Well, the Cardinals didn’t advance very far in the postseason, but there is one bright side: we have more opportunities to vote on the VEB Hall of Fame. Assuming your team isn’t actually playing, the postseason is the perfect time for this. Short of signing a soon-to-be-free agent (or I guess front office members), there’s really nothing that can happen between now and the beginning of free agency. Which is good for me, because I like to run a few ballots in a row, and then announce the results after it. Cardinals’ news isn’t going to get in the way.
Here’s a refresher in case you don’t remember from the last time or maybe this is your first time here. I wrote a primer here. In case you don’t want to read that, I said I would give the averages of the current Hall of Fame standards for context, though that is simply there to give you some sort of basis for how good something is. Here is the average Hall of Famer by position (PP = position players except catcher)
SP: 71 bWAR, 67 fWAR (3.8 bWAR per 200 IPs, 3.3 fWAR per 200 IP)
RP: 33.5 bWAR (1.6 WAR per 65 IP), 25.5 fWAR (1.3 WAR per 65 IP)
C: 53.7 WAR (3.9 WAR per 550 PAs)
PP: 68 WAR (4.4 WAR per 600 PAs)
Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs evaluate pitchers differently. There was not an appreciable difference in how they evaluated hitters, at least not on a macro scale. Individually, sure we will see some differences. But they had virtually identical career WAR and WAR per 600 PAs figures. Next, the average Hall of Fame peak by their seven best seasons and their JAWS, which factors in peak with career total.
SP: 40.7 bWAR Peak, 61.4 JAWS
RP: 23.4 bWAR Peak, 29.7 JAWS
C: 34.7 bWAR Peak, 44.2 JAWS
PP: 43.1 bWAR Peak, 55.8 JAWS
Yeah trying to figure out the fWAR peaks was... way too much work. And for position players and catchers, it would probably be the same. Just mentally downgrade a couple WAR for Fangraphs pitching and it’ll probably be right. So that’s... pretty much all the information and context you’ll need. Now the players.
Red Ames (SP)
Career: 28.9 bWAR, 44.8 fWAR, 21.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 1.8 bWAR, 2.8 fWAR)
Peak: 17.8 bWAR, 25.7 fWAR
Acc: None (played from 1903-1919, predating awards)
4-WAR seasons: 0 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: He was something of a strikeout pitcher in his time, at least at the beginning of his career. He was wildly effective you could say. He led the league in K/9 from 1905-1907. He also led the league in wild pitches in two out of three years.
Profile: Born in Ohio, the 5’10 pitcher debuted very young in the majors, at just 20-years-old. He made his way to the rotation in 1905, which was also the year they won the World Series. He was a mainstay in the rotation for years with the Giants, although typically was the 3rd or 4th starter. They won 90 games every year but once, and won four NL pennants while Ames was a Giant. Ames was known for his uncontrollable and highly “dramatic” curveball. He got traded to the Reds in the middle of his 11th season. After one and a half effective years, he got sold to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1915 season. He lasted another four seasons before getting released by the Cardinals at the beginning of the 1920 season. He never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Luis Aparicio (SS)
Career: 55.9 bWAR, 49.1 fWAR, 44.3 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3 bWAR, 2.6 fWAR)
Peak: 32.7 bWAR, 28.9 fWAR
Acc: Rookie of the Year, 13-time All-Star (three seasons had two ASG), 9-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Apraricio led the American League in stolen bases for nine consecutive seasons to start his career. Granted, in his first year he stole just 21 bases. He also didn’t get caught much, with a 78.8% success rate, 88th all-time.
Profile: Aparicio was born while his father was a baseball superstar in both Venezuela and Latin America, known for his defense at short. Luis had a huge burden to live up to his father’s reputation. He played on his father’s team in the national tournament when he was 19, and after taking just one pitch, his father pointed to his son and handed him the bat, a passing of the torch if you will. It got a 15-minute standing ovation. He was named the best shortstop of the tournament and signed with the White Sox shortly after. After a couple seasons in the minors, the White Sox traded their incumbent shortstop to make room for him. He won Rookie of the Year. In 1958, he made his first All-Star game and won his first Gold Glove. He made the ASG seven straight years. He was traded to the Orioles before the 1963 season, and formed a left side of the infield of him and Brooks Robinson, one of the best combos of all-time. He was traded back to the White Sox in 1968, and after three seasons, was traded to the Red Sox. He ended his career as a Red Sox at 39-years-old. He made the HOF on the sixth attempt by the BBWAA, the first ever Venezuelan awarded.
Jose Canseco (OF)
Career: 42.5 bWAR, 41.1 fWAR, 36.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.1 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 29.7 bWAR, 29.2 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 6-time All-Star, 4-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Say what you will about Canseco, he did not have a single season with a below average hitting line. Not one. Every year of his career, he had a wRC+ higher than 100. That’s 17 seasons.
Profile: Canseco did not make the varsity team on his high school baseball team until his senior season, but despite that, he still managed to get drafted in the 15th round by the Oakland Athletics. He became a huge prospect, winning Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year in 1985 and debuting for a September call-up at just age 20. He immediately hit and never stopped hitting. With the Athletics leading the AL West at the waiver trading deadline in 1992, he was traded to the Rangers. From 1986 until he was traded, he had hit the most homers in baseball. He asked to pitch in the 1993 season in a blowout and ended up needing Tommy John surgery and missing the rest of the season. He was traded to Boston following the strike-shortened 1994 season, but missed lots of time to injury in both years. He got traded back to the A’s, where he again had some injury issues. He played for four teams in his last four years, including signing a deal with the Rays that said he’d go in as a Ray if elected to the Hall. He later revealed he took steroids and had a tell-all book on who was also taking steroids. He appeared on one ballot with just 1.1% of the vote.
