP, 20th in defensive efficiency (by fangraphs), and 9th in steals.

        The team worked not because of what is thought of as the moneyball factors but something else. That is why his innovations shlould be recognized, not because he used Bill Jamesian nerd tables to build his roto team

      • paperlions - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        Clyde, that comment makes no sense, it has nothing to do with anything Church said nor does it represent anything Church thinks or resemble anything he ever says.

        The team might actually work for the same reason it always has….because he is using data to evaluate market inefficiencies (i.e. players that contribute more to winning games than is generally recognized).

        No one that pays any attention to sabermetrics thinks Beane’s approach is static or primarily about OBP. It is about value. His current approach is more about roster construction than particular skills.

      • clydeserra - Dec 19, 2013 at 1:09 AM

        yes. I know that is not what church is saying.

        I was unclear. royal you not church you.

        Detractors point to the moneyball bullet points to claim what Beane is and does. those bulletpoints are not what makes him a good GM, and to illustrate I mentioned the things that detractors say make him successful were not necessarily used in his last two championship teams

      • paperlions - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Oh, okay, that makes more sense.

      • 18thstreet - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:49 AM

        Oh, everything’s stolen nowadays. Why, the fax machine is just a waffle iron with a telephone attached.

  8. johnnysoda - Dec 18, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    When he wins a playoff series, we can talk. Until then, I say no.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM

      Beane took over in ’97, since then the A’s have gone: 4th, 2nd, 1st (lost G5 LDS), 2nd (lost G5 LDS), 1st (lost G5 LDS), 1st (lost G5 LDS), 2nd, 2nd, 1st (Lost in ALCS), 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 3rd, 1st (lost G5 LDS), 1st (lost G5 LDS)

      He won a playoff series, and if Giambi slides he probably wins another.

      • johnnysoda - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:03 PM

        My bad on that one; I had forgotten about their sweep of the Twins in the ’06 ALDS (one of the few postseason series in which the winner never trailed, BTW).

        Anyway, the point is, he doesn’t have enough postseason success to merit serious consideration, IMO.

      • cohnjusack - Dec 19, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        AHhh, because postseason success.

        Reminder to everyone who ignores the crapshootiness of the postseason

        2000 Cardinals – 95-67, lost NLCS
        2001 Cardinals – 93-69, lost NLDS
        2002 Cardinals – 97-65, lost NLCS
        2004 Cardinals – 105-57, swept in WS
        2005 Cardinals – 100-62, lost NLCS
        2006 Cardinals – 83-78 – WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS

  9. genericcommenter - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Considering a significant % of the voters won’t even vote for PLAYERS who have strong HOF candidacies based on sabermetrics, I think it’s going to be quite a long time until Beane gets the support as a transformative figure.

  10. billybawl - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    I think a “bloodbath” would require a real debate. And there isn’t going to be a real debate until most of the current HOF voters have passed. We’ll need voters who can evaluate his contributions dispassionately and overlook the fact that the A’s didn’t win championships as often as, say, the Yankees. And by that time, Beane’s career will be far enough in the rearview mirror that I doubt any debate will be a bloodbath. It’ll be like electing somebody who played before the turn-of-the-century.

    I’d like to see him and certain others get consideration, but not holding my breath.

    • extavernmouse - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM

      I completely agree that we’ll need to see a generational change in the Hall of Fame voting. That’s something that we’re always seeing play out in the so-called “real” world on a lot of issues. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of people are getting into the Hall 15 years from now — especially from the Veterans Committee. Maybe the entire steroids class go in at one time in 2033…

  11. ravenswhat - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    I’m pretty sure having your life played onscreen by brad Pitt puts you in the hall of fame by default.

    • jcmeyer10 - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      *Pete Rose furiously dials Brad Pitts number*

  12. JuniorGriffey'sRecliner - Dec 18, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    I don’t know, man. Like, how do some of those weighted sabr stats even work??

    What does it mean when they put a plus sign behind it? Why is an ERA over 100 good, even plus? What? What?

    He better not retire for a loooong time. Let the mouth breathing RBI lovers die out, and he gets in. Right?

  13. grumpyoleman - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:05 PM

    The guy who taught people to run real fast should get in too

    • yahmule - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:39 PM

      • yahmule - Dec 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        What kind of sick maniac downthumbs “Weemy” Weems Baskin?

        Are you freaking serious!?!

