First things first, I am extending the deadline to vote on Friday’s ballot by one day. Since I posted it a day later than I usually do, it’s only fair to push the deadline back a day. So if you haven’t, vote here. In the meantime, we have another ballot, this one actually posted on time.
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.
Luke Appling (SS)
Career: 77.6 bWAR, 72.7 fWAR, 61.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.5 bWAR, 4.3 fWAR)
Peak: 44.9 bWAR, 43.5 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 10 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Appling rates as an overall good defender over his career and we know errors are not a useful stat, but Appling committed a ton of errors. He led the league in errors six times and was 12th all-time among shortstops in errors.
Profile: Appling signed with a minor league team after his sophomore year at college. That team was bought by the Cubs, but Appling was acquired by the White Sox in a cash transaction. He made his debut at 23, appearing in six games, and was bad enough in 1931 that the White Sox tried to trade him but there were no takers. They kept him and his bat and glove both improved in 1932 and even more so the next year with his first 4 fWAR season. Appling didn’t make his first All-Star game until 1936 despite getting MVP votes in two previous years. He didn’t make his second All-Star game until he was 32 and he started a string of three straight years. He missed the 1944 season and most of 1945 because he was serving in World War II. He received MVP votes in his next four seasons, the last of which he was 42. (and they were deserved MVP votes). In his last season, he was replaced by the youth movement and retired at 43. He was elected in his seventh year on the ballot in a run-off.
Jeff Bagwell (1B)
Career: 79.9 bWAR, 80.2 fWAR, 64.2 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 5.1 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 48.4 bWAR, 49.4 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 4-time All-Star, Gold Glove, 3-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 12 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: One possible explanation for only 4 All-Star games? Bagwell was kind of a slow starter. He had his two worst months in May and June. His 1st half OPS was .923 and 2nd half was .969.
Profile: In high school, Bagwell’s best sport was actually soccer. He set the school goal-scoring mark. But when University of Hartford offered him a baseball scholarship, he accepted it because soccer did not have a soccer league at the time. He was put at 3B and excelled enough to get drafted by the Red Sox in the 4th round of the 1989 MLB Draft. He was traded for a relief pitcher to the Astros, and actually the Astros hesitated because he didn’t hit many homers due to the large park. He made the Astros team out of spring training in 1991 and won Rookie of the Year. In his fourth season, he won MVP and in his 7th, he made the playoffs for the first time. In 2001, he first encountered injury problems that would eventually lead to him retiring earlier than he wanted. He had chronic arthritis in his shoulder that caused him to miss most of 2005. He tried to return in 2006, but missed that entire season and retired at the end of his career at 38. He was elected on his 7th ballot by the writers.
Buddy Bell (3B)
Career: 66.3 bWAR, 61.7 fWAR, 53.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 40.5 bWAR, 37.9 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, 6-time Gold Glover, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, and 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: By the numbers, Buddy Bell has the fourth most value in the defensive component of fWAR among 3B behind Brooks Robinson, Adrian Beltre, and Clete Boyer. He is 25th all-time among all players in dWAR.
Profile: Buddy Bell was born while his dad, Gus Bell, was in his 2nd year as a major leaguer. He was named David Bell, but was nicknamed Buddy to separate him from another family member named David. He excelled at baseball in high school but was the beneficiary of being the son of a major leaguer. Both the Cleveland Indians general manager and assistant GM were with the Reds front office when his father played for them. He was drafted in the 16th round out of high school. He made the team out of spring training in 1972 at 20-years-old. In his first year, he had to play in the outfield, but in his 2nd, he moved back to 3B. He then started a run of 12 straight seasons with at least 2.5 fWAR. He was traded to the Rangers after the 1978 season. He was then traded in the middle of the season that broke his 2 WAR streak to his hometown Reds. He bounced back the next season and had two good years in a row. He lasted 21 games before being traded in 1988 and a year later he retired without fanfare at 37. He was on just one Hall of Fame ballot.
Bobby Bonds (OF)
Career: 57.8 bWAR, 57.2 fWAR, 49.5 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.3 bWAR, 4.2 fWAR)
Peak: 41.1 bWAR, 40.4 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 9 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Bonds was the first player to accomplish 30-30 (homers and stolen bases) two times (he ended up doing it five times), and was the second player to hit 300 homers and steal 300 bases (after Willie Mays)
Profile: Bonds was a multi-sport athlete in high school, in fact, one time he was playing CF and the game stopped so he could run the 100 in his baseball uniform, returned to the game, and did it again with the long jump. Shortly after graduating and right before the existence of the MLB Draft, Bonds signed with the Giants. He finally made the majors four years later in the middle of the 1968 season when he was 22. In 1973, Bonds was jailed for drunk driving and for interfering when his brother got pulled over in a separate incident. After the 1974 season, he got into a heated argument with the owner about a new contract, the aftermath of which led to Bonds being traded to the Yankees. Despite a good year, the Yankees disappointed and he was traded to the Angels. He played his first year with a hurt hand that ended early, but his 2nd year went well. The Angels were convinced they couldn’t afford him past the upcoming season so they traded him to the White Sox. He lasted less than two months, getting traded to the Rangers. They traded him to Cleveland where he played for one season before getting traded to the Cardinals. He played just two more seasons, retiring at 35. He was on 11 Hall of Fame ballots before dropping off.
