Cannon Fodder: The Casualties of WAR (Volume 1)

In another thread, longtime reader Topper wondered aloud: “Who is the all-time SABR whipping boy?”

In our first installment of Cannon Fodder: The Casualties of WAR, we look not at overrated players per se, but at those who managed the longest careers (since 1901) with a very poor WAR rate.

Note: To save space, I’ve shortened OPS+ to O+ and ERA+ to E+ in most of the tables.

POSITION PLAYERS

Standard: 1,193+ games (to capture exactly 50 players) and less than 1 WAR per 500 games.
(See addendum at bottom of post for WAR Runs breakdown — batting, fielding, etc.) 

Rk Player G ▾ WAR OPS+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Pos
1 Doc Cramer 2238 4.2 87 .296 .715 1929 1948 9927 9140 1357 2705 396 109 37 842 572 *8/9761
2 Alfredo Griffin 1962 -0.1 67 .249 .604 1976 1993 7331 6780 759 1688 245 78 24 527 338 *6/4D5
3 Lenny Harris 1903 0.7 80 .269 .667 1988 2005 4289 3924 460 1055 161 21 37 369 279 5497/36D81
4 Ed Kranepool 1853 2.2 98 .261 .693 1962 1979 5997 5436 536 1418 225 25 118 614 454 *379/8
5 Dante Bichette 1704 3.0 107 .299 .835 1988 2001 6856 6381 934 1906 401 27 274 1141 355 *97/D85
6 Jim Hegan 1666 1.9 74 .228 .639 1941 1960 5320 4772 550 1087 187 46 92 525 456 *2
7 Leo Durocher 1637 2.7 66 .247 .619 1925 1945 5829 5350 575 1320 210 56 24 567 377 *6/45
8 Willie Montanez 1632 -0.7 102 .275 .729 1966 1982 6407 5843 645 1604 279 25 139 802 465 *38/9D7
9 Luke Sewell 1630 1.1 70 .259 .665 1921 1942 6044 5383 653 1393 272 56 20 696 486 *2/39745
10 Rollie Hemsley 1593 1.3 74 .262 .671 1928 1947 5511 5047 562 1321 257 72 31 555 357 *2/7398
11 Jim Spencer 1553 0.1 98 .250 .694 1968 1982 5408 4908 541 1227 179 27 146 599 407 *3D/7
12 Wally Gerber 1523 0.6 67 .257 .635 1914 1929 5829 5099 558 1309 172 46 7 476 465 *6/458
13 Chris Gomez 1515 -3.3 82 .262 .685 1993 2008 5148 4604 517 1206 234 18 60 487 408 *643/5D
14 Bill Wambsganss 1493 0.5 78 .259 .655 1914 1926 6107 5241 710 1359 215 59 7 520 490 *46/53
15 Bob Kennedy 1485 -4.4 80 .254 .665 1939 1957 5065 4624 514 1176 196 41 63 514 364 957/834
16 Jerry Morales 1441 -3.8 91 .259 .695 1969 1983 4984 4528 516 1173 199 36 95 570 366 987/D5
17 Jerry Royster 1428 0.8 76 .249 .648 1973 1988 4732 4208 552 1049 165 33 40 352 411 5467/89D
18 Pete Suder 1421 -4.1 71 .249 .627 1941 1955 5474 5085 469 1268 210 44 49 541 288 *456/39
19 Neifi Perez 1403 0.2 64 .267 .672 1996 2007 5510 5127 640 1370 238 61 64 489 231 *64/52D
20 Geoff Blum 1389 1.9 81 .250 .694 1999 2012 4393 3966 446 990 206 15 99 479 332 546/379D
21 Jesus Alou 1380 -1.0 86 .280 .658 1963 1979 4577 4345 448 1216 170 26 32 377 138 97/D83
22 Ski Melillo 1378 -2.5 64 .260 .646 1926 1937 5537 5063 590 1316 210 64 22 548 327 *4/56
23 Ken Reitz 1344 -4.9 79 .260 .649 1972 1982 5079 4777 366 1243 243 12 68 548 184 *5/64
24 Bob Aspromonte 1324 -1.1 86 .252 .644 1956 1971 4799 4369 386 1103 135 26 60 457 333 *5/67349
25 John Mabry 1322 -3.3 90 .263 .727 1994 2007 3765 3409 382 898 183 6 96 446 284 3975/D81
26 Ty Wigginton 1309 1.7 99 .262 .762 2002 2012 4872 4410 549 1157 243 14 169 591 364 *534/7D96
27 Doug Flynn 1309 -8.5 58 .238 .560 1975 1985 4085 3853 288 918 115 39 7 284 151 *46/5
28 Keith Moreland 1306 0.9 104 .279 .746 1978 1989 5082 4581 511 1279 214 14 121 674 405 95237/D
29 Mike Matheny 1305 -1.9 65 .239 .637 1994 2006 4287 3877 353 925 190 9 67 443 266 *2/3D
30 Tony Womack 1303 0.9 72 .273 .673 1993 2006 5389 4963 739 1353 190 59 36 368 308 469/78D
31 Red Dooin 1290 2.4 72 .240 .570 1902 1916 4271 4004 333 961 139 31 10 344 155 *2/738954
32 Walt Dropo 1288 1.3 100 .270 .757 1949 1961 4522 4124 478 1113 168 22 152 704 328 *3/5
33 Brent Mayne 1279 1.4 76 .263 .680 1990 2004 4084 3614 359 951 178 8 38 403 370 *2/5D31
34 Lou Finney 1270 -0.3 88 .287 .723 1931 1947 5034 4631 643 1329 203 85 31 494 329 9378/45
35 Jesse Orosco 1252 0.5 23 .169 .430 1979 2003 76 59 3 10 0 0 0 4 8 *1/9
36 Don Mueller 1245 1.2 88 .296 .712 1948 1959 4593 4364 499 1292 139 37 65 520 167 *9/78
37 Billy Hatcher 1233 2.0 86 .264 .676 1984 1995 4752 4339 586 1146 210 30 54 399 267 78/94D
38 Tommy Thevenow 1229 -6.7 51 .247 .579 1924 1938 4483 4164 380 1030 124 32 2 456 210 *645/3
39 Jim Wohlford 1220 0.2 84 .260 .656 1972 1986 3371 3049 349 793 125 33 21 305 241 79/D845
40 Randy Bush 1219 0.1 102 .251 .747 1982 1993 3481 3045 388 763 154 26 96 409 348 9D7/38
41 Roger Metzger 1219 2.1 68 .231 .584 1970 1980 4676 4201 453 972 101 71 5 254 355 *6/45
42 Mark Sweeney 1218 1.1 92 .254 .734 1995 2008 2131 1830 220 464 101 9 42 250 259 379/D8
43 Larry Biittner 1217 -2.3 88 .273 .683 1970 1983 3443 3151 310 861 144 20 29 354 236 379/8D1
44 Wes Helms 1212 -2.7 88 .256 .723 1998 2011 3027 2711 280 694 151 14 75 374 220 *53/79D4
45 Walter Holke 1212 -1.8 90 .287 .682 1914 1925 4831 4456 464 1278 153 58 24 487 191 *3/1
46 Orlando Palmeiro 1206 1.7 83 .274 .701 1995 2007 2706 2335 306 640 113 14 12 226 265 798/D
47 Rabbit Warstler 1206 1.2 59 .229 .587 1930 1940 4615 4088 431 935 133 36 11 332 405 *64/5
48 Pat Tabler 1202 1.3 99 .282 .724 1981 1992 4364 3911 454 1101 190 25 47 512 375 3D7/594
49 Hal Lanier 1196 -2.3 50 .228 .529 1964 1973 3940 3703 297 843 111 20 8 273 136 *645/3
50 Gerald Perry 1193 -1.6 95 .265 .708 1983 1995 3527 3144 383 832 150 11 59 396 328 *3/7D9
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/25/2012.

