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POLL: Willie Stargell and the Hall of Fame

Posted by Andy on October 19, 2010

Willie Stargell is already in the Hall of Fame, but that doesn't mean we can't debate his credentials.

Stargell played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates and helped them win two World Series (1971, 1979). He had a monster year in 1973, leading baseball in doubles, homers, RBI, SLG, and OPS. He shared the 1979 NL MVP award with Keith Hernandez and had 3 other top-3 finishes.

He was a 7-time All-Star and winner of numerous other awards, including the 1974 Lou Gehrig and Roberto Clemente Awards, the 1978 Hutch Award, and the 1979 Babe Ruth award. In 1979, in addition to the regular-season MVP, he was the NLCS and World Series MVP as well.

Let's take a look at his career, discuss, and vote.

For Willie Stargell in the Hall of Fame:

Against Willie Stargell in the Hall of Fame:

  • Stargell's peak was high but short. His Black Ink and Gray Ink (measures of how often a player led his league or was among league leaders in major statistical categories) are not bad but are below average for Hall of Famers. Similarly, his HOF Monitor of 44 is a bit below average. Keep in mind that Stargell played before the Wild Card era, back when these numbers meant a little bit more. Most of his black ink came in the 1973 season; he barely led the league in anything in all the rest of the years of his career.
  • For all his post-season success, he also had some big failures, such as the 1971 NLCS when he went hitless in 17 plate appearances across the 4 games and the 1972 NLCS when he managed just 1 hit in 5 games. His overall post-season batting average was .278, close to his career number, so this is kind of a wash.
  • By pretty much all measures, he was not a good fielder (although I expect some to argue this.)
  • Stargell's career WAR of 57.50 is nothing to sneeze at and puts him ahead of a bunch of other HOFers, but also puts him right in the neighborhood of Jeff Kent, Ken Boyer, Will Clark, Darrell Evans, and Bobby Bonds. To me, this seems about right in terms of what he achieved as a player (with the exception of the 2 WS wins, which is definitely special.)

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 19th, 2010 at 7:30 am and is filed under Hall of Fame, Polls. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

120 Responses to “POLL: Willie Stargell and the Hall of Fame”

  1. Wow. I'm shocked. Right now, the voting is 50 for, 2 against. That's way different than I expected. I thought this one would be closer. I'm not ready to vote yet, because I don't have enough information (I'll research more later today and come back and vote), but I'm just surprised this is so lopsided. Huh.

  2. The qualifications for the HOF go beyond statistics. Intangibles come into play too. Anyone who remembers Pops knows that he had all of the intangibles.

  3. Perhaps your next poll should be if Ken Boyer is Hall-worthy. Boyer and Stargell were pretty similar statisically and 3rd base is a neglected position in the Hall. Might be fun. Personally, I'm with Dr. Doom on this one...can't decide about Pops.

  4. From what I recall in previous Stargell debates, the thing that weighs down his advanced metrics is in-season durability. He only played 140 games in 6 seasons. Otherwise he was good for about a month on the DL each season.

    That certainly doesn't keep him out, but its the main reason why he's not ranked higher historically.

  5. Don't forget, it is estimated that Stargell lost at least 100 HR from playing at Forbes Field during the first 8-9 years of his career.

  6. WanderingWinder Says:

    Very very close case, but as a little bit of a small hall guy, I go no. Can't really blame those who put him in though.

  7. Never really having looked at Stargell's record closely, one of the most striking features is how "undurable" (nondurable? indurable?) - let's say "un-Ripkenesque" - he was. I think part of his black ink/gray ink issue is that he just never played all that much throughout any given season. By my count he only had 6 seasons of 550+ plate appearances (only 3 over 600, with the maximum at 609 in 1973) - not at bats, but plate appearances. He only had 4 more seasons of 500-550 plate appearances.

    For comparison, Johnny Bench had 8 straight years of 592+ PAs and then 2 more years of 550-592 and then one other year of 500+. Bench had a 708 PA season.

    I have no idea what that means, and it's not as if he had a short overall career (like McGwire) because Stargell played in 2300 games and ultimately had over 9000 plate appearances. It's just that his seasonal totals might be lower than we would expect given that he only played in 140 or more games in a season 6 times.

  8. At the moment, 9% of respondents say he shouldn't be in, which I think is significant--considering we're talking about a guy who is already in.

  9. As a Mets fan, I feared and loved Stargell. He had "presence." And you never knew when he was going to launch a ball into orbit. Star power has to count for something. It's why I have no problem with Dizzy Dean being in the Hall either.
    Andy - I have no way of knowing, but I bet a big portion of the no-voters don't remember him from his playing days.

  10. Markcubsfan Says:

    While Stargell's numbers are solid, those who saw him play understand the extra he brought to the game. I wasn't a Pirates fan and I dreaded seeing him come up in any crucial situation. There's something about how a player like Stargel stood out that adds a dimension beyond stark numbers.

  11. Normally I would dismiss comments like #2, #9, and #10 as silly thinking, but in fact there is one statistic that really backs this up:

    Stargell is 25th all-time in WPA:

    THAT is impressive, especially given that he is only 88th in games played and 145th in plate appearances. He made the most of it, it would seem.

  12. This is a joke, right? 475 homers without playing home games in a hitter's park (Forbes Field was dreadful for hitters, Three Rivers Stadium not especially helpful either), 2 rings (1 as virtual captain and carrier-on-the-back at age 39), and a man of sterling character who brought joy to the game: "The umpires don't say 'Work ball,' they say 'Play ball.'"

  13. I agree with #s 2, 9 and 10. It's almost sacreligous to say on this website, but sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story.