Roger Bresnahan (C)
Career: 42 bWAR, 39.6 fWAR, 36.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.3 bWAR, 4.1 fWAR)
Peak: 30.4 bWAR, 29.1 fWAR
Acc: None (awards and All-Star games did not exist)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: Not a stat, but it probably didn’t hurt his Hall of Fame case that he popularized the use of shinguards for catchers. Also developed the first batting helmet after he got hit in the head, knocked unconscious and a priest read him his last rites.
Profile: Bresnahan began his career as a pitcher. Late in the 1897 season, he was purchased from a minor league team and threw 41 innings. But a salary dispute led to his release. He played two more years in minor leagues and made two appearances as a catcher with the Chicago Orphans in 1900. John McGraw signed him for the 1901 season and he appeared at both outfield and catcher. One of the Orioles owners was in significant debt and in the middle of the season, released a bunch of players, including Bresnahan. McGraw, who had joint the Giants earlier, picked him up. He mostly played outfield until 1905 when he moved to catcher nearly full-time. After the 1908 season, the Giants traded him to the Cardinals, where he became player-manager. He was fired after the 1912 season and signed with the Cubs for three years. He was released during the 1915 season and at 36, his career was over. He received moderate support until he died and got a big boost from the writers in 1945. He didn’t make it, but the Old Timers Committee elected him later that year.
Orlando Cepeda (1B)
Career: 50.1 bWAR, 50.3 fWAR, 42.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.5 bWAR and fWAR)
Peak: 34.4 bWAR, 33.7 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Rookie of the Year, 11-time All-Star (4 years had two ASG)
4-WAR seasons: 5 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat: In eight of his first nine seasons, Cepeda batted at least .300 and hit at least 20 homers, In seven of the nine, he had at least 97 RBIs and 88 runs scored.
Profile: Cepeda grew up with his father being considered one of the best players in Puerto Rico. In 1955, he traveled to New York to try out for the Giants, but he had trouble because he could not speak any English and shortly after his father died. By 1958, he was called up to the Giants and won Rookie of the Year. He didn’t make the All-Star game in his first season, but he did for the next six straight seasons. In 1965, he missed most of the season to injury and early in 1966, he was informed he had been traded to the Cardinals. He won Comeback Player of the Year and the next two years the Cardinals won the NL pennant. Shortly before the 1969 season, he was traded to the Braves. He spent three seasons as a Brave, in his last year playing part-time because of a knee injury. The pain hadn’t subsided in 1972, and he missed most of that year to injury. In 1973, he signed with the Red Sox as their designated hitter. He played more season as a Royal before retiring at 36. The writers did not vote him in, but the Veteran’s Committee did in 1999.
Eddie Collins (2B)
Career: 124.4 bWAR, 120.5 fWAR, 94.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 6.2 bWAR, 6 fWAR)
Peak: 64.2 bWAR, 62.8 fWAR
Acc: MVP (All-Star game did not exist and for most of his career, neither did any major awards)
4-WAR seasons: 16 by bWAR and 15 by fWAR
One notable stat: Collins has the fewest home runs of anyone in the 3,000 hit club, which he joined in 1925. He is also the only non-Yankee to win five World Series with the same team as a player.
Profile: Collins played baseball at the Ivy League school of Columbia University when he made his MLB debut for the Philadelphia Athletics at 19. He was ruled ineligible to play in college, but not because of his play in the MLB which wasn’t known, but in other semipro leagues. He played in 14 games in 1907, and was in the big leagues for good in 1908, playing five different positions. In 1909, he stuck on at 2B and played every game. Thus began a streak of at least 6+ fWAR in eight straight seasons. In the last season of that streak, he was traded to the White Sox. He was college educated and smart, and resented in the clubhouse. He was cocky, and if you look at his stats, you’d know why. He was the highest paid White Sox when the Black Sox scandal occurred and actually stayed with the White Sox for seven years after. He concluded his career with the Athletics again, playing one season as a player and the next three as a player-coach. He retired after his age 43 season. He was on the first ever HOF ballot and in that crowed early mess, it took him four tries to get elected by the writers.
Sam Crawford (OF)
Career: 75.3 bWAR, 71.1 fWAR, 57.5 JAWS (per 200 IP: 4.3 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 39.7 bWAR, 38.4 fWAR
Acc: None (career was from 1899 to 1917, predated most awards)
4-WAR seasons: 12 by bWAR, 11 by fWAR
One notable stat: Crawford holds what is basically an unbeatable record. He is 1st all-time in triples with 309. He led the league in triples six times and was in the top 10 16 times. At a time when triples were way more common than now.
Profile: Crawford was a star at his high school, leading his school to two football championships. When he graduated, he was on the traveling baseball team of his hometown. That led to some minor league opportunities which led to the Cincinnati Reds buying him in 1899. He made his MLB debut in late 1899 at 19. By 1903, the American League and National League were in bidding wars with players. Crawford agreed to contracts with both the Reds and Tigers. A judge awarded him to the Tigers, but the Reds were awarded $3,000 in compensation. He was a Tiger for the rest of his career. He was the regular starter until 1916, when he had to split duties with future Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann. He spent his last year as a pinch hitter and was released at the end of the year. He was on eight ballots from the writers, but needed the Veteran’s Committee in 1957 to vote him in.
