An ex–Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics and beat the Vegas odds with his own betting methods. Here is the story of how Joe Peta turned fantasy baseball into a dream come true.
Joe Peta turned his back on his Wall Street trading career to pursue an ingenious—and incredibly risky—dream. He would apply his risk-analysis skills to Major League Baseball, and treat the sport like the S&P 500.
In Trading Bases, Peta takes us on his journey from the ballpark in San Francisco to the trading floors and baseball bars of New York and the sportsbooks of Las Vegas, telling the story of how he created a baseball “hedge fund” with an astounding 41 percent return in his first year. And he explains the unique methods he developed.
Along the way, Peta provides insight into the Wall Street crisis he managed to escape: the fragility of the midnineties investment model; the disgraced former CEO of Lehman Brothers, who recruited Peta; and the high-adrenaline atmosphere where million-dollar sports-betting pools were common.
A Wall Street honcho takes his analytic skills to the big leagues in this rollicking financial adventure. With time on his hands after losing his job and getting run over by an ambulance, Peta, a former Lehman Brothers stock trader, concocted a numerical model that he hoped would predict the outcomes of Major League baseball games better than Las Vegas oddsmakers did and turned his betting on the 2011 season into a toy investment fund. His lark prompts a fascinating tour of the science of sabrmetrics, which translates individual players stats home runs, strike outs, and more exotic performance measures into win-loss forecasts and playoff picks. (The deftly explained math only enhances the ball-park drama, especially when the Minnesota Twins go on an unexpected winning streak that threatens to sink the fund s returns.) The author applies his baseball-gleaned insights on the all-important difference between luck and skill to Wall Street s betting parlors, probing Lehman Brothers disastrous risk-management failures and wondering why traders aren t evaluated as shrewdly as pitchers are. Peta s hardheaded but warmhearted narrative reads like a mashup of Liar s Poker and Moneyball peppered with besotted evocations of emerald green outfields and sports-bar camaraderie. His is that rare finance saga that s both smart and loads of fun.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Trading Bases, A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball
Easily one of the most surprisingly charming books I've ever read written by an ex-Wall Street trader. I never would have bought without a friend's urging. It's very funny and at the same time captures a love of baseball all wrapped in a story about using data on Wall Street and in baseball to make money. Don't be fooled by the crass subjects -- this is a very entertaining book written by someone on Wall Street I think I'd actually enjoy drinking beers and watching sports with.