The strategy that the Oakland A’s used to build a winning team this century spawned a bestselling book (“Moneyball”) and a movie of the same name, but throughout baseball history, front offices have found creative strategies to assemble winning clubs. This book explores the variety of these in detail, whether achieved through scouting, free agency, integration, or other means – and by teams from different eras, including the Toronto Blue Jays as they began building toward the franchise’s back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993.
Here’s an excerpt from “In Pursuit of Pennants”:
“In building the 1985 Blue Jays, [general manager] Pat Gillick lived by his ‘many rivers into one’ metaphor, using, among others, the expansion draft, the amateur draft, the Rule 5 Draft, and even … free-agent compensation to build his team. One river that he fished in more productively than most other teams was one representing Latin America. In 1985 Toronto allocated 2,068 plate appearances to Latino players, second only to the Giants, who had just 1 more. No other team had more than 1,600. The Blue Jays also had quite a few African Americans on their squad, resulting in the team receiving fewer plate appearances from Caucasian players than any team in the Majors.”