Books

Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Baseball Maverick

How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets

by Steve Kettmann

Through Sandy Alderson, the general manager of the New York Mets, a veteran bestselling sportswriter chronicles a thirty-year revolution in baseball and the painful rebirth of a franchise.

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date April 07, 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-9256-1
  • US List Price $16.00

About The Book

A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Sports Book for Spring

In 2010, the New York Mets were in trouble. One of baseball’s most valuable franchises, they had recently suffered an embarrassing end-of-the-year collapse and two bitter losing seasons. Their general manager had made costly player personnel mistakes. And to top it off, their principle owners, two major Bernie Madoff investors, were embroiled in the fallout from the largest financial scam in American history.

To whom did they turn? Sandy Alderson, a former marine who served in Vietnam and graduated from Harvard Law. Alderson started in baseball with the Oakland A’s in 1981. Two years later, he was running the team. With the A’s, Alderson led a revolution in the sport. The A’s partnered with Apple to introduce the first computers into baseball, pioneered using statistical analysis, attracted bright people, built a quality organization, and became a powerhouse, winning the 1989 World Series. When new owners slashed payroll in the 1990s, Alderson’s under-the-radar creativity and intelligent management were thrust into the spotlight.

Now, Alderson is in the midst of turning around another embattled franchise, with many expecting the Mets to be in the playoff hunt in 2015, led by a stellar pitching staff full of young guns. Granted unprecedented access to a working GM over several seasons, bestselling author Steve Kettmann follows Alderson’s renewal of the Mets despite a limited budget, from big trades that brought back high-profile prospects to the development of young aces including Matt Harvey, Zach Wheeler, and Jacob de Grom. Baseball Maverick is a gripping, behind-the-scenes look at a Major League team and a fascinating exploration of what it means to be smart.

Praise

“In Baseball Maverick, Steve Kettmann paints an intimate portrait of one of the shrewdest, most decorated men to ever occupy the GM chair. The level of detail here is phenomenal, and the result is a really fun read.” —Jonah Keri, author of The Extra 2% and Up, Up, & Away

“Sandy Alderson’s character and credentials are among the most impressive in baseball. He is an original thinker and a true maverick . . . the title says it all. A book about Sandy is long overdue, and Kettmann’s is outstanding.” —Dennis Eckersley

“Steve Kettmann expertly takes you along the fascinating journey of a true Renaissance man. From combat to the roots of modern analytics to rebuilding the New York Mets—I’ll let you decide the most difficult of such pursuits—Sandy Alderson is a compelling case study of leadership.” —Tom Verducci, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated

“Alderson has long been a baseball man, but his education, time in Vietnam and being the first nonplayer to challenge the supremacy of players in traditional scouting always set him at a distance. His is a story of fathers, sons and American service. . . . Baseball Maverick . . . stands on its own, a worthwhile journey of an important figure Kettmann clearly and understandably admires.” —Howard Bryant, ESPN The Magazine

“A look at the even-keeled GM who pulled the trigger on the trade that brought Travis d’Arnaud and Noah Syndergaard to the Mets.” —Newsday

“A timely account of how GM Sandy Alderson has revived the entire New York Mets organization and transformed the team into a pennant contender . . . Extremely well-written and unflaggingly interesting, the book will appeal to any baseball fan who wants insight into what GMs do and into how contemporary winning major league baseball teams are built.” —Spitball

“Steve Kettmann has given us so much more than a baseball book or biography; he has given us a fascinating look into one of the game’s great minds. Sandy Alderson defies any simple description, but Kettmann has brilliantly painted a portrait that ties together the Marine, the scholar, the general manager, and the maverick streak that binds them together.” —T.J. Quinn, ESPN reporter and anchor

“One of the more talked about titles this year.” —Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf

“A fascinating and fresh look at the resurgent team’s winning strategy. Whether you’re a diehard Mets fan like me or just a curious baseball fan in general, you’ll want to read Steve Kettmann’s new book because it’s a compelling human interest story and you will gain insight about how the game has changed.” —David Seideman, Forbes.com

“A must for fans of the New York Mets and worth looking at for others—incisive and detailed.” —Epoch Times

“[A] lively chronicle.” —Matthew Price, Newsday

“Revealing . . . [Alderson] gave serious access to Kettmann, an astute reporter.” —George Vecsey

“For the general manager of a New York team, Sandy Alderson remains largely a mystery. Steve Kettman changes that with this compelling inside look at the Ivy League graduate, former Marine and Vietnam veteran who went on to revolutionize baseball. A must-read for Mets fans and anyone who loves the game.” —Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports/MLB Network

“Sandy Alderson stumbled into baseball, but as Steve Kettmann shows so adroitly, he’s put a best foot forward everywhere he’s marched in the game. If, under his aegis, Alderson’s Mets can finally come back to glory, it will cap the career of a man who has not only led his teams, but led the whole sport.” —Frank Deford

“Kettmann’s solid profile of the Mets’ Alderson, now piloting one of the brightest teams in major league baseball, provides worthwhile insider tidbits, along with a competent view of the front office and the intriguing complexities of sports politics.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Baseball Maverick] captures all of Sandy’s complexity. It is a rollicking, fascinating read.” —Lowell Cohn, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

“A savvy story . . . A seasoned sportswriter’s take on the unconventional general manager of the New York Mets and the business side of baseball.” —Bruce Jacobs, Shelf Awareness

“A timely account of how GM Sandy Alderson has revived the entire New York Mets organization and transformed the team into a pennant contender . . . Extremely well-written and unflaggingly interesting, the book will appeal to any baseball fan who wants insight into what GMs do and into how contemporary winning major league baseball teams are built.” —Spitball Magazine

Awards

A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Sports Book for Spring
One of Newsday‘s 11 Books Every New York Mets Fan Should Read

Excerpt

From Baseball Maverick, on Sandy Alderson

“He was an extraordinarily good platoon commander. His leadership skills were absolutely perfect. He could lead anyone anywhere.” —General P. X. Kelley, United States Marine Corps, 28th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps

“I found Sandy fascinating. He had such a different way of looking at things. It doesn’t seem unique now because we’re used to it, this is what you expect GMs to be, but back then, you talk about a maverick, this was a maverick. He was smart enough to know what he didn’t know, but he was also smart enough to question what everyone perceived to be as givens. He had the self-confidence to question things and look for a better way and look for another way. . . . I knew I was never going to be as smart as Sandy. Every day that I went in, I was going to learn something that was going to make me better.” —Billy Beane

“Whether or not you want to hear it, he’s not going to give you the bs version of what he thinks—he’s going to give it to you straight. He’s going to be honest with you, and that’s something I have the utmost respect for. Those are the guys that I want to follow.” —David Wright