Backstory: The Three Real-Life Players of “Moneyball”

Will Leitch
·Editor

Toward the beginning of "Moneyball," Brad Pitt, as Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane, sits down with his scouting staff and begins targeting players he'd like to bring in to replace stars Jason Giambi, Johnny Damon and Jason Isringhausen. We end up meeting four. One, David Justice, is a veteran who was already well-known around the league and would soon retire. (He also happened to be married to -- and accused of beating -- Halle Berry five years before 2002, the year the film is set.) The other three, though, are names that might be less familiar to non-baseball fans: Jeremy Giambi, Chad Bradford and Scott Hatteberg, played by Chris Pratt from "Parks and Recreation." All three are painted as vital cogs, in both the book and the movie, in the A's playoff run. But whatever happened to those guys?

Well, let's take a look.

Chad Bradford. The goateed, underhand-throwing relief pitcher who promises Beane that he'll pray for him pitched for the A's for two more years after the 2002 season, pitching well, if progressively worse, each season. After leaving the A's, he bounced around from team to team: in 2005, the Boston Red Sox; in 2006, the New York Mets; in 2007, the Baltimore Orioles; in 2008, Baltimore and the Tampa Bay Rays; in 2009, Tampa Bay. (His best season was probably 2008's stint with the Rays, notching a 1.42 ERA in 21 games and ultimately pitching two scoreless innings in the World Series. He retired after the 2009 season because of elbow injuries. And he really does pitch weird like that, look:

Jeremy Giambi. "Moneyball" makes a big deal out of Jason's brother's supposed crazy partying, but honestly, he wasn't that bad. He did face a misdemeanor charge in 2001 for having marijuana at an airport checkpoint, but the notion that he was some manic, out-of-control gambling fiend are a bit overstated. Besides, his problem wasn't illegal drugs: Like his brother, his problem was performance-enhancing drugs. Jeremy was all over the Mitchell Report, baseball's flawed but expansive examination of its steroid era. His most famous play is failing to slide at home during the 2001 ALCS against the Yankees, leading to Derek Jeter's legendary "flip play." After he was traded midseason to the Phillies, like in the movie, he played 2003 in Boston (like so many A's, really) and then retired. His older brother Jason is still around, with the Colorado Rockies.

Scott Hatteberg. The most likable player in the film -- if you're played by Chris Pratt, how could you not be? -- he hits the big dramatic homer off future steroid Patient Zero Jason Grimsley. Hatteberg played with the A's for four more years after the "Moneyball" season, though he never had as good a season as 2002. He spent the final two years of his career in Cincinnati and, in a nice touch, now works in the A's front office under Billy Beane. The daughter we see in the film, she's now 14.

One thing all these players have in common: They're all long out of baseball. In fact, of all the players on that 2002 team, only eight of them are still active ... and none of them play for the A's.