By Position:

Catcher

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Jim Hegan 1666 1.9 74 .228 .639 1941 1960 5320 4772 550 1087 187 46 92 525 456 CLE-TOT-CHC
Luke Sewell 1630 1.1 70 .259 .665 1921 1942 6044 5383 653 1393 272 56 20 696 486 CLE-WSH-CHW-SLB
Rollie Hemsley 1593 1.3 74 .262 .671 1928 1947 5511 5047 562 1321 257 72 31 555 357 PIT-TOT-CHC-SLB-CLE-NYY-PHI
Mike Matheny 1305 -1.9 65 .239 .637 1994 2006 4287 3877 353 925 190 9 67 443 266 MIL-TOR-STL-SFG
Red Dooin 1290 2.4 72 .240 .570 1902 1916 4271 4004 333 961 139 31 10 344 155 PHI-TOT-NYG
Brent Mayne 1279 1.4 76 .263 .680 1990 2004 4084 3614 359 951 178 8 38 403 370 NYM-OAK-SFG-COL-TOT-KCR

First Base

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Ed Kranepool 1853 2.2 98 .261 .693 1962 1979 5997 5436 536 1418 225 25 118 614 454 NYM
Willie Montanez 1632 -0.7 102 .275 .729 1966 1982 6407 5843 645 1604 279 25 139 802 465 CAL-PHI-TOT-ATL-NYM
Jim Spencer 1553 0.1 98 .250 .694 1968 1982 5408 4908 541 1227 179 27 146 599 407 CAL-TOT-TEX-CHW-NYY-OAK
Walt Dropo 1288 1.3 100 .270 .757 1949 1961 4522 4124 478 1113 168 22 152 704 328 BOS-TOT-DET-CHW-BAL
Walter Holke 1212 -1.8 90 .287 .682 1914 1925 4831 4456 464 1278 153 58 24 487 191 NYG-BSN-PHI-TOT
Gerald Perry 1193 -1.6 95 .265 .708 1983 1995 3527 3144 383 832 150 11 59 396 328 ATL-KCR-STL

Second Base

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Bill Wambsganss 1493 0.5 78 .259 .655 1914 1926 6107 5241 710 1359 215 59 7 520 490 CLE-BOS-PHA
Pete Suder 1421 -4.1 71 .249 .627 1941 1955 5474 5085 469 1268 210 44 49 541 288 PHA-KCA
Ski Melillo 1378 -2.5 64 .260 .646 1926 1937 5537 5063 590 1316 210 64 22 548 327 SLB-TOT-BOS
Doug Flynn 1309 -8.5 58 .238 .560 1975 1985 4085 3853 288 918 115 39 7 284 151 CIN-TOT-NYM-MON

Shortstop

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Alfredo Griffin 1962 -0.1 67 .249 .604 1976 1993 7331 6780 759 1688 245 78 24 527 338 CLE-TOR-OAK-LAD
Leo Durocher 1637 2.7 66 .247 .619 1925 1945 5829 5350 575 1320 210 56 24 567 377 NYY-CIN-TOT-STL-BRO
Wally Gerber 1523 0.6 67 .257 .635 1914 1929 5829 5099 558 1309 172 46 7 476 465 PIT-SLB-TOT-BOS
Chris Gomez 1515 -3.3 82 .262 .685 1993 2008 5148 4604 517 1206 234 18 60 487 408 DET-TOT-SDP-TBD-MIN-TOR-BAL-PIT
Neifi Perez 1403 0.2 64 .267 .672 1996 2007 5510 5127 640 1370 238 61 64 489 231 COL-TOT-KCR-SFG-CHC-DET
Tommy Thevenow 1229 -6.7 51 .247 .579 1924 1938 4483 4164 380 1030 124 32 2 456 210 STL-PHI-PIT-CIN-BSN
Roger Metzger 1219 2.1 68 .231 .584 1970 1980 4676 4201 453 972 101 71 5 254 355 CHC-HOU-TOT-SFG
Rabbit Warstler 1206 1.2 59 .229 .587 1930 1940 4615 4088 431 935 133 36 11 332 405 BOS-PHA-TOT-BSN
Hal Lanier 1196 -2.3 50 .228 .529 1964 1973 3940 3703 297 843 111 20 8 273 136 SFG-NYY

Third Base

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Ken Reitz 1344 -4.9 79 .260 .649 1972 1982 5079 4777 366 1243 243 12 68 548 184 STL-SFG-CHC-PIT
Bob Aspromonte 1324 -1.1 86 .252 .644 1956 1971 4799 4369 386 1103 135 26 60 457 333 BRO-LAD-HOU-ATL-NYM
Ty Wigginton 1309 1.7 99 .262 .762 2002 2012 4872 4410 549 1157 243 14 169 591 364 NYM-TOT-PIT-TBD-HOU-BAL-COL-PHI
Wes Helms 1212 -2.7 88 .256 .723 1998 2011 3027 2711 280 694 151 14 75 374 220 ATL-MIL-FLA-PHI

