On the day we learn that the Oakland Athletics are shelling out some big bucks for Cuban star Yoenis Cespedes, we are also made aware of the inspiration for the founder of Moneyball (available in stores tomorrow). Naturally, this seemed appropriate to share on this website, which shares the source of inspiration.
Billy Beane, the man behind the moneyball philosophy that re-energized the Oakland A's franchise and revolutionized the way baseball is analyzed on a broader level, spoke last week at a synposium last week at Villanova. It turns out your favorite bunch of whacky throwbacks caught the eye of Beane.
"I was right here in Philadelphia watching the World Series [which the Phils lost to Toronto]," said Beane, as quoted by Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Those '93 Phillies took a ton of pitches, walked a ton, and scored a ton of runs. That's when it hit me."
If you think about it, those 1993 Phillies did know how to work a count. It started at the top of the lineup, where Lenny Dykstra did a solid job of setting the table and forcing the starting pitcher to throw pitches early on. Dykstra was one of three players in the lineup to draw over 100 walks. Dykstra led the team with 129 walks, followed by Darren Daulton with 117 walks and John Kruk with 111 walks. Dave Hollins had drawn 85 free passes as well.
To put that in to some perspective, it would take six seasons before any Phillie eclipsed the century mark for walks in a season. Bobby Abreu walked 109 times in the 1999 season. The next time multiple Phillies walked 100 times in a season was in 2003, when Jim Thome joined Abreu.
The closest the Phillies have come to having three players with 100 walks in a season since the 1993 season was in 2006 when Ryan Howard walked 108 times, Pat Burrell 98 times and Abreu walked 91 times. The 2008 World Series championship team had just one player walk 100 times, with Burrell leading the team with 102 walks (Howard walked 81 times). Jayson Werth walked 91 times in 2009.
HT: The 700 Level