Billy Beane was drafted by the New York Mets in 1980 and spent most of the 1980s in the minor leagues. He played six seasons in the major leagues before joining the management team of the Oakland Athletics in 1990, becoming general manager in 1997. His innovative management style inspired the 2003 book Moneyball, which was made into a film in 2011, starring Brad Pitt as Beane.
Playing for the Mets and A's
Billy Beane was born in Orlando, Florida, and attended Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, California. After high school, he attended the University of California at San Diego, where he studied economics. At age 18, he was selected in the first round of the draft in 1980 by the New York Mets, and he left college and spent most of the 1980s in the Mets’ minor league system.
Following the 1985 season, Beane was traded by the Mets to the Minnesota Twins. From then until he joined the Oakland A's front office in 1990, he played for the Twins, the Detroit Tigers, and the A's, both in the majors and minors, generally struggling to maintain good numbers on the field. The highpoint of Beane's professional career came in 1989, when he was a member of the championship Oakland A's, playing alongside such giants of the game as Ricky Henderson and Mark McGwire.
Scouting and Management
In 1990, Beane resigned from baseball and began a three-year stint as a baseball scout with the A's. In 1993, Bean was promoted to assistant general manager, and in October 1997, Beane became general manager. Soon after, he became interested in an area of baseball research called sabermetrics, in which statistics are used for decision-making in terms of trades, rosters and the like, instead of players' star status or recent success. Beane embraced this methodology with vigor, and his stance was both successful and controversial enough to inspire a book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, which was published in 2003. A film based on the book was released in 2011 to critical acclaim, with Brad Pitt playing the role of Billy Beane.
Hollywood interest in Beane aside, his on-field success speaks for itself: Under his tenure, the A's compiled a 976–804 (.548) record, the fifth best in all of baseball during that time frame, and won four American League West titles. Additionally, under Beane's watch, Oakland players garnered numerous individual awards: Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada were named AL Most Value Players in 2000 and 2002, respectively; Barry Zito was named an AL Cy Young Award winner in 2002; and Bobby Crosby and Huston Street earned back-to-back AL Rookie of the Year awards in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
Beane was named Sporting News' Executive of the Year in 1999 and won Baseball America's 2002 award as MLB's Executive of the Year. In December 2009, Sports Illustrated placed Beane at No. 10 on its list of the Top 10 GMs/Executives of the Decade in the sporting world.
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