Outfield

Player G WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Doc Cramer 2238 4.2 87 .296 .715 1929 1948 9927 9140 1357 2705 396 109 37 842 572 PHA-BOS-WSH-DET
Dante Bichette 1704 3.0 107 .299 .835 1988 2001 6856 6381 934 1906 401 27 274 1141 355 CAL-MIL-COL-TOT-BOS
Bob Kennedy 1485 -4.4 80 .254 .665 1939 1957 5065 4624 514 1176 196 41 63 514 364 CHW-CLE-TOT
Jerry Morales 1441 -3.8 91 .259 .695 1969 1983 4984 4528 516 1173 199 36 95 570 366 SDP-CHC-STL-DET-NYM
Jesus Alou 1380 -1.0 86 .280 .658 1963 1979 4577 4345 448 1216 170 26 32 377 138 SFG-HOU-TOT-OAK-NYM
Keith Moreland 1306 0.9 104 .279 .746 1978 1989 5082 4581 511 1279 214 14 121 674 405 PHI-CHC-SDP-TOT
Lou Finney 1270 -0.3 88 .287 .723 1931 1947 5034 4631 643 1329 203 85 31 494 329 PHA-TOT-BOS-SLB-PHI
Don Mueller 1245 1.2 88 .296 .712 1948 1959 4593 4364 499 1292 139 37 65 520 167 NYG-CHW
Billy Hatcher 1233 2.0 86 .264 .676 1984 1995 4752 4339 586 1146 210 30 54 399 267 CHC-HOU-TOT-CIN-BOS-TEX
Jim Wohlford 1220 0.2 84 .260 .656 1972 1986 3371 3049 349 793 125 33 21 305 241 KCR-MIL-SFG-MON
Orlando Palmeiro 1206 1.7 83 .274 .701 1995 2007 2706 2335 306 640 113 14 12 226 265 CAL-ANA-STL-HOU

Designated Hitter*

Player G* WAR O+ BA OPS From To PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB Team
Glenn Adams 661 -2.1 96 .280 .721 1975 1982 1765 1617 152 452 79 5 34 225 111 SFG-MIN-TOR
*Games threshold was lowered to capture at least one player.

PITCHERS

Starting Pitcher

Standard: 1,500+ innings and less than 1 WAR per 200 IP.

Pitcher IP ▾ WAR W ERA E+ Fro To G GS SH L W% H R ER BB SO Team
Tom Hughes 2623.0 12.2 131 3.08 93 1901 1913 396 310 25 173 .431 2579 1278 897 846 1356 CHC-TOT-BOS-WSH
Bobby Witt 2465.0 11.7 142 4.83 91 1986 2001 430 397 11 157 .475 2493 1449 1324 1375 1955 TEX-TOT-OAK-TBD-CLE-ARI
Jim Lonborg 2464.1 11.8 157 3.86 95 1965 1979 425 368 15 137 .534 2400 1170 1056 823 1475 BOS-MIL-PHI
Jack Billingham 2231.1 7.7 145 3.83 94 1968 1980 476 305 27 113 .562 2272 1069 949 750 1141 LAD-HOU-CIN-DET-TOT
Sid Hudson 2181.0 10.1 104 4.28 95 1940 1954 380 279 11 152 .406 2384 1212 1036 835 734 WSH-TOT-BOS
Jaime Navarro 2055.1 7.5 116 4.72 90 1989 2000 361 309 8 126 .479 2313 1206 1078 690 1113 MIL-CHC-CHW-TOT
Ross Grimsley 2039.1 4.1 124 3.81 92 1971 1982 345 295 15 99 .556 2105 947 863 559 750 CIN-BAL-MON-TOT
Vern Kennedy 2025.2 7.9 104 4.67 95 1934 1945 344 263 7 132 .441 2173 1202 1052 1049 691 CHW-DET-TOT-SLB-CLE
Bill Dietrich 2003.2 4.4 108 4.48 92 1933 1948 366 253 17 128 .458 2117 1146 997 890 660 PHA-TOT-CHW
Walt Terrell 1986.2 8.7 111 4.22 93 1982 1992 321 294 14 124 .472 2090 1031 931 748 929 NYM-DET-TOT
Chick Fraser 1981.1 8.8 103 3.30 90 1901 1909 259 225 16 125 .452 1925 1038 727 743 734 PHA-PHI-BSN-CIN-CHC
Jack Fisher 1975.2 3.2 86 4.06 88 1959 1969 400 265 9 139 .382 2061 1024 891 605 1017 BAL-SFG-NYM-CHW-CIN
Brett Tomko 1816.0 8.9 100 4.65 92 1997 2011 397 266 2 103 .493 1898 1011 939 582 1209 CIN-SEA-SDP-STL-SFG-LAD-TOT-TEX
Jason Marquis 1803.1 3.6 112 4.60 95 2000 2012 348 289 5 109 .507 1904 1016 921 687 1065 ATL-STL-CHC-COL-WSN-TOT
Herm Wehmeier 1803.0 3.6 92 4.80 84 1945 1958 361 240 9 108 .460 1806 1044 961 852 794 CIN-TOT-PHI-STL
Ed Willett 1773.1 8.7 102 3.08 95 1906 1915 274 203 12 100 .505 1719 842 607 565 600 DET-SLM
Tony Cloninger 1767.2 0.1 113 4.07 88 1961 1972 352 247 13 97 .538 1643 898 799 798 1120 MLN-ATL-TOT-CIN-STL
Mark Gardner 1764.2 4.3 99 4.56 88 1989 2001 345 275 8 93 .516 1752 960 894 628 1256 MON-KCR-FLA-SFG
Sidney Ponson 1760.1 8.8 91 5.03 89 1998 2009 298 278 4 113 .446 2004 1051 983 609 1031 BAL-TOT-MIN-KCR
Flint Rhem 1725.1 4.8 105 4.20 98 1924 1936 294 230 8 97 .520 1958 989 805 529 534 STL-TOT-PHI-BSN
Shawn Estes 1678.1 7.4 101 4.71 90 1995 2008 283 281 8 93 .521 1708 950 879 858 1210 SFG-TOT-CHC-COL-ARI-SDP
Jim Bagby 1666.1 5.9 97 3.96 97 1938 1947 303 198 13 96 .503 1815 849 733 608 431 BOS-CLE-PIT
Bob Walk 1666.0 4.0 105 4.03 91 1980 1993 350 259 6 81 .565 1671 829 746 606 848 PHI-ATL-PIT
Russ Ortiz 1661.1 7.4 113 4.51 93 1998 2010 311 266 3 89 .559 1618 903 832 860 1192 SFG-ATL-ARI-TOT-HOU-LAD
Harry McIntire 1650.0 4.7 71 3.22 83 1905 1913 237 188 17 117 .378 1555 778 590 539 626 BRO-CHC-CIN
Steve Blass 1597.1 5.6 103 3.63 95 1964 1974 282 231 16 76 .575 1558 739 644 597 896 PIT
Frank Castillo 1595.1 7.6 82 4.56 95 1991 2005 297 268 3 104 .441 1660 878 809 506 1101 CHC-TOT-DET-TOR-BOS-FLA
Jose Lima 1567.2 4.1 89 5.26 85 1994 2006 348 235 1 102 .466 1783 972 917 393 980 DET-HOU-TOT-KCR-LAD-NYM
Andy Hawkins 1558.1 1.2 84 4.22 87 1982 1991 280 249 10 91 .480 1574 815 731 612 706 SDP-NYY-TOT
Clay Kirby 1548.0 7.2 75 3.84 92 1969 1976 261 239 8 104 .419 1430 755 660 713 1061 SDP-CIN-MON
Bobby Jones 1518.2 6.5 89 4.36 94 1993 2002 245 241 4 83 .517 1639 833 735 412 887 NYM-SDP
Blue Moon Odom 1509.0 0.2 84 3.70 89 1964 1976 295 229 15 85 .497 1362 708 620 788 857 KCA-OAK-TOT-CHW