Rocky Colavito (OF)
Career: 44.5 bWAR, 49.2 fWAR, 40 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.5 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 35.4 bWAR, 37.3 fWAR
Acc: 9-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Colavito was as consistent as they come. He hit at least 20 homers for 11 straight seasons with seven of those seasons being 30 or more homers. He also became the first AL outfielder to complete a season with a perfect fielding percentage.
Profile: A huge fan of the Yankees, he dropped out of high school at 16 to pursue a baseball career, but the Yankees were not interested. He signed at 17 with Cleveland in 1951, debuting four years later for a few games, but his rookie season happened the next year, at 22. In 1959, he hit four consecutive homers in a game, en route to a 42 homer season. A fan favorite, he was unexpectedly traded to Detroit shortly before the 1960 Opening Day. He was not as loved in Detroit, but lasted four seasons. He was traded to the then Kansas City Athletics for one year before returning to Cleveland. In 1967, he was traded midseason to the White Sox. He was sold to the Dodgers at the end of the year, and released midseason the following year, finishing out his career with the Yankees. He was on two Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
Jim Edmonds (OF)
Career: 60.4 bWAR, 64.5 fWAR, 51.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.5 bWAR, 4.8 fWAR)
Peak: 42.6 bWAR, 45.4 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: I could go for a useful stat, or I could go with a stat that I actually haven’t seen before: double plays turned as a CF. That’s a stat apparently. He was the leader in the stat three times in his career and in the top 5 six times. His 31 double plays as a CF ranks 24th all-time.
Profile: Edmonds was drafted in the 7th round of the 1988 MLB Draft, partially because he had an injured shoulder his senior year of high school, causing him to drop. He made the majors by 23, was a part-time player at 24, and broke out at 25. After four straight seasons as a 4+ fWAR player, he tore his labrum and missed most of 1999. In addition, his teammates did not like his attitude so he was traded to the Cardinals after the season. He had his best years as a Cardinal, rattling off six straight seasons of at least 6 fWAR. Injuries and decreased performance led to a trade to the Padres, who released him early in the season. He finished his career strong for three separate teams, retiring at 40. He fell off the ballot after his first appearance.
Dwight Gooden (SP)
Career: 48.2 bWAR, 56.7 fWAR, 46 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.4 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 39 bWAR, 43.3 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, 4-time All-Star, Silver Slugger, ERA title, Triple Crown
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Hard to find a better two seasons to begin one’s career. In his first season, he led in strikeouts, FIP, WHIP, H/9, HR/9, and K/9. In his second season, he led in innings, complete games, ERA, strikeouts, ERA+ and FIP again in his lone Cy Young winning season. He was 19 and 20-years-old.
Profile: Gooden was drafted fifth overall in the 1982 MLB Draft. He pitched one season in the minors, the High A level, where he struck out 300 batters in 191 IP, then pitched in the AAA postseason. Besides the postseason, he basically jumped straight from High A to the majors. In the middle of the 1986 season, he lost some speed on his fastball that never returned. He missed the first two months of the 1987 season when he tested positive for cocaine in spring training and went to rehab. An injury shortened his 1989 season as well, but he followed that with four straight mostly healthy seasons in a row. He only made seven starts in strike-shortened season from testing positive for cocaine again, and then missed all of 1995 from testing positive for a third time while under suspension. He signed with the Yankees before 1996 and lasted five more years, none of them great years, with four different teams, retiring at 36 when he was cut from spring training in 2001. He appeared on just one ballot.
Chick Hafey (OF)
Career: 31.2 bWAR, 32.7 fWAR, 29.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.7 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 28.1 bWAR, 29.2 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, batting title (The All-Star game didn’t exist until 10th season)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: 10.8% was the highest percentage he received while on the BBWAA ballot. He got elected via the Veteran’s Committee in 1971.
Profile: The Cardinals signed Hafey out of high school as a pitcher, but Branch Rickey noticed his hitting abilities and he became an outfielder instead. Hafey may very well have been the first true success of Rickey’s farm system that ended up heavily influencing baseball. He debuted at 21-years-old, and was a part-time player for three years. In that third season, the Cardinals won their first ever World Series. In the offseason, he had surgery for a sinus problem, the cause of which has been blamed on hit-by pitches, a bad infected tooth, or rheumatic fever as a child. He fully broke out in 1927, but only played in 103 games due to sinus and vision problems. It is said that in the 1929 season, he became one of the first - though not the first - players to wear glasses on the field. He asked for $15,000 for the 1931 season, Rickey offered $10,000. They agreed to $12,500, but the Cardinals docked him $100 a day for a day for not being ready to play - and wouldn’t you know it, he wasn’t ready for $2,100 amount. He had a 156 wRC+ that year. When he tried to get even more money the next year, he was traded to the Reds. He missed nearly all of 1935, falling ill to the flu and went home to regain his health. He didn’t play in 1936, but returned for a final year in 1937. He retired at just 34-years-old.
