Book Review: Trading Bases

Trading Bases

A Story About Wall Street, Gambling and Baseball
(not necessarily in that order)
by Joe Peta
A Baseball Book Review
Monte Cely
(512) 310-9777
            “To Caitlin, an 8 WAR wife, with a replacement-level husband.” Reading this opening dedication to the author’s wife, I knew I would probably enjoy this book. I wasn’t disappointed. 
            Trading Bases is essentially an autobiography by Joe Peta, a Stanford MBA and baseball fan. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Peta finds himself physically disabled and unemployed after a 15-year career as an equities trader. To keep himself financially and emotionally sustained while recovering from a serious automobile accident, the author decides to use sabermetrics and risk-management principles to “invest” in a baseball betting fund.
            Peta uses Bill James’ “pythagorian theorem”, WAR and other sabermetric approaches, along with a concept he calls “cluster luck”, to develop a betting edge against Las Vegas baseball oddsmakers. He has solid success in 2011, leading to his creation of a baseball betting “fund” and the writing of this book.
            Peta’s story is filled with anecdotes and examples of his equity trading experiences and how those informed his approach to the development of his baseball betting model. He gives concrete examples of his use of sabermetrics to find inefficiencies in the odds developed by Las Vegas sports books. He then reports month-by-month results for his baseball betting “fund”. He does all of the above with humor and a flair for the dramatic. He makes the math very accessible via numerous well-chosen examples.
            This book is a quick read and should be an enjoyable one for a baseball or investment fan, and definitely a must-read for anyone who is both!
Here are the key statistics:
Book: Trading Bases – A Story about Wall Street, Gambling and Baseball
Author:  Joe Peta
Author’s Credentials: Peta is a former Wall Street market maker and hedge-fund stock trader. This is his first book
Published: 2013, Dutton; ISBN 978-0-525-95364-7            Length: 369 pages
Price: Retail list – $27.95; Online – from $17.95 + shipping.

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