Relief Pitcher

Standard: 700+ innings and less than 1 WAR per 300 IP.*

Player IP WAR SV ERA E+ Fro To G GS GF W L H R ER BB SO Tm
Julian Tavarez 1404.1 3.1 23 4.46 101 1993 2009 828 108 184 88 82 1540 808 696 563 842 CLE-SFG-COL-CHC-FLA-PIT-STL-BOS-TOT-WSN
Ron Villone 1168.0 3.1 8 4.73 96 1995 2009 717 93 168 61 65 1115 665 614 637 925 TOT-MIL-CLE-CIN-PIT-HOU-SEA-NYY-STL-WSN
Scott Schoeneweis 972.0 1.6 9 5.01 92 1999 2010 577 93 104 47 57 1035 580 541 398 568 ANA-TOT-CHW-TOR-NYM-ARI-BOS
Dale Murray 902.1 1.9 60 3.85 100 1974 1985 518 1 289 53 50 976 448 386 329 400 MON-CIN-TOT-TOR-NYY
Jeff Robinson 901.1 2.3 39 3.79 96 1984 1992 454 62 155 46 57 880 433 380 349 629 SFG-TOT-PIT-NYY-CAL-CHC
Rick White 858.2 1.7 16 4.45 102 1994 2007 613 18 172 42 54 930 485 425 289 542 PIT-TBD-TOT-NYM-CLE
Russ Springer 856.1 2.3 9 4.52 98 1992 2010 740 27 168 36 45 824 458 430 349 775 NYY-CAL-TOT-PHI-HOU-ATL-ARI-STL-CIN
Chad Durbin 818.2 -0.9 5 4.96 90 1999 2012 437 75 78 42 47 872 495 451 356 558 KCR-CLE-TOT-DET-PHI-ATL
John Wasdin 793.1 2.2 7 5.28 92 1995 2007 328 65 78 39 39 874 494 465 252 527 OAK-BOS-TOT-TOR-TEX-PIT
Alan Embree 774.0 1.5 25 4.59 96 1992 2009 882 4 217 39 45 744 429 395 293 691 CLE-ATL-TOT-SFG-BOS-SDP-OAK-COL
Jerry Johnson 770.2 -3.1 41 4.31 84 1968 1977 365 39 184 48 51 779 422 369 389 489 PHI-TOT-SFG-CLE-HOU-SDP-TOR
Casey Cox 762.0 -1.4 20 3.70 92 1966 1973 308 59 100 39 42 772 377 313 234 297 WSA-TOT-NYY
Jay Witasick 731.1 2.3 5 4.64 97 1996 2007 405 56 101 32 41 775 429 377 364 645 OAK-KCR-TOT-SFG-SDP
Jack Lamabe 711.0 -0.5 15 4.24 85 1962 1968 285 49 81 33 41 753 375 335 238 434 PIT-BOS-TOT-CHW-CHC
Mark Petkovsek 710.0 -0.3 5 4.74 93 1991 2001 390 41 101 46 28 797 411 374 222 358 TEX-PIT-STL-ANA
Pat Mahomes 709.0 -1.4 5 5.47 84 1992 2003 308 63 74 42 39 738 461 431 392 452 MIN-TOT-BOS-NYM-TEX-CHC-PIT
Dan Miceli 700.2 1.8 39 4.48 99 1993 2006 631 9 225 43 52 684 383 349 310 632 PIT-DET-SDP-FLA-TOT-TEX-HOU-COL-TBD
Frank DiPino 700.0 1.4 56 3.83 96 1981 1993 514 6 216 35 38 673 332 298 269 515 MIL-HOU-TOT-CHC-STL-KCR
*A tougher WAR standard was applied to relievers because they accumulate more WAR per IP than starters.

____________________

Addendum: WAR Runs Breakdowns for Position Players

Sorted by WAR Runs Batting:

Rk Player WAR/pos Rbat ▾ Rdp Rbaser Rfield G From To
1 Dante Bichette 3.0 54 -14 -27 -90 1704 1988 2001
2 Keith Moreland 0.9 14 -13 -17 -83 1306 1978 1989
3 Ty Wigginton 1.7 12 -7 -15 -95 1309 2002 2012
4 Pat Tabler 1.3 7 -4 -6 -46 1202 1981 1992
5 Randy Bush 0.1 -3 2 -5 -35 1219 1982 1993
6 Jesse Orosco 0.5 -5 0 0 0 1252 1979 2003
7 Mark Sweeney 1.1 -11 4 1 -8 1218 1995 2008
8 Walt Dropo 1.3 -13 -21 -6 -8 1288 1949 1961
9 Gerald Perry -1.6 -18 2 -7 -39 1193 1983 1995
10 Willie Montanez -0.7 -21 -5 -23 -56 1632 1966 1982
11 Ed Kranepool 2.2 -32 -3 -11 -24 1853 1962 1979
12 Jerry Morales -3.8 -39 -3 -6 -79 1441 1969 1983
13 Jim Spencer 0.1 -43 -2 -13 -2 1553 1968 1982
14 Wes Helms -2.7 -44 -9 -8 -30 1212 1998 2011
15 Orlando Palmeiro 1.7 -47 8 4 1 1206 1995 2007
16 Larry Biittner -2.3 -56 -2 -8 -3 1217 1970 1983
17 Jim Wohlford 0.2 -57 5 -12 13 1220 1972 1986
18 Jesus Alou -1.0 -57 -8 -11 -9 1380 1963 1979
19 John Mabry -3.3 -64 -5 -12 -1 1322 1994 2007
20 Walter Holke -1.8 -65 0 -8 -24 1212 1914 1925
21 Bob Aspromonte -1.1 -67 -10 -11 -87 1324 1956 1971
22 Don Mueller 1.2 -68 10 1 -15 1245 1948 1959
23 Billy Hatcher 2.0 -71 3 9 -33 1233 1984 1995
24 Lou Finney -0.3 -77 0 -8 -16 1270 1931 1947
25 Lenny Harris 0.7 -101 7 14 -21 1903 1988 2005
26 Chris Gomez -3.3 -106 -6 -13 -111 1515 1993 2008
27 Jerry Royster 0.8 -116 -2 1 -35 1428 1973 1988
28 Geoff Blum 1.9 -117 1 -6 9 1389 1999 2012
29 Bob Kennedy -4.4 -125 -8 -9 10 1485 1939 1957
30 Red Dooin 2.4 -131 0 -3 -26 1290 1902 1916
31 Brent Mayne 1.4 -131 -12 -16 -7 1279 1990 2004
32 Ken Reitz -4.9 -146 -16 -20 -18 1344 1972 1982
33 Bill Wambsganss 0.5 -154 0 -10 -60 1493 1914 1926
34 Doc Cramer 4.2 -155 0 -10 -36 2238 1929 1948
35 Roger Metzger 2.1 -157 12 10 -34 1219 1970 1980
36 Jim Hegan 1.9 -176 -4 3 10 1666 1941 1960
37 Tony Womack 0.9 -190 17 51 -33 1303 1993 2006
38 Rollie Hemsley 1.3 -196 0 -2 6 1593 1928 1947
39 Pete Suder -4.1 -209 -3 -1 -2 1421 1941 1955
40 Doug Flynn -8.5 -216 8 -7 -18 1309 1975 1985
41 Mike Matheny -1.9 -220 -7 -12 31 1305 1994 2006
42 Rabbit Warstler 1.2 -227 0 -2 39 1206 1930 1940
43 Hal Lanier -2.3 -230 -6 -3 49 1196 1964 1973
44 Luke Sewell 1.1 -238 0 2 -1 1630 1921 1942
45 Wally Gerber 0.6 -240 0 -2 -30 1523 1914 1929
46 Leo Durocher 2.7 -253 0 1 20 1637 1925 1945
47 Neifi Perez 0.2 -280 13 2 62 1403 1996 2007
48 Ski Melillo -2.5 -284 0 -6 40 1378 1926 1937
49 Tommy Thevenow -6.7 -288 0 3 24 1229 1924 1938
50 Alfredo Griffin -0.1 -290 19 -11 -28 1962 1976 1993
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/25/2012.
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
78 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
mosc
mosc
8 years ago

