• Best Short Baseball Careers

    Posted by on March 3rd, 2017 · Comments (9)

    Just saying…

    Results
    Rk Player WAR/pos G From To Age PA BA OBP SLG OPS Tm
    1 Shoeless Joe Jackson 62.3 1332 1908 1920 20-32 5695 .356 .423 .517 .940 PHA-CLE-CHW
    2 Jackie Robinson 61.5 1382 1947 1956 28-37 5804 .311 .409 .474 .883 BRO
    3 Hank Greenberg 57.5 1394 1930 1947 19-36 6098 .313 .412 .605 1.017 DET-PIT
    4 Thurman Munson 45.9 1423 1969 1979 22-32 5905 .292 .346 .410 .756 NYY
    5 Fred Clarke 44.3 1373 1901 1915 28-42 5902 .301 .380 .420 .799 PIT
    6 Charlie Keller 43.0 1170 1939 1952 22-35 4604 .286 .410 .518 .928 DET-NYY
    7 Frank Chance 42.8 1115 1901 1914 24-37 4541 .298 .397 .396 .794 CHC-NYY
    8 Ken Williams 42.6 1398 1915 1929 25-39 5624 .319 .393 .530 .924 CIN-SLB-BOS
    9 Lenny Dykstra 42.2 1278 1985 1996 22-33 5282 .285 .375 .419 .793 NYM-PHI
    10 Wally Berger 42.1 1350 1930 1940 24-34 5665 .300 .359 .522 .881 BSN-NYG-CIN-PHI
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 3/3/2017.

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    Comments on Best Short Baseball Careers

    1. Evan3457
      March 3rd, 2017 | 5:03 pm

      If the implication here is that this list demonstrates that Munson should be in the Hall of Fame, my reply is: not so much.

      The three players above him are clearly greater players; Jackson isn’t in the Hall because he sat in on meetings where throwing games was discussed (and he might have been a participant in throwing them, excellent Series stats notwithstanding).

      Of the six players below him, all have comparable career bWAR numbers. Munson played more games than any of the other five, so his bWAR/162 games is 5.22, and only Berger and Williams have lower numbers (Clarke would be lower if we used PA rather than games).

      Chance is sometimes cited as having one of the weakest set of credentials of any member of the Hall; Clarke was voted in as a player, but also received credit for being an outstanding manager over a lengthy managerial career.

      My opinion remains: Munson is in the Hall of Outstanding, and the Hall of Memorable, and the Hall of Beloved by His Fans, but slightly shy of the level of play I think being voted into the Hall of Fame requires.

    2. March 3rd, 2017 | 7:34 pm

      That said, you are comparing a catcher to players of other positions. Compare Munson, at the time of his death, to all catchers in the game at that time, per his WAR Total…what is his all-time rank among catchers as of 1979?

    3. KPOcala
      March 3rd, 2017 | 11:26 pm

      BTW, what about Minnie Minoso? And Steve I agree with you regarding Munson, FWIW…

    4. Evan3457
      March 4th, 2017 | 1:37 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      That said, you are comparing a catcher to players of other positions. Compare Munson, at the time of his death, to all catchers in the game at that time, per his WAR Total…what is his all-time rank among catchers as of 1979?

      When Munson died, he was 6th All-Time among catchers in WAR. He was tied with Ernie Lombardi who didn’t get in until 7 years later. Below him on the list was Wally Schang, Bill Freehan and Ted Simmons, none of whom are in the Hall.

      The people below Simmons on the 1979 list who were in the Hall or eventually voted in were:

      Carlton Fisk, who went on to play another 14 years, and to pile up another 5 All-Star selection, nearly 1400 more hits, 232 more HRs and 824 more RBI.

      Roy Campanella, whose career was also cut short by misfortune (at both ends!), but who had already won 3 MVP awards in his 10 year career.

      Rick Ferrell, generally regarded as a questionable, if not outright awful, Hall of Fame selection.

      Ray Schalk, an even worse Hall of Fame selection (it’s widely surmised that a lot of his support comes from his being one of Clean Sox, and because he spoke out against the corruption in the game).

