This post is a continuation from Hall of War: Part 1. If you haven't read that yet, I suggest you do so so as to better understand what I'm talking about. I'm just going to jump right in starting where I left off at leftfield. If need be, at the bottom of this post is a primer of what WAR/PA and Peak are in the case I'm describing.
Ted Williams (.0142 WAR/PA; 11.58 Peak) confirms his status as one of the best players of all time. He was actually a below average fielder in his lifetime, but his hitting was godly. He had a .493 career wOBA - yes you read that right. He had a 20.6% BB rate for his career. He walked once every five plate appearances. His slash line of .344/.482/.634 puts Albert to shame. He had 524 homers in his career for good measure. He had 11 seasons above .500 wOBA and one season over .600 wOBA.
I'll jump to the bottom of the pile with Goose Goslin (.00732; 6.98) of the Washington Senators. He managed a .403 wOBA with above average defense for his career. Ed Delahanty (.00855; 7.64), who retired in 1903, batted .346 for his career to the tune of a .428 wOBA. Then there's Carl Yastrzemski (.0077; 9.3), who had a long career with nearly 14,000 career plate appearances. Despite having a BABIP lower than .285 for his last nine seasons, he still managed to be wildly productive thanks to his 13.2% BB rate. Yaz was an extremely good fielder, worth +185 over his career, including above average defense at the tail end of his career.
Willie Stargell (.00786; 6.96) qualifies even though he was considerably worse than I thought. Obviously, that's not anything scientific but his .360 OBP and 475 homers belong there. Al Simmons (.00825; 7.54), who played for seven different teams between 1924 and 1944, had a .404 wOBA thanks largely to a career .334 average. He was also an above average fielder for the entirety of his career. Ralph Kiner (.00854; 7.36) had a short, but great career. He started in the league at the age of 24 and received 579 plate appearances with a .367 wOBA. He ended his career with 390 plate appearances in 1955 at the age of 33 with a .370 wOBA. Kiner had a 16.2% BB rate to help sustain his very low career BABIP of .264.
Then there's leadoff man Rickey Henderson (.00855; 8.78) who stole 1406 bases at a 80.8% success rate. He also had a .386 wOBA with +62.9 fielding over his career. He became an apparently awful fielder for the last years of his career, but the beginning he was one of the best fielders in the league.
Last but not least is The Man. Stan Musial (.0111; 10.2) was the greatest Cardinals player of all time. He had an amazing 5.5% K rate which helped him to a .331 average with a .320 BABIP. He walked 12.6% of the time helping himself to a .417 OBP. He hit 475 homers as well in nearly 13,000 plate appearances. He finished his career with a .436 wOBA and above average fielding.
I don't know if my Hall would let him in or not but Shoeless Joe Jackson (.0118; 8.8) was an amazing player. It's unfortunate he made such a bad decision. Sherry Magee (.00879; 7.22) is the only non-Hall "No Doubt" player this time. He had six seasons above 6 WAR in his career and a .385 wOBA in the early 1900s was good for a +138 wRC+. Despite this, he never received more than 1% of the vote.
Borderline - Yes
Jesse Burkett (.00758 WAR/PA; 6.56 Peak), who retired in 1905, is an easy yes with a career .409 wOBA. He had five seasons of 6.2 or greater for his career as well. Fred Clarke (.00831; 6.28), who played for the Pirates most of his career in the Deadball era, had above average fielding (+91 in career) with above average hitting (135 wRC+). Joe Kelley (.00708; 6.3), another player who played in the Deadball era, hit for a career .406 wOBA largely thanks to a .317 average and a 11.2% BB rate.
Zack Wheat (.007; 6.02), who played for the Brooklyn Robins in the early 1900s, is extremely borderline and barely made it. He had above average hitting (129 wRC+) and above average fielding (+54). He didn't hit many homers or doubles, but was a triples machine with 172 triples. He stole 205 bases, but it's unknown how many times he got caught. Billy Williams (.00663; 6.92) is in the same position and while his .376 wOBA and below average fielding didn't blow me away, his eight seasons above 5 WAR did the trick.
