The Mr. Journeyman Derby

Bobo Newsom www.baseball-reference.com

Bobo Newsom
www.baseball-reference.com

If you’ve ever wondered about who are the most well-traveled ballplayers, well you’ve come to the right post.

My favorite journeyman is good ol’ boy Bobo Newsom on the left, there. His career spanned 25 years during which he played on 9 clubs, switched teams 16 times, and never stayed on the same club for more than 3 consecutive seasons. He even had multiple stints with 4 different organizations, and was once traded for two brothers, one (the wrong one) a future HOFer.

After the jump, I’ll introduce you to a number of other journeymen, some unfamiliar and some who need no introduction.

WARNING: what follows is entirely for fun and written 100% tongue in cheek. Remember, you were warned.

On B-R (and other sites, no doubt), you can find lists of the most teams that a player has played for. That’s fine for a career journeyman measure. But, a real journeyman ALWAYS has his bags packed, never knowing where he may be headed next.

This post is a 5-round race to determine Mr. Journeyman, the player to play for the most franchises in a 5-year period. We’ll go one round at a time, so you can see the guys who jump out to a fast start and then fade, and others with more staying power. But, don’t forget about the guys who hang back, waiting to make a final charge to the finish line.

Round 1

It’s a perfect evening at the track for today’s running of the Mr. Journeyman Derby. It’s a grueling 5 round event in quest of the prestigious Mr. Journeyman Cup.

We’re just about ready and, yes, they’re off and running, as we look for players with the most teams in a single season.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 George Strief 4 1884 1884 27-27 86 342 .189 .237 .273 .510 /*74583 STL-CLV-CPI-KCC
2 Harry Wheeler 4 1884 1884 26-26 73 316 .244 .263 .305 .568 /*8971 KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 Tom Dowse 4 1892 1892 25-25 65 238 .165 .193 .178 .372 /*23947 CIN-LOU-PHI-WHS
4 Frank Huelsman 4 1904 1904 30-30 112 438 .245 .311 .343 .654 /*798 CHW-DET-SLB-WSH
5 Willis Hudlin 4 1940 1940 34-34 19 24 .143 .182 .143 .325 /*1 CLE-WSH-NYG-SLB
6 Paul Lehner 4 1951 1951 30-30 65 203 .172 .247 .250 .497 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW
7 Ted Gray 4 1955 1955 30-30 14 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Wes Covington 4 1961 1961 29-29 105 321 .270 .329 .433 .762 /97 PHI-MLN-KCA-CHW
9 Mike Kilkenny 4 1972 1972 27-27 29 16 .071 .071 .071 .143 /*1 CLE-DET-OAK-SDP
10 Dave Kingman 4 1977 1977 28-28 132 481 .221 .276 .444 .720 /739D5 CAL-NYY-NYM-SDP
11 Dave Martinez 4 2000 2000 35-35 132 513 .274 .346 .370 .716 *9/378 CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD
12 Dan Miceli 4 2003 2003 32-32 57 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
13 Jose Bautista 4 2004 2004 23-23 64 96 .205 .263 .239 .502 /9578D PIT-TBD-KCR-BAL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

As you can see, everyone from Cap Anson to Bryce Harper is eligible. I’ve highlighted number 4, Frank Huelsman because it appears that his four teams were really equivalent to a season playing for five teams. His B-R page appears to indicate that he went from Chicago to Detroit, back to Chicago, then to St. Louis and finally Washington. Watch out for the powerful  Joey Bats in round 2.

