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Publisher's Summary

An ex-Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games - with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it.

After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta was out of a job. He found a new one but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated in a wheelchair, Peta started watching baseball again, as he had growing up. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball - and beat the only market in town, the Vegas betting line? Why not treat MLB like the S&P 500?

In Trading Bases, Peta shows how to subtract luck - in particular "cluster luck", as he puts it - from a team’s statistics to best predict how it will perform in the next game and over the whole season. His baseball "hedge fund" returned an astounding 41 percent in 2011 - and has never been down more than 5 percent. Peta takes listeners to the ballpark in San Francisco, trading floors and baseball bars in New York, and sports books in Vegas, all while tracing the progress of his wagers.

Often humorous, occasionally touching, and with a wink toward the sheer implausibility of the whole project, Trading Bases is all about the love of critical reasoning, trading cultures, risk management, and baseball. And not necessarily in that order.

©2013 Joe Peta (P)2013 Random House Audio

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  • Story

A fascinating book, but buy the print version.

With lively energy and a passion for the material, Joe Peta guides the reader through his journey from investment banker to investment better. His prose style is compelling, and he holds just the right mix of anecdote and analysis from cover to cover. The issue is that he does so with a myriad of statistics which, when read one by one, become incredibly tedious and difficult to interpret. Strongly recommend this book, but only in its print form.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Holley
  • st louis, MO, United States
  • 03-28-13

Fascinating

Captured from the first chapter. Great baseball insights. I do not gamble but the complexity of the analysis had many applications.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent ideas!

This book had some very unique and excellent ideas! As someone who is a fan of baseball as well as an advantage player when betting on it, it was one of my favorite books I've read so far!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining & Informative!

This is an excellent book. It's fascinating to hear how the author combined his love of the game and his experience from Wall Street to profit by gambling on baseball. I love baseball and I'm not opposed to gambling on sports. I've never bet on baseball, partly because I didn't understand how it worked. The book explains in great detail about betting baseball and how it's very possible to use data to gain an edge. There are chapters that go over various odds and statistics for each team. I found those sections a little boring in the audiobook format but I'm sure they were great on paper. Still overalls it's an awesome book and the narrator did a great job.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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My Words Sound Better Out of Fred Sanders' Mouth

Have you listened to any of Fred Sanders’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Certainly honored the man who read Born to Run -- a staple on the iPods of many of my running friends -- ended up reading my words.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting baseball book for fans and gamblers

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I have recommended it to my brothers and family. Every stock broker can learn something from this book.

What did you like best about this story?

The casual baseball stories Joe Peta tells.

Which scene was your favorite?

His daughters first baseball game.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some moments made me laugh and other made me sad. Baseball has that effect on people. This guy knows baseball and transmits it clearly.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Was hoping for a lot more...

Unlike many who read this one I was not looking for the secret formula or method of baseball betting. I just wanted an enjoyable story of sports betting and Wall Street. I was disappointed to find an overly descriptive and somewhat boring account of how he came to work on Wall Street, and his particular betting from the 2011 baseball season. I kept waiting for something to happen. Just a series of uneventful stories put together as chapters. Nothing of interest for me here. I like books that you cannot put down. This is not one of them. Just my two cents.

  • Overall
  • Bob K
  • Chicago, IL USA
  • 12-09-16

Living My Dream

This is a great book, and the author weaves the tale masterfully. The author is of a generation that was well educated in statistics and mathematics, loved sports, and had access to an unprecedented wealth of data. What he did with these gifts is a great story, and a dream of many people in similar circumstances.

There are basically two career paths that could lead a person to a life in sports wagering; Walk Street or stretch run at a local racetrack. Wall Street was the more respectable path, and is the path that led the author to his career.

If you have ever read a racing form and thought somewhere in here lies the answer this book is for you. If you ever watched a baseball game and moved back and forth between pitches to a baseball statistics website this book is for you, too. If you have done both, and invested in the more esoteric aspects of the financial markets as well, stop what you are doing and buy this book.

As for the audio book itself the narration is outstanding, the pacing solid, and the tale translates well to audio. I didn't have access to the spreadsheets, however, and if they are available through Audible I can't find them. I ended up buying the hard copy, so fair warning. That said I am sure it is our there somewhere, and it is well worth finding.

Overall, the casual sports enthusiast who likes a water now and again will love this book. The closet degenerate will treasure it.


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Solid book but dry at times

If you like baseball and sabermetrics this is an interesting story. I found it a bit dry at times. It also gets into advanced math that might be better understood by reading the book. Fascinating story though.

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Interesting book better suited for reading than listening

Trading Bases was a great research based story involving formulas established to successful betting on baseball. There was ample background information to support the main story. With all the numbers and chart reading done by the narrator, it was a bit difficult to follow/remember the significance.

Being a baseball advocate, it was easier for myself to know the statistics the narrator referred to, but a casual reader would probably need a physical book to get a better grasp of the number crunching. There are long lists of statistics, and it definitely helps to know a little baseball history to comprehend the tables read aloud.

As with all books that give insight and strategy into making money, it intrigues me to find out how odds makers have altered their strategies in lieu of this book, if they did at all. It takes numerous hours and a high competency for statistics to put this knowledge to use, so I suspect there won't be a large number of new betters after reading/listening to Trading Bases.

I would listen to this book again, although it definitely has a larger effect when heard closer to when it was written. The strategies can probably be applied for future applications, again assuming on how odds makers change their strategies.