  14. I find comments like #12 really bizarre. How would this post be a joke? It's simply put up as a question. If we get 1000 responses and they all say Stargell belongs in the HOF, then fine. If we get 1000 responses and they all say he doesn't belong, that's fine too. I'm not saying I think he does or doesn't belong--I put up the question because I'm interested in the response, whatever it is.

  15. One thing that stands out is how highly revered Stargell was by the writers, dispropportionately to how good his numbers say he was. 23rd in MVP shares,won multiple awards, elected to the Hall with 82% on the first ballot. We can look at his numbers now and say the numbers tell us more about him than what the people who watched at the time thought, but I think that's probably not the whole story. I think his numbers are certainly good enough in the context of his era and ballparks that, combined with those intangibles that the voting indicates, he's plenty qualified.

  16. I think 475 career homer seems kind of puny now. But at the time of his retirement, that total looked pretty good. I think his homer total, being the top power hitter over a three-year span and an MVP season at age 39(with a WS title) are what moved the voters. I believe he was also the only player voted in that year -- and who else is on the ballot makes a big difference.

  17. @5, 12

    I remember Willie as a dead pull hitter. Forbes Field was 300 down the line in right and 375 in right-center. It was for righthanded hitters that it was cavernous (365 down the line, 406 in left-center). Remember, Babe Ruth at age 40, batting .181, hit his last 3 homers at Forbes right before retiring. I don't think the Forbes argument holds much water for a lefty.

  18. I'm not really into debating whether someone, especially posthumously, is Hall-worthy if they are already in. It's sorta like debating whether Obama is qualified to be president. The fact is, he is so he is and you can't change it now.

    But, IMO, the Hall of Fame should give leeway to people who had memorable moments that are part of baseball lore and that would include Pops and his majestic homers and Fam-i-lee leadership. I'm not a Pirates fan but I really have no problem with Stargell's inclusion, particularly if you fit him into the pitching-dominant era of the 1960s and 1970s. Had he played in the watered-down steroid-juiced era of Barry Bonds, he might have reached 600 homers.

  19. Bob, interesting perspective. I certainly did not intend to be disrespectful with this discussion, and again I am not trying to say that I think he should not be in the HOF.

  20. I love those 1970's Pirate teams (2 WS, 6 NL East titles, 9 years first or second place). Ironically, the only 3rd place finish was Stargell's MVP year 1973 (still reeling from Clemete loss, pre-Cobra as starter).

    Perhaps the only knock on that team is that they were not in more WS (similar to how the Big Red Machine should have won more WS titles). But that is perhaps a problem caused only by their success, not by their failure. In the 4 NLCS losses (3 were to the afforementioned Reds (1970, 1972, 1975), and 1 was to the up-and-coming Dodgers (1974).

    The Pirates success during the 1970's had A LOT to do with Stargell as he was the best player on teams that were not exactly loaded with Hall of Famers. From 1970-1972 Clememte was at the tail end of his career (although if you like Batting Average, his numbers were sick for a guy in his mid-to-late-30's) and Dave Parker wasn't really great (better than Stargell) until after 1975 meaning he had less to do with earning most of the playoff appearances. Other than those 2 guys, the rest is a list of Good to Very Goods like Al Oliver, Manny Sanguillen, Richie Hebner, Richie Zisk, Rennie Stennant/Dave Cash, Bob Robertson, Gene Alley/Frank Taveras. Far from the stars of the Reds and Dodgers.

    Also, anyone who was truly into baseball in 1979 just had to love the "We are Family" Pirates team, led by Pops. Perhaps he did not deserve the MVP that year, but he did deserve both playoff MVPs. I believe his team successes and personal achievements more than prove he belongs in the HOF. The voters got that correct.

    My opinion is that the 9-10% of people who disagree probably like very small HOF or didn't see him play or maybe aren't influenced at all by big individual performances in a single season/post-season. Actually, I think of 90% as still pretty good for a guy that we feel (as a collective baseball-loving community - maybe not all individuals) obviously is up for discussion as to his worthy-ness (since we are having this poll at all). I doubt we would be having a poll on Seaver or Aaron. And without looking I would bet that Stargell got into the HOF with less than 90% vote (sort of implying that he is doing better with our vote than with the real vote, but at the same time knowing that is not really how the writer's voting works).

  21. @17
    One of those three Forbes homers of Ruth's was a tape measure shot that cleared the roof. One of the longest home runs hit in Forbes Field. The old Babe may not have made contact often, but he hadn't lost his power.

  22. @#3 ...Ken Boyer's comparable to Stargell? Even looking purely at the numbers, I don't see how 282 HR, 1141 RBI, and 116 OPS+ compares closely to 475 HR, 1540 RBI, and a 147 OPS+.

    That being said, I'm not sure how anyone could seriously claim a 147 OPS+ slugger over 5000+ PA's doesn't deserve to be in Cooperstown. There's only been 1 Hall eligible player with an OPS+ above that, who hasn't make it in (Dick Allen). A few guys with a higher OPS+ will likely get in once they're eligible, and a few who probably won't - only 'cause their names are tarnished by the steroids scandal.

    As for Willie not playing all that much... if he played in a DH league, he would've played 150 games a season. Do you Willie detractors also count the DH'd games against guys like Jim Thome for not being durable enough to play his position as often as Ripken? Because Willie certainly would've played a number of games as DH instead of being given days off, if the option were available to his managers (especially late in his career)

    And the few legitimate arguments against Willie, like not a good fielder, are just strawman reasons to say he shouldn't be in the Hall. It's like saying a player has to be perfect, or has to be a 5 tool guy, in order to deserve entry into the Hall of Fame.

    @#16 ...good point, at the time Stargell retired, everyone with 400 HR's got into the Hall of Fame. That's how hard it was to simply reach 400. I think Dave Kingman was the first 400 homer guy to not be inducted.

