Billy Beane’s Legacy Firmly Cemented With Or Without World Series Ring


“There’s no guarantee. It’s not up to me. We could only see, this is my legacy. Legacy.” — Eminem’s “Legacy” from the Marshall Mathers LP II.

Regardless of the sport, legacy talk will always come up and become a heavy talking point during the playoffs.

This time it’s Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane under the scrutinized microscope.

Credit to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Ann Killion for writing this in her column:

"“Make no mistake: A large part of Beane’s legacy — one that already spans bestsellers and Academy Award nominees — is riding on this postseason.”"

Congrats, Ann, you got a click.

A large part of Beane’s legacy is not riding on this postseason. Not even a teeny tiny part of it is on the line. The only thing riding on these playoffs is whether or not the A’s win their first World Series title since 1989. Beane’s legacy shouldn’t and isn’t linked to the lack of success in the postseason. Doing so would be ignoring the core principle of “Moneyball.”

“You don’t respect the legacy I leave behind.”

There’s no denying Beane’s influence on baseball and sports in general.

Other sports have also taken on an advanced-statistics approach, and it has gained prevalence in the years following the release of Michael C. Lewis’s “Moneyball.”

Remember when Beane was offered the Boston Red Sox job after the “Moneyball” season? You know, the job that Theo Epstein later took and helped break the “Curse of the Bambino”? Epstein used the “Moneyball” philosophy, tossed in Boston’s big money budget and claimed a World Series title of his own.

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It’s conceivable that Beane could have won a World Series title in Boston had he decided to leave Oakland for Beantown.

In its wake, other MLB teams have taken on analytics-based approaches to roster building and use it to some degree.

For all intents and purposes, Beane, by his definition, has been a success for the A’s. He has compiled a 1,484-1,268 record, which is among the best records in the Majors since 1998. Beane once eloquently said that his, um, philosophy, doesn’t work in the playoffs.

The playoffs, by its very nature, are a small-sample event. The most games the A’s could play in this postseason is 20, which completely negates any slight edge Beane gains by using advanced statistics the A’s utilize in their team building.

Fans need to focus on Beane’s true legacy: the adaptation of statistics to help make roster decisions. That is more indicative of the legacy Beane is trying to build and accomplish.

“The best part about me is I am not you I’m me, and I’m the Fire Marshall. And this is my legacy.”

Winning wouldn’t change Beane’s legacy either. If the A’s were to win the World Series, it wouldn’t do anything to define Beane’s legacy. It would only add to its already impressive collection of accomplishments.

Beane’s legacy was always set in stone. It was never tied to winning in this postseason or any future postseason. He’s accomplished so much as the Athletics general manager, and his track record of winning despite constantly building, tearing down, rebuilding and evolving is also part of Beane’s legacy.

Beane doesn’t need rings to validate whether or not he should be considered a success or even a great general manager. Win or lose, it wouldn’t change how Beane approaches the game. He won’t be satisfied with one ring. He’ll chase the second one with the same vigor and passion he chased the first one.

Beane will continue to work and do what his legacy dictates: adapt and move forward.

Odds are, Billy Beane is just fine with that.