Wall Street trader Joe Peta needed something to do. After being struck by an FDNY ambulance and knocked off the trading floor for months of recovery; after being fired from a seven-figure job six weeks after returning to work in a wheelchair; after being confined to his apartment, jobless, unable to travel, and largely inhabiting an unfamiliar dark place; he needed something.
So Peta delved deep into the game he loved. It lifted his spirits, buoyed his recovery, and returned him to the world of those who sleep. It was healing by baseball.
He analyzed all the stats, crunched the numbers, embraced the sabermetric savvy of Bill James and FiveThirtyEight blog’s Nate Silver, put together detailed spreadsheets and created a market model for the 2011 Major League Baseball season. He could now project runs, wins, and take his season projections and convert them to single-game-win expectancies. The study engaged his mind. It became his obsession. And then—as any good trader does—he put his money where his statistical analytics were, and challenged the Las Vegas baseball line. It was gambling with an edge. A big one.
Peta sought to recreate the culture, analysis and energy of trading desk to the sports books. Risk management. An intimate knowledge of the marketplace. And discipline. Lots and lots of discipline. And succeeds.
TRADING BASES: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (not necessarily in that order) (Dutton, March 7, 2013)—Peta’s account of the 2011 Major League Baseball season—is an all-American story of bringing Wall Street to Las Vegas via the diamond. From Opening Day to the final game of the 2011 World Series, he makes money on favorites, underdogs, pick-‘ems, you name it to the tune of a 41.03% profit. That’s right, 41%.
TRADING BASES also covers:
- The ins and outs of the $380 billion global industry that is sports gambling
- How and why there exists a far greater chance of making money betting on baseball than on football or basketball.
- A thorough examination of skill vs. luck, especially as it applied to the 2010 Tampa Bay Rays
- The age-old question: “Are some players really ‘clutch performers’?”
- The flawed notions that all major league players are capable of having a “good day”
- How the number of runs that a team scores and allows in a season is thought to be a fair representation of the talent of the underlying team
- The most important sabermetric statistic in existence for baseball bettors
- Why baseball has created so many different acronyms in evaluating performance; and asks why other industries haven’t done the same
- How Las Vegas should turn to Wall Street for ideas on ways to increase interest, traffic, and, ultimately, bets in their sports books
Portfolio management, Wall Street trading and sports betting are all interrelated, and Joe Peta’s enjoyable prose crosses over these cultures effortlessly. This is no DIY textbook. Michael Lewis’s Moneyball is for the day traders. TRADING BASES is the Wall Street insider’s view of sabermetrics and a brilliant primer on sports betting. Just as he has properly analyzed and then distilled his data, he has thoroughly fleshed-out the thoroughly entertaining epiphanies—one after another—that will tap into the type-A sabermetric aficionado inside all baseball fans.
Revelations abound, Peta finds clarity in the numbers. Revel in his dynamic thought processes. Strap yourself in. Dig a little deeper. This is trading in its purest form.
I've just started in on this and it's a good read so far. Being a numbers geek this really appeals to me.