Mark Armour

By Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt

(University of Nebraska Press, 2015)

Finalist for SABR's 2016 Seymour Medal.

In Pursuit of Pennants:

Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball

The 1936 Yankees, the 1975 Reds, the 1992 Blue Jays ... why do some teams succeed while other do not?  These teams operated in much different times and environments, but are there common themes in their stories?  In fact, yes, there are.

The Moneyball strategy (as depicted in Michael Lewis's fine book) is not the first (nor the last) example of how new ideas and innovative management have transformed the way teams are assembled.  In Pursuit of Pennants examines and analyzes a number of compelling, winning baseball teams over the past hundred-plus years, along with how the evolving environment created opportunities for innovation.

Whether through scouting, integration, instruction, expansion, free agency, or modernizing their management structure, each winning team and each era had its own version of Moneyball, where front office decisions often made the difference.  This book shows how these teams succeeded and how they relied on talent both on the field and in the front office.  While there is no recipe for guaranteed success in a competitive, ever-changing baseball world, these teams demonstrated how creatively dealing with one's circumstances can often lead to a competive advantage.Type your paragraph here.


Armour and Levitt have given the reader an inside look into the different cultures and challenges facing professional sports executives. Their management styles might differ, but the objective never changes: ‘Be a consistent winner.’”— Pat Gillick

“A rare combination of a must-have reference book and engaging storytelling by distinguished baseball historians Armour and Levitt.”—Vince Gennaro, president of the Society for American Baseball Research and author of Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning in Baseball

“This is an interesting, well-written, and well-researched examination of a behind-the-scenes look at how certain winning clubs have been constructed by notable baseball executives and the philosophies employed.”— Tal Smith, longtime baseball executive

“A great source of well-researched front office stories. . . . Armour and Levitt give an insider’s look at the teams’ efforts to innovate in this highly competitive industry.”— Sig Mejdal, director of Decision Sciences for the Houston Astros

"Paths to Glory, by Mark Armour and Dan Levitt ... is one of my all-time favorites, a well-written breakdown of how some of the best teams ever were built. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned that Mark and Dan are working on a new project, In Pursuit of Pennants, coming out this spring. The book is a history of baseball operations, and I'm almost as excited for it as I am for the season itself."--The Joe Sheehan Newsletter.


"Armour and Levitt show us how the teams didn’t just rely on the players in the field but also on the team in the front office. It’s a must-own for those baseball fans interested in how the front office works." -- Danielle Solzman,, May 31, 2015.

"This book is packed with similar anecdotes and insights. It entertains and informs. And while no book can provide a step-by-step guide that guarantees winning, it certainly demonstrates the common traits that successful organizations tend to have and how they've evolved over the years." -- Paul Hagen,, May 12, 2015.

​"Armour and Levitt's book is an extremely exhaustive and still easily read survey of how front offices have evolved, changed and adapted to the changing conditions of the game. ... Much like Armour and Levit's previous collaboration Paths to Glory, this new book is a valued addition to the bookshelf, one that may remain there for years to come."  -- J. J. Cooper, Baseball America, May 8-22, 2015.

"With the amount of historical content locked in this book, it is impossible for the reader not to come out a smarter fan with each turn of the page." -- Cody Christie, Twins Daily, May 5, 2015.

"Read this book for its treasure trove of baseball history and because it is a damn good read." -- G. Louis Heath, Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature, April 22, 2015.

"We thank the authors for uncovering all kinds of previously written info about the men who deserve recognition." -- Tom Hoffarth,, April 18, 2015.

"This is an interesting casebook in the business of building winning teams."  One of Deadspin's "The Season’s Best Baseball Books," April 12, 2015.

​"Four stars.  A smart work about an important aspect of the sport [for] those who wish to get an advanced education on the subject." -- Sports Book Review Center, April 9, 2015.

​​One of "8 books for Opening Day and beyond." The Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2015.

​One of "6 New Business of Baseball Books." Forbes​, March 31, 2015.

One of "This week's must-read books."  -- New York Post, March 28, 2015.

"Any reader who has even a passing interest in baseball will enjoy reading this book." (5 out of 5 stars) -- The Guy Who Reviews Sports Books, March 22, 2015.