Harry Heilmann (OF)
Career: 72.5 bWAR, 69 fWAR, 60 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.9 bWAR, 4.6 fWAR)
Peak: 47.4 bWAR, 45.5 fWAR
Acc: 4-time batting title winner (Career predated All-Star games and most awards)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: The official version of MVP did not yet exist, but there was an American League and National League version of it during the 1920s. Heilmann received an MVP vote in every season that it existed (1922 to 1928 for the AL), finishing as high as 2nd.
Profile: Heilmann grew up in tragedy. At just three-years-old, his father died at 36, and his older brother, also a gifted athlete, drowned as a 16-year-old when Heilmann was 13. Heilmann was signed by a minor league team in 1913 and played well enough to get drafted by the Tigers for the 1914 season. He wasn’t very good, and they sent him back to the minors for 1915. When he re-emerged in the majors in 1916 - still just 21 - he was a good player. He missed the 2nd half of the 1918 season to enlist in the Navy. He had his best season to date in 1919, but really exploded as a player in the 1921 season as a 26-year-old. He was known for his line drives and for his lack of speed, getting nicknamed “Slug.” One sportswriter said that his inability to beat out infield hits was the one thing that kept him from matching Rogers Horsnby as the greatest right-handed hitter ever. His 1929 season began with the Tigers suspending Heilmann for “indifferent training” and ended with them putting him on waivers and trading him to the Reds. He had one more great year with the Reds, missed all of 1931 to arthritis, and was released in June of 1932, barely playing even on the team. He became a Tigers radio broadcaster in 1934, and remained one when he died of lung cancer in 1951. Six months later, he was elected to the Hall of Fame on his 13th ballot.
Fergie Jenkins (SP)
Career: 82.2 bWAR, 80.1 fWAR, 67.8 JAWS (per his 264 IP average: 4.8 bWAR, 4.7 fWAR)
Peak: 51.4 bWAR, 51.1 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sort of strange that he was selected to just three All-Star teams, considering he received Cy Young votes in six seasons. Six seasons with an MVP vote as well. Does not appear to have been a slow starter, though May was his worst month.
Profile: Jenkins grew up in Chatham, Ontario, beginning his baseball journey as a first baseman in his teens. A Phillies scout encouraged him to work on his pitching, which he did by training with him and also throwing pieces of coal at an open ice chute. He was predictably signed by the Phillies in 1962 at 19-years-old. He made his MLB debut in 1965 at 22-years-old, but was traded to the Cubs early in the 1966 season. In the 1967 season, he became a full-time starter and quickly became one of the better pitchers in baseball. He was traded to the Rangers following the 1973 season and won the Comeback Player of the Year award in his first year (which was kind of ridiculous - he was a 4.2 fWAR pitcher the year before! but he was also 14-16 and won 25 games with the Rangers.). He spent two years with the Rangers, was traded to the Red Sox, who after two years traded him back to the Rangers. He signed as a free agent with the Cubs in his last two years, retiring at age 40. It took him three tries, but he was elected to the Hall in 1991.
Vern Law (SP)
Career: 26 bWAR, 32.5 fWAR, 30.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 1.9 bWAR, 2.4 fWAR)
Peak: 28.2 bWAR, 22.3 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 2-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: Here’s a funny one. In the year Law won the Cy Young - coincidentally happened to be a year where there were two All-Star games, both of which he made - Ernie Broglio was arguably the deserved winner, the 3rd place finisher with 7.1 bWAR.
Profile: Law signed as a free agent with the Pirates before the 1948 season and in fact reported to a minor league team just three days after he graduated high school. He wasn’t offered a large bonus, but was convinced to sign when Bing Crosby, who owned a stake of the Pirates, told his mom they would treat him well and promised expense-paid trip if Law made the World Series as Pirate. He debuted at 20, and spent two years as a swingman before enlisting in the army for the Korean War for two years, so that he could choose where to go and he chose a place with a baseball program. He missed two seasons, and returned before the 1954 season. After another season as a swingman, he become a regular member of the rotation beginning in 1955. In 1960, he had his best season, and went 2-0 in three starts in the World Series, with his parents getting that expenses paid trip. He pitched on an injured ankle in the World Series, which caused shoulder problems for the next three years. He was healthy by 1964 and managed three years with at least 28 starts. His 1967 season was his last, ended by a groin injury in August. He was a Pirate his whole career. He was on seven HOF ballots, but none above 2.4%.
Bob Lemon (SP)
Career: 48.2 bWAR, 41.8 fWAR, 43.5 JAWS (per his 236 IP average: 4 bWAR, 3.6 fWAR)
Peak: 38.7 bWAR, 34.6 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Lemon was the 13th best hitting pitcher of all time for players who played after 1900. He had a wRC+ of 80 and actually had more plate appearances than five guys ahead of him.
