Book Review: Trading Bases

Book Review: Trading Bases

Anyone reading this that knows me personally knows I am both a big Baseball fan and a Las Vegas enthusiast.  I’ve got a good group of friends that makes the trip to Vegas once or twice a year (I think trip number 7 will be in June) and I never miss an opening day or spring training.  When I think of sports betting though, I think mostly about Football.  That’s why I was fascinated to find the book Trading Bases by Joe Peta.

Joe is a former equities trader turned Baseball gambler (and author, and tweeter, and blogger).  He got run over by an ambulance and fired from his job in short order a couple years back and decided to use his new found spare time to figure out how to gamble on Baseball.  He ended up creating a “fund” of sorts and a profitable authoring career around his baseball theories.  Trading Bases is three great things in one:

  1. The story of how Joe became a Baseball Gambler.  It’s an interesting story.
  2. A guide to betting on Baseball systematically.  He explains the concepts and uses examples, but you still have a lot of work to do to fill in the details.  He then explains how the model worked (and didn’t) over the course of a season.
  3. An explanation of the similarities between equities trading and betting on sports systematically.  This is where I was a little bit disappointed by the book.  I was hoping for more meat in this section, but it really only comprises 10-15% of the book.  There are some antidotes about his time at Lehman (interestingly he overlapped with one of my favorite authors of all time, Michael Lewis).  There are also some places where he points out things like, “wouldn’t it be nice to have metrics on traders the way you have them on ball players?”  Overall though, I think there were more parallels to be drawn.
I highly recommend the book to sports betters, but it’s not as educational on Wall Street as I would have hoped.