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What Major League Baseball Trick Should Wall Street Follow?

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Would the Great Recession in 2008 have been as catastrophic if Wall Street traders implemented more of the tactics Major League Baseball managers use? That’s the fundamental question veteran Lehman trader Joe Peta chews on in the book Trading Bases, A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Random House, 2013).

The fanfare around sabermetrics took off after Moneyball’s excavation of Billy Beane’s statistics-driven management style, and Peta gained renewed interest in the statistical applications to Wall Street by chance.

Chance in the form of a fluky accident.

An ambulance plowed into Peta as he crossed the street in New York City’s TriBeCa at the beginning of 2011. The leg injury, which left him wheelchair-ridden and stranded from his family in San Francisco, effectively curtailed his decade and a half career on Wall Street. But his convalescence allowed for a renewed interest in the interconnectivity of sports management and Wall Street. His interest in gambling theory — particularly Andrew Beyer’s Picking Winners, an examination of horse racing handicapping — and Trading Bases becomes an exegesis on using Big Data to increase one’s chances of success and an indictment on Wall Street’s inability to mimic Big League strategy.

This morning Peta talked with us about his book, which comes out today. He admited his favorite baseball manager is Joe Maddon of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and as a native of West Chester, Pa., Peta found that absorbing the pain of the wretched Philadelphia Phillies teams was crucial to his development as a trader.

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