Profile: Part of the reason he was a good hitting pitcher was he began his career as a hitter. He signed with the then Cleveland Indians at 17-years-old and made his way to the majors at 20-years-old. But he appeared in just 10 combined games over the next two years before serving in the Navy for three seasons for World War II. While in the Navy, he received glowing reviews from his pitching. He began the 1946 season as the starting CFer, but struggled mightily with the bat and manager Lou Bodreau decided to try him at pitcher. He threw 94 innings but walked 16.5% of batters. He continued having control problems next season, but became one of Cleveland’s best pitchers in the 2nd half. He threw nearly 300 innings and ended up leading the league in IP four times and in complete games five times. Age came for him when he was 36, ending nine years of consistent pitching. He pitched in relief in 1958, but was put on waivers in July. Even though his pitching got him in the Hall of Fame, he would have rather been an everyday player. On his 14th ballot, the BBWAA voted him into the Hall.
Greg Maddux (SP)
Career: 104.8 bWAR, 116.7 fWAR, 81.1 JAWS (per his 235 IP average: 4.9 bWAR, 5.5 fWAR)
Peak: 56.3 bWAR, 53.1 fWAR
Acc: 4-time Cy Young winner, 8-time All-Star, 18-time Gold Glover, 4-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 13 by bWAR, 13 by fWAR
One notable stat: Maddux had a bananas peak. From 1992-2000, Maddux was top 5 in Cy Young voting in all but one year and won the Cy Young four straight years. He had at least 7 fWAR in all but one season as well.
Profile: Maddux was drafted in the 2nd round of 1984 MLB Draft out of high school and likely only fell that far because of his skinny build. He debuted in September, made his first appearance as a pinch runner in the 17th inning of a game, and threw a complete game in his first ever start. It would not be his last. He struggled in his first full season, but at 22, Maddux began a run of 14 straight seasons with 200 IP (and at least 3.7 fWAR). Maddux reached free agency and signed with the Braves following his first Cy Young. He won three straight in his first three years as a Brave. He didn’t really fall off until 2002 when he was 36. And fall off meant not being a 5+ fWAR pitcher, but a 4 fWAR one. He signed as a free agent with the Cubs following the 2003 season and pitched for two and half years before being traded to the Dodgers. He signed with the Padres, and finished his career as a Dodger when the Padres traded him in his second season with them. He was first ballot, 97.2% of the vote.
Mickey Mantle (OF)
Career: 110.2 bWAR, 112.3 fWAR, 87.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 6.7 bWAR, 6.8 fWAR)
Peak: 64.7 bWAR, 65.4 fWAR
Acc: 3-time MVP, 20-time All-Star (four years had two ASG), Triple Crown winner, Batting title
4-WAR seasons: 12 by bWAR, 12 by fWAR
One notable stat: Mantle struck out a ton for his time. In case you thought great hitters striking out is only a recent thing. He ranked first in baseball in strikeouts five times and I believe was the all-time leader in strikeouts when he retired. He’s now 37th.
Profile: Mantle almost didn’t play baseball. He got kicked in the shin while playing football in a practice game and developed an infection in his bone. Newly available penicillin reduced his infection and saved his leg from amputation. After graduation, he signed with the Yankees in 1949. During a slump, Mantle called his father to tell him he was quitting, but his father drove there and convinced him to stay. Before the 1951 season, Mantle impressed manager Casey Stengel and converted the then shortstop to right field. When he got sent down, once again his father had to drive to convince him not to quit. In the 2nd game of the 1951 World Series, he injured his leg trying to avoid Joe DiMaggio and tripped over an exposed drain pipe, beginning his knee problems. DiMaggio retired, and Mantle moved to CF. He then started a string of 11 straight seasons with at least 4.9 fWAR. He had the famous home run chase with Roger Maris, ending at 54 homers in 1961 and in 1962 he won his third and final MVP despite missing 41 games. He broke his foot and missed more than half of 1963 and had his last truly great, mostly healthy year in 1964. He played four more years, and retired at 37. He was first ballot with 88.2% of the vote.
Dennis Martinez (SP)
Career: 49.3 bWAR, 49.1 fWAR, 41 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.5 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 33.3 bWAR, 27.6 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Martinez had his peak at an unusual time. Though he did place 5th in Cy Young voting at 27, he hit his peak when he hit 35. From age 35 to age 41, he was 33 bWAR with all six of his 4+ bWAR seasons coming in that span.
Profile: Martinez grew up poor in Nicaragua and signed with the Orioles in 1973. He spent three years in the minors, debuting at 21 during the September call-ups in 1976. He is the first Nicaraguan to make the majors. He was a swingman the next year, and part of the rotation by 1978. He had three solid seasons, but shoulder problems limited his 1980 season to just 99 innings. He bounced back in 1981, but his personal life invaded his pitching by 1983. In September of 1982, his father was hit by a truck - likely due to his alcoholism - and Martinez himself was an alcoholic, with the Orioles staging an intervention after the 1983 season. He wasn’t great in the next three seasons either - getting demoted in 1986 and then traded to the Montreal Expos midseason. He considered quitting but his first year as an Expo began a run of 9 straight above average seasons from him. In the middle of that run, he signed with Cleveland in 1994. It ended in 1996 when he made just 20 starts. He was released in May of 1997 with the Mariners, and retired, but decided to play winter ball in Puerto Rico. He came back, signed with the Braves, and had a good year in the bullpen at 43-years-old. He retired next February. He was only on one Hall of Fame ballot.
Clyde Milan (OF)
Career: 40 bWAR, 37.5 fWAR, 34 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.9 bWAR, 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 27.9 bWAR, 26.8 fWAR
Acc: None (played from 1907 to 1922, so no majors awards most of career)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Milan stole a ton of bases. He led the league in two seasons, stealing 88 bases in 1912 and 75 in 1913. The 88 was a record until it was broken three years later by Ty Cobb. He ranks 40th all-time in SBs.