Can we just call this the hall of DWAR oddities or something? DWAR ruins all perfectly reasonable statistical discussions. As a SABR enthusiast, I refuse to acknowledge DWAR as useful. Every fiber of my statistical being has taught me to evaluate a stat’s usefulness BEFORE incorporating it, let alone stuffing it into every single player’s lifetime value like some kind of statistical panacea. Clearly any analysis of DWAR itself shows how horrible it is. Why then do people continue to rely on it??

The pitchers look interesting though, I’ll reserve judgment on that side of the ball.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Mosc – I’m a bit unclear on your comment. Where did John do anything that isolates dWAR? His lists were generated off of WAR, not dWAR. Can you clarify your comment? Thanks!

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

Mosc: The top career WAR fielding nuimbers of all time are held by, in order, Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Andruw Jones and Roberto Clemente. That sounds to me as if dWAR is not exactly random or blatantly contrary to intuition.

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

It’s probably not a good thing I had the first comment there. You guys probably prefer my negativity about dwar to be a little more buried. Thank you for discussing it though. JA, you’re very knowledgeable guy and I enjoy reading your stuff tremendously I hope my comments didn’t come across as against you, I just really don’t like when dWAR is lumped in with other statistics. On it’s own it means what it means and it’s simple enough to evaluate. Used as an adjuster in “wins above replacement” is really where I start to get upset. I don’t watch… Read more »

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

WAR accounts for ease of replacement, mosc, which is why a mediocre MI can be one of the hundred best gloves on Earth, and still check in as negative in dWAR. If you like, think of it as the inverse of the bonus that hitters get at the MI positions. A 15-HR 2b is more valuable than a 15-HR LF, because it’s so much easier to find the LF who can do that, rather than the 2b; likewise, a good defensive 2b is not that hard to find – the trick is finding one who can also give you some… Read more »

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

I guess I would look for an offset based on position. Simply being a Left Fielder should hurt your dwar. Simply being a shortstop should help it. You have to play like Brett Gardner out in left if you want to be a replacement level defensive corner outfielder in my book. Now, this would also change the magnitudes compared to offensive statistics, which is where Bichette comes in. He’s not a good fielder, but he’s not at an important fielding position. He can’t do much damage. There are lots of other little problems with DWAR. I don’t like the way… Read more »

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  mosc

OK, I think I see what you’re driving at. Of course, if you do it that way then you’re talking about a completely different measurement. And I think it’s important to know who’s capable of being a good fielder at an important position and who needs to be hidden where it matters less. The thing is, to measure that well, I think dWAR should stay as it is. Otherwise you’re measuring something incorrectly, IMHO – by saying Yuni Betancourt, i.e., gets a dWAR boost because he’s a shortstop, you run the risk of missing that he’s a terrible shortstop (by… Read more »

Doug
Editor
8 years ago

Casualties of WAR – love that, JA.

Tony Cloninger had much more WAR (2.8) as a batter, despite a .192/.205/.277 with 33 OPS+.

Other oddities
– Rollie Hemsley and Doc Cramer were 5-time All-Stars.
– Tommy Thevenow placed 4th in MVP voting with a 59 OPS+.
– Dante Bichette has the fewest walks ever (22) in a 40 HR season. Next lowest total was 32 walks in Andre Dawson’s 49 HR season.
– Steve Blass lost almost half of his career WAR in his final 93.2 IP (5% of his career IP)

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Tommy Thevenow holds the record for most consecutive at bats without a HR, 3347.

Doug
Editor
8 years ago

But, when you’re hot …
– Thevenow hit both of his 2 career HR in the same week.
– Similarly, Johnny Cooney (3673 career PA) hit both of his 2 career HR in the same series.

Al Bridwell may have had a longer streak than Thevenow. Bridwell hit his first career HR in the 1913 season, after 3208 AB through the 1912 season. Certainly, Bridwell had a longer PA streak at 3745+, to Thevenow’s 3605.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Including his World Series home run, all 3 of Thevenow’s home runs came during an 11 game stretch.

Jameson
Jameson
8 years ago
Reply to  Doug

Tommy Thevenow went 10 for 24 with a 1.023 OPS for the Cards in the 1926 WS. He also had a big hit in game 7 as they beat the Yanks for the title. That definitely had something to do with his MVP consideration.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1926_WS.shtm

I had never heard of the guy before this post.

JDGentile
8 years ago

This is excellent. Dante Bichett, Kieth Moreland! What a list. This really is a thing of beauty…

birtelcom
birtelcom
8 years ago

My thought had been to create an annual award for the guys with the most PAs or IP while being nothing more and nothing less than replacement level — say, no more than 0.1 WAR, no less than -0.1 WAR. I figure the Fredo Awards would be an appropriate name, in honor of both Alfredo Griffin, the classic replacement level player, and Fredo Corleone, the classic replacement level brother.