Willie Davis (OF)
Career: 60.7 bWAR, 53.7 fWAR, 49.8 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.7 bWAR, 3.3 fWAR)
Peak: 38.9 bWAR, 34.8 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star, 3-time Gold Glove
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: He holds several Dodgers’ records. He has the most career hits, runs, triples, at-bats, total bases, and extra base hits as a Dodger, not to mention his 31-game hitting streak is also the most for a Dodger.
Profile: A three-sport star in high school, he was signed by a Dodger scout upon graduating high school. He debuted just two years later, at 20-years-old. In 1961, he took Hall of Famer Duke Snider’s job, and the next year he became the full-time starter. 1962 was also his first year with 20 stolen bases, something he did for eleven consecutive seasons. In 1971, he won his first of three consecutive Gold Gloves. After 14 years as a Dodger, he was traded to the Expos in 1974. He played for four teams in his last three years, including the Cardinals. His career was done at 39. He never appeared on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Don Drysdale (SP)_
Career: 61.3 bWAR, 59.3 fWAR, 55.9 JAWS (per his 272 IP average: 4.9 bWAR, 4.7 fWAR)
Peak: 44.7 bWAR, 40.6 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 9-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR and 8 by fWAR
One notable stat: Drysdale didn’t walk many batters, but he did hit a lot of them. He led the league in HBPs five times and was in the top ten 12 times. His 154 career HBPs ranks 20th all-time.
Profile: Drysdale was a 2B in high school until he became a senior. After a 10-1 record as a pitcher, he was signed out of high school by the Dodgers in 1954. At 19, he made the MLB with the Brooklyn Dodgers and pitched 99 innings. The next year, he was in the rotation for good. In 1958, the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Drysdale had a reputation as a headhunter, as evidenced by his many HBPs in his career. In 1962, he started a string of four straight seasons with the most starts in the NL. In 1968, Drysdale set a record for scoreless innings with 58.2 straight innings without a run, not broken until Orel Hershisher twenty years later. He made just 12 starts in 1969, and tore his rotator cuff and that was the end of his career, pre-Tommy John surgery, at just 32-years-old. He was elected on his 10th attempt in 1984.
Rollie Fingers (RP)
Career: 25 bWAR, 27.4 fWAR, 22.2 JAWS (per his 106 IP average: 1.6 bWAR, 1.7 fWAR)
Peak: 18.8 bWAR, 19.2 fWAR
Acc: MVP, Cy Young, 7-time All-Star, 4-time Rolaids Relief winner
2-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: Fingers, at the time of his retirement, held the team record in career saves for all three teams he played for. He also still holds the record for most two-inning or more saves with 135.
Profile: Fingers was offered a contract by the Dodgers at 18-years-old in 1964, but rejected it, seeing Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale, plus a strong farm and not seeing an opportunity. He took less money to sign with the more talent-deficient Kansas City Athletics. He was a starting pitcher throughout the minors and made his MLB debut in 1968 at 21-years-old in relief. He was a swingman for the 1969 season and started the 1970 season in the rotation, but in May, the manager decided he would be his late inning closer. The Athletics, who were in Oakland by the time he debuted, ended up winning three consecutive championships from 1972 to 1974. Before the 1976 season, owner Charlie Finley attempted to sell Fingers for $1 million, but the commissioner nullified it, saying it wasn’t in the best interests of baseball. At the end of the year he became a free agent and signed with the Padres. He pitched four seasons as a Padre, getting traded to the Cardinals, and later the Brewers a few days later. With the Brewers, he won the Cy Young and MVP with a 1.04 ERA in 78 IP. He pitched most of 1982, but missed the World Series to injury, as well as all of 1983. He pitched just two more seasons after that, retiring at 38 in 1985. He was the second ever reliever elected to the Hall on his second try by the writers.
Hank Greenberg (1B)
Career: 55.5 bWAR, 61.1 fWAR, 51 JAWS (per 200 IP: 5.5 bWAR, 6 fWAR)
Peak: 46.5 bWAR, 51 fWAR
Acc: 2-time MVP, 5-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 7 by both bWAR and fWAR
One notable stat; Greenberg holds the AL record for most RBIs in a single-season by a right-handed batter with 183 in 1937. He was also the first player to hit 25 homers in two different leagues.
Profile: In 1929, Greenberg was recruited by the Yankees, but with Gehrig, Greenberg rejected them and attended NYU. He lasted a semester before signing with the Tigers. He for some reason appeared in one game in 1930, and then not again until 1933. He stuck for good in 1933, and in 1934, he led the Tigers to the World Series. He made news by not playing on Yom Kippur, being the first Jewish superstar in baseball. The next season, he won MVP. His season ended very early in the 1936 season and the next year, he set a record for most RBIs in a season. In 1938, he threatened Babe Ruth’s home run record by hitting 58. After the 1939 season, Greenberg was asked to take a pay cut and move to the OF. He said if he mastered outfield, he needed to get a $10,000 bonus which he ended up getting and winning his second MVP. He only played in 19 games in 1941, and became the first AL player to register for the draft. He served for 47 months, the longest of any MLB player. He was the first player to return from the war, playing his first game on July 1st, 1945 and homering. He ended up hitting 2 homers and batting with a 222 wRC+ in the World Series, which the Tigers won. He played one more year with the Tigers, then retired, but was sold to the Pirates who convinced him to play one more year. He needed 10 ballots to make the Hall by the writers.
