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Stumbling On Wins: Two Economists Expose the Pitfalls on the Road to Victory in Professional Sports by Martin B. Schmidt, David J. Berri

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2. Defending Isiah

The New York Yankees spent more than $1.5 billion on acquiring playing talent between 1999 and 2008. Across these years, no team in baseball won more regular season games. Although critics would note that a World Series title proved elusive from 2001 to 2008, a list of top teams in baseball across the past ten years would certainly begin with the Yankees.

The Yankees’ experience suggests that innovations like those employed by Billy Beane are not the only way to achieve victory. If you simply have more resources than your competition, this can also lead to success. Of course, you need to know how to use those resources. It also helps to have some luck on your side.

The importance of knowledge—and perhaps luck—can be illustrated ...

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