  23. @12, Three Rivers Stadium was a pretty good hitter's park for most of Stargell's career.

  24. #11,

    Careful with looking at WPA in that context. Since WPA only goes back as far as 1950, it's of no value when looking at all-time lists, unless limiting the scope of the other stats to post 1950 as well. It's also important to keep in mind that it's purely an offensive stat, so he's not hurt by limited contributions on defense.

    He was certainly a terrific hitter with a fantastic peak, and a solid HoF in my mind, but I don't know if WPA adds all that much extra to the discussion. How does it compare with his batting WAR since 1950?

  25. WilsonC, excellent point.

    Stargell is 33rd in WAR Batting since 1950. So being higher in WPA suggests that he may, in fact, have been a big-time player who came through when it mattered, but not as much as I may have indicated in my earlier comment.

  26. Pops was a low-ball power hitter in the era of high strike zones and pitchers' parks. If he would have come up in 1993 (with hitters parks and low strike zones) instead of 1963, he could have hit 750 home runs - without steroids. Noone would question his credentials then.

    Add in his persona, 500-foot home runs, and being clutch in the big games and I can certainly see why this poll isn't even close. He is deserving of his first-ballot election to the HOF.

  27. Andy,

    I find it inetesting that within 3 posts of each other (@11 & @14) you first state how people's feelings are generally "silly thinking" (2. 9, & 10 probably didn't consider WPA when they made thier comments), then you get offended when someone questions the legitimacy of the post ("Is it a joke?") and people should be allowed their opinions. The 2 statements don't seem to give the same message.

  28. Tmckelv, sorry I was imprecise in my posts. When I referred to silly thinking, I meant that it's my normal reaction to posts like that to think it's silly, but that the folks who made those posts were clearly onto something (and were NOT silly in their thinking.)
    I was not offended by someone asking if the post is a joke, merely pointing out that the post itself is not meant to be a judgment of Stargell--what I'm reacting to is the supposition that by making the post, I am concluding that Stargell doesn't belong. I am not making any such conclusion.

  29. I'm 44 and I don't think there has been a more beloved and respected player than Stargell in my lifetime. I think he was the player most helped in HOF voting by his Personality/Character.

    The thing that kind of shocked me wasn't that Stargell got in the HOF but rather how quickly he got in the HOF. I remember that the general consensus around '79-80 was that Stargell would need to get 500 HR to get in the HOF. Basically the feeling was that his 475 total would relegate him to never getting in the HOF or getting in the HOF after 10-15 attempts.

    It's funny in hindsight because I remember the basic mindset in 1980 was that Dave Parker was a no-doubt HOF and Stargell was a borderline case at best. And there was also a general feeling in the early 80's that Bill Madlock had a better shot at the HOF than Stargell.

    I think Stargell belongs in the HOF, but I think his entrance highlights the omissions of 4 deserving LF or 1b: Raines, D. Allen, K. Hernandez and Will Clark.

    Another odd thing was Stargell's 1979 MVP. That was one of the worst voting jobs in MLB history. Parker was the Pirate MVP that year and at best Stargell was about the 30th best player in the N.L. 4th or 5th best player on the Pirates.

    Stargell's 1979 2.3 WAR was the 10th best season in his career. I wonder if that's the largest disparity between a players only MVP award and where it ranks among his career rankings. Andre Dawson's 1987 MVP was his 9th best season according to WAR by comparison.

    Stargell's best WAR seasons were '71 & '73 when he had a 8.1. That's a disparity of 5.8 from his best WAR season to the season he actually won the award (2.3). I wonder if that's the largest disparity between an MVP award and a player's best WAR season.

  30. I think the MVP voters gave Stargell a ton of MVP votes in '79, to make up for their never having given him an MVP before... especially in his otherworldly 1973 season.

  31. It's mind boggling to me 21 people voted no. Just mind boggling.

  32. 29 & 30,

    I thought Willie won the MVP in 1973, that is how I started my post @ #20 above, but my memory failed me as Rose won it. Wow that was a close call on MVP. And a bad mistake by me.

  33. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    If we are going to have a hypothetical "do over" HOF vote for Stargell, I think the best way to make a case for "NO" is to find comparable HOF candidates who have _not_ been elected to the HOF. Looking at his "most comparable" list,these are the eligible players not yet elected:
    - Andres Galarraga
    - Joe Carter
    - Fred McGriff
    - Jose Canseco

    Although all of these players started in the 80s, a good chunk of their careers were after 1993, when offensive levels were considerably higher than in Stargell's time (plus Galarraga had Coors Field as a home park for a while), so the comparison can't be made without some adjustments.

    McGriff is probably the most comparable, because he had several of his best years pre-1994. Even so, I don't consider McGriff as good as Stargell, since he doesn't have Stargell's peak or hardware. Stargell is far from the worst player voted in by the BWWAA; he may be in the lower third of players voted in on their first year of eligibility, but that's hardly a disgrace. If we're going to have a "do over" on HOF mistakes, there are plenty of candidates before we get to Pops.

  34. Forget the championships, the captaincy, the fam-a-lee, the (supposed) home-park disadvantage. On his regular-season stats alone, it would be absurdly unjust to exclude Stargell from the Hall of Fame.

    1. There are about 50 modern outfielders in the HOF. Stargell's 147 OPS+ ranks 14th. His 475 HRs rank 9th (tied with Musial). His 1,540 RBI rank 16th. (And yes, Stargell played more OF than 1B in his career.)

    2. Even if you compared him to the 12 HOF first basemen, Stargell's OPS+ would rank 5th, tied with McCovey.

    3. There are only two HOF-eligible, non-PED-tainted players with an OPS+ of at least 145 and no HOF membership: Dick Allen and Edgar Martinez. Stargell had FAR more PAs than either (2,700 more than Allen and 1,800 more than Edgar) and had at least as much defensive value as either.