Reggie Jackson (OF)
Career: 74 bWAR, 72.7 fWAR, 60.4 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.9 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 46.8 bWAR, 43.9 fWAR
Acc: MVP, 14-time All-Star, 2-time Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: Mr. October didn’t get his name for nothing. In 313 career postseason plate appearances, Jackson batted .278/.358/.527 - good for a 152 wRC+. His career wRC+ was 139.
Profile: Jackson accepted a football scholarship to Arizona State University, where he made the baseball team by hitting 3 homers in 5 at-bats when given a look. After his freshman year, he switched to baseball because he didn’t want to be a defensive back. Jackson was drafted 2nd overall in the second ever MLB draft. He made the majors the next year. The Athletics moved from Kansas City to Oakland in his second year and with that arrived Reggie Jackson. Apparently, Jackson showed up to spring training in 1972 with a mustache, which owner Charlie O. Finley loved so much that he invited the last baseball player with a mustache to be MC. No mustaches between 1948 and 1972 in baseball?? Jackson and the As were in the playoffs five straight years, winning three straight World Series. Jackson was traded to the Orioles in 1976 because he refused to sign a contract and the As knew he would leave for free agency. He reported four weeks late. Jackson signed a five-year deal with the Yankees in free agency. Manager Billy Martin was not a fan of the signing and we’ll just say hijinks ensued in his tenure. But they won two World Series in two straight years. He signed with the California Angels for five years when he became a free agent. He played one last year in Oakland before retiring at 41. He was first ballot.
Jimmy Key (SP)
Career: 49 bWAR, 45 fWAR, 61.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.8 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 36.5 bWAR, 30.9 fWAR
Acc: 5-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Key was 2nd in Cy Young voting twice - the first year he had the best ERA and WHIP in the league, but he ran into a young guy named Roger Clemens. The second year he was 17-4 on the Yankees.
Profile: Key went to Clemson University and became the only Clemson player to be first team All-ACC at two positions (DH being the other). He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1982 MLB Draft. He debuted early in 1984 and was in the bullpen in his first year. He moved to the rotation in his second season. Aside from missing a couple months in 1988, he was good his whole Blue Jays career - ending with a Blue Jays World Series win in 1992. He signed with the Yankees in free agency, which also ended with a Yankees World Series win. He signed with the Orioles in free agency and after one healthy year, his last was limited by injuries. He retired at 36. He was on just one Hall of Fame ballot.
Ed Konetchy (1B)
Career: 46.4 bWAR, 49.3 fWAR, 38.6 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.2 bWAR, 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 30.9 bWAR, 32.6 fWAR
Acc: None (played from 1907 to 1921, before All-Star games and awards)
4-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: As much evidence as we have (which is virtually none), Konetchy was likely a good to great fielder. He was 1st in range factor/game five times as a 1B and is 8th all-time in that stat. He also has the third most putouts ever.
Profile: Konetchy started playing baseball when he was 14 until it was dark, after he’d work 10 hours in a candy factory. He joined the competitive factory team at 16, and signed with a minor league team at 19, which is where he first moved to 1B. The Cardinals bought him off the minor league team in 1907 and he appeared in 91 games at 21-years-old. He was one of the best players during a period when the Cardinals were not good. His first winning season was in 1911, his fifth year. He developed a reputation for great defense and handling throws from the infielders. He was the subject of constant trade rumors, and in the offseason after 1913, he was finally traded to the Pirates. He had his worst season and jumped to the Federal League where he had his best season. But that league folded, and he was sold to the Braves. He had a couple good years, one really bad one, and then was sold to Brooklyn. In his last season, he was put on waivers and claimed by the Phillies. He didn’t retire, playing in the minors until 1927 as player-manager, but his career was over at 35. He was never on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Juan Marichal (SP)
Career: 61.8 bWAR, 61.2 fWAR, 57.4 JAWS (per his 259 IP average: 4.7 bWAR, 4.5 fWAR)
Peak: 51.9 bWAR, 43.9 fWAR
Acc: 7-time All-Star, 2-time batting title
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: From 1963 to 1969, Juan Marichal won at least 20 games six times, had an ERA under 2.50 six times, threw at least 20 complete games five times, and threw at least 295 innings five times.
Profile: Growing up in the Dominican Republic, Marichal played baseball with found golf balls with cloth around it, branches for bats, and canvas tarps for gloves. He wanted to be an MLB player growing up, but because there weren’t any Dominican players in MLB at the time, his mother heavily discouraged it. He dropped out of high school to play for United Fruit Company and later played for the Dominican Air Force team. He made his MLB debut in 1960 at 22-years-old. He took a no-hitter into the 8th in his first game. Injuries kept him from 200 innings in his second year, but in his third he helped lead the Giants to the World Series. Marichal injured himself bunting, only pitching 4 innings, and the Giants lost. In 1963, he outdueled Warren Spahn, pitching all 16 innings of a 1-0 game. After 1972, the Giants sold him to the Red Sox for a season. He retired at 37 in 1975. He needed three ballots to make the Hall, making him the first Dominican to make the Hall and the first foreign born pitcher to make the Hall.
Bill Mazeroski (2B)
Career: 36.5 bWAR, 31.3 fWAR, 61.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.6 bWAR, 2.2 fWAR)
Peak: 26 bWAR, 21.8 fWAR
Acc: 10-time All-Star, 8-time Gold Glover
4-WAR seasons: 2 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: I assumed WAR might not be capturing his defense, but if they’re missing it can’t be by much. He is narrowly the third most valuable second baseman in history by Total Zone and we’re talking 10 total runs between him and first place.