I'm going to have to barely let in Joe Medwick (.00691; 6). The problem is that his fifth best season was 4.7 so he doesn't have the ideal peak. However, it's hard to ignore a .394 wOBA (131 wRC+) and above average fielding (+45). Plus, he's a Cardinal. (Disclaimer: I was fully prepared to keep him out, but the combo of fielding and bat proved too much. I did not let him in because he was a Cardinal)
There are two players not currently in the Hall who I'd let in as a borderline candidate. One of them, Tim Raines(.00713; 6.7) is inexplicably out while Jim Rice is in, and the other is less known. Bob Johnson (.00825; 6.24) has a career .409 wOBA (134 wRC+) with average defense. He had basically no consideration for the Hall despite this. I think this was due to his low homer total at corner outfield (288) and his biggest value was in his walk rate at 13.2%. Raines, meanwhile had a 134 wRC+ while stealing 808 bases at an 84.7% rate.
Borderline - No
Cardinals and Reds player Chick Hafey (.00692 WAR/PA; 5.1 Peak) doesn't make it despite a .405 career wOBA. He had a really short career as well to boot with only 5,113 plate appearances. He accumulated a total of 35.4 WAR over his career. He's a borderline player without a peak or longevity basically.
Heine Manush (.00587; 5.78) is all peak, no productivity. His peak is pretty weak as well. While he did have five seasons over 5 WAR, his overall career line was less impressive. Jim Rice (.00619; 6.4) gets a bad rap I suppose since his HOF case is kind of solid on traditional grounds. He's not really that close to my ideal Hall however. Lastly, Jimmy Sheckard (.00713; 6.13), with 65 career WAR, barely misses. Fun fact: He has 58 career homers and a .378 slugging percentage as a left fielder.
What the fuck
Sigh... Lou Brock (.00475 WAR/PA; 5.3). This wasn't so much Cardinals bias as a misunderstanding of how stolen bases affect a player's value. He's not even close to the level of Hall of Fame players. I'd say he's fortunate given the time period he played in to make the HOF. Like Joe Posnanski says, making the HOF can sometimes be all about timing. Jim O'Rourke (.0057; 3.92) is a puzzling selection. He had a .311 batting average, but his .359 wOBA with below average defense is a pretty big travesty. Plus, O'Rourke literally has no peak.
Luis Gonzalez (.00564; 6.44), who was worth 59.4 WAR over his career and is a super nice guy for what it's worth, wasn't close to the Hall. However, he is better than I would have thought.
Barry Bonds (.01334 WAR/PA; 11.68), obviously, would go in "No Doubt." He was a wonderfully amazing defender early in his career before he took steroids and his shoulders became bigger than most people's faces. He also had a .439 wOBA for his entire career with 762 homers. Are we really going to leave him out of the Hall and let in Jim fucking Rice?
Manny Ramirez also appears destined for the Hall unless the voting committee is still on their moral high ground. He had a .417 career wOBA although he's a borderline Hall of Fame player because he was so bad at defense, whether that was due to bad range or laziness we'll never know. (Though probably combination of the two)
There are nine players who fall under this section of the Hall out of 16 players. Through no fault of his own, Hack Wilson (.00821 WAR/PA; 7.06 Peak) is the worst of the bunch. Wilson wasn't a very good fielder despite playing center, however his .423 wOBA can make people forget that easy. That wOBA is made all the more impressive when in context of the league, as he posted a ridiculously high 142 wRC+ for his career. Larry Doby (.00898; 6.72), the first black player integrated into the American League for the Indians, was another fantastic hitter. He achieved it differently with a 13.8% career BB rate to make a .396 wOBA (137 wRC+). He was a slightly above average fielder as well.
Tris Speaker (.0119; 9.72), who played in the Deadball Era for the Red Sox and Indians, had a career .345 average as well as a 11.5% BB rate. He had a .436 wOBA for his career, which was gave him a career 158 wRC+. He was also well above average in the field being worth +92 runs.
Ty Cobb (.0125; 11.28) was a competitive, bitter man. Most teammates disliked him even as he was an amazing player. The Hall ignored that trait giving him, at 98.2% of the vote, the largest until Tom Seaver received 98.8%. Cobb had a career .366 average with a .433 on-base percentage. He had a career .451 wOBA and career 171 wRC+. He also had 892 stolen bases, in the process spiking players on some, although the caught stealing amount is unknown. He hit just 117 homers but had 295 triples over his career including seven seasons with over 15 triples.