Round 2

Now we’re looking at most teams played for in any two consecutive seasons.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 5 1881 1882 24-25 47 180 .093 .183 .093 .276 /546897 BUF-WOR-CLV-PHA-LOU
2 Harry Wheeler 5 1883 1884 25-26 155 693 .234 .250 .292 .541 /*78914 COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
3 George Strief 5 1884 1885 27-28 130 526 .219 .262 .310 .572 /7456893 KCC-CPI-CLV-STL-PHA
4 Tom Dowse 5 1891 1892 24-25 120 454 .193 .233 .216 .449 /*23974 COL-WHS-LOU-CIN-PHI
5 Paul Lehner 5 1951 1952 30-31 68 208 .180 .261 .257 .518 /879 SLB-PHA-CLE-CHW-BOS
6 Hoot Evers 5 1954 1955 33-34 147 365 .227 .286 .385 .671 /798 NYG-DET-BOS-CLE-BAL
7 Ted Gray 5 1954 1955 29-30 33 25 .040 .040 .040 .080 /*1 DET-NYY-CLE-CHW-BAL
8 Eddie Robinson 5 1956 1957 35-36 137 310 .196 .304 .321 .625 /*3 NYY-KCA-DET-CLE-BAL
9 Bob Miller 5 1970 1971 31-32 94 48 .125 .222 .125 .347 /*1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
10 Willie Horton 5 1977 1978 34-35 255 998 .273 .322 .413 .735 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE
11 Dave Kingman 5 1977 1978 28-29 251 929 .242 .305 .490 .796 *7/39D5 SDP-NYM-NYY-CAL-CHC
12 Steve Carlton 5 1986 1987 41-42 64 47 .200 .217 .289 .506 /*1 SFG-PHI-CHW-MIN-CLE
13 Pat Borders 5 1995 1996 32-33 139 421 .246 .279 .357 .636 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
14 Dave Martinez 5 2000 2001 35-36 252 772 .278 .346 .375 .721 *9/738D CHC-TOR-TEX-TBD-ATL
15 Bruce Chen 5 2002 2003 25-26 71 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
16 Dan Miceli 5 2002 2003 31-32 66 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 /*1 TEX-HOU-COL-NYY-CLE
17 Octavio Dotel 5 2010 2011 36-37 133 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Wow, lots of rabbits in round 1. Only the 19th century guys and a couple of Daves, Kingman(!) and Martinez, carried over from round 1. But, the race is still wide open, including the last guy on the list who, with 13 teams on his resume, figures to have some staying power. Also nice to see Eddie Robinson here to represent the Kansas City-New York shuttle. And with World Series MVP Pat Borders and HOFer Steve Carlton, this is really shaping up as an interesting race.

Round 3

On we go to 3 seasons. It’s still anybody’s race.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 6 1880 1882 23-25 130 520 .169 .208 .226 .433 /*456897 CIN-CLV-WOR-BUF-PHA-LOU
2 Pop Smith 6 1881 1883 24-26 144 607 .213 .265 .319 .584 /*4568917 BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
3 Harry Wheeler 6 1882 1884 24-26 231 1044 .239 .255 .313 .568 /798314 CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
4 Tom Dowse 6 1890 1892 23-25 160 626 .197 .243 .220 .463 *2/937841 CLV-COL-WHS-PHI-LOU-CIN
5 Bob Johnson 6 1967 1969 31-33 239 569 .307 .342 .388 .730 /5436 NYM-BAL-CIN-ATL-STL-OAK
6 Bob Miller 6 1969 1971 30-32 142 82 .070 .143 .070 .213 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT
7 Willie Horton 6 1977 1979 34-36 417 1694 .275 .324 .431 .755 *D/7 TEX-DET-TOR-OAK-CLE-SEA
8 Pat Borders 6 1994 1996 31-33 224 732 .247 .281 .345 .626 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL
9 Pat Borders 6 1995 1997 32-34 194 591 .260 .297 .377 .674 *2/D3 HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
10 Terry Clark 6 1995 1997 34-36 71 1 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 /*1 ATL-BAL-HOU-KCR-TEX-CLE
11 Danny Darwin 6 1995 1997 39-41 85 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
12 Shawon Dunston 6 1997 1999 34-36 334 987 .288 .306 .440 .746 6/7849D35 PIT-CHC-SFG-CLE-STL-NYM
13 Jorge Fabregas 6 1997 1999 27-29 279 854 .226 .276 .313 .589 *2/3 CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL
14 John Mabry 6 2000 2002 29-31 293 652 .242 .299 .428 .727 9/375D81 SDP-SEA-STL-FLA-PHI-OAK
15 Dan Miceli 6 2001 2003 30-32 117 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 FLA-COL-TEX-HOU-NYY-CLE
16 Bruce Chen 6 2001 2003 24-26 98 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 /*1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
17 Bruce Chen 6 2002 2004 25-27 79 18 .313 .313 .375 .688 /*1 NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
18 Jorge Julio 6 2006 2008 27-29 157 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
19 Octavio Dotel 6 2009 2011 35-37 195 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
20 Octavio Dotel 6 2010 2012 36-38 190 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
21 Chad Qualls 6 2010 2012 31-33 207 0 *1 TBR-ARI-SDP-PIT-PHI-NYY
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Whoa! Didn’t even notice old Pop Smith sneak in there in round 2. And with two entries, he looks really good for the next round, too. Same goes for Pat Borders, Bruce Chen and (I warned you about him) Octavio Dotel.