    4. I don't see a short peak. Peak is about more than just black ink. From 1966-75, a 10-year period, Stargell averaged a 158 OPS+, with 6 seasons at 163 or above; he led the league twice, was 2nd twice and 3rd once during that span. In the 6 years from 1969-74, he averaged a 165 OPS+.

    5. How many players have more qualifying seasons with OPS+ of 160 or higher than Stargell's 6?
    Just 18. (For a frame of reference, here are a bunch of present and likely future HOFers who had just 3 seasons with OPS+ at 160 or above: Mike Schmidt, Carl Yastrzemski, Harmon Killebrew, Al Kaline, Duke Snider, Ralph Kiner, Al Simmons, George Sisler, A-Rod, Junior Griffey, Chipper Jones, Mike Piazza, Jim Thome....)

    6. Stargell played from 1962-82. Consider the 30-year period from 1957-86, bracketing his career. In that span, Stargell ranked 8th in both HRs and RBI, with HOFers making up 15 of the other top 20 in each category, and 7th in OPS+ (min. 5,000 PAs), with HOFers comprising 13 of the other top 20.

    7. Yes, Stargell was not the most durable player in any given season. But he played a lot of seasons and never had a bad one. His 9,026 PAs is right around the median for modern HOFers, and his 2,360 games is well above the median.

    So, Stargell's statistical credentials, viewed in context, are overwhelming. The only way a player of that caliber DOESN'T make the HOF is if there's something missing in his resume, or something fishy. Neither of those applies to Stargell.

    We can certainly debate anyone's credentials. In Stargell's case, that debate shouldn't take more than a few minutes. And if his career WAR "puts him right in the neighborhood of Jeff Kent, Ken Boyer, Will Clark, Darrell Evans, and Bobby Bonds," then perhaps those players are underrated. As for myself, I consider Kent and Evans HOFers, with the other 3 coming up short on career length (each about 1,000 PAs less than Stargell).

  35. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Retrospect voting like this -- despite some of the comments made -- is important, in that it helps us "learn from our mistakes". Developing our sense of judgement is important, and there is no better tool for that than exercizes like this. Great one, Andy!

  36. (Correction @34 above in point #3: Stargell had about 1,700 more PAs than Allen and about 350 more than Edgar -- not 2,700 and 1,800, as I wrote. I mixed up PAs and ABs in my original calculation -- mea culpa.)

  37. John DiFool Says:

    I get 83 HRs at home 1963-1970, and 113 away (the Pirates moved to 3 Rivers halfway thru the 1970 season). From then on he was essentially even on HRs home/away. The clutch stats pretty much indicate clutch performance across the board. I think there's definite evidence that he was better than the WAR total he has on this site indicates.

  38. "And if his career WAR "puts him right in the neighborhood of Jeff Kent, Ken Boyer, Will Clark, Darrell Evans, and Bobby Bonds," then perhaps those players are underrated". As for myself, I consider Kent and Evans HOFers, with the other 3 coming up short on career length (each about 1,000 PAs less than Stargell).

    ...or, perhaps the WAR only gives you part of the story as many have suggested. Again, the best single metric, but NOT nearly worth 90% of the evaluation process.

    Stargell's a no-brainer --he's not the inner-inner circle guy, but 100% solidly in. As for small-hall guys voting no, i strongly suspect these people never saw Stargell play. He'd be in most small-Halls as well, despite the 57 WAR.

    As for the list above, Kent's in, Evans is out--sorry, I don't care how many times you walk, a .248 BA just doesn't cut it- --ditto for Craig Nettles. Dwight Evans is closer to the line than Darrel IMO.

  39. "Similarly, his HOF Monitor of 44 is a bit below average. Keep in mind that Stargell played before the Wild Card era, back when these numbers meant a little bit more."

    Andy, can you explain this a bit? Why do HOF Monitor and the other numbers mean more for pre-wild card players?

    Stargell was a guy who I am not too familiar with. I knew the name but otherwise didn't know much. Looking at his resume, I'd say he was a fine choice. His limited defense and the impact on his WAR overall obviously makes him less obvious than his offensive numbers would suggest. But his WPA suggests that he was still a heavy contributor to very successful teams and belongs in.

  40. "...or, perhaps the WAR only gives you part of the story as many have suggested. Again, the best single metric, but NOT nearly worth 90% of the evaluation process."

    Matt Y- You continually come back to this idea that WAR should not be 90% of the evaluation process. My question is, who ever suggested it SHOULD be?

  41. @38 ("perhaps the WAR only gives you part of the story")

    Matt -- No disagreement from me there. I was just responding to Andy's last bullet point.

    And I could go for Dewey Evans in the Hall, too.

    On Darrell Evans, you said: "I don't care how many times you walk, a .248 BA just doesn't cut it." So, where do you draw the line on what sort of BA cuts it, and what doesn't? For instance, in 1974, Darrell Evans hit .240, but drew 126 walks, giving him a .381 OBP, which (along with 25 HRs) led to him scoring 99 runs, 7th in the league. Do you consider that a bad season, solely because of the .240 BA?

    As for myself, I don't think there's any evaluation context in which it's fair to say that a given batting average "just doesn't cut it." No matter how bad the BA looks, it can be trumped by enough walks, power, defense, avoiding GIDP, etc.

    Bill James called Darrell Evans "probably the most underrated player in baseball history," and ranked him as the #10 3B of all time in his Historical Baseball Abstract. (Some of that essay is available at:

    I'm certainly not saying that Bill James settles the debate, but I think he makes some interesting points.

  42. BSK,

    Stargell gets 2 extra HOF Monitor points for being a 1B on 2 WS championship teams. Seems reasonable to me.