Next are a pair of Yankees centerfielders, Joe Dimaggio (.012; 9.22) and Mickey Mantle (.0124; 10.92). DiMaggio, who was linked to many beautiful woman despite being a pretty ugly guy, had a career .439 wOBA. He was above average in the field for his career and homered 361 times, including seven seasons with 30 or more homers. He had a 4.8% strikeout rate over his entire career amazingly. Mantle, whose knee problems likely forced him to be a well below average defender late in his career, had a .431 wOBA, in part helped by a ridiculous 17.5% BB rate and 536 homers.
Billy Hamilton (.00908; 6.34), who retired before the first official World Series in 1901 with the Boston Beaneaters, was a man with a career .447 wOBA. He had a .347 career average with a 15.7% BB rate. The next two men started their careers in New York and had their teams relocate to California. Duke Snider (.0087; 8.36) was basically average in the field over his career with a .404 wOBA. He hit 407 homers, including five straight seasons with 40 or more homers. Willie Mays (.0131; 11.12), on the other hand, has a legitimate claim as the best player ever. He was an elite fielder (+185) posting 10 seasons with +10 or better. He also had a .413 wOBA mostly helped by his .302 average and 660 homers.
Borderline - Yes
Richie Ashburn (.00693 WAR/PA; 6.98 Peak), mostly with the Phillies during the 1950s, has seven seasons above 5.2 WAR that ultimately made the difference. He has a good wOBA at .364 and good fielding at +77. The combination plus the fact that he played center makes him a relatively easy pick. Earl Averill (.00762; 6.72) is another easy choice. Averill was slightly below average in the field but had five seasons of 5.7 WAR or better with a career .414 wOBA.
I'm only allowing one player not in the Hall into the Hall of WAR and that's Jim Wynn. He has a .364 wOBA (131 wRC+) and slightly below average fielding for his career. The real reason I chose him however was his eight seasons above 5 WAR and five seasons above 6 WAR. Simply put, he was one of the best players in the game for a lengthy period of time.
Borderline - No
Yankees lifer Earle Combs (.00712 WAR/PA; 5.5 Peak) gets kicked out lacking the peak necessary. He posted just two seasons above 5 WAR over his entire career. He did have a .392 wOBA, however that manages only a 127 wRC+ (as compared to Wynn's .364 and 131 wRC+). The 1930s were a time of offense apparently. He was average on defense and had no peak as I said before. Kirby Puckett (.00631; 5.62) isn't as terrible a decision as I thought he was, but there's nothing that suggest he's a Hall of Fame player.
Edd Roush (.00671; 5.4) did have five seasons above 5 WAR, but his best season was 5.7 WAR so that's a little misleading by itself. Tommy Leach (.00672; 5.56), who played mostly for the Pirates in the Deadball Era, had just three seasons above 5 WAR in his career. His .345 wOBA and slightly above average fielding wasn't really that strong of a case either. Chet Lemon (.00723; 5.74) of the White Sox and Tigers should probably have been better considered having garnered just 0.2% of the vote in 1996. He had a .353 wOBA with above average defense. The combination of his career and peak however gives him little of an actual case for the Hall.
What the fuck
Max Carey (.00614 WAR/PA; 5.62 Peak) was a pretty good player with a .368 wOBA and above average fielding. That wOBA however was just a career 117 wRC+. His WAR/PA is really low for a player in the Hall as well. Hugh Duffy (.00594; 5.34) was an even more perplexing player, but it's easy to see how they got fooled. He did have a .398 wOBA, however that translated to a 120 wRC+ in the late 1800s. (He had a .365 wOBA in 1896 for a 96 wRC+). Duffy had just five seasons over 4 WAR as his peak.
Lloyd Waner (.0034; 3.8) had just a .345 wOBA with average defense in his career. He had a .316 career average which probably fooled people as well as a general consensus that he was good at defense.
I have a trio of players who are clear Hall of Fame players based off their career and peak. Ken Griffey, Jr. (.00742 WAR/PA; 8.64 Peak) actually had the last decade drag down his numbers pretty good. He went from one of the best centerfielders of all time defensively to one of the worst in the league which left his career value as negative. He still had a .385 career wOBA and an amazing peak however. I guess I should mention his 630 homers as well.