Round 4

So, we know we’ll get 7 teams in 4 years, but do I hear 8?

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Pop Smith 7 1880 1883 23-26 227 947 .211 .249 .309 .558 *4/568917 CIN-BUF-CLV-WOR-LOU-PHA-COL
2 Bob Miller 7 1970 1973 31-34 171 55 .109 .196 .109 .305 *1 CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Pat Borders 7 1994 1997 31-34 279 902 .256 .292 .360 .653 *2/D3 TOR-HOU-KCR-STL-CHW-CAL-CLE
4 Danny Darwin 7 1994 1997 38-41 98 75 .164 .164 .284 .448 /*1 BOS-TOR-TEX-PIT-HOU-SFG-CHW
5 Todd Zeile 7 1995 1998 29-32 594 2502 .263 .345 .435 .780 *5/37 STL-CHC-PHI-BAL-LAD-FLA-TEX
6 Jorge Fabregas 7 1997 2000 27-30 322 1006 .235 .283 .322 .605 *2/3D CHW-ANA-NYM-ARI-FLA-ATL-KCR
7 Bruce Chen 7 2000 2003 23-26 135 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS
8 Bruce Chen 7 2001 2004 24-27 106 70 .175 .175 .190 .365 *1 PHI-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
9 Jorge Julio 7 2005 2008 26-29 224 3 .000 .667 .000 .667 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE
10 Jorge Julio 7 2006 2009 27-30 172 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
11 Kip Wells 7 2006 2009 29-32 102 89 .238 .238 .288 .525 *1 PIT-TEX-STL-COL-KCR-WSN-CIN
12 Octavio Dotel 7 2009 2012 35-38 252 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

Guess not. But, there’s Todd Zeile coming out of nowhere. And with 2500 PA, no less. This must make Todd the Rodney Dangerfield of baseball. Yes, we want you in the lineup everyday. Until we don’t, that is. Bruce Chen is still looking strong, and now Jorge Julio has moved up to challenge. Still too close to call, though.

Round 5

Last round to determine Mr. Journeyman. All wagers in, and we’re off.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Harry Wheeler 8 1880 1884 22-26 249 1113 .231 .245 .301 .547 7/98314 CLV-CIN-COL-KCC-CPI-BLU-STL
2 Bob Miller 8 1969 1973 30-34 219 89 .065 .133 .065 .197 *1 MIN-CHC-CLE-CHW-SDP-PIT-NYM-DET
3 Bruce Chen 8 2000 2004 23-27 143 108 .129 .138 .140 .278 *1 PHI-ATL-NYM-MON-CIN-HOU-BOS-BAL
4 Rick White 8 2002 2006 33-37 304 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
5 Jorge Julio 8 2005 2009 26-30 239 4 .000 .500 .000 .500 *1 BAL-NYM-ARI-FLA-COL-ATL-CLE-MIL
6 Russell Branyan 8 2007 2011 31-35 432 1425 .234 .330 .488 .818 3/5D7 STL-SDP-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
7 Octavio Dotel 8 2007 2011 33-37 300 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

There you have it. A dead heat. Harry Wheeler, among the early leaders, made it all the way back. And look at that – Rick White and Russell Branyan have come out of the pack in the final round. With his 300+ appearances in 5 years, White is definitely another in the Rodney Dangerfield class.