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Every acceptance speech: “I’m smart! And I want respect!”

Tmckelv
Tmckelv
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Replacement Level Brother scale:
George Bailey 10 WAR
Barry Gibb 8 WAR
Charlie Babbitt 5 WAR
Alec Baldwin – 2 WAR
Fredo Corleone – 0 WAR
Scar – -2 WAR
Billy Carter -5 WAR
Cain – -8 WAR

Brooklyn Mick
Brooklyn Mick
8 years ago

The first name to jump out at me was Dante Bichette with a career WAR of 3.0. It seems ludicrous that over a pretty long career, despite defensive shortcomings, he was only worth 3 wins above your average AAA call-up.

Then there’s Jesus Alou with a -1.0 WAR. Was he really that bad? I don’t think so.

And Moose Dropo, who led the league with 144 RBI as a rookie ended up with a career 1.3 WAR.

I think the defensive components of WAR are very vague, too heavily weighted, and ultimately obscure the overall “picture” of the player.

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Brooklyn Mick

Dante Bichette was a corner outfielder with a career OPS in away games of .730, and he played much his career in an era when run scoring league-wide was very high. His mediocrity on offense was heavily masked by his home fields and the era he played in. The fact that he wasn’t very good on defense is just gravy.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  Brooklyn Mick

B Mick, you’re not the first to question Dante Bichette’s low WAR total. In fact, his 1999 season where he hit 34 HR, 133 RBI and slashed .298/.354/.541/.895 might be the most controversial WAR season in recent memory. Despite those offensive numbers, Bichette logged -2.6 WAR in 1999. How is this possible? Just look at the fielding and baserunning components of his WAR total and consider that despite his high power numbers, he only had a 102 OPS+ because of the steroid era and Coors Field. So he only had +3 batting runs that year, -34 fielding runs, and -5… Read more »

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Oops, you were slightly ahead of me, birtelcom. Sorry.

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

The more the merrier, bstar — Dante is the sabermetric fan’s party pinata

Brooklyn Mick
Brooklyn Mick
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

birtelcom, is it fair to say that Bichette, who led the league in hits, home runs, RBI, SLG, and total bases in 1995, while finishing 2nd in the MVP voting, is the best bad player of all time?

bstar, thanks for the link to the FG article…good read.

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Brook-M: I think it’s fair to say that Bichette had the best raw career numbers, by a considerable margin, of any poalyer whose overall career value was basically that of a replacement level player. His career represents a perfect storm for this purpose — a slow corner outfielder who happened to play in a very high-run scoring era and for much of his carer on a team with an extremely high run scoring home park. All these factors combined to create a huge spread between his raw hitting numbers and his real overall value.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Brooklyn Mick

Concerning Dante Bichette there is something about his stats for the 1999 season that bothers me, especially when compared to teammate Ben Petrick. I have previously submitted a similar comment. Here are their stats for that year Player………..1B……..2B……..3B…….HR……BB……HBP……Outs Bichette…..103…..38……2……34…….54………2………426 Petrick……..13………..3……..0……..4…….…10………0………42 The Rbat totals were 3 for Bichette and 2 for Petrick which looked sort of out of whack to me. Using approximate linear weight coefficients obtained from Dr. Doom I made my own calculations for their Rbat totals. The coefficients I used were 0 .3 for BB, 0.3 for HBP, 0.5 for 1B, 0.7 for 2B, 1.0 for 3B, 1.4… Read more »

topper009
topper009
8 years ago

Those are the raw run values, but Rbat is relative to average, not total. Bichette had a 102 OPS+, so a little above average.

His Rbat of 3 is saying WAR expects an average player in his park to produce 35 runs given his PAs, so Bichette produced 38 and was 3 above average. All the WAR breakdowns are relative to average until the replacement level factor is put in there.

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  topper009

Exactly — the Rbat stats are telling you that Bichette was essentially an average level hitter in 1999, and that Petrick was above average but only had 79 PAs so only generated a couple of runs above average.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago

Richard, I read that comment where Dr. Doom gave you that quick-and-dirty for calculating Rbat. My suggestion to you would be to email Sean Forman directly about it. He unilaterally has responded back personally to me whenever I find an error on a player’s stats page, so he may just have a more detailed answer for you. I personally think OPS+ is the driving force of Rbat; Petrick had a 124 OPS+ in 1999 in only 72 at-bats. Bichette, as I mentioned above, was very close to league-average at 102, so, looked at from that perspective, is it really a… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Thanks Topper, birtelcom and bstar. I guess the calculation for Rbat is not as simple as I thought it was.

Hartvig
Hartvig
8 years ago
Reply to  Brooklyn Mick

Bichette’s defensive short-comings were well known to both his former employers and to much of the public in general either from first-hand experience or via the accounts of various sportswriters long before he ever set foot in Colorado. And while Bichette may well be the best known qualifier for the title of the most over-rated as viewed by the SABR crowd I do think that Doc Cramer may actually be the all time champion. Even though he’s largely forgotten now in his day he was a 5 time AllStar even though they didn’t start playing the AllStar game until he… Read more »

topper009
topper009
8 years ago

Off topic, Brewers pitcher Miek Fiers has been struggling recently so he shaved his beard into a mustache that makes Wade Boggs look like a little boy. After throwing 1 inning tonight he will instantly lead the league in MAR (mustache above replacement, with Craig Counsell being a replacement level mustache player).

If he makes 2 more starts with it he will ascend into Dick Tidrow/Rollie Fingers territory (remember you have to adjust for the league mustache index, in the 70s they were much more common than today)

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  topper009

topper, this should help the Brewers recover some lost MAR when John Axford sadly shaved his draping scraggle earlier this year. As bad as Axford was struggling, I probably would have shaved it off too.

topper009
topper009
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

That like a pitcher taking a loss without allowing an earned run, he (Axford’s mustache in this case) gets the blame but it wasnt really his fault.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  topper009

A cleanly-shorn John Axford is a sad sight to these eyes. It just looks so wrong.

topper009
topper009
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Now he doesn’t look like he could get into a PG-13 movie. Just sad

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Speaking of the Brewers and hair abnormalities, what is up with Yovani Gallardo and his chia-pet Mullet Gone Wild? That thing’s taken on a life of its own; I’m worried it’s going to grow around his ears and eat his face, right when Yovani’s game has risen to a new level.

Or perhaps that shock of hair has a Samson-like quality to it…

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Last week when Gallardo popped up on a live-look in on MLB network, I immediately called out, “Hey, look, it’s Pascual Perez!”

You’d think a bunch of old rec-league hockey guys would have recognized the reference.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Ha, I-285 Pascual! I-285 is a big circle encapsulating metro Atlanta; dude drove around the circle three or four times before he found the exit to the old Launching Pad, arriving at a game he was supposed to start 20 minutes before the first pitch. He was one-of-a-kind.

