Former Mets Number One Prospect Turned Sucessful GM: Billy Beane (1984-1985)

William Lamar Beane was born on March 29, 1962 in Orlando, Florida. His dad was a Naval Officer in the U.S. Navy & he moved the family to San Diego where Billy would grow up. In high school he was a star athlete, playing baseball, basketball & football.

Stamford University wanted to recruit him as their quarterback to eventually replace its star sophomore QB, John Elway.

The New York Mets took a chance on the gifted athlete Beane, because many people believed he would chose football over baseball. Beane was chosen as a first round pick (#23 overall) in the 1980 draft. It was a good gamble for New York because they had three #1 picks that year, Daryl Strawberry & John Gibbons being the other two. Beane says he declined the football offer, & chose baseball after visiting the Mets clubhouse. He soon signed a nice contract for $125,000.

The Mets were so high on him he went straight to A Ball and the team sent Daryl Strawberry to the rookie league. Beane spent two seasons in A ball at Lynchburg batting a best .268 in 1981. He moved on to AA with the Jackson Mets playing three seasons there batting a best .281 in 1984.

Overall he struggled in the minors and was never able to fulfill the expectations the team had for him. No one seems to remember that he got into 13 games for the Mets as an outfielder, over the 1984 & 1985 seasons.

He made his MLB debut on September 13th 1984, as a pinch hitter. He went hitless in two at bats, finishing out the game. Beane would get one hit in ten at bats playing in five games that September. In 1985 he got another September call up, getting two hits in eight at bats. Over all in his Mets career he was 3-18 with a double and an RBI, hitting .150.

In January 1986 he was traded to the Minnesota Twins in a multiplayer deal that brought Tim Tuefel to New York. Beane saw the most action of his career with the ’86 Twins batting .213 in 80 games, hitting the only 3 HRs of his career.

He was on the Twins 1987 Championship team but didn’t get on the post season roster. He went to Detroit for six games in 19888 then played for the 1989 Oakland A’s Championship team where he ended his playing career. A once promising playing career ended with a measly .219 average in 148 games over six seasons.

Retirement: After not making the 1990 A’s team, he asked the front office for a job as a scout, a position he held for three years. After the new A’s ownership began to slash payroll, Beane learned to use a saber metric cost effectiveness system, working under GM Sandy Alderson.

Beane took over as GM in 1998 and over the next eight years, Oakland made the playoffs five times, despite having one of the league’s lowest payrolls. The A’s were successful using Beans style of drafting players who had quality at bats & good on base percentages.

In the late nineties/ early 2000’s he drafted one of the game’s best pitching trios in "the Big Three"; Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson & Barry Zito.

The Athletics made the playoffs four straight years (2000-2003) winning three divisional titles & one wild card berth. Players like Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, Ben Grieve & Jermaine Dye led the hitting. Mulder, Zito & Hudson along with relievers Billy Koch & then Keith Foulke led the pitching staffs. It seemed as some of the star players went on to bigger contracts there was always new players stepping up into the spotlight. Unfortunately they would lose each year in the ALDS.

The Big Three: Hudson-Mulder-Zito
The Athletics retuned in 2006 with players like Frank Thomas, Nick Swisher, Mark Ellis, Jason Kendall, Joe Blanton & Houston Street. They won the West, winning 93 games & beat the Minnesota Twins to get to the ALCS but lost to the Detroit Tigers.

Moneyball: In 2003 Beane was the subject of the book: Money ball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game. The book is based on his & Paul DePodesta's use of saber metrics to run a cost effective team. The book shows how the style was successful on a tight budget & how it has had it's affect on the game.

In 2011, the movie "Moneyball" based on the best selling book, was made, with Brad Pitt portraying Bill Beane.

On the downside of Beane’s success, Oakland only won one of those postseason series’ (2006) & did not made the playoffs for another six years. Although in small market Oakland, no one can deny the good job he has done over & over on tight budgets. His contract was extended through 2012 and he was given a small portion of the team’s ownership for his work.

Soccer: The A’s ownership bought a San Jose soccer team and Beane has now developed a system for analyzing soccer players.

After six years, in 2012 ,Billy Beane's Oakland A's surprised everyone playing fine baseball all season. On the last week of the regular season, they won six straight games including a series sweep over the first place Texas Rangers.

The A's took over first place & won the AL Western title over the heavily favored Rangers. The Oakland payroll was the second lowest in the American League. The A's were eliminated by the A.L. Champion Detroit Tigers in a five game ALDS.

Billy Beane with Wife & Daughter

In 2013 the A's continued their success, making the playoffs once again. They won 90 plus games (96) for the second straight year under Manager; Bob Melvin. Once again they had the leagues second lowest payroll ($68 million) and won the Western Divisional title over teams like the Texas Rangers & L.A. Angels. 

These new crop of A's players, had four hitters with 20 plus HRs (Brandon Moss (30) Yoenis Cespedes (26) Josh Donaldson (24) & Coco Crisp (22)). 

A fine pitching staff had five pitchers win ten or more games with Bartolo Colon leading the club with 18 & Grant Balfour saving 38 games. Once again Oakland lost to the Detroit Tigers in five games of the ALDS.

In 2014 the Athletics were riding high early on & were one of the top teams in baseball. In late June they were 11 games in front of the AL West but in the second half of the season they went 29-38 finishing second ten games behind the L.A. Angels. On July 31st they tried to bolster an already strong pitching staff by landing Jon Lester from the Boston Red Sox. But in exchange they gave up one of their biggest hitters in Yoenis Cespedes. 

2013 A's celebrate
They did rebound to squeek a wild card berth at the end of the season. In the AL wild card game they held a 7-3 lead over the Kansas City Royals before giving up the lead & losing in extra innings. It was a tough loss following a tough season for Beane & Oakland.

With Billy Beane as the Oakland GM the A's have made the playoffs eight times, won six divisional titles, made second place six times & had winning seasons eleven times in 18 years.


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