Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order )
  • Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order )
  • Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order )

Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order )

3.6 3
by Joe Peta
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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

…  See more details below

Overview

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.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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. (Mar. 7)
From the Publisher
"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 

Kirkus Reviews
A fun approach to developing the discipline necessary to separate reproducible skills from the disruptive effects of chance in baseball, finance and life. Peta's 15-year career as an equity trader with Lehman Brothers abruptly ended when an ambulance ran into him and crushed his leg. The author discusses how he pulled his life back together in the months when he was laid up, unable to walk and separated from his family on the West Coast. Peta developed a system for betting on baseball and began the work to turn it into a business. Conceptually, the author built on the work of predecessors from the sabermetrics school of baseball statistical analysis like Bill James and Nate Silver. Peta worked on developing statistical indicators that might give him an edge in the 2011 season, looking to find ways to separate analysis of acquired skills from chance or accident. Peta's approach is helpful to understanding statistical analysis in any field, not just the chosen baseball specialty. He applies the same approach to Wall Street trading results and showing how using profit-and-loss results to assess a manager's performance can be as misleading as using wins to identify a team's best pitcher. Neither reflect quantification of developable skill sets, but rather uncontrollable external factors. Peta's system was ready for operation by the beginning of the 2011 season; by August, he was able to walk, ready for the coming World Series. His system ended its first season comfortably ahead. The main focus on baseball provides a starting point for much more.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525953647
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
03/07/2013
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
667,576
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.14(h) x 1.24(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"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

Meet the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Trading Bases: A Story about Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order) 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A book with rare insight, yet entertaining at the same time.  The book was recommended to me by a friend who does not follow baseball and now I see why. It's about much more than baseball.  The author's front row view of Lehman's collapse might be the best, most understandable account  of the financial  crisis I've read. Mixed in with the Wall Street scenes and the baseball betting (connected more easily than you might think) are some great family stories about baseball. It's a really great effort from someone I would bet we'll hear more of in the future.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Further proof that sports betting should be used to teach statistics... Great insight and analysis as to how an edge can be found just about anywhere. The authors critique of the Lehman Brothers demise was spot on and great to read an insiders account of events. His ability to weave together his personal story with insights into the gambling world made this a quick and easy read and I've already started using some of his modeling techniques for my own purposes. I'm not sure what the other reviewer was expecting, maybe a how-to-model, but what savvy investor/gambler would ever spell that out? Do some research/leg work / homework, don't expect to pick up a book and be handed a golden goose without doing any work. Its a great book for business and any sports lover, especially if you're a baseball stat-head.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Title should be I won money betting baseball but i'm not going to say how! Author constantly refers to his "model" in making selections but never tells you how model was created or stats used. Pre-ordered and wasted my money. Where is B&N truth in advertising Tom C. March, 2013