He even used to bunt for base hits because of his raw speed.

Jason Z
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

bstar-I remember going to a game in Atlanta
shortly after the incident you described with
Pascual.

They gave everyone a T-shirt that had a zany
caricature of Pascual with a confused look as
the long ago loops around Atlanta encircled
his head.

How I wish I still had that shirt and could post a pic here.

BryanM
BryanM
8 years ago

Is there a good source for the confidence interval of WAR? What I mean by that is how confident are we that a player producing 2 WAR playing every day had a ” better ” year than his teammate. Who produced 1 WAR? I read somewhere on BRef that. Team WAR was accurate to about 15 runs but I can’t find the reference. Putting defense aside for a moment , are we 70 percent confident that Jaime Navarro was better than Ross Grimsley? 90? 55? Is a 3 WAR Difference big or little?

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

Okay BryanM’s question re: confidence intervals for WAR. I’ll write what I know though if others know more or differently, please chime in. 1) I don’t think the concept of confidence interval really applies to WAR. Confidence intervals are normally constructed when you have a set of observations that are drawn from a larger set of possible observations. Think of the typical news story showing that candidate x is leading candidate y in the polls. Obviously they can’t interview every potential voter so they draw a sample, normally around 1,000 people. In this case, the sample serves as a proxy… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Ed, I think you are 1 for 2 🙂 Your explanation of what sensitivity analysis is all about, and how it applies to WAR calculation is right on the money. However, it’s also true that confidence intervals and standard errors can be computed (and likely are, just never presented), because the computation of WAR requires first computing (1) “player runs” (and average player runs and replacement player runs as well), and (2) “player wins”, the latter being computed from the former). The only way that either of these metrics can be computed is via some type of optimization algorithm, which… Read more »

BryanM
BryanM
8 years ago
Reply to  Jim Bouldin

Ed, Jim. Thank you both for your very well written answers to my question. I initially had in mind the point Jim addressed. ( fitting regressions to event data to estimate runs, and then using estimated runs to fit to an estimate of wins) . As Jim says the data is freely available to those who calculate WAR and could usefully be presented at the same time. As it is, when B-R says that Andrew McCutchen is leading Buster Posey 7.0 to 6.6 in the WAR race it says he is ” probably ” having a better year. What is… Read more »

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

Jim – Thanks for chiming in since I think you know more about stats than anyone else here. (sadly all my advanced stats classes are 20 years in the past and I haven’t had the chance to keep up). Anyway, one question/comment…while I’m sure it’s true that there are regression equations that feed into some of the components that make up WAR, it’s not clear to me that the final WAR number “pops out” of a regression equation. Would you still be able to calculate confidence intervals if that’s the case? Anyway, here’s an interesting article by HHS own Adam… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

No Bryan, you’re not the only one who worries about it. I have numerous concerns about the validity or usefulness of WAR, some serious, others probably (but not certainly) minor. As for “Why isn’t the data-hungry community more curious?”, my experience is that there is a pronounced tendency by people in general to treat statistics with more confidence than is warranted, and the procedures by which those stats were computed as a black box in which they are obliged to put their faith unless they can open the box and figure out exactly what’s going on inside it. Which many… Read more »

Jim Bouldin
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

“…it’s not clear to me that the final WAR number “pops out” of a regression equation. Would you still be able to calculate confidence intervals if that’s the case?” Ed, agreed that WAR definitely doesn’t result from a single regression equation. If it did, the answer is yes. In fact, it would be most simple to do so in that situation. Whenever you have a regression equation, then by definition, you are going to have standard errors and hence, confidence intervals. [Except in the trivial case where you have a fully determined equation with no random component, which is never… Read more »

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

It is no coincidence that b-ref’s WAR correlates to team wins to the same degree as the pythagorean projection correlates to team wins. B-ref’s WAR was built to do just that. WAR is intended to reflect a player’s value in contributing to team wins by contributing to run scoring and run prevention. The pythagorean projection shows what team wins would be expected based on the team’s run scoring and run prevention. The gap between the pythag projection and actual team wins is the result of the (at least currently) unpredictable allocation or spread of run scoring and run prevention to… Read more »

mosc
mosc
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

WAR should still total up for all players on all teams to 30 teams times the quantity of 81 – whatever a replacement level team would win (say 30?). So I’d expect total WAR to be something on the order of 50*30 or 1500 for the league total.

birtelcom
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

mosc @61: B-ref uses a .320 winning percentage as replacement level. That’s 52 wins in a 162 game season. So for the majors as a whole there are 30 x 52 replacement level wins (that’s 1,560) and 30 x 81 total wins (that’s 2,430). That means MLB-wide wins above replacement should add up to 2,430 minus 1,560, which comes out to 870. In 2011, if you add up all the WAR (pitching WAR and everyday player WAR, combined) for all the players who played in 2011, you get 875. The tiny variance from 870 is probably the result of the… Read more »

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

Glenn DuPaul wrote this article using graphs of selected years to compare rWAR team totals to actual wins: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/what-is-war-good-for/ Tango replied, saying basically the first half of the article is irrelevant because, as birtelcom says, rWAR is DESIGNED so that r=1 at the same-season runs level, while the old Win Shares forces the fit so that r=1 at the team wins level: http://www.insidethebook.com/ee/index.php/site/correlating_war_to_same_season_wins/ I’m not sure why Sean Forman tried to touch on this subject recently, because all he did was muddy the water in his article about this subject on the front page of B-Ref. I guess I don’t… Read more »

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

FWIW, Dave Cameron also thought it was worthwhile to correlate team WAR with teams wins. So I dunno.

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/war-it-works/

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  BryanM

It makes a little more sense for fWAR since it isn’t forced to fit exactly to team runs or wins.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Ah now I see where I was confused. I had skimmed the DuPaul article before my post #37. He starts off talking about the Cameron article and I thought he was updating Cameron’s analysis. In my skimming, I missed that he was looking at B-R WAR. Thanks for straightening me out Bstar!

topper009
topper009
8 years ago

I remember going to this game during the 1998 HR chase at Old County Stadium where John Mabry started for Mark McGwire just give big mac a rest. Well as you can image no went to that game to watch Mabry or the Brewers, as McGwire would later say on the Simpsons, they wanted to see dingers.

In his first AB Mabry was booed mercilessly by the crowd for seemingly preventing them from witnessing dingers, but he cranked one anyways.

oneblankspace
oneblankspace
8 years ago
Reply to  topper009

I was at a Midwest League game that night… and it was rained out in the 2nd or 3rd inning. Looked like a good pitcher’s duel, too.

no statistician but
no statistician but
8 years ago

JA:

Late to the discussion, but I think Keith Moreland and Bill Dietrich should get passes, since they were made butts of public, if comic, humiliation years ago by Steve Goodman and Gene Shepherd respectively. Isn’t there a penalty for piling on?

tag
tag
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

John,

We’ll excuse your non-Windy City-centric worldview. Check out Steve Goodman’s “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request” on YouTube for his remarks on Moreland.