Profile: Born in West Virginia, Mazeroski was the son of a highly touted baseball prospect whose career was ruined in a coal mining accident that severed his foot. Bill ignored several college baseball offers to sign with the Pirates over a few other MLB teams, because they agreed to accelerate his career to a higher minor league level. He made the majors in 1957 at 19-years-old and was the full-time Pirates 2B the next season. In 1960, he had his famous Game 7 walk-off home run in Game 7. The next season, he was part of a double play duo who set the record for most double plays turned in a season with 144, which he later broke in 1966. His playing time began to diminish in 1970 and he lost the 2B job altogether in 1971. In 1972, he got his last hit in July, finishing the season 0 for 30, although he did get a hit in the NLCS. He retired at 35, did not make the Hall on any of the 15 ballots by the writers, and was selected by the Veteran’s Committee in 2001.
Tug McGraw (RP)
Career: 21 bWAR, 13.4 fWAR, 20.9 JAWS (per his 80 IP average: 1.1 bWAR, 0.7 fWAR)
Peak: 20 bWAR, 11 fWAR
Acc: 2-time All-Star
2-WAR seasons: 4 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: In terms of championship win probability - the effect a player has on a team’s chances to win a championship in win probability terms - McGraw ranked first twice - once on the 1980 World Series winning Phillies, and once on the 1973 NL pennant Mets. He was top ten eight times.
Profile: You might not want to learn about this, but I did, so here it is: Tug got his nickname from his mom from the aggressive way he breastfed. His mom was abusive and bipolar, so his dad divorced her and he grew up with his dad. He was only signed by the Mets in 1963, because his brother - a great catching prospect - threatened to quit if they didn’t sign his brother. But he made the majors two years later as a starter, and even outdueled Sandy Koufax in his streak of 13 consecutive wins against the Mets. He learned the screwball the next season, but struggled the next two seasons and didn’t even pitch in the majors in 1968. He was converted to the pen in 1969 and closed out games for the “Miracle Mets.” He appeared in his first All-Star game in 1972 and in 1973, became known for his saying “Ya gotta believe” when the Mets turned around from last place to make the World Series. He had poor followup season and was traded to the Phillies. He had a simple procedure to fix his shoulder problems and bounced back. The Phillies made the playoffs six times in his tenure, including closing out the 1980 World Series. He retired after the 1984 season at 39. He was on just one Hall of Fame ballot.
Kevin Millwood (SP)
Career: 30.7 bWAR, 46.5 fWAR, 27.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.3 bWAR, 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 24.9 bWAR, 29.9 fWAR
Acc: 1-time All-Star, ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Millwood led the league in ERA once, for the then Cleveland Indians with a 2.86 ERA in 2005. But it was not his lowest ERA of his career. That happened years earlier with the Braves in 1999 when he also led the league in WHIP.
Profile: Millwood played three sports in high school in fact he missed the beginning of every baseball season to play basketball. The Braves drafted him in the 11th round of the 1993 MLB Draft. He made his debut in the majors four years later at 22-years-old. He only made eight starts that year, but in 1998, he cracked the rotation for good. He made four straight postseasons with the Braves, beginning in 1999, but was traded to the Phillies before the 2003 season. He played there for two years, then signed a one-year deal with Cleveland, where he had the best ERA in the league. He signed a five year deal with the Rangers the following offseason, a contract he did not finish out in Texas, getting traded to the Orioles in 2010. He spent most of 2011 in the minors before the Rockies gave him 9 starts to finish out the year, then he signed a minor league contract with the Mariners, but ended up making 28 starts. He retired after that. He got no votes on his only Hall of Fame ballot.
Eddie Rommel (SP)
Career: 50.3 bWAR, 26.6 fWAR, 43.6 JAWS (per 210 IP average: 4.1 bWAR, 2.2 fWAR)
Peak: 37.4 bWAR, 20.5 fWAR
Acc: None (retired a year before the All-Star game and way before the Cy Young)
4-WAR seasons: 7 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: If you’re wondering why the disparity in WAR, one reason is that Rommel walked more hitters than he struck out. He had 724 walks to 599 career strikeouts. His FIP was considerably higher than his ERA.
Profile: During World War I, Rommel was working on a steamfitter’s helper and badly scalded his hand. While he was recovering, he experimented with the knuckleball, which he incorporated his next minor league season. He has been called the father of the modern knuckleball, being the first pitcher to use it extensively. He debuted in 1920 with the Philadelphia Athletics at 22-years-old. He became the Athletics workhorse of the staff, pitching in at least 250 innings for five straight years. His usage started to diminish in 1927, as he was used in several different roles - starter, reliever, closer. But he threw well over 100 innings most years. His innings finally fell below 100 in 1931, and after a less than desirable contract offer to pitch in the minors, a suggestion by Connie Mack led him to umpire, which he did for 22 years in the majors. Career was over at 34. He was on eight Hall of Fame ballots without much support.
