‘Moneyball’: Q&A With Rob Neyer

From Mike Cormack at Sportsnet.ca on Setpember 5, 2011, with SABR member Rob Neyer:

Rob Neyer is the national baseball editor for SB Nation.

He has written six books about baseball and from 1996 to January 2001 he worked for ESPN.com and prior to that he worked for STATS Inc. and the legendary Bill James, who once said: “Rob Neyer is the best of the new generation of sportswriters. He knows baseball history like a child knows his piggy bank. He knows how to pick it up and shake it and make what he needs fall out.”

So, as a noted disciple of sabermetrics, a movie buff and someone who considers Moneyball to be “the most influential baseball book ever,” who better to talk to about the book, its legacy and the upcoming film starring Brad Pitt?

We recently caught up with Neyer on the phone…


CORMACK: I read that in 2003 you referred to Moneyball as “the single most influential baseball book ever.”

NEYER: I don’t think there’s any question about it. I would take that a step further and suggest that it’s been more influential than every other baseball book combined.

I should throw a caveat in there.

It’s possible that Moneyball would exist without the Bill James Baseball Abstract in the ‘80s, so maybe my statement is a little overblown, but it’s hard to think of another book that’s had any sort of impact like Moneyball has had.

I think before Moneyball the only books that were really influential in terms of changing something in our society, let alone within the sport, were probably Ball Four and Bill James’ books, which certainly had an impact.

Maybe Moneyball wouldn’t exist without Bill James. I don’t know. There’s an argument to be made there. Certainly Bill’s books had an impact. There are a lot of people who trace their take on the world to reading Bill James in the ‘80s.

Bill’s books did not seem to resonate a great deal within baseball itself, and I’m not sure why that is. My take has always been that Bill’s books were not read by people in baseball at that time, not many of them anyway. It’s hard to see any real impact in baseball in the ‘80s while the Abstracts were coming out.

I think a lot of the people running the teams were just too entrenched in the traditional stuff to really pay attention.

Read the full article here: http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2011/09/05/moneyball_neyer/

Originally published: September 7, 2011. Last Updated: September 7, 2011.