White Paper : Can Money Buy Championships?
The Topic Background:
Baseball is a game of numbers and statistics. Most people only concern themselves with one statistic, and that would be a player’s salary. Players getting too much money compared to players getting too little money, and if players are getting the amount of money they should be for how they have performed. All players that are “superstars” are not all worth the large sums of money teams throw at them. Teams do not need to “break the bank” trying to build a team of all star players when they can get a team of players that all have a role on the team and can perform that role for less than an all star. These that do not want to spend the big money on players go after statistics. They will look at a players runs batted in when runners are in scoring position, and on base percentage, put outs, assists, errors, caught stealing bases, and grounded into double plays just to name a few. Those statistics that teams are looking at can be the difference between making it to the World Series or being at the bottom of the division. Based on specific teams such as the 2003 Florida Marlins, 2002 Oakland Athletics, 2002 Angels, and 2005 White Sox, these are all teams that did not have a team of all the highest paid players, but they had specific statistics that made them able to win the World Series, all besides the 2002 Oakland Athletics who lost in the American League Division Series.
Counterintuitive Note: People think that if a team has the most money and buys expensive players that they are going to win the World Series. In my essay I will be using my examples of the 2003 Marlins, 2002 Angels, and 2005 White Sox to disprove that and also giving you the standing of the team with the highest payroll during each of those years.
2002 Oakland Athletics: This team was featured in the movie Moneyball (2011) , and the book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (published in 2003). This team had the third worst salary in Major League Baseball which was approximately 41 million dollars, and they went to the playoffs, won the American League West, but ultimately lost in the American League Division Series to the Minnesota Twins. They built their team by using something called sabermetrics. Sabermetrics is the specialized analysis of baseball through specifically baseball statistics, and it derives from the acronym SABR ( Society of American Baseball Research).The Oakland Athletics hired full time sabermetric analysts which was not being done at the time, and they started to make up a team using baseball statistics. Players that were on this team were Miguel Tejada (2002 American League MVP), Barry Zito (American League Cy Young Winner), Mark Mulder, and Tim Hudson (Mulder, Hudson, and Zito made up the “Big 3”).
2002 Anaheim Angels: This team won the 2002 World Series against the San Francisco Giants. They had the fifteenth highest salary in the major league that year. This team was built up of good pitching, a very good lineup of young, exciting, and skilled players. This team was not a team of super stars by all means these were a mixture of veteran players and young players with a great coaches. This team beat the New York Yankees who had the number one highest salary in 2002 which was 125.9 million dollars, while the Angels had a salary of 67.1 million dollars. They beat the Yankees in the American League Division Series. This team included Tim Salmon in Right Field who was a Hutch Award winner, Garret Anderson in Left Field who was an All-Star, won the Silver Slugger Award, and was fourth in the American League with 123 RBI’s. Also on the team were Darin Erstad at First Base who won the Gold Glove Award, Bengi Molina at Catcher who won the Gold Glove Award , and manager Mike Scioscia who won the American League Coach of the Year.
2003 Florida Marlins: This team won the 2003 World Series against the New York Yankees. The Florida Marlins had the twenty-fifth highest payroll at 48.7 million dollars, while the Yankees had the highest payroll at 152.7 million dollars. This team was not expected to win the World Series against the Yankees, but they defeated them in the series four games to two games. This team was made up of great starting pitchers such as Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, Carl Pavano, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis, and great fielders and hitters such as Ivan Rodriguez, Derek Lee, and Mike Lowell. These players are mostly still having great careers to this day such as Derek Lee, A.J. Burnett, and Josh Beckett. This team shocked baseball winning the World Series.
2005 Chicago White Sox: This team won the 2005 World Series against the Houston Astros. They had the thirteenth highest payroll in the major league at 75.2 million dollars, while the New York Yankees were the first highest payroll at 208.3 million dollars. The Yankees lost in the American League Division Series to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This team was made up of great pitching, very good hitting, and a manager who was energetic and was going to do anything in his power to win games. Key players on this team were pitchers Mark Bueherle, Orlando Hernandez, Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia and Jon Garland. Also A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, Frank Thomas, and Jermaine Dye. This team was solid in every aspect of the game whether it be hitting, pitching or fielding.
Current State of Research Paper: My research paper is coming along, I have everything I am going to talk about, all my sources, and a lot of detailed statistics from all the teams I have stated above. I just need to link everything together and transition into each new topic. I am open to any suggestions if I should talk about something else more or not talk about something as much. I will be giving statistics about the top players’ salaries during the years of 2002, 2003, and 2005 to show the differences between the players on the teams I will be talking about and the top salaries in the major league. This will show how the players on these teams are not the highest paid players, but they are there for key reasons.