Charlie Root (SP)
Career: 37.5 bWAR, 40.3 fWAR, 61.2 JAWS (per 200 IP: 2.3 bWAR, 2.5 fWAR)
Peak: 26.3 bWAR, 27.4 fWAR
Acc: None (first ASG of career was in his eight season)
4-WAR seasons: 2 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: He holds the Chicago Cubs pitching team record for games (605), innings pitched (3,139), and wins (201).
Profile: Root dropped out of school at 13 due to a teacher reprimanding him for his behavior, and his father demanded he get a job to help the family. At 20, he was playing for two leagues and working a third job. He was noticed by a Browns player and signed a contract at 21. He didn’t make his MLB debut until 1923. He pitched mostly in relief and not particularly well. He got traded to a minor league team (back when you could do that), and after an impressive season, bought by the Cubs. He spent a year loaned to the minors, and made his debut on Opening Day in 1926 at 27-years-old. The next year he placed 4th in MVP voting. He helped get the Cubs to the World Series in 1929, though they lost. He lost his starting rotation spot in 1934 and spent about half his time in the bullpen, half in the rotation for the rest of his career. He retired in 1941 at age 42. He was on six ballots without much support.
Nolan Ryan (SP)
Career: 83.6 bWAR, 106.7 fWAR, 62.2 JAWS (per his 213 IP average: 3.3 bWAR, 4.2 fWAR)
Peak: 43.1 bWAR, 45.7 fWAR
Acc: 8-time All-Star, 2-time ERA title
4-WAR seasons: 8 by bWAR, 14 by fWAR
One notable stat: Nolan Ryann has the most career strikeouts ever, by a lot (839 above Randy Johnson). He has the most career walks ever, by a lot (962 more than Steve Carlton). He has the most career no-hitters ever, by a lot (7, next highest is 4).
Profile: Despite being a great high school pitcher, it took until the 12th round for the New York Mets to select him in the first ever MLB draft. He made his debut at 19-years-old, pitching just 3 innings. He missed most of the next season to arm injury, illness, and service in the Army, not making any appearance at the major league level. He made 18 starts in 1968, but was mostly in the bullpen for the Miracle Mets team. In his five seasons on the Mets, he wasn’t anything special as a pitcher. He was traded to the California Angels, where he became Nolan Ryan immediately. He was 2nd in Cy Young voting in 1973, the same year he threw two no-hitters. He tied an MLB record with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game in 1974, doing it twice. The Angels only made the playoffs once in Ryan’s tenure, his last year, and they were eliminated after just four games. He became the first millionaire in baseball when he signed with the Houston Astros in 1980. He had a salary dispute with the Astros in 1988, so at 42-years-old, he signed a deal with the Rangers. In 1989, he became the only pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts by striking out Rickey Henderson. His career ended at 46-years-old in 1993, when he tore his ligament. He was planning to retire at the end of the season anyway. He was first ballot with 98.8% of the vote.
Jimmy Sheckard (OF)
Career: 49.5 bWAR, 56.7 fWAR, 41.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 3.3 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 33 bWAR, 36.2 fWAR
Acc: None (retired in 1913, well before All-Star games or awards)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
Notable stat: In 1911, Sheckard walked 147 times in his career, for a rate of 20.9%. It was the MLB record until it was broken by Babe Ruth in 1920. It’s still the Cubs record and he’s one of only four players to walk 147 times or more in a season.
Profile: Born in Pennsylvania, Sheckard got his start filling in for an injured player on his hometown team and played for a few minor league clubs in his teens before the Brooklyn Bridegrooms acquired him, hoping he would replace their shortstop. But he committed 19 errors in 11 games, so he moved to LF for 1898. But in 1899, he was sent to the Orioles, where he got more regular playing time. He was returned to Brooklyn the next year as a backup outfielder and earned himself more playing time as a starter the following year. After the 1905 season, Sheckard was traded to the Cubs. In his first three years as a Cub, they won the NL pennant each year and won back-to-back World Series. In his final year, he was sold to the Cards, where he played poorly enough to get put on waivers in the middle of the year and claimed by the Reds. His career was done at 34. He was on three HOF ballots without much support.
Ozzie Smith (SS)
Career: 76.9 bWAR, 67.9 fWAR, 59.7 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.3 bWAR, 3.8 fWAR)
Peak: 42.5 bWAR, 43.6 fWAR
Acc: 15-time All-Star, 13-time Gold Glover, Silver Slugger
4-WAR seasons: 10 by bWAR, 10 by fWAR
One notable stat: We all know about his defense, but I think his offense may actually be underrated, especially in his prime. From 1985 to 1992, he was an above average hitter in every season but one despite just 15 homers combined.
Profile: Smith played baseball and basketball in high school, but baseball was his favorite, so much so that he would attend about 25 Dodgers games a year despite it being an hour-long bus trip. He got a partial scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and walked onto the baseball team. He graduated in 1977 and broke some school records, getting drafted in the 4th round of the 1977 draft by the Padres. He was not in the minors long, debuting the next year at 23-years-old. In fact, he was the starter the whole year, playing in 159 games. He won his first of 13 straight Gold Gloves in 1980. For his first four seasons, Smith paired his glovework with very weak offense. He was having salary disputes with the Padres, which led to a trade to the Cardinals for another player having issues with ownership, Garry Templeton. His bat came around in his second season as a Cardinal, and was above average for the first time in 1985. He stayed a Cardinal his entire career with his bat making an unexpected resurgence in his final year, fighting for playing time. He retired at 41 and was a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Eddie Stanky (2B)
Career: 41.4 bWAR, 37.7 fWAR, 39.5 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.7 bWAR, 4.2 fWAR)
Peak: 37.6 bWAR, 34.3 fWAR
Acc: 3-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 4 by fWAR
One notable stat: Stanky is a player that just wouldn’t exist now. He walked an absurd amount despite having no power. His career BB% was 18.3% despite an ISO of .080.