Andruw Jones (.00854; 7.56), who turned into a lazy slob apparently, deserves to be in based of his first 10 years. He's been worth 276 runs over his career on defense along with a .354 wOBA, helped along by 420 career homers. He's such an amazing fielder that you pretty much have to let him in. Lastly, Jim Edmonds (.00848; 7.02), believe it or not, would go on "No Doubt." It's mostly because he has the two traits that a Hall of Fame player needs: career production and peak. It doesn't necessarily mean he's better than borderlines. Edmonds was above average in the field with a .385 wOBA. Now, oddly, his defense is pretty overrated, but his offense is pretty underrated. Hopefully they even out and they elect him anyway.
I'd probably let Carlos Beltran (.00798; 6.9) as a borderline candidate. He's probably one of the rare five tool players. He can hit well above average (.372 wOBA), field above average (+56.5), was good on the basepaths (+30.5 on BsR on fangraphs) and was a pretty amazing base stealer (293 stolen bases at an 87.7% rate). Kenny Lofton (.00718; 6.4) I'd let in as well. He has a clear peak (five seasons above 5.5 WAR), had great defense (+114.5), stole bases at a good rate (622 at a 79.5% rate), and had a decent bat as well (.354 wOBA). If there's anymore doubt, his baserunning numbers are at +11.6 despite being only the last six seasons of his career.
Hank Aaron (.0108 WAR/PA; 8.88 Peak), who played for the Milwaukee Braves most of his career, hit 755 home runs with a .301 average which helped him gain entry to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot with over 97% of the vote. Hammerin' Hank had a .405 wOBA, which was good for an amazing career 154 wRC+. He was a good fielder, posting 98 runs above average and to my surprise stole 240 bases at a 76.7% rate. For a man with his power, he walked just 10.1% of the time which comes as a slight surprise to me. Despite never hitting more than 50 homers, he hit 40 or more eight times and 30 or more 15 times.
Roberto Clemente (.00894; 7.5), who died at the young age of 38-years-old, is a player who I expected to have a better batting line. He hit .317, but thanks to a low 6.1% BB rate, had just a .359 OBP and a .366 wOBA. His real value was in his fielding, as he was worth 204 runs over the entirety of his career including 10 seasons where he was worth +10 or more runs.
With a .342 career average, Harry Heilman (.00872, 7.72), who had a 17-year career with the Tigers and Reds in the early 1900s, was able to hit for a woBA of .426 and a wRC+ of 144. He was worth negative defensive value, however his hitting most definitely made up the difference. Al Kaline (.00879; 7.56) played his entire career with the Tigers posting a .379 wOBA (134 wRC+) and great defense (+156) in the corners. He also hit 399 homers and posted an 11% BB rate.
The next three players got in the Hall through elite hitting (.400+ woBA) and slightly above average defense. Frank Robinson (.0099; 8.28) had a .406 wOBA with 586 homers and a whopping 155 wRC+. Mel Ott (.0102; 8.28), who played his entire career with the Giants, used 511 homers and a 15.1% BB rate to a .432 wOBA despite a relatively low .294 BABIP. He was also well above average in the field (+50). With a .333 average and 10.1% BB rate, Paul Waner (.00736; 7.02) was able to hit for a .405 wOBA despite just 113 career homers.
Lastly, Babe Ruth (.0167; 14.06) is undoubtedly the greatest player in baseball ever. He had a career .510 wOBA. He never posted a wOBA below .400 when he had more than 200 plate appearances in a season. His wRC+ of 197 for his entire career is ridiculous. He walked in 19.4% of his plate appearances. He hit 714 homers. He had a .690 slugging percentage including two seasons above .840. One blemish to an otherwise perfect career is that he stole 123 bases and got caught 117 times.
Deadball Era player, Elmer Flick (.00926; 6.96), had seven seasons above 5 WAR and five seasons above 6.4 WAR. He had a .401 wOBA, which gave him an elite 148 wRC+. He stole 330 bases, though his caught stealing is unknown. He was above average in the field. He even batted .313 so his exclusion is puzzling.
