Joe Morgan has become an embarrassment. For further proof of this, take a look at this article in the SF Weekly, about Morgan’s strange relationship with Moneyball and sabermetrics:

Me: It seems that you almost take [the book] personally.

Joe: I took it personally because they had a personal thing about me saying Durham should’ve stolen second base in the game that they lost — he stayed at first base, and they hit three fly balls, and the A’s lose another fifth game.

Me: And that’s the chief reason you don’t even wanna read the book?

Joe: I don’t read books like that. I didn’t read Bill James’ book, and you said he was complimenting me. Why would I wanna read a book about a computer, that gives computer numbers?

Me: It’s not about a computer.

Joe: Well, I’m not reading the book, so I wouldn’t know.

Me: I’m not —

Joe: Why would I wanna read the book? All I’m saying is, I see a game every day. I watch baseball every day. I have a better understanding about why things happen than the computer, because the computer only tells you what you put in it. I could make that computer say what I wanted it to say, if I put the right things in there. … The computer is only as good as what you put in it. How do you think we got Enron?

How do you think we got Enron?

What the heck does that mean?

There are lots of silly statements like those contained in the rest of the article, and it’s just sad. Poor ole Joe Morgan, perhaps the greatest Cincinnati Red of all time, has gone off the reservation. And it’s such a shame, because he has no clue that the traits that made him great as a player are exactly the traits that are most admired by proponents of sabermetrics.

2 Responses

  1. Brian B.

    I don’t know if any of us can go so far as to say Joe Morgan “has no clue.” I mean, yeah, some of us went to some fancy schools to learn how to interpret and analyze, but Joe has a point about why he is a walking primary source and doesn’t need secondary sources for validation. But that last statement about Enron really lost me.

  2. Tyler

    I haven’t read the book, so this statement isn’t neccessarily about moneyball, but stolen bases.

    Bill James says that if a play succeeds 75% of the time, then they can be useful and are worth the risk. Much less than that, they are being counter productive. That’s the way I’ve heard(or rather read the transcript of an interview). They’re not anti-stealing, just anti-getting caught, which makes sense really.