And I think Gene Shepherd’s remarks about Bill Dietrich, who even I’m pretty sure pitched a no-hitter (nsb?), are in “In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash.”

no statistician but
no statistician but
8 years ago
Reply to  tag

tag: Correct. Gene Shepherd grew up out your way in sunny Steelmill Land, I believe, where the air is fresh and pure. Just as an aside, I’m pretty sure Moreland and Goodman were friends, and Moreland’s voice can be heard in the chorus of “Go, Cubs, Go,” if they still play it on WGN. I’m no longer in Chi and have cease to follow the Cubs. Gene Shepherd’s remarks about Bill Dietrich, from what I remember of the routine, are kind of belittling—he wore glasses, is probably now working as a gas jockey in a service station, etc.—but his description… Read more »

tag
tag
8 years ago

nsb,

They still play “Go, Cubs, Go” in the ballpark after every win. Which of course is not very often these days.

Hartvig
Hartvig
8 years ago

Another reason I love this site.

As I type this, the Steve Goodman CD I just popped in my stereo has just begun to play- I had the pleasure of seeing him play live when I was in college in the mid- to late 70’s- and 4 books of collected stories of Jean Shepherd sit on my bookshelf just a short stretch from me.

Great minds think alike, I guess.

Mike Felber
8 years ago

Thoughts on Belanger? He was excellent in the field, but his #s per game are otherworldly. Jimmy Piersall too: Rtot/year of 19 & 13, respectively! Belanger I understand had an otherworldly instinct for positioning. He had dWAR years of 4.0, 4.4, & 4.9, always missing some games! Though his range factor per game is actually .42 UNDER league average!

Anyone have a good idea whether certain quirks of the pitching staff & other fielders exaggerated HOW good these guys were?

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  Mike Felber

Mike Felber – A few responses re:Belanger. 1) dWAR is basically uninterpretable because it also includes the position adjustment. I really wish BR would stop publishing it because it seems to lead to a lot of confusion. 2) The better number to look at is Rfield which shows the number of runs saved relative to the league average. Of course that’s a comparison to “league average” rather than “replacement” but it’s really the best summary number for defensive value. 3) You cite Belanger’s range factor per game as being under league average. But BR also has range factor per 9… Read more »

Mike Felber
8 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Thanks Ed. Where were you when I asked 2x for a justification for a 70.5% SB break even point, when elsewhere I have not heard above 2/3 argued a historical average? 😉

I did not know Belanger was so high in RF/9, nor how that could be so very different from RF/G. But Rtot I think seems to sum up total defense well.

Ed
Ed
8 years ago
Reply to  Mike Felber

Glad to help Mike Felber! The difference between Belanger’s RF/9 vs. RF/G stems from the fact that he was used as a late-inning defensive replacement a lot, particularly late in his career. Plus he was pulled a lot for pinch hitters. Even though he played in 1,971 games, he only started 1,691 of them and only played a complete game 1,467 times. As for the stolen base issue, a quick google search of “stolen base break even point” shows that most experts thing the break even point is 75%. That being said, the 2/3 you cited does sound vaguely familiar,… Read more »

Timmy Pea
Timmy Pea
8 years ago

Kieth Moreland played for Detroit as well, that’s not listed.

nightfly
8 years ago

I would like an honorable mention for Vinny “Cash-Stealer” Castilla, who racked up nearly all his career WAR value (15.9 out of 16.7) in Coors, where the air is rarefied. Just check the home/road splits. Somehow, he was even a worse base stealer on the road, one area where you’d imagine such a split wouldn’t hold.

Brooklyn Mick
Brooklyn Mick
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Wonder if Big Daddy Fielder will make the cut. Two home run crowns, three RBI crowns, back-to-back runner-up MVP, one of the most feared hitters in baseball in the early 90’s.

In 1990 and 91 he accounted for 9.9 of his career WAR of 14.7. Take away those 2 years and he amassed a measly 4.8 WAR over the remainder of his career.

Brent
Brent
8 years ago

How much does lefthandedness (as a pitcher or hitter, not as a fielder) have to do with a long career without much WAR? The names Lenny Harris and Mark Sweeney (as well as Jesse Orosco) jumped out at me on this list. I am sure there are others.

Brent
Brent
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent

I hate to reply to my own post, but I thought of something else, since the list was made in respect to games played, as opposed to plate appearances or innings pitched, it probably contains more pinch hitters and Loogies than it would otherwise. Kind of hard to amass a lot of WAR when you have one AB/game or pitch to one batter/game.

Brent
Brent
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent

OH, geeze, never mind about the Loogies, but the point about players is still valid. (head in hands)

nightfly
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent

For the really long-tenured, it would probably be helpful to also look in detail at when they compiled WAR, and when they started giving it away. In the thread above, for example, someone mentioned Steve Blass, who undid half his entire overall career value in his final 90+ innings. Before then, he was usually an effective pitcher. A lot of these guys didn’t get chances despite being bad, they kept getting chances once they stopped being decent. Sidney Ponson, through age 27, was worth 12.6 WAR – not amazing, but a fair number for a middle-of-the-rotation guy. Then he fell… Read more »

Voomo Zanzibar
8 years ago
Reply to  Brent

Lenny Harris pulled to the right, yes, but his value was as the perceived “super utility guy”

485 games at third base,
300 at second base,
161 in right field,
157 in left field,
87 at first base,
52 at shortstop,
12 at DH,
3 in center field,
one scoreless inning as a pitcher

And, of course, he was a prolific pinch hitter.
Prolific in plate appearances, though not in results.

His career slashes:
.269 .318 .349 .667

And cold off the bench 883 times:
.264 .317 .337 .654

Brendan Bingham
Brendan Bingham
8 years ago
Reply to  Voomo Zanzibar

It’s cool that Harris falls near the top of the list in Games and near the bottom in PA — consistent with his role as a pinch hitter.
I would love to see the list of all-time leaders in WAR (or some other such metric) for pinch hitting appearances. It’s probably safe to say that Harris is not at the top of the list. Is Manny Mota, perhaps?

MikeD
MikeD
8 years ago

Just by the question, “Who is the all-time SABR whipping boy,” I thought of two names immedatiately: Dante Bichette and Joe Carter. I was approaching it, however, from the persepctive of which player the SABR community has devoted the most ink to discussing in an effort to balance perception vs. reality. Carter rightfully doesn’t make any of the above lists, but his value was a bit inflated. Now that said, while I do look at WAR as a solid guideline, I still don’t have enough faith in it to view it as anywhere close to an absolute. Between defensive data… Read more »