Moneyball: What Happened To Paul DePodesta (The Real Peter Brand)

Jonah Hill’s character in Moneyball, Peter Brand, has an intriguing real-life story, beginning with the fact that his real name is in fact Paul DePodesta. DePodesta was the inspiration for Hill’s unexpected mastermind of the analytics approach at the center of the 2011 baseball drama that reinvents the fortunes of Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) Oakland A’s. Indeed, in real life, Paul DePodesta’s net worth has skyrocketed due to his contributions to the game. Moneyball considerably changed Michael Lewis’ book, and some of that work went into reinventing the real-life story of Paul and Billy Beane’s journey to the cutting edge of sports management.

In Moneyball, Peter Brand/Paul Podesta is an intriguing figure with radical ideas about how to play the sports management game. Moneyball‘s takes on the true story initially places Peter Brand as a fresh out of Yale as an economics graduate. Jonah Hill’s Brand inspires Beane to sign undervalued players and trades, a move that creates unmitigated hostility in the world of baseball. It’s Beane and Brand’s unique sabermetric method that allows them to go to the World Series in the Moneyball epilogue, changing the way that things are run in the sports management world for the better. However, what about the real Paul Podesta and did he really change the game this drastically? Here’s everything that happened to the real Peter Brand.

The Real Paul DePodesta Explained

Paul DePodesta graduated from Harvard with an economics degree before working as a scout for Cleveland’s baseball team, where he was plucked by Billy Beane to come personally fix the Oakland A’s. Just as is shown through Jonah Hill’s Peter Brand, he had an ace up his sleeve: a belief in a completely quantitative approach to running the team using “sabermetrics” (derived from the Society for American Baseball Research acronym “SABR”).

Beane and DePodesta used this revolutionary approach to win 20 straight games on a shoestring budget with a philosophy built not around superstars but around mathematical certainties (to the extent that it was possible), and their success would go on to influence professional sports of all kinds for years to come. Moneyball‘s key inspiration, Paul DePodesta, would be at the heart of that evolution. After the success of the 2002 A’s season that revolutionized the sport of baseball, the real Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta were primed to take big career steps with DePodesta brought in as the General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers at only 31 years old.

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After navigating a successful ’04 season, a combination of injuries, free agency departures of key personnel, and management decisions saw Los Angeles turn in its worst season in nearly a half-century in ’05, and DePodesta was fired. Because of his status as a status-quo-shaking “maverick”, at least in terms of the old school of baseball, DePodesta was hounded by the sport’s traditionalists, particularly in the media. Ultimately, they loudly proclaimed his failures to be evidence of the coldness and unrighteousness of analytics’ influence on the sport. Despite this, teams like the Red Sox would subsequently win championships by building upon his methods.

Moneyball Inspiration DePodesta Continued To Revolutionize Baseball And Tried Acting, Too

Billy Beane scouting his team in Moneyball.

Paul DePodesta, the inspiration for Moneyball, continued to make waves throughout baseball. After Moneyball‘s troubled development, which saw the arrival and departure of director Steven Soderbergh in the director’s chair and actor/comedian Demetri Martin as DePodesta, the team of Brad Pitt, director Bennett Miller, and Jonah Hill got the wheels moving, with Aaron Sorkin hired to rewrite the script with Steven Zaillian. The rewriting saw Paul DePodesta decide Moneyball‘s version of “Paul DePodesta” was no longer true to life and requested that his name be removed from the character. This was perhaps compounded by the fact that he found fame an uneasy companion, and expressed disdain for Michael Lewis’ book and how much his “trade secrets” were exposed.

Notably, Paul DePodesta’s story would achieve renewed attention with Moneyball’s excellent movie adaptation of the book originally published in 2003 to examine ground zero of the sabermetrics revolution. Whether his position was weakened by familiarity or not, Paul DePodesta continued to live life like the plot of a baseball movie by applying his unique abilities into positions with the San Diego Padres and New York Mets before the National Football League decided his analytics approach could be used to evolve their sport. He was hired by the Cleveland Browns as Chief Strategy Officer in 2016, and he’s currently their de facto President, presiding over a recent turnaround in competitiveness for the perennial doormat franchise.

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It was revealed that in 1995, while working for the Baltimore Stallions in the CFL, DePodesta also turned his hand to acting. He appeared as an uncredited extra in several episodes of Homicide: Life On The Streets as Officer McCormick. Ultimately, that childhood dream ended up being a funny footnote on one of sport’s most enduring success stories. From Moneyball to the NFL, Paul DePodesta has left a sizable mark on the face of professional sports. Likewise, similar to other true-story-inspired sports movies like Friday Night Lights and A League of Their Own, Moneyball has secured its place in modern sports and entertainment.

What Is Paul DePodesta’s Net WorthBilly Beane and Peter Brand talking in an office in Moneyball

Paul DePodesta’s net worth is difficult to precisely determine, but based on what’s known about him, DePodesta’s overall current net worth is estimated to be around $10 million. Much of this is based on Paul DePodesta’s current job as the Cleveland Browns’ Chief Strategy Officer and de facto president. DePodesta got this job in 2016, and his contract was extended for five more years in 2020, with an estimated annual salary of $2 million.

These amounts certainly pale in comparison to the estimated respective net worth of the other individuals who worked on Moneyball, and even to the young millionaire online streamers and gamers like MrBeast whose income has become comparable to Hollywood stars. However, while America has many millionaires, there’s only one Paul DePodesta, and the fact is that the man’s past and continuing contributions to the world of professional sports simply cannot be measured in dollars.

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What Paul DePodesta Thinks Of Peter Brand

Jonah Hill as Peter Brand smiling and raising his hand in Moneyball

Since Jonah Hill plays Paul DePodesta in Moneyball, curiosity surrounding what the real-life person thinks of his movie counterpart is only natural. Luckily, Paul DePodesta sat down in an interview (via Nautilus) to discuss what he thought of the movie, and Jonah Hill’s portrayal of him. DePodesta is modest about his own achievements in the world of sports, but his contributions haven’t gone unnoticed. When asked about how his initial goals aligned with that of his character in Moneyball, Paul DePodesta admitted that it wasn’t his intention to upend sports analysis like Jonah Hill’s character, rather, he wanted to try and help the team at hand in a new way.

That being said, DePodesta didn’t want his real name to be used in the movie, and while he liked both the novel and the film, he ultimately felt that his portrayal was a caricature. “I just didn’t feel comfortable that however I was going to be portrayed in the movie was going to be how 99.9 percent of the public imagined me to be, and would assume that whatever was in the movie was absolutely true, which it wasn’t. The other problem was I wasn’t all that interested in the attention. It had already happened from the book. And I didn’t necessarily need to relive it,” DePodesta admitted. Either way, Jonah Hill does a fantastic job as Peter Brand in Moneyball, even if his portrayal of Paul DePodesta wasn’t that accurate.

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