  43. Has anyone considered the possiblity that he WAS on steroids? One of my least favorite aspects of the "steroids era" is people assuming plays that played before it were clean. Steroids existed in the 1970s, and hell, supposedly half the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty was on them.

    So I don't think we can make blanket statements like "man, he would have hit a TON of HR if only he had steroids."

  44. Looking at the data provided here, which is hardly enough to *REALLY* know a player, Stargell strikes me as similar to Manny Ramirez. Great bat, lousy defense, and consistent, elite level offensive production without ever truly dominating for an extended period. For those more familiar with his career, do the two of them, as players, seem similar? From reading the comments, my guess is that their personalities and all that would make them quite different, but in terms of on-the-field production, is it far to say they were quite similar? I don't see Ramirez showing up in the sim scores, but I've never really understood those or put a ton of weight on them.

  45. Matt Y-

    Thanks. But wouldn't that hold true now? Are they calculated differently now than they were then? I don't know everything that goes into those stats, which I should probably read up on. But I'm curious wy they "mean" more then than they do now.

  46. Every single point in my original post only gives "part of the story".

    BSK, here's how HOF Monitor is calculated:

    There are certain components, such as LCS appearances, that are tougher to achieve with more teams in the league.

    Also, though, the quote you extracted lost some of my meaning. The comment about Wild Card era was meant to apply to the entire paragraph preceding it, and what I really meant was just that more teams now make it harder to achieve Black Ink, Gray Ink, All-Star elections, etc, which play into the various measures I mentioned.

  47. #41,

    I'm well-versed in James' assertions about Darrell Evans being one of the most underrated (Gene Tenace is another favorite as is Abreau to the new generation) --he was underrated, but he still was not HoF material in my book and I'm a moderate-large Hall guy. He had a good, but not great career OBP of .361 I believe. I don't consider his 1974 season bad at all, just not on par with a Hall career. As stupid as it might some to some saberheads, I'd still like to see a career BA near .260+. Despite arguments from some saberheads, I still personally think BB are a bit overrated-- It's sort of a potential energy (BB) vs. kinetic energy (hits) argument to me. I don't think all BB or singles are created exactly equal, but we've already had that argument. As for Dewy Evans, he's my all-time favorite Red Sox, but he too is short of the HOF line IMO.

  48. @39 (re: HOF Monitor "before the Wild Card era, back when these numbers meant a little bit more.")

    BSK, I can't speak for what Andy meant, but when the topic is "Black Ink" or "HOF Monitor," I always want to point out that the value of such things varies substantially over time, due to expansion. It's a lot easier to lead an 8-team league in anything than it is to lead a 12-, 14- or 16-team league.

    Black Ink and Gray Ink are all about one's position on a 10-man league leaderboard. And some of the criteria in HOF Monitor are based on leading the league or being on a league champion, which is also harder to do in today's game than it was before 1961.

    P.S. I realize that HOF Monitor is meant "to assess how likely (not how deserving) an active player is to make the Hall of Fame." But it's still a shifting standard.

  49. As Andy stated in ways, Black Ink and even Gray Ink are sort of stats for players of the past (pre-expansion), whereas HOM is a bit more relevant to players of today. It's the only stat that actually gives credit to playoffs, however it's from a team perspective and not individual perspective -- Yes, bring on a the playofWAR.

    The HOM is a more useful stat than James puts forth --he claims the number does not give an evaluation of a players HOF worth, but that's purely subjective given he was pushing the sabermethods almost entirely. The number is pretty solid, and i suspect a HOM number of say 45-50 might be more telling to many than a WAR number of 55-60. I personally do not see a gulf of usefulness between the HOM and the WAR, but then again I like to integrate the newer saberstats in with the older methods instead of just obliterating the older tools.

  50. Yes, HOM would be calculated the same way for a player 1956 vs. 2005, but it was easier to achieve Gray ink and Black Ink when there were only 8 teams. With that said, some positional players (including pitchers) gain points for playing tough positions or winning games on playoff teams (varies from LDS, LCS, WS). Obviously players pre-expansion couldn't get points for the first 1-2 rounds of the playoffs --they didn't exist. Overall, it's wise to look at all of the numbers IMO, regardless of whether its B-R WAR, fangraph WAR, B-G WAR, B-P WARP, or James' Win Shares or HOM. They all tell slightly different stories from different perspectives.

  51. Wow, this has turned into a fantastic discussion. At first I couldn't see why Andy would even pose such a question about Stargell... but now I see he was gettin everyone thinking about the different aspects of his career. Still can't see how anyone could say he might not belong in the Hall.

  52. Thanks to everyone who weighed in.

    I misunderstood Andy's point. I thought what he meant was that a point of HoF Monitor (or Black Ink or Gray Ink) meant more previously meaning that it was more valuable. If I understand it correctly, the inverse is true. Using those stats to compare pre-Wild Card players makes sense, but to compare players across the eras is more dicey. It was easier to accrue "points" when the leagues were smaller and/or fewer teams made the playoffs. Am I getting it? Would a HoF Monitor score of 44 be below average for a pre-Wild Card player but average or higher for a Wild Card era player?

  53. I think the thing about HOM is it's a tool specifically built to correlate with HoF members, whereas stats like the various types of WAR are more raw value data.

    With HOM, you're getting a system that recognizes a combination of a player's best seasons, his career numbers, his postseason performance, his awards, and so forth. All of those are things that can be considered in HoF voting beyond a player's career WAR total.

    That said, it's what I'd classify as a "quick-and-dirty" stat, kind of like OPS in a way. It doesn't really measure anything specific, but happens to correlate pretty well with results. It also doesn't really make any adjustment for context, or for defensive play beyond gold gloves and games at a position, and it's built around the round-number-based assumption that 3,001 hits is significantly more impressive than 2,997. It doesn't necessarily hold up across eras, and it reinforces any existing traditional biases.