Profile: In 1935, Stanky signed a deal with the Philadelphia Athletics, but was sent to the minors. He remained in the minors for eight years. In 1939, his manager convinced him to be patient, recognizing he had a great eye but no power. He had a temper, getting thrown out 15-20 times a season. He was traded to the Brewers’ minor league team, and spent one more year in the minors. The manager was hired to be the Cubs’ manager and Stanky followed him. He was replaced at 2B in his second season, so he demanded a trade or to play. He was traded to Brooklyn. He was there when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, with Jackie playing 1B in his first season. But he moved to 2B and Stanky was traded to the Boston Braves. He was traded to the New York Giants after two seasons amid rumors that he would take over the manager job and tensions in the clubhouse. After two seasons, he was traded to the Cardinals and became player-manager, mostly not playing much. His playing career ended after two seasons. He was on one Hall of Fame ballot without much support.
Vern Stephens (SS)
Career: 46.2 bWAR, 48.6 fWAR, 40.4 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 3.8 bWAR, 4 fWAR)
Peak: 34.5 bWAR, 35.8 fWAR
Acc: 8-time All-Star
4-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 7 by fWAR
One notable stat: Stephens was a rare power hitting shortstop. He led the league in HRs in 1945 and actually hit more homers than that year three other times, with a high of 39. He also led in RBIs three years, with a high of 159.
Profile: After a season at a junior college, Stephens signed with the St. Louis Browns, despite other opportunities, because it was the quickest way to the majors. After a couple seasons in the minors, he debuted at 20-years-old late in 1941 and was up for good in 1942. He flunked army physicals due to a knee injury so he stayed in the MLB during World War II. In 1946, due to a salary dispute, he signed in the newly formed Mexican League that took its fair share of MLB players. His father could not stand to see him throw his career away, drove down there, and brought him back to the US after a few days. The Browns ended up caving and giving him his desired contract. The Browns were forced to trade him due to budget issues, and the Red Sox were the beneficiary. His numbers exploded behind Ted Williams. Knee injury issues limited his playing time in 1951 and his playing time and performance declined after that. He played for three different teams in his last three seasons, with his last season being at 34. He was not on a HOF ballot.
Bruce Sutter (RP)
Career: 24.5 bWAR, 19.2 fWAR, 24.2 JAWS (per his 87 IP average: 2 bWAR, 1.6 fWAR)
Peak: 24.3 bWAR, 18.7 fWAR
Acc: Cy Young, 6-time All-Star, 4-time Rolaids Relief winner
2-WAR seasons: 5 by bWAR, 3 by fWAR
One notable stat: Sutter is the only player to lead the National League in saves five times. His 300 career saves ranks 30th and at the time of his retirement was 3rd all-time.
Profile: Sutter was drafted in the 21st round of the 1970 draft by the Washington Senators, but chose to attend Old Dominion instead. He dropped out of school to play for a semi-pro league and signed with the Cubs late in 1971. Early in his Cubs’ career, he had surgery to repair a pinched nerve, and when he returned, his old pitches weren’t effective. He learned how to throw a split finger fastball. He made the majors early in the 1976 season at 23 pitching out of the bullpen. The next season, he made his first All-Star team and in 1979, he won the Cy Young, tying the NL record for saves with 37. After the 1980 season, he was traded to the Cardinals. He was the final pitcher of both the NLCS and the World Series in 1982. He again tied the NL record for saves in 1984, this time it was 45. In the offseason, he signed a six year deal with the Braves. It did not go well. He only threw three seasons, and in only one of them was he healthy. He missed 1987 completely to injury. After he missed 1989 to injury as well, the Braves released him. Sutter needed 13 ballots, but was elected by the writers in 2006.
Career: 47.1 bWAR, 41.4 fWAR, 44.4 JAWS (per his 227 IP average: 3.9 bWAR, 3.4 fWAR)
Peak: 46.8 bWAR, 337 fWAR
Acc: Triple Crown, 2-time ERA title (retired in 1921, well before awards or All-Star games)
4-WAR seasons: 6 by bWAR, 5 by fWAR
One notable stat: Vaughn appears to have been not a very good fielder at his position. He led pitchers in errors five times, and his 74 career errors ranks 35th all-time among pitchers.
Profile: Vaughn made his MLB debut with the New York Highlanders in 1908, but only pitched in two games and was sent to the minors for all of 1909. He pitched a couple years there, missing significant time to injury in 1911. He was sold to the Washington Senators in the middle of 1912 during a down year and later sold by the Senators to a minor league team before that year ended. He was claimed by the Cubs late in the 1913 season and became a workhorse of their rotation for the next seven years, throwing over 290 innings in six of the seven seasons (the seventh was 269 innings). After a 6.01 ERA in the middle of July in 1921, Vaughn could not be found and was suspended for signing a contract with a minor league team. He pitched in semipro leagues for the next 15 years but never the majors. His MLB career was done at 33. He was not on a Hall of Fame ballot.