We’ll have to go to a tie-breaker. But, wait! What’s this? Yes, a challenge flag has been thrown. Just hang on a moment while I sort this out. ……. Indeed, the challenge is that I can’t count. Harry Wheeler is showing as playing for 8 teams, but only 7 are shown. This one is going upstairs for further review. ….. Upon further review, the ruling on the track stands – 8 teams for Harry Wheeler. But, how can it be? It seems that Harry played for both the NL and AA Cincinnati clubs, and both are shown in B-R as CIN (memo to Sean Forman: let’s get that fixed).

Anyway, back to the tie-breaker. It’s a sudden death round as we go to 6 seasons for only these qualifiers. Unfortunately, Harry Wheeler, Bob Miller, Bruce Chen and Jorge Julio cannot improve on 8 teams, so they’re out.

So, it’s down to the final three of Rick White, Russell Branyan and Octavio Dotel. The tension is excruciating as P-I churns through the permutations. But, yes I believe we have a result. Yes, here it is.

Rk Player Count From To Age G PA BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 2001 2006 32-37 359 6 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 2002 2007 33-38 333 4 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Kenny Lofton 9 2002 2007 35-40 737 3021 .293 .360 .418 .779 *8/79D SFG-CHW-PIT-CHC-NYY-PHI-LAD-TEX-CLE
4 Russell Branyan 9 2006 2011 30-35 523 1707 .233 .330 .490 .820 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
5 Octavio Dotel 9 2006 2011 32-37 314 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
6 Octavio Dotel 9 2007 2012 33-38 357 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

I was afraid this might happen. We’re still tied. But wait, what’s this? A late entry for Kenny Lofton? The judges are looking into this. …. sorry Kenny, you have been disqualified, as you weren’t among the top finishers at the end of the regulation 5 rounds.

So, for the second tie-breaker, it’s down to the battle of the pluses. It’s Russell Branyan’s OPS+ against ERA+ for Rick White and Octavio Dotel (I think that gulping sound you just heard was Rick White).

So, here it is, our final result.

Rk Player Count Plus From To Age Pos Teams
1 Rick White 9 95 2001 2006 32-37 *1 NYM-STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN
2 Rick White 9 88 2002 2007 33-38 *1 STL-COL-HOU-CHW-CLE-PIT-PHI-CIN-SEA
3 Russell Branyan 9 119 2006 2011 30-35 35/D97 SDP-TBD-STL-PHI-MIL-SEA-CLE-ARI-LAA
4 Octavio Dotel 9 111 2006 2011 32-37 *1 NYY-ATL-KCR-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-STL-TOR
5 Octavio Dotel 9 118 2007 2012 33-38 *1 KCR-ATL-CHW-PIT-LAD-COL-TOR-STL-DET
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/5/2013.

What a squeaker. Russell Branyan just edges Octavio Dotel by the slimmest of margins, 119 to 118. Rick White is well back and will have to settle for 3rd place (did White really get 350+ appearances with that ERA+ ?)

We’re going down now to our trackside reporter. He’s trying to make his way through the crowd and get a few words with our winner.

HHS: “Russell, congratulations! What a race.”

RB: “Wow. Was that ever close. I was really worried when it got to the second tie-breaker. Thought I might have blown it with that 84 OPS+ in my last year. But, what can I say. It all worked out.”

HHS: “You almost didn’t make it into the playoff. You just squeaked in on the last round.”

RB: “Right. Arizona picked me up for that 2011 season, and I was like 0 for May and wondering if I still had it. But I broke out of it in that win over the Braves with the big hit in the 11th off Craig Kimbrel, and I guess that was all the Angels needed to see. Compared to Vernon Wells, I suppose I looked pretty hot. Anyway, that was the move that got me into the playoff round, so thank you Angels.”