There are actually two non-Hall of Fame players who I can't believe haven't made it. Reggie Smith, who garned 0.7% of the vote in 1988 on his only time on the ballot, is pretty underrated. He had a .376 wOBA (136 wRC+), above average fielding (+80), and hit 314 homers. He didn't have any of the qualities the BBWAA looks for: .300 average, 500 homers. He did walk 11.1% of the time which is I guess why they ignored him. Hell, I'm sure a ton of people on the blog are surprised how good he fares.
Lastly, Larry Walker's (.00912; 6.7) raw numbers are overlooked because he played in Coors which makes him underrated. A park-adjusted wRC+ of 142 shows how good he is at hitting. He was efficient on the basepaths with 230 stolen bases at a 75.2% rate. He was well above average in the fielding (+86.1). Really it's a travesty if he doesn't end up making the Hall.
Borderline - Yes
Sam Crawford (.00722 WAR/PA; 6.14 Peak) has a .384 wOBA in the Deadball Era, which is good for a 138 wRC+. He was a below average defender, but he eight seasons above 5 WAR for his peak. Kiki Cuyler (.00694; 6.96) is on the brink but I ultimately decided to let him thanks to his .401 wOBA. The wOBA is slightly misleading as it leads only to a 129 wRC+, but Cuyler was about average on defense and stole 328 bases. Tony Gywnn (.00664; 6.04) is almost identical to Cuyler with a 132 wRC+, average defense, and 319 stolen bases. Gywnn didn't have much of a peak however, but he did have a .338 career average thanks to a 4.2% K rate which I consider pretty elite.
Chuck Klein (.0072; 6.72) had kind of a short career with only a little over 7,000 plate appearances. He still managed five seasons above 5 WAR however. He also had a .413 wOBA (134 wRC+) with below average defense in the corner outfield position. He managed to hit 300 homers in his career around the same time Babe Ruth hit 714.
Borderline - No
Willie Keeler (.00618; 5.94) is a weird case playing in the Deadball Era. He does have five seasons over 5 WAR but averaged out that equals just 5.94 which would be low for a Hall of Fame player. It comes down to the peak on this one really and his WAR/PA is pretty low as well. I'm going to have to kick out another Cardinal here. Apologies to the owner of the "Mad Dash," but Enos Slaughter (.00634; 5.62) would be a below average Hall of Fame player. His .385 wOBA would garner just a 125 wRC+ and he had basically average defense. Slaughter has a low peak as well with just seven seasons over 4 WAR and four seasons over 5. Lastly, Ross Youngs (.00713; 5.38) played a very short career having just over 5,000 plate appearances. His career value was relatively low and his peak is low as well. Not sure why they randomly allowed a player who had so few plate appearances.
Dwight Evans (.00676; 5.98) comes just close coming short on the peak for me.
What the fuck
There are definitely way too many on this list for right field. Andre Dawson (.00579; 6.28) was voted in for his peak, I'm guessing, but his peak was weak on its own merits: His fifth best season was just 4.4 WAR. Then there's the fact that he had a .352 career wOBA. Harry Hooper (.00608; 5.34) has a misleading stat line. Yes he was a +77 fielder and had a .363 wOBA. But that translated to just a 116 wRC+ and three seasons with more than 5 WAR.
The next two are really head-scratchers. King Kelly (.00697; 5.04), who played largely for the White Stockings, had 3.7 for his fifth best season. Tommy McCarthy (.00649; 3.44) is worse and more inexplicable however. His fifth best season was 2.5 WAR. Neither had bad careers, but both had nothing resembling a peak.
Sam Rice (.0057; 5) was another awful selection with a 114 wRC+ with his fifth best season being 4.6 WAR. Sam Thompson (.00634; 4.82) is another player with no peak. Plus he had 6,502 plate appearances. Most of these batters had good hitting lines, but played in offensive eras. Lastly, Dave Winfield (.00548, 5.7) who neither had a Hall-worthy career or peak. Winfield had a .364 wOBA with atrocious defense.
I'm letting in just one of the following. I'd be willing to bet you can't guess which one I let in: Bobby Abreu, Brian Giles,Gary Sheffield, Sammy Sosa, Vladmir Guerrero. Made your decision? Alright, well it's not Sammy Sosa (.00648; 7.48) despite his peak and .370 wOBA. He has a 123 wRC+ which kind of highlights the era he played in. His defense (+93) was well above average as well. It basically came down to his .344 OBP.