  14. mfink7 - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    If Beane gets in, Bill James should be right behind him. Actually, James should probably go in first, as there’s probably no Billy Beane without Bill James. I’m not sure there’s any precedent for someone like James getting in, though, so it probably will never happen.

  15. jerrahsucks - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    My God, most of these posters think that Brad Pitt is Billy Beane. He belongs in the hall of about as much as Jose Canseco does.

    • jcmeyer10 - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:35 PM

      My god, you lack a sense of humor.

    • DJ MC - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:39 PM

      Sounds to me like you think Brad Pitt is Billy Beane.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 18, 2013 at 9:52 PM

        So wait, Brad Pitt wrote Moneyball?

      • yahmule - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:41 PM

        No, Church, a computer wrote Moneyball.

      • DJ MC - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:14 PM

        I just want to know who wrote Wash’s line. Because that’s the best line in movie or print history.

    • raysfan1 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:08 PM

      I kind of liked Billy Beane in “A River Runs Through It.”

      • cur68 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:47 PM

        The first rule of Billy Beane’s is you don’t talk about Billy Beane.

      • raysfan1 - Dec 18, 2013 at 11:35 PM

        Ah, but that’s his rule, not mine. His rules are the Pitts.

    • extavernmouse - Dec 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      I completely agree. Brad Pitt belongs in the Hall of Fame about half as much as Jose Canseco. But would Brad wear a Tampa Bay hat if he goes in?

  16. florida76 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:26 PM

    Billiy Beane has no shot whatsoever at Cooperstown without a World Title. This idea has as much traction as the silly notion about abolishing the playoffs. The A’s have failed to even earn a pennant during Beane’s tenure, while the Rays did.

    Usually, the A’s have been manhandled in the postseason, and this year they failed to put away Detroit.

    You still have to have real accomplishment as an executive, and winning in the AL West isn’t sufficient.

    • yahmule - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      I think this is probably valid. Anybody looking to make the discussion a nonstarter can be expected to run this out there in the first couple objections.

    • joestemme - Dec 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

      The postseason may be a “limited sample” or a “crapshoot” as has been stated on this board. But, hey, how many managers and executives are in the HOF without championships?
      Sorry, life isn’t fair and all that. You are rewarded for “getting close”.

  17. dinofrank60 - Dec 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

    You’re right; Alderson should get in before Beane.

  18. disgracedfury - Dec 19, 2013 at 1:37 AM

    Until he can win a Title he isn’t getting in. Also money ball involves selling overrated players to sucker teams for there best prospects isn’t hard to do.

  19. bkrutiy - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Reblogged this on Fantasy Football RULES!!!.

    • 18thstreet - Dec 19, 2013 at 8:51 AM

      I assure you: no one cares about your fantasy football team.

      • bkrutiy - Dec 19, 2013 at 11:28 AM

        @18thstreet, that was uncalled for! Whats with the negative response. All I did was reblog your post. “Fantasy Football RULES!” is the name of my Blog not my comment. I am not asking you to respond to or even care about my fantasy football team so why you chose to respond this way is beyond me.

        As for the post, I agree that Billy Beane has changed the game, or at least how GMs run teams and there should be a place for GMs in the HOF.

      • yahmule - Dec 19, 2013 at 12:27 PM

        Ah, you’re just the person I need to address with my complaints. I clicked on your website the other day, innocently trying to learn the rules of fantasy football. Despite the emphatic assertion in the very name of your website, there is scant material presented there about the regulations or principles governing conduct within the particular activity commonly recognized as fantasy football. I don’t know what you wish to gain by this gross misrepresentation or why you chose to intentionally deceive people in this manner.

        Now, amazingly, you present yourself as an aggrieved party. I am speechless. Indeed, I’m typing this entire rebuke in complete silence.

      • clemente2 - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        yahmule granted Internets today.

  20. pastabelly - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:12 AM

    I suppose there will be some who value Brian Cashman’s championships more than Beane’s record.

  21. bkrutiy - Dec 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    ,,,Beane has done a great job putting a competitive team on the field year after year, but bottom line.. He will not be considered a game changer/HOF’er until he wins it all!

  22. rjfgotchi - Dec 22, 2013 at 7:14 PM

    Billy Bean is a baseball mastermind when it comes to economics in baseball !!!….he’s a mastermind and Brian Chasman can learn a few things from him !!!

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