Profile: Milan barely played baseball growing up, being born in rural Middle Tennessee where baseball was mostly unknown. He joined a semipro team in Texas after reading an advertisement looking for players. It took him a few days to travel there. In 1906, Washington’s manager sent the injured backup catcher to sign Milan and afterwards, go scout some player named Walter Johnson to see if they should sign him. He debuted at 20 and was the starting centerfielder at 21 the next year. Nicknamed Deerfoot, he was known for being a great defender, playing “shallower” than anyone else. He quickly became known for stolen base prowess as well. He stayed with the Senators for his entire career, becoming player-manager in his final year. He had to stop due to ulcers and being too easy-going. He was on seven Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
Jim Palmer (SP)
Career: 67.7 bWAR, 56.6 fWAR, 58 JAWS (per his 218 IP average: 3.7 bWAR, 3.1 fWAR)
Peak: 47.4 bWAR, 36.6 fWAR
Acc: 3-time Cy Young, 6-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover, 2-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 10 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: Palmer is the only pitcher in baseball history to earn a win in a World Series game in three different decades. He is also the youngest to pitch a complete game shutout in a World Series game, defeating Sandy Koufax in 1966 a week before his 21st birthday.
Profile: Palmer was given up for adoption and two days after his birth was adopted by a wealthy Manhattan dress designer. The family butler taught him how to throw a baseball. When he was nine, his father died and his mother married actor Max Palmer a year later. Jim changed his last name to Palmer the year after that. Palmer signed with the Orioles shortly before the existence of the MLB Draft with apparently 12 other teams recruiting him. He debuted at 19-years-old, throwing 92 innings and made 30 starts the next year. He had injury issues the next two years, but at 24-years-old, he broke out, made his first All-Star team and received his first Cy Young votes. In 1973, he won his first Cy Young and he won two more in back-to-back years in 1975 and 1976. He finished top 3 four straight seasons, ending in 1978. He stayed an Oriole for the rest of his career, retiring after his age 38 season. He was first ballot in 1990.
Camilo Pascual (SP)
Career: 37.5 bWAR, 52 fWAR, 39.6 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 2.6 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 38.2 bWAR, 37.7 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: For three straight seasons - from 1961 to 1963 - Pascual led the league in strikeouts each season. He also holds the distinction of the most strikeouts in an Opening Day start with 15.
Profile: Pascual was born in Havana, Cuba and began his professional career by leaving Cuba to play in the minors as a 17-year-old in 1951. He was signed by the Washington Senators after that and played a couple years in the minors before debuting at 20 in 1954. He struggled in his first couple seasons with walks, but they slowly went down starting in 1957. In 1958 at 24, he started a string of 7 straight seasons with at least 4 fWAR. Before the 1961 season, the Minnesota Twins became a franchise and acquired Pascal. He had arm problems in 1966, so the Twins traded him to the Senators. His arm rebounded for a couple years, but the Senators sold him to the Reds in the middle of the 1969 season. He attempted to make a go of it for the next couple years for a few teams and retired after his age 37 season. He was on two HOF ballots without much support.
Troy Percival (RP)
Career: 17.1 bWAR, 11.5 fWAR, 15.9 JAWS (per 65 IP: 1.6 bWAR, 1.1 fWAR)
Peak: 14.8 bWAR, 12 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star
2-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Percival led the American League in Win Probability Added (WPA) in two seasons of his career. Despite ranking 13th all-time in saves, he never led the league in saves once in his career.
Profile: Percival was drafted in the 6th round of the 1990 draft as a catcher by the Angels. After one season in the minors, he was converted to pitcher when the coaches noticed he threw it harder than the pitchers he was catching. He made his MLB debut at 25-years-old in 1995, throwing 74 innings. He became closer the next year. He was closer for the Angels until 2004, getting at least 30 saves in every season but one as closer, where injury kept him from 30 saves. He departed for free agency at 35 and signed a two year deal with the Tigers, but he only pitched 25 innings, missing 2006 entirely. He bounced back with the Cardinals, making his debut for them midseason and earning himself a two-year deal with the Rays. But he pitched poorly and his career ended when he got injured. He retired at 39-years-old. He was on just one ballot before falling off.
Tim Raines (OF)
Career: 69.4 bWAR, 66.4 fWAR, 55.9 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 42.4 bWAR, 42 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, Silver Slugger, Batting title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Stolen bases of course. Raines was first in SBs for four straight years - from 1981 to 1984 and finished 5th all-time with 808 career stolen bases. He also had an amazing success rate as he was successful 84.6% of the time.
Profile: While at high school, Raines stole home plate 10 times and assuredly the other bases a lot more than that. He was drafted in the 5th round of the 1977 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. He debuted just two years after at 19-years-old, though purely as a pinch-runner. In his first proper season, Raines stole 71 bases in 88 games in his rookie year. He reached a high of 90 in 1983. After 1986, Raines became a free agent, but thanks to the MLB owners colluding, he signed with the Expos in May of next year. He was later award over $800,000 in damages. Following the 1990 season, Raines was traded to the White Sox. He spent five seasons with the White Sox, and was traded to the Yankees, where he was primarily a bench player, winning two World Series in three years. He signed with the Athletics in 1999, didn’t play in 2000, and played in two more seasons on the bench, including playing with his son on the Orioles. He retired at 42. He was voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA on his 10th try.