    I think really, I'd classify it as an idea that hasn't been developed beyond its elementary form. It gives a simple method of telling how much a players career looks like the career of a typical HoFer, but it would be possible to play around with some advanced metrics to build a more advanced system for Hall of Fame worthiness. *ponders*

  54. Stargell's 475 homers came at a time when 500 really was considered automatic for the Hall. Neutralized, he gets the boost.

    Add two rings, '79 co-MVP, NLCS MVP, World Series MVP (anyone else ever won all three in one season?), the other awards for off-the-field contributions.


    I'd take him over the likes of Mark McGwire or Sammy Sosa any day.

  55. Dangerous Dean Says:

    I am a new guy here. Like the quqestion and the idea behind it.

    I became a Pirates fan in the mid 1970s in large part because they had Pops. He was big, hit big homers and seemed to embody the best about being a man both on and off the field.

    On the field, he was superb. Though his fielding was below average for much of his career, his knees didn't allow him to move like he would be able to if he had modern reconstructive surgery and rehab to get him back out there. So I cut him slack for that.

    But remember that he played in Forbes Field until 1971 and that cavern was DEATH on homers. I think that if he had played in Three Rivers his whole career he would have been well over 500 HRs for his career.

    I think this is the story that best sums up how I feel about Stargell the leader, the man, the masher:

    It is full of great quotes about Stargell and the 71 Pirates (my fave PIT team) but this is a good one about Forbes Field: Forbes Field represented the thinking of Barney Dreyfuss, the Pirates' first president, who hated, even in the deadball era, anything resembling a cheap homer. Forbes Field had a small homer pocket in the right-field corner, but a ball hit directly over the head of a base runner with a modest lead off first had to travel 375 feet to reach the fence; the right-center power alley was 408 feet; the left-center alley was 457 feet. Accordingly, no Pittsburgh team has led the league in home runs since 1903, which was before Forbes Field. Occasionally some observer would wonder why, since Forbes was such a bad place to hit home runs in, no one ever pitched a no-hitter there. But the more spacious the park, the more room there is for singles, doubles and triples to fall in between fielders—and the single-double-and-triple hitter is what Pittsburgh has specialized in, from Honus Wagner through Paul and Lloyd Waner and Kiki Cuyler to Dick Groat, Matty Alou and Clemente.

  56. @22

    Boyer played 3rd. His WAR is 58.4 over 2034 games. Stargell's was 57.5 over 2360 games. Nobody said Boyer was equal to Stargell offensively.

  57. BSK,

    "Would a HoF Monitor score of 44 be below average for a pre-Wild Card player but average or higher for a Wild Card era player"?

    Are you mixing up the HoM with the HoS? A 44 HoS number would be borderline HoFer, whereas a player with a 44 HoM number wouldn't be worth a discussion. Only the HoM gives credit to playoffs.

    James uses a HoM number of 100 as a likely HoFer, whereas he uses a HoS number of 50 for an average HoFer.

    He also uses the criteria of 130 HoM number as automatic HoFer --I like this number better and think it applies to pitchers, but I'd use a number of 145 for automatic positional players.

  58. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    What astounds me is that thome was considered highly debatable, and yet people in this thread are talking like Pops was close to inner circle and offended that the question was even asked. To me their careers don't look all that different -- *after* assuming that half of Thome's DH PAs would have gone away playing in the NL.

    Now I think Thome is clearly in, even if you whack him pretty hard with the DH-suck bat. And I voted yes for Stargell as well. But if I had to put only one of them in, I'd choose Thome and it's not that close. My line comes pretty close to Willie Stargell. Looking at his WAR, it's in the neighborhood of some guys who made it and maybe shouldn't have, and around or below a bunch of other guys who didn't make it, some of whom should have. I'd say his peak and intangibles are enough to put him in, but in terms of total career value, he's in the borderline area where those things matter, not in the "clearly in" area.

    I was expecting around 20% NOs, and I definitely wasn't expecting somebody who doesn't normally seem like a yahoo (tmckelv) to suggest the guy is in the same class as Henry Aaron or Tom Seaver. Are you kidding?

  59. Stargell's WAR of 57 only exposes issues with the WAR --it's the single best metric, but it has holes ---i.e boiling the context out of the game. Thome and Stargell are comparable, more so than some would want to admit, but Stargell had several very big moments and Thome hasn't really had one big moment--not to mention the DH thing. Overall though, i don't remember Thome being that highly debatable. Yes, there was a very vocal small minority that didn't like him, but their POLL numbers are quite close-- Stargell's at 90% and Thome was at 86% (combining those that said he'd go in and those that said he should go in but wouldn't get the votes).

  60. @11 C'mon Andy. Everything doesn't have to have stats to back it up. Star presence has a significant impact in all sports. Not all the time but it does. Stargell had it in the 79 series. Gretzky had it most of his career. Ruth had it most of his career. Just because you can't quantify it doesn't mean its not there.

  61. Mike E. Sullivan,

    I obviously did not make myself clear.

    I said:

    "Actually, I think of 90% as still pretty good for a guy that we feel (as a collective baseball-loving community - maybe not all individuals) obviously is up for discussion as to his worthy-ness (since we are having this poll at all). I doubt we would be having a poll on Seaver or Aaron. And without looking I would bet that Stargell got into the HOF with less than 90% vote (sort of implying that he is doing better with our vote than with the real vote, but at the same time knowing that is not really how the writer's voting works)."

    My point was that 90% in a poll for a guy who is "obviously is up for discussion" (like Stargell) is pretty good considering he did not even get ninety percent from the BBWA for his election to HOF. My inclusion of Seaver abd Aaron in my post were to show examples of guys who are NOT up for discussion in a poll. So sactually I meant the opposite of what you thought I wrote.

