A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order )
By Joe Peta
(Dutton, Hardcover, 9780525953647, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 7, 2013
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An ex–Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games—with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it.
After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta was out of a job. He found a new one but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated in a wheelchair, Peta started watching baseball again, as he had growing up. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball—and beat the only market in town, the Vegas betting line? Why not treat MLB like the S&P 500?
In Trading Bases, Peta shows how to subtract luck—in particular “cluster luck,” as he puts it—from a team’s statistics to best predict how it will perform in the next game and over the whole season. His baseball “hedge fund” returned an astounding 41 percent in 2011—and has never been down more than 5 percent. Peta takes readers to the ballpark in San Francisco, trading floors and baseball bars in New York, and sports books in Vegas, all while tracing the progress of his wagers. Often humorous, occasionally touching, and with a wink toward the sheer implausibility of the whole project, Trading Bases is all about the love of critical reasoning, trading cultures, risk management, and baseball. And not necessarily in that order.
JOE PETA was a Wall Street market maker and hedge fund stock trader for fifteen years. A sports bettor for even longer and a lifelong baseball fan, he lives in San Francisco.
"You don’t have to be a baseball analyst or former stock trader to connect with Trading Bases...Trading Bases will help you to be that fan." - Dallas Morning News
"A funny and stimulating account of a former stock trader who applies his Wall Street philosophy and knowledge of baseball statistics to try to beat the betting line." - The Chicago Tribune
"His swaggering story, from frantic stock trader to professional sports bettor, is the basis of Trading Bases, an entertaining book about how to turn your passions into profits. Even casual baseball fans could learn from it. Serious fans should slurp it up like ballpark beer." - The Los Angeles Times