HHS: “Thanks Russell. Enjoy the moment. Back to you, Doug.”

Well, there you have it folks. Big upset tonight, with Rusell Branyan edging out favorite Octavio Dotel. Good night, everyone.

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53 Comments on "The Mr. Journeyman Derby"

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Richard Chester
Guest

Since 1901 Newsom is one of two players to lose 20 games in a season for three different teams. Chick Fraser is the other.

John Autin
Editor

We have a lotta fun with ol’ Bobo, and that’s right and just.

But in 1940, he damn near carried Detroit to a championship. After a 21-5 season (and MLB ERA+ title), he started 3 WS games and won the first 2. Game 7, on one day’s rest, he had a 1-0 lead, nine outs away from 2nd straight shutout. But the Reds had other plans.

Bobo is one of 8 pitchers to throw 3 CGs of 2 runs or less in a single WS. He’s also the only guy to lose a sudden-death WS CG of 2 runs or less.

Doug
Guest
Despite the disappointment in 1940, Bobo did eventually get a WS ring with the 1947 Yankees, albeit in a support role. I read that the Yankees voted Newsom only a half-share of their WS check, as Bobo had been picked up at mid-season. Newsom wasn’t pleased and demanded his release (as he did at the end of just about every season at the end of his career). Newsom reasoned he could command better offers from a team that didn’t have to give up anything to get him, than take a contract offer from his current team who would undoubtedly cite… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Man oh man, if you’ve never indulged yourself in the SABR bio of Bobo the Bombastic, you’re in for a fun ride:

http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/b3eeb6d1

PP
Guest

Was wondering why I couldn’t figure out the other pitcher besides Bobo who had 200 wins with more losses. Had to look it up. Jack Powell 245 – 254. I thought it was Hough (216 – 216) or Friend (197 – 230). Tanana was 240 – 236. 45 pitchers with 200 losses, 111 with 200 wins. My guess is half of those with 200 losses have 300 wins or close to it.

bstar
Guest

Your guess looks about right, PP. 17 of the 200-loss guys are 300-game winners and 24 of the 45 have 280+ wins.

Excluding dead-ballers Cy Young and Pud Galvin, PP, care to guess who has the most losses in the live-ball era?

PP
Guest

Early morning, not looking it up, I’m guessing Ryan. (Will check in a bit.)

PP
Guest

Hah, now I already see on the sidebar it’s the right one.

Luis Gomez
Guest

“Compared to Vernon Wells, I suppose I looked pretty hot.”

Hey Doug, you made me spit my coffee all over my wife´s laptop. That line was hillarious!

Jimbo
Guest

The whole time I was wondering when lofting would show up.

GrandyMan
Guest

Is it possible to do a P-I search that will return all players who have played at least a certain number of seasons?

This comment may seem off-topic, but if I can do such a search, then I could write a comment that is on-topic.

bstar
Guest

Enjoyed the format of this one, Doug, although I was expecting Mike Morgan to show up sooner or later on one of the lists.

TheGoof
Guest

But wouldn’t the LOWER plus be more indicative of a journeyman?

JasonZ
Guest

BStar-could you be talking about the highly overrated Nolan Ryan??

bstar
Guest

Nolan Ryan was the correct answer,yes @34

JasonZ
Guest

Nolan Ryan…

Old stat…
14-13 WL record per 162 games

New stat…

Career ERA+ 112, helped by the Texas years.

JasonZ
Guest

Nolan Ryan pitched 27 seasons.

7 times he had an ERA plus of greater than 120.

His HOF vote percentage is a joke.

I am a huge Tom Seaver fan and spent countless
hours the last 25 years debating a friend who thinks Ryan was better.