    Sorry about making it too confusing with all of the "( )" and other distractions. I by no means meant to say Stargell belonged with Aaron and Seaver.

  62. To me Pops represents a fun and innocence in baseball that is missing today. Sure maybe he wasn't a 5-tool player but he was bigger than life and could whack the heck out of the ball. I can understand why people may question his induction but to the 9 year old kid in me, he will always be a Hall of Famer!

  63. BTW, why do people debate the 79 MVP season? If you look at it in context, he was the cheerleader of the team who also at nearly 40 years old, hit 32 HR, 82 RBI in 424 AB and had a .552 SLG. Don't forget Keith Hernandez also won the MVP for being a great hitter and fielder. If WS just won it, that would be one thing, but since there were two winners winning the award for different circumstances, it shouldn't be such controversy. That's just the way I look at it.

  64. I think Stargell is a HOfer with the obvious caveat that greatness in baseball is debatable and there are different levels of excellence and greatness in baseball.

    I do think htat players who are identified with one team or most of their career have an advantage in the voting, SAtargell was a Pirate his enire career....McGriff and Canseco moved around in their careers.....someone might convice me of McGriff, no one oculd convince me of Canseco or Dave Kingman.

    If you think of the period between 1960 and 1972 more or less, say 12or 13 years, and Stargell came up in 1962, where dioes he fit in among the elite of the National League? Well, he wasn t Henry Aarton or willie Mays, he wasnt the same type of player as his teamate Roberto Clemente, he wasnt as consistent or durable as Billy Williams and all of uis have expressed our opinion of Ron Santo. Was he he the same class as Willie m;Covey, frequently ingureyd and oten devestating as ahutter? I thinjk so, maybe among the top 6 offensive players in the league.....for that period of time.

    That he was a leader is is both a game of what you do on the field and the intangible what you do in the dugout and clubhouse and on the plane and motivate your teamates......and on a team of many rowdy individuals, Stargell was one of two unquestioned leaders....with Clemeente.

    An elite tier HOF player, no-------------- deserving of the HOF, yes.....

  65. Matt, Stargell didn't even qualify for the batting title that year, he only had 480 plate appearances. He had a .281/.352/.552 line, he only had 119 hits and 60 runs scored, he was a first baseman who wasn't particularly good on defense. He only finished in the top ten in One offensive category, Home Runs (5th). Yeah he was definitely important as an emotional leader but plenty of players are great emotional leaders but that doesn't mean they deserve the MVP.

    Winfield, Hernandez, and Schmidt were the 3 best players in the N.L. that season, Parker was by far the best Pirate and probably would have won the MVP if he didn't already win the award in 1978. Parker played great defense in Right and hit .310/.380/.526 with 193 hits and was 20/24 in stolen bases.

  66. Well, I've decided that, since I said I would decide over the course of the day and cast my vote later, I'd better finally post. I know-- you've all been glued to your monitors, refreshing often to see when I would post. 😉

    Anyway, I've decided that, although Stargell is not a complete and perfect candidate, he's definitely good enough to be in. People have enumerated the reasons above, but the main reasons against do not, in my opinion, hold water.

    Bad defender? Sure, but he more than made up for that with his bat, as have many, many other players throughout history. Bill James compares Bill Mazeroski to Willie Randolph, and argues Randolph to be superior, even though Maz may be the best defensive player in MLB history, because any amount of runs Maz saved were negligible compared to what Randolph created.

    Durability? No, he wasn't going to play 160 games for you. But, in the 140 he played, he was as productive (or more) than many players who DID play 160. So if the issue is "Was the real Willie Stargell as good as a hypothetical Willie Stargell who never got hurt?"... well, no. But was Willie as good as a bunch of other players who were more durable than he? Yes siree.

    Finally, the 1979 MVP. At first, I looked at this as a pretty big knock. But really, if anything, it just makes up for the fact that he was jobbed in 1973 (in my opinion) and that he was a victim of one of the great fluke seasons of all time: Joe Torre in 1971. More than anything, the 1979 MVP just makes up for awards he missed out on earlier in his career.

    Now, I never saw the man play, so I can't attest to "star power" or "charisma" or any of that, but I can attest to this: Willie Stargell was one hell of a baseball player, and he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

  67. Also, by the way, I want to thank Andy for doing a poll on a player already in. Interesting move. And it's nice to get away from active guys who still have careers to flesh out. But I think there are some other "old guys" we need to talk about (Alan Trammell, Willie Randolph, Dwight Evans, DALE MURPHY-- since he gets brought up in pretty much every other debate). But digress-- thanks for this post!

  68. Unlike Cy Young to a degree, the MVP award is, and should be, for the player that put up some nice stats, but also perhaps had other less quantifiable intangibles that made their team a winner. I can buy the CY being more WAR-driven, but the MVP should be about much more than the just the WAR IMO.

    As for the MVP, it'll be interesting to see if Cano gets the MVP this year in a far more stat-superior year than Pedroia did with his 17 HRs, 83 RBI's, .326 BA and .376 OBP. With that said, I can buy Longoria getting it this year too.

  69. Mike Felber Says:

    Sure, pops should be in. I do wonder if this WAR underrates him a bit, & would like to see where other versions rank him. Though 750 HRs if he played 30 years later? No, but with the DH & a good stadium, certainly 650 would be plausible.