Frank Robinson (OF)
Career: 107.2 bWAR, 104 fWAR, 80 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 5.5 bWAR, 5.3 fWAR)
Peak: 52.8 bWAR, 50.8 fWAR
Acc: 2-time MVP, Rookie of the Year, 14-time All-Star, Triple Crown
4-WAR seasons: 15 by bWAR, 14 by fWAR
One notable stat: Obviously he is known for his 586 career homers, but I wonder if as a consequence of embarrassing so many pitchers, he also got targeted. He was first in hit by pitches 7 times in his career and ranks 10th all-time in HBPs.
Profile: Robinson grew up in a West Oakland neighborhood and was teammates with Bill Russell in basketball and Curt Flood and Vada Pinson in baseball. Imagine facing those teams. He was signed by the Reds shortly after high school in 1953. He made his debut at 20 in 1956, winning Rookie of the Year with 5.8 fWAR. He then was worth at least 3.9 fWAR until he turned 35, when he was worth 3.7 fWAR. When he was 30, he was traded to the Orioles, where he made four World Series over the next six years. He was traded to the Dodgers for the 1972 season. He requested more playing time so he was traded to the Angels after just one season. Late in his second season as an Angel, he was traded to Cleveland, who convinced him to come back as player-manager, and he became the first black manager in baseball. He played his last game at 40, but remained as manager. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Wally Schang (C)
Career: 47.9 bWAR, 41 fWAR, 37.8 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.1 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 27.8 bWAR, 23.2 fWAR
Acc: None (All-Star game didn’t exist during his playing career, retired in 1931)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: Known for his speed and agility at the catcher position, Schang rates as a below average catcher by Total Zone. But he was known as a good defensive catcher in his day and well, to say that his defensive numbers are unreliable would not be stressing enough how not reliable they are.
Profile: Schang grew up in New York and was obsessed with baseball at an early age. He started playing for semipro teams while still in high school, but didn’t end up making his MLB debut until he was 23 in 1913. He signed with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, playing in the World Series in his first two seasons. After five seasons as an A, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox, where he won his second World Series. He was traded to the Yankees after three seasons. He made three straight World Series, with the Yankees finally winning their first championship in 1923. He spent two more seasons as a Yank before being traded to the St. Louis Browns. He spent four seasons as a Brown and played two more seasons with minimal playing time, retiring at 41. He was on five Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
Tom Seaver (SP)
Career: 106 bWAR, 92.4 fWAR, 84.6 JAWS (per his 239 IP average: 5.3 bWAR, 4.6 fWAR)
Peak: 59.3 bWAR, 51.3 fWAR
Acc: 3-time Cy Young winner, Rookie of the Year, 12-time All-Star, 3-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 14 by bWAR, 11 by fWAR
One notable stat: Tom Seaver struck out a lot of batters. He led the league in strikeouts five times and was in the top 10 13 times in his career. His 3,640 strikeouts ranks 6th all-time.
Profile: While at USC, he was drafted after his sophomore season, but the Dodgers balked at his asking price. The next winter, he was drafted in the January draft, but his contract with the Braves was voided because USC played in two exhibition games that he hadn’t played in. When he returned to USC, he couldn’t play there either because he signed a pro contract. When his father threatened a lawsuit, the commissioner ruled other teams could match the Braves’ offer. The Mets were willing and won a lottery to sign him. He debuted the next season at 22 and led the Miracle Mets to a championship in 1969. In 1977, Seaver wanted to renegotiate his contract in line with other top pitchers, but it ended with him asking for a trade in the middle of the season to the Reds. He played five more seasons as a Red before being traded back to the Mets. After just one season, he was claimed by the White Sox in a free agent compensation draft with the Mets mistakenly assuming nobody would want a high salaried 39-year-old. He played two years with the White Sox and in the third he got traded to the Red Sox. He retired at 41. He was a first ballot Hall of Famer, with the highest percentage at the time (98.8%)
Dave Stieb (SP)
Career: 56.5 bWAR, 43.8 fWAR, 50.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.9 bWAR, 3 fWAR)
Peak: 44.4 bWAR, 31.7 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Stieb walked his fair share of hitters, but wasn’t too egregious about it. So it’s somewhat surprising he led the league in hit by pitches five times and was in the top 10 10 times in his career.
Profile: Stieb was an outfielder at SIU, and when the Blue Jays went to scout him, they were unimpressed. But when he pitched in relief, they were convinced to draft him in the 5th round of the 1978 draft. He debuted the next year in mid-June and was a rotation mainstay from that point on for the Blue Jays until essentially 1991, when injuries limited him for the next two years. He retired after four starts with the White Sox in 1993, but five years later, he came back and threw 50 innings as a 40-year-old. He retired for good after that. He was on one Hall of Fame ballot without much support.
Don Sutton (SP)
Career: 68.3 bWAR, 85.5 fWAR, 50.3 JAWS (per his 230 IP: 3 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 33.9 bWAR, 38.9 fWAR
Acc: 4-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sutton threw a ton of innings. 7th most of all-time in fact. The top three innings eaters all pitched before 1928 and the three guys ahead of Sutton all played in his era: Nolan Ryan, Gaylord Perry, and Phil Niekro.