Bobby Wallace (SS)
Career: 70.3 bWAR, 62.4 fWAR, 56.1 JAWS (per 600 PAs: 4.4 bWAR, 3.9 fWAR)
Peak: 41.9 bWAR, 39.1 fWAR
Acc: None (retired in 1918, well before awards and All-Star games existed)
4-WAR seasons: 12 by bWAR, 9 by fWAR
One notable stat: Bobby Wallace has the dubious distinction of having the longest career without ever playing in a World Series. It will not be broke as he played for 25 years.
Profile: Wallace started his career as a pitcher, getting signed by the then Cleveland Spiders at just 20-years-old. After just a few games, he pitched two more games as a starter. He was a decent pitcher, but his fielding skills as a pitcher convinced them to try him in the field. For 1897, he was moved to third base. His bat came around with what ended up being his best ever season with the bat. He was moved to the St. Louis Perfectos for the 1899 season and in the middle, he moved to shortstop. With a salary cap on the NL but not the AL, Wallace became baseball’s highest paid players when he jumped to the St. Louis Browns for a five year deal and unbelievably given the time, a no-trade clause. He became a player-manager for a couple seasons beginning in 1911, but he had no desire to be manager, and stayed on the team when they hired a new manager in 1913. He played his final five seasons barely playing, with a high of 108 plate appearances. He retired as a Cardinal at 44-years-old. He was on seven HOF ballots, but the Veteran’s Committee elected him in 1953.
Earl Whitehill (SP)
Career: 36.1 bWAR, 40.6 fWAR, 31.9 JAWS (per his 221 IP average: 2.2 bWAR, 3.5 fWAR)
Peak: 27.1 bWAR, 24.9 fWAR
Acc: None (first ASG wasn’t until his 11th season)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 1 by fWAR
One notable stat: He has the worst ERA of any pitcher with 200 career wins, with a 4.36 career ERA.
Profile: Whitehill made his MLB debut late in the 1924 season at 24-years-old for manager Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers. He became a regular part of the rotation the next year and made at least 30 starts for the Tigers in eight of the next nine seasons. Whitehill was known for his quick temper, frequently placing in the top ten in hit batsmen. After the 1932 season, Whitehill was traded to the Washington Senators. He threw 200 innings or more in his three seasons and made his first World Series, throwing a complete game shutout in his only start, though the Senators lost the series. He got sent to Cleveland for two seasons, and he wasn’t great in those years. He played his last year as a Cub, at 40-years-old. He was on four HOF ballots without much support.
Vic Willis (SP)
Career: 67 bWAR, 48.7 fWAR, 56.2 JAWS (per his 307 IP average: 5.1 bWAR, 3.7 fWAR)
Peak: 49.3 bWAR, 31.9 fWAR
Acc: ERA title (career ended in 1910, predating All-Star games and awards)
4-WAR seasons: 9 by bWAR, 6 by fWAR
One notable stat: Definitely a consequence of starting so many games and for not good teams, but Willis holds the record for most losses in a season with 29 and the most complete game losses with 25.
Profile: Willis had a few seasons of semi-pro under his belt when he was bought by the Boston Beaneaters. He threw over 300 innings in his debut season, at 23-years-old, helping the Beaneaters to NL pennant. In 1902, he threw over 400 innings with 45 complete games and a 2.20 ERA. After a few years of being tempted to jump to the AL with higher salaries, he was traded to Pittsburgh 1905. With Pittsburgh, he continued his high workload for another four seasons. He pitched one final season with the Cardinals after they claimed him on waivers. The Cubs put in a waiver claim for him after the season, but he elected to retire at just 34. He was never on a Hall of Fame ballot, but over 100 years after he debuted, in 1995, the Veteran’s Committee put him in the Hall.
Smokey Joe Wood (SP)
Career: 40.1 bWAR, 34 fWAR, 37.3 JAWS (per 200 IP: 5.6 bWAR, 4.7 fWAR)
Peak: 34.4 bWAR, 28.5 fWAR
Acc: ERA title (played before awards and All-Star games)
4-WAR seasons: 3 by bWAR, 2 by fWAR
One notable stat: Smokey Joe Wood is listed as a pitcher and for most of his career he was. But he was a career 111 wRC+ hitter, finishing his career as a hitter.
Profile: In 1907, Wood started pitching after playing a few years as a position player on semipro teams. His speed caught the attention of MLB scouts and he was bought by the Kansas City Blues in 1908. The Red Sox acquired him late in the season and he made his MLB debut at 18-years-old. He missed most of the 1st half of 1909 from getting injured in a wrestling match and a month in 1910 from getting a line drive to the ankle. In 1911 and 1912, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball and started 3 games in the World Series the Red Sox won. His 1913 season ended early when he slipped trying to field a ball and broke his thumb. He missed the first half of 1914 to appendicitis and at the end of the year, his shoulder was in pain as his previously electric fastball had diminished. He missed 1916, got sold to Cleveland in 1917 and after just 15 innings, it was clear he couldn’t pitch. He converted to outfield in 1918 spring training and became a 123 wRC+ hitter. He played until he was 32, retiring to attend to family obligations. He was on nine Hall of Fame ballots with as high as 18% of the vote.
The maximum amount of people you can vote for is 14 players. The deadline is Wednesday night and it’ll probably stay that way. We have another ballot on Thursday, if I can finish it on time.