Moneyball’s Nick Swisher:’Most players signed cards, we signed books’ | MLB

TIn the 2002 Major League Baseball Draft, the healthy harvest of future All-Stars such as Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels and Prince Fielder signed the first professional contract. Also, when Pittsburgh Pirates took pitcher Bryan Bullington in first place overall, he created the wrong choice, which is widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in history.

However, the 2002 class will be forever associated with the books that have made a ripple in the sports world. Michael Lewis’s Moneyball talked with Oakland A General Manager Billy Beane about his groundbreaking analytics-based approach to recruitment during the 2002 draft and MLB season. It became a movie starring Brad Pitt in 2011 and continues to shape thoughts in many sports.

And 20 years later, the 16th pick of the Moneyball Draft vividly remembers how Bean and Lewis’s book began his career.

“This was before all rankings, systems and predictions,” says former A and New York Yankees outfielder and first baseman Nick Swisher. “A lot of scouts will come to see your play –’Can your kids play or not?’ So I’m glad there were a lot of people who thought they could actually play. It’s night. in front [the draft], I got a call from Billy Beane. “Swish, if you’re there at 16:00, we’ll take you.” I got a goose bump.

“Billy Beane was like a father to me. I can’t thank him for giving me that opportunity. In the grand plan of things, it’s part of the book, and analysis is even analysis. Being part of the analysis before was pretty bad. “

Swishers are a rare example of a player who valued Bean’s intangible on-base percentage and other statistics that were more valued by the common sense of the time in baseball, due to the fact that A’s traditional scouts agreed. Appeared prominently in the moneyball section.

“People have always told me they broke the mold when they made me,” says Swisher, who attends MLB’s new Home Run Derby X event in London on July 9. “My personality and extroversion is a very new school, but the way I play the game is very blue-collar. I didn’t have the talent of Mike Trout. I didn’t have the power of Aaron Judge. I didn’t have Yasiel Puig’s arm. Just because I don’t have all of these skills doesn’t mean I can’t provide value and I can’t compete at a high level.

“It was pretty cool to be known as a new semester guy. The Analytical Scout said,” Wow, the numbers of this guy really match. ” I think it’s because I was a strong and patient batter. It’s exactly the type of batter you’re looking for in today’s games. You need someone with a high on-base percentage and someone with a high on-base percentage who can put the ball in the seat. “

Although it was not possible to predict the success and widespread impact of the crossover that Moneyball would achieve, Swisher worked with fellow newcomers while the author’s wife and former MTV reporter Tabitha Soren was taking pictures. I was interviewed by and was aware of the early stages of the project. And shortly after the 2003 release of the book, Swisher began to assess the size of Moneyball’s reach while he was still playing in minor leagues.

“It was when I was in the minor league that I really stood out,” he says. “Most people were signing baseball cards. We were signing a book. It was when it was really clicked –” Wow, this book is very influential. ” It gave such a different perspective on the game. It was the first time that people actually looked inside how an organization that didn’t have all the money had to find talent. “

Swisher spent three seasons at A, but his biggest career win was after signing the Yankees in 2008.

Once impressed by the Old School A scout, Swisher was a right-fielder on the starting line early in the season and was an important contributor to the Yankees defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in six games. He won the 2009 World Series.

Nick Swisher will be joining MLB Homelanderby X. Photo: MLB

“I’ve always been a fighter,” he says. “I had the opportunity to play for an iconic organization like the New York Yankees, so if I had the opportunity, I knew how many people were behind me, so I knew you were shining more. I did.

“The first person I met [at the World Series celebrations] It was Jay-Z. I “know this will be a big party!” But I never forget, we had a ticker tape parade. We are driving a car, there are people on 10, 20, 30 and 40 stories, shooting paper out the window. It seems that it was snowing in November. It was one of the most mysterious things my eyes have ever seen, something I cherish close to my heart.

“That’s God’s honest truth. There’s no better place to beat New York City, Baby. I can promise you that.”

Swisher became an All-Star next season, following in the footsteps of his father Steve, who played for the Chicago Cubs in the 1970s. Nick Swisher retired in 2017 after a short second spell with the Yankees, but wears the famous pinstripe again for Home Run Derby X.

“My guys are everywhere in me,” he said, with a team of former MLB stars, rookies, female softball players, and “wild card” celebrities in the Yankees, Cubs, and Boston Red Sox. , Talks about preparing for an event that represents the LA Dodgers. .. “They are.” You have to start exercising. You are wearing the Yankee logo. Must be posted. That’s why I went to the baseball field. I started hitting a few times this week to get it back. “

Twenty years after everything started, Swisher can acquire a stake and look back on his complete and renowned baseball career. The only little regret? His failure to appear in Moneyball’s films focused on A’s trades and field tactics, not their valuable draft acquisition.

“We all knew it when Brad Pitt played Billy Beane,” Swisher laughs. “We knew we were out. It wasn’t going to be us, man.

“If you haven’t seen a movie, watch it. But if you haven’t read it, read it.”

  • For more information on the Home Run Derby X event, please visit mlb.com/HomeRunDerbyX... You can follow a complete Home Run Derby X Tour at @mlb and @MLBEurope.

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