I never will convince him.

mosc
Guest
It’s not the hall of stats. There are certainly people on here who want it to be. Ryan sold tickets, created interest, was an ambassador for the game (hell, he STIL is), and an inspiration to millions (I don’t think that’s an exaggeration). Ryan’s HOF credentials are not about peak dominance, though he did have a few very good years in there. He was an important face of baseball for 25 years! He threw in front of thousands for 5386 innings of flamethrowing wonder. He’s an inspiration to young phenoms trying to duplicate his miracle mets success and to 46… Read more »
mosc
Guest
Also, longevity is a stat worth noting. Milestones are just about lasting effects on the W/L record of your team, they’re about relishing in the fortitude of our heros. They have value! Is Ryan’s 5000th strikeout really that irrelevant to you? If Ryan were a single WAR better per season he pitched, his career total would be drastically better. His ERA would be better. His win/lost record would be better. His teams would have won what? A game or two more? He goes from a 77 WAR “compiler borderline” to a 102 WAR monster. Probably wins a Cy Young or… Read more »
birtelcom
Editor
Unquestionably, Nolan Ryan had one of the most unique and astounding careers in the history of baseball. His place in the annals of the game as a player who performed with an unusual style for an amazingly long time is secure. I think of him as the baseball equivalent of the novelist Joyce Carol Oates — not a crafter of the most elegant prose, but producing work at an astoundingly prolific pace and always with a signature perspective that is unique in literature. WAR is a stat that tries to answer a particular question: how much did a player help… Read more »
mosc
Guest
I don’t have a problem with WAR as a concept (except for the dWAR part which is a whole separate issue). I do think it is an important tool in improving our understanding of the game. Especially in keeping the history of baseball fresh and relevant. WAR is wonderful for crossing eras, skill sets, positions, even the offense/defense line of pitching vs hitting. All that said, I completely reject it’s use as a value tool. It doesn’t define value, it defines contribution towards the production or prevention of runs. They are very different. Run differential wins ballgames, which leads to… Read more »
birtelcom
Editor
I guess, mosc, that I’m not sure what about Ryan makes him more “valuable” in your estimation than pitchers who are less famous but who, the numbers suggest, were more successful in preventing opponent runs from being scored (say Mike Mussina, or Robin Roberts or Bert Blyleven). If it’s the extreme numbers of Ks, no-hitters and seasons pitched, well, those are just stats, too, aren’t they, the value of which presumably derives again from the extent to which they help prevent opponents from scoring runs. And if not stat-driven at all than what is it? Ryan’s charisma, compared to Mussina… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
It’s possible for a player (Ryan) be a no-doubt HOFer, even an all-time great, and still be considerably overrated, as Ryan is. In Cy Young voting, he never won, but did finish 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 5th, 8th, and 9th. That’s impressive, but only the 30th best CYA-share of all-time. Yet – in 1999/2000, he is voted “greatest pitcher” of all-time in several fan polls. I’d say that’s a pretty massive disconnect between contemporary and post-career opinion. If you eliminate the sizzle of all the strikeouts and no-hitters, and just focus on the actual RESULTS, several of his career… Read more »
mosc
Guest
Well, I mostly agree. The constant jockeying for position of ballpalyers in the baseball pantheon is the core of what makes baseball such a great sport. It’s history is the context and framework for each and every pitch. I do think Ryan was one of the greatest pitchers ever. But maybe we’re just looking a little differently. Take Roger Clemens. You didn’t list him, and not because of his WAR, ERA+, career innings, wins, or anything else. You didn’t list him as a all time great because you are using outside value judgments not based on statistical analysis of his… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
mosc, I didn’t list Clemens because my post was already too long and I had listed enough names, _not_ because I do not think Clemens is clearly better than Nolan Ryan. Clemens is a MUCH BETTER pitcher than Nolan Ryan, especially on peak. I could also have listed: -Cy Young -Christy Mathewson -Bob Feller -Robin Roberts -Bob Gibson -Steve Carlton -Randy Johnson -Pedro Martinez as pitchers that I think are better than Ryan. The list is not definitive. Ryan is 17th in EloRater and 23rd in Pitcher’s WAR; somewhere in between these two are where I think he belongs for… Read more »
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