It wasn't Bobby Abreu (.00647; 6.46), who with a .384 wOBA and a decent peak, has a better case than you think. His basically average defense weighed him down however and the fact that he played corner outfield. Hmm, I'll just reveal the answer now: Brian Giles (.00755; 6.62) who has five seasons above 6 WAR and a 136 wRC+, which is better than all of the above except Gary Sheffield who was godawful defensively. Sheffield (.00609; 6.66)was worth -204 runs defensively which is an amazing feat.
So how did I do on raising the standard? Time to see the raw statistics to show the difference. Below, is a graph of the WAR/PA of current Hall of Fame players and the WAR/PA of my Hall of WAR:
Hall of WAR
Well there's a clear upgrade in talent with my changes. Admittedly, most of the change is from taking out the "crap" from the Hall. I didn't really complete my goal of having a very small Hall however as I ended up rationalizing leaving in more than I intended. Nonetheless, this is certainly a good improvement, in my opinion, over the current Hall.
For good measure, the I'd like to see if the peaks increased. Given some of the peaks I kicked out, I certainly hope that it improved drastically.
Hall of WAR
Every position encountered positive improvement and the end result was a somewhat drastic improvement at over half a win for the average peak season.
Joe Jackson was included in the Hall though Pete Rose was not. I really have no valid reason for this, but Pete Rose would have ruined the rankings with his WAR/PA at .00576 though his peak would have been fine I'm guessing. (His late career really wasn't very good.)
All WAR totals were from fangraphs as I just feel it's better than Baseball-Reference. Combining them wouldn't have solved much in my opinion. I created a google doc if you are interested in looking at the stats I compiled for every Hall of Fame player and the non-Hall of Fame players who came close. I color coded them as well. Basically green of any shade is makes the Hall, red of any shade, he doesn't make the Hall.
The Best of the Best
It's easy to figure out who has the best WAR over their entire career or who has the highest WAR ever (Hint: Fangraphs). What is not easy is knowing the best ever WAR/PA and best ever peaks. So I put down the Top 10 in a chart below with Stan Musial finishing in 14th place all-time.
The chart excludes players whose careers are not finished, which includes Joe Jackson, who was forced to stop playing in his prime and was not subject to the normal decline of players. Also, I charted the best ever peaks in the graph below:
Stan Musial barely misses the cut finishing 11th all-time in the best peak season average. Babe Ruth finishes first all-time in both categories, solidifying his ranking as the best of all-time.
Lastly, here's a chart of how each team would be affected with my Hall of WAR. Basically, if I added and removed the players from the Hall, how many teams would "lose" or "gain" Hall of Fame players. I assigned each player to the team he played the longest in, with the only real conflict in Dave Winfield (8 1/2 seasons with Yankees; 8 with Padres; narrowly chose Yankees). The impact the player had or the team the player chose had no effect on the team, just the length the player was with the teams.
*The Blues are a defunct team. Originally the Cleveland Blues, the team was bought by Charles Byrne in 1885. He folded the team into his other team, the Brooklyn Grays, which changed to the Brooklyn Bridegrooms to the Brooklyn Trolley Dodgers to the Brooklyn Superbas to the Brooklyn Robins and finally to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
**The Yankees include players who played for the New York Highlanders, the team nickname before they adapted the Yankees. The Braves include players who played for the Boston Beaneaters, who became the Boston Braves and later the Atlanta Braves. The Twins include players who played for the Washington Senators, its location before it relocated to Minnesota and changed the nickname to Twins. The Cubs include one player who played for the Chicago Colts, the nickname before it later became the Cubs.
And with that my project is over, although maybe not totally. When and if I get the time, I may look into the pitcher Hall of WAR though i may either need to calculate the WAR manually (not particularly appealing) or simply use FIP and IP for pitchers. But that's a long way away if I indeed do decide to write that post.
WAR/PA = wins above replacement (WAR) divided by plate appearances. This helps separate players with different WARs but the same plate appearances and vice versa. It also helps to figure who, on average, was worth the most value.
Peak = Five best seasons by WAR on average by a player. Factored into my decision-making is the highest and lowest WARs of the peak, which show how dominant he was and for how long.