      Gary Carter, who was then just 6 years into his 19-year career.

      ==============================================================

      Looking at Munson specifically, in the four Bill James created measures:

      Black Ink Test: 0 points
      Grey Ink Test: 44 points (Average Hall of Famer accumulates 144 points)
      Hall of Fame Monitor: 90 points (Likely Hall of Famer gets at least 100 points)
      Hall of Fame Standards: 29 points (Average Hall of Famer gets about 50 points)

      Jay Jaffe’s JAWS System sees him as 12th all-time among regular catchers. The top 8 are all in the Hall. Mauer and Simmons in 9th and 10th are not in. Mauer probably won’t get in, after all. Hartnett, at 11th, is in. Right below Munson are Gene Tenace and Freehan, who aren’t in. Of the six players who rank 15th through 20th, 3 are in, 3 are not.

      Of Munson’s top 10 similarity score comps, none are in the Hall of Fame. His #1 comp, Yadier Molina, stands a chance because of his outstanding work for many winning teams. His #9 comp, Freehan, might eventually win the favor of some veterans’ committee. Other than that, Tim McCarver might eventually get in…as a broadcaster.

      It’s not just one marker that has Munson at just below the line, but all of them. Some, like the Monitor and the JAWS system, have him under the line by a little bit. Others, like, the standards and the similarity comps, have him missing by quite a bit. But all of them point in the same direction: not quite.

      You have understand: Munson has a special place in my heart. He was the first; the first Yankee that came through the system after I became a fan who became a great player. He, Roy White and Mel Stottlemyre were my favorites my first six years as a fan (1968 to 1973).

      There are 217 players in the Hall of Fame. As of 1979, there were 140. However, of those 140, 67 were selected by the Veterans’ Committees (including the notorious years 1967-1973, when Frankie Frisch shanghaied the committee, and got many of his good, but not great, teammates, into the Hall), and 8 were selected by the Committee on the Negro Leagues (a committee that actually did its job very well, as it happens).

      Going just by the BBWAA vote, only 65 players were voted in by 1979. Set aside half of those as pitchers, and you’re down to 30-35 position players, meaning that, on average, as of 1979, the position players should go only about 4 or 5 at each position in the Hall. It’s not that surprising that Munson didn’t get voted in.

      Maybe in the future, some Veterans’ Committee will have a change of heart and pick Thurman. In the meantime, it’s a close call, but I think Munson, like Mattingly, Bernie, Jorge and Andy, just misses the Hall of Fame standard. Your mileage may vary.

    5. Evan3457
      March 4th, 2017 | 1:40 am

      Oh: one last thought.
      If Thurman does get selected some day:

      1. He won’t be the worst player in there (not even close).
      2. He won’t be the worst catcher in there (not even close).
      3. I’ll be very happy.

    6. March 4th, 2017 | 10:33 am

      For me, if you were the 6th best catcher all-time, when you “retired” then you are worthy to be in the HOF. But, I don’t ever see Munson getting in. He had a GREAT 8 year run for a CATCHER. People will see that as too short.

    7. Evan3457
      March 5th, 2017 | 1:52 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      For me, if you were the 6th best catcher all-time, when you “retired” then you are worthy to be in the HOF. But, I don’t ever see Munson getting in. He had a GREAT 8 year run for a CATCHER. People will see that as too short.

      OK.

      I think he’s a “just missed”, but if they put him in, I’ll have no serious objection.

    8. KPOcala
      March 7th, 2017 | 10:52 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      Evan, your response was well reasoned, as always. Something that came to my mind that seemingly never “makes the rounds” is that certain positions seem to be over/under represented in the HOF. I mean, the lack of third basemen is a joke. I think that it should come as a matter of course that when arguing for the Hall, players should be judged against fellow position mates First. Example, how many third basemen were better than Nettles? And isn’t third a really tough spot to field? I could go on, but I’m too lazy right now 😉

    9. KPOcala
      March 10th, 2017 | 12:58 am

      Steve, just hit me, Ralph Kiner! http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/k/kinerra01.shtml

      “Six-foot peaks”!

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