You may have seen our big project launch yesterday, and then seen it was promptly canceled about an hour into it. I came to realize that even though I think our proposed work didn’t break any laws I was likely in for some massive headaches nevertheless. This is pretty devastating for me, as I spent a couple hundred hours and a lot of money prepping that project. At this point, I am going to resume my retirement. I don’t know what this means for the future of High Heat Stats, but without a funding source the site cannot continue as I am currently paying out of pocket.
By all means keep up the voting and discussion in the first Circle of Greats round of voting, but you can also mull the question: What feat has been accomplished in major league history only by Raul Ibanez and Tris Speaker? Clue: It has nothing to do with post-season play.
This past Tuesday I posted a proposal for a series of votes to elect members to a circle of baseball greats, with competitive elections organized by player birth-year. The post seemed to generate enough interest to try out the voting in practice to see how it goes. The comments to that thread offered a number of creative and productive suggestions regarding changes to the rules that I had initially proposed, and this first vote will incorporate several of those proposed changes. I’ll review the rules, as now amended, after the “Read the rest of this entry” thingamabob. Read the rest of this entry
This is a different sort of quiz, to recognize unusual accomplishments in 2012, many of which have probably not been remarked upon. Until now.
After the jump, you’ll see a table of batters and a table of pitchers. For both the batters and the pitchers, the table contains two lists, one of active players and one of players retired for at least 25 years. Your job is to match the active batters to the retired batters, and the active pitchers to the retired pitchers.
So, how do you match up the players? Pretty simple, really. All you need to know is that each active player accomplished a season or career feat in 2012 that had not been accomplished since one of the retired players did the same thing.
Thanks to everyone for playing the game. I admit this was pretty tough. The solution is after the jump.
The prospect of an upcoming Hall of Fame voting process that may now be preoccupied for years by PEDs issues rather than more sporting matters, provokes me to suggest the creation of an alternative “all-timer” voting process for High Heat Stats (HHS) readers. My proposal is that readers vote every few weeks, in response to a series of posts, to elect one MLB player to an HHS “Circle of Greats” until we have reached a number inducted that is equal to the number of players that the BBWAA has elected to the official Hall of Fame over the years. As of today, that’s 112 players. Specifics of the proposal are after the jump. Read the rest of this entry
No, not that kind of streaking. But, now that I have your attention, here are the 2012 gold, silver and bronze medal awards for streaks for various batting categories.
For each category, I’ve indicated both the hottest and coldest streaks. I’ll leave it for you to decide whether these streaks indicate that a player is prone to streaky play, or is just consistently good … or bad.
Read the rest of this entry
I have long viewed the 207 players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for their play in the major leagues as comprised of two entirely separate categories. There are the 112 players (36 who were primarily pitchers and 76 who were primarily position players) in the “Writers’ Hall”, consisting of players elected to the Hall by members of the the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. 95 other players (26 who were primarily pitchers and 69 primarily position players) have been inducted through the separate mechanism of the the various veterans committees.
The average career WAR (baseball-reference version) for the 76 position players in the “Writers’ Hall” is 76.9 WAR — or 77.1 if you include Babe Ruth’s pitching WAR into his total. The median career WAR for those 76 players is 67.7.
The average career pitching WAR for the 36 pitchers in the “Writers’ Hall” is 69.0 WAR. The median career pitching WAR for those pitchers is 67.7.
With the BBWAA picking most (though not all) of the very best players of all-time, the most obvious choices for a Hall of Fame, before the various veterans committees have had a chance at them, the average WAR numbers for the veterans committees’ selections will of course be lower. The average career WAR for the 69 position players selected by the veterans committees is 48.5 WAR (the median is 46.5), while the average career WAR for veterans-committee-selected pitchers is 58.7 (the median is 57.5).
The lowest career WARs for position players elected by the BBWAA are Rabbit Maranville’s 39.4, Pie Traynor’s 33.8 and Roy Campanella’s 31.6. In contrast, there are 15 different position players who have made it into the Hall (based on their major league play) via a veterans committee with career WAR totals lower than Maranville’s.
If I had a vote in the annual BBWAA Hall of Fame balloting, my test of whether a particular player belongs would be whether his accomplishments fit well within scope of the Writers’ Hall — I would not use the looser standard implied by the 207-player number that combines the Writers’ Hall and veterans committee selections. I have long thought that the size (though certainly not all the individual selections) of the “Writers’ Hall” is close to ideal for a Hall of Fame honoring the greatest major league players. In part that’s because I find it elegant and appropriate that the number of players in the “Writers’ Hall” (112) lines up rather neatly with the number of years that have passed from the early seasons of the earliest-era players that the writers have elected (Cy Young and Willie Keeler) through the last year a player currently in the Hall could have been active (2006). That is, broadly speaking, the writers have elected on average about one player for each season that has been played, starting with the era of the earliest players the writers have inducted. That one-player-per-season result strikes a certain resonant chord with me — it seems a fair, intuitive goal for establishing a truly elite level of the greatest players. In my next post, I’ll suggest a potential format for High Heat Stats readers to participate in a fresh type of discussion and voting process towards an improved selection of the best players ever, while working within the framework of averaging one player inducted per major league season.
About a month ago, Doug gave us an accounting of the best players at each position who never played in a World Series. The list included a Hall of Famer or Hall of Fame-worthy player at every position except catcher, where Jason Kendall and his 38.3 WAR took the honor. Doug noted in the comments that Joe Torre never won a Series as a player, and was far better than Kendall, but Torre played more than half his career at positions other than catcher.
It probably doesn’t mean much beyond coincidence that no superstar catcher has ever gone a whole career without winning a World Series, but it leads one to suspect that a team with a great catcher might be better equipped to win a title than a team with a superstar at another position. I certainly wouldn’t be the first to posit this, as many writers before me have trumpeted the importance of a catcher as an on-field leader, manager of pitchers, influencer of umpires, and a stifler of baserunners who gets to bat every couple of innings too. Both keepers of WAR admit that catcher defense is an area of weakness, and that there may be things catchers do on the field that show up in neither the box score nor the advanced metrics.
Forty years ago today, on November 30, 1972, there were 9 trades in MLB:
Some notes on these trades:
- Two different McRaes were traded
- All-Stars: LaRoche, Hal McRae, Simpson, Scheinblum, Dobson, Johnson
- Players w/ memorable nicknames: Superjew, Pepito, Spider
- Future managers: McRae, Johnson, Oates
There’s a player who’s not in the Hall of Fame, even though his career Wins Above Replacement (WAR) is: six more than the average HOF position player; more than 13 of the 18 HOF second basemen; and more than any other eligible HOF reject besides PED suspects.
The reason usually given for his exclusion is that he had no great years and few truly outstanding ones. I’m not here to dispute that point, and this article is not an argument for putting him in the Hall.
Instead, I’m exploring whether Lou Whitaker was the most consistently “good” position player in MLB history.