    A minumum B.A. for the Hall makes no sense. As stated, someone could easily make up a low B.A. w/power, OBP, defense, base running-& you would not need to do all very well. Someone could bat .200 & be great at other things & be worthy-though it is of course unlikely they would hit for such a low average & good OPS +. But they COULD. How about Mike Schmidt-.267, commonly agreed to be amongst the top 20 players all time. If he hit 20 points lower, he should not be in the Hall at all? Absurd. Also, even if somehow the B.A. litmus test was justified, how would it be O.K. not to adjust for era? a .250 or whatever was much better at certain times than others. And it would be stupid not to adjust for park too. CONTEXT is everything if we want to be fair & accurate.

    John Austin made excellent points re: his OPS +. I just wonder if his offensive WAR, which looks low considering decent PAs + his OPS +, was dinged too much by positional adjustment, presumably.

    There is a great recent book by baseball Historian Bill Jenkinson: Baseball's Ultimate Power. Stargell ranks 7 0r 8 all time in pure HR distance power. He researched all the deep (450' +) blasts throughout baseball history. Here is the order he gave, from memory:

    Big Mac

    Foxx edged out Mantle due to more 450-500' shots. Allen & Howard were very close-when it is up in the air, he gives it to the player with more HRs. McGuire is an aberration in that he would not have been top 30...BEFORE his 30's. The conclusion is obvious. Gibson could have ranked higher, but not enough evidence, 7 he did not hit 1 out of Yankee Stadium. A lot of science went into measuring how far different drives would likely travel, since they were so often interrupted. Angle they were hit at & whether still rising is important. Aerial photography & old non-extant structures hit or passed were used.

    Ruth was in a class by himself. There is plenty of evidence, considering all the papers following him. Even his last HR was tied (with a select few) but Mantle in distance: 540'! And sometimes wind conditions, like Jackson in '71 AG, added some distance. He also had the furthest uninterrupted ball, estimated at 585', when the fence was an insane 570, possibly "just" 560, feet out.

    #1 was a post season '26 shot in an exhibition game. Wilkes-Barre PA. Somewhere well over 600', a mild breeze only helping-great story of an ancient witness who recalled where the old features of a track lay & was a very credible witness, & luckily the field was still there. Ruth claimed it as his farthest shot then, the only one he ever asked to be measured. And it was after his other greatest hits, barring #714.

    My question: most all players use a lighter bat, since it allows you at least to swing faster, thus later. And it is supposed to be worth the trade off: thus we are to believe that even for enormously powerful hitters, the extra distance lost in bat weight is more than made up for in bat speed. But is that always so? If Ruth hit further than anyone, with a VERY heavy bat, & clearly was not as strong as tons of players who do modern weight training-was this just a quirk of Babe's? That like throwing really hard, did he just have an outlier talent, or could others, at least much stronger, players hit further with a heavy bat?

    Complicating matters: in Jenkinson's previous book "The Year Babe Ruth Hit 104 Home Runs'-talking about how many he would have in a modern park, considering 1921-he describes Ruth hitting 2 HRs one game. When he had borrowed a 32 ounce "toothpick". One shot went 525', huge even for Babe. So if he could do that in ONE game, could he possibly had even more prodigious shots with a lighter bat? I need a phsyicist here! Phillip K. Adair is one who wrote about tape measure shots. Separating fact from legend is tough here, but astonishingly, Ruth (& Foxx right behind him) seem to beat everyone else. And the greatest single generation of 'em were those of the '60's, likely due to integration, & the best powerhouses not being funneled off to other sports, especially football, after the famous '58 game.

    I hope this was engaging for those who read through this post. Comments welcome.

  70. I agree with many others statistics are not the ONLY thing in baseball. I got to watch Willie play numerous times and one cannot help but see how much just his appearance at the plate brought to the game he was a game breaker an intimidator and brought the best out in his team mates he belongs in HOF.

  71. The durability and the "suppressed" WAR go hand in hand. That's why "replacement" is used. With Stargell, you had to account for the fact that his backup would play 3-5 weeks almost every year. I don't see the inconsistency there.

    Of course, by rate, his numbers are much more impressive. 147 OPS+ is very high. You don't need "intangibles" for that to considered awesome. That's what people remember. No one remembers the DL stints.

    But even with the durability issues, he's comfortably over the HOF bar. If you want to stir the pot, then talk about Billy Williams.

  72. Mike Felber Says:

    Of course David. But while he would accumulate a little less WAR each year compared to if he played 20 more/nearly all the games, He still had 2360 games & over 9000 PA. His Offensive WAR is still lower than you would expect considering the stellar OPS +. Martinez mentioned above also had a 147 OPS +, as shown above had clearly somewhat less games & PA, & a higher offensive WAR. Of course the DH can complicate things in defensive measurements. But how much/if that should effect offensive WAR is a big question. I still ask: what number does Pops have in other versions of WAR?

  73. Can I make a suggestion? Start doing these polls with just the cases for and against, including the stats, but not the name. Example:

    * #3 hitter on 3 WS champions
    * won a batting title
    * excellent corner outfielder
    * five All-Star games
    * five years w/MVP votes, one top five
    * hit .300 six straight seasons
    * six-year peak w/a 317/397/517 slash line

    Of course, this requires a certain degree of honesty and not looking it up before voting ...

  74. @2 Larry:
    The qualifications for the HOF go beyond statistics. Intangibles come into play too. Anyone who remembers Pops knows that he had all of the intangibles.

    Yes I agree on this:

    When Willie Stargell announced in 1982 that he would retire at the end of the season he was honored at every National League ballpark.

    Being a season ticket holder for the Dodgers from 1981 thru 1997, I made sure I was at Willie Stargell day at Dodger Stadium on September 5, 1982.

    In the pregame ceremony, Pops made his speech to the crowd and I swear there wasn't a dry eye in the ball park.
    This was in an opponent park. If the fans on opposing teams would feel this way about a player, I could certainly understand the HOF voters would have the same sentiment for a player like Stargell.

    P.S. Stargell didn't play much in 1982 and in fact didn't get into