Profile: Sutton was born in Alabama, but moved to Pensacola by the time he hit high school. He wanted to attend Florida, but they weren’t interested and after playing for a community college and a liberal arts college, got signed by the Dodgers. He debuted at 21-years-old, throwing 225 innings in his rookie year. That started a streak of 15 straight seasons with at least 200 innings pitched. Sutton stayed a Dodger until he hit free agency at 36-years-old. His 200 innings streak was interrupted by the 1981 strike with the Astros. He expressed a desire to return to California, but was traded to the Brewers in their AL pennant winning 1982. He played two more years with the Brewers, but was traded to Oakland. He wanted to play in Southern California so he could live with his family, so he was reluctant to join the team, but wanted 300 wins. He got his wish later that year, getting traded to the Angels. He ended his career with the Dodgers, but only pitched in 16 games. He retired at 43. He was voted in by the BBWAA on his fifth try.
Roy Thomas (OF)
Career: 40.6 bWAR, 44 fWAR, 36.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.7 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 31.6 bWAR, 34.3 fWAR
Acc: None (no awards or All-Star games existed, as he retired in 1911)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: According to Bill James, Thomas is the only player in baseball history to score three times as many runs as he drove in. He scored 1,011 runs while driving in 299.
Alan Trammel (SS)
Career: 70.7 bWAR, 63.7 fWAR, 57.8 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.5 bWAR, 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 44.8 bWAR, 41.7 fWAR
Acc: 6-time All-Star, 4-time Gold Glover, 3-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Trammel forms one half of the longest continuous double play combination in MLB history, with his other half being Lou Whitaker. They were partners for 19 years.
Profile: Trammel was drafted in the 2nd round of the 1976 MLB draft by the Detroit Tigers. Drafted out of high school, he made his MLB debut the very next year at just 19-years-old. He was a full-time starter the next year. He made his first All-Star team in his third full season and his bat broke out in a big way in his sixth full season, though he didn’t make the All-Star team that year. In 1984, he won World Series MVP by batting .419 with 3 HRs en route to a Tigers championship. He didn’t really hit his decline phase until he was 33, when injuries began to become common and his performance declined. He had his last year in 1996 at 38-years-old, retiring at the end of the year. He was not elected by the writers, but by the Veteran’s Committee in 2018.
Andy Van Slyke (OF)
Career: 41.3 bWAR, 41.8 fWAR, 37.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 32.9 bWAR, 32.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glover, 2-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR and by fWAR
One notable stat: Van Slyke became known for his accurate and powerful throwing arm in the majors, falling in the top ten at his position nine times from 1985 to 1994. A “Slyke Zone” was established at Three Rivers Stadium.
Profile: Van Slyke was drafted sixth overall by the Cardinals in the 1979 MLB Draft. He took a few years in the minors to make the majors, but he debuted at 22 in 1983. He was a utility player his first two years, playing all three outfield spots and third base. In his next two years, he played mostly right field, but still wasn’t getting a full slate of playing time with a career high of 475 plate appearances. Before the 1987 season, in one of the more famous bad trades by the Cardinals, he was traded to the Pirates. He instantly became an MVP candidate in Pittsburgh. He had a good run, but declined fast at 32, and his career was over at 34. He didn’t get a vote on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Rube Waddell (SP)
Career: 60.9 bWAR, 60 fWAR, 53.8 JAWS (per his 264 IP average: 5.4 bWAR, 5.3 fWAR)
Peak: 49.3 bWAR, 47.5 fWAR
Acc: Triple Crown, 2-time ERA title (he played well before Cy Young or All-Stars existed)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: It’s hard to stress just how much he struck people in out in comparison to everyone else during his era. He led the league in strikeouts for six straight years, only being beat by a guy who threw nearly 200 more innings than he did. He still led in K/9 that year.
Profile: Waddell was first signed by the Louisville Colonels in 1987. He pitched in a couple games, then was loaned to minor league teams to gain more experience, which he did in 1898 and most of 1899. He finished the year with the Colonels in 1899, and he was transferred to Pittsburgh when the NL contracted to eight teams. He was sold to the Chicago Orphans (soon to be Cubs) for the 1901 season, but his erratic behavior and unpredictable antics were too much. Luckily for him, Connie Mack thought he could handle him so he acquired him for 1902. Thus began a six-year run of dominance only hampered when his alcoholism got in the way. Or his weird behavior, like running off the field to chase fire trucks or not knowing how many women he had married. Things like that. Mack sent him to the Browns he was receiving too many complaints about him. He lasted two years with the Browns. He once passed out during a game in 1909. He ended up getting released in 1910. He pitched a few seasons in the minors, and died of tuberculosis at 37. He was elected to the Hall by the Veteran’s Committee in 1946.
Ed Walsh (SP)
Career: 63.8 bWAR, 49.2 fWAR, 64.1 JAWS (per his 287 IP average: 6.2 bWAR, 4.8 fWAR)
Peak: 62.3 bWAR, 45.4 fWAR
Acc: 2-time ERA title (no awards or All-Star games existed, as he retired in 1911)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: He holds the lowest career earned run average at 1.82. He is one of two pitchers in the post-1901 era to win 40 or more games in a single season and he’s the last pitcher to throw over 400 innings.
Profile: Walsh signed his first professional baseball contract in 1902 and after the 1903 season, the White Sox bought his contract. For his first two seasons, he was more of a spot starter, but at 25 in his third season, he became a regular member of the rotation. That was also the year he started throwing what became his famous spitball. He also began throwing a ridiculous amount of innings, getting nicknamed “Iron Man.” If anyone got on base, he was known for his pickoff move, which would probably be called a balk nowadays. But eventually the workload took its toll and by 1912, his arm was spent. He later blamed himself for his career being cut short - he knew his arm was spent and tried to keep pitching. After 393 IP in 1912, he threw just 97.2 in 1913. He tried to keep it going for four more years, but never threw more than 50 innings. His career was done at 36. He was inducted by the Veteran’s Committee in 1947.
Lon Warneke (SP)
Career: 42.1 bWAR, 39.7 fWAR, 40.4 JAWS (per his 225 IP average: 3.4 bWAR, 3 fWAR)
Peak: 34.9 bWAR, 29.5 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star (no ASG in first full season, when he was 2nd in MVP voting - also no Cy Young in his career), ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Despite being a pitcher, Warneke holds the distinction of being the first player to hit a triple in an All-Star game and he also scored the first ever run in an All-Star game. He’s also the first person to both play and umpire a World Series game and an All-Star game.
Profile: Warneke grew up in rural Arkansas, in a place that didn’t get electricity or running water until the 1930s - about the beginning of his baseball career. He played first base because of his height in high school, but when he asked to play for a Texas League team, the manager told him he had the arm of a pitcher. He struggled at first, but managed to impress enough in his 1929 season that he got sold to the Cubs. He appeared in just one game in 1930 before getting sent down, but spent the 1931 season on the roster - but didn’t play much. At 23, he broke out and was voted 2nd in MVP voting for the Cubs. He spent four more seasons before being traded to the Cardinals, and they traded him at the right time because he had a few down years before returning to his former glory in 1940. In 1942, with the Cardinals pitching farm knocking on the door, Warneke was traded back to the Cubs. He didn’t pitch many more innings for the Cubs before being called to service in World War II. When he returned, he pitched in 9 games in 1945, and that was the end of his career at 36. He was on five HOF ballots without much support.
Willie Wilson (OF)
Career: 46.2 bWAR, 37.8 fWAR, 40.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.3 bWAR, 2.7 fWAR)
Peak: 34 bWAR, 29.7 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, Gold Glove, 2-time Silver Slugger, Batting Title
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Wilson’s speed led to a lot of stolen bases and a lot of triples. His 668 stolen bases ranks 12th all-time and his 147 triples ranks 56th all-time. But most of the players ahead of him in triples played in the 1800s or early 1900s. He ranked 1st in the league five times with 11 appearances in the top 10 for triples.
Profile: Willie Wilson was a multi-sport star in high school, with thoughts of attending the University of Maryland on a football scholarship. But a first round selection and $90,000 by the Royals convinced him to choose baseball. A catcher in high school, the Royals moved him to outfield. After initially struggling, he became known for his defense in centerfield. During spring training in 1977, the Royals convinced him to become a switch hitter, because of his difficulty with sliders from right-handed pitchers. He made September call-up appearances in both 1976 and 1977, but played 1977 in the majors. But he was mostly there for his baserunning, appearing in 127 games with just 223 PAs and 46 stolen bases. He broke out in 1979 at 23. He was an elite player before his bat and defense fell off. He had a period with cocaine, which was enough time for him to get caught and suspended, which lasted 33 games in 1984. After the 1990 season, Wilson was released and he signed for two years with the Athletics. He played two years on the bench for the Cubs and retired at 38. He fell off the ballot on his first attempt.
Jim Wynn (OF)
Career: 55.7 bWAR, 52.8 fWAR, 49.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.2 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 43.2 bWAR, 40.9 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Wynn walked a ton. He led the league in walks twice, with 148 walks in 1969 and 127 in 1976. His 1,224 walks ranks 58th all-time, 84 of which were intentional.
Profile: Wynn grew up a few blocks away from the Cincinatti Reds’ home field, and when he graduated high school, they tried to sign him. But his mother convinced him to go to college, where he lasted just short of two years. Then the Reds signed him. Short of stature (5’9, 165 pounds), he became known for his unexpected power, getting nicknamed “Toy Cannon.” After just one season in the minors, he was drafted by the Houston Colt .45s in what effectively was a Rule 5 draft. He started the year in the minors, but was promoted to the majors by midseason, appearing in 70 games. After another season playing in both the majors and minors, the 1965 season started with the opening of the Astrodome and a new name: the Astros. Wynn saw a similar transformation, playing in 157 games with a 144 OPS+. His 1966 season ended early due to an injury, but he was back up to speed for 1967, making his first All-Star game. He ran into some difficulties with his manager, who wanted him to choke up and hit for average instead of taking walks and hit for power. He was traded to the Dodgers after 1973, won Comeback Player of the Year award, and was traded after two seasons to the Braves. He played for two teams in his last season, before retiring at 35. He received no votes on his only time on the ballot.
The maximum amount of people you can vote for is 14 players. The deadline is Sunday night, I’ll keep it open as late as I can. Monday will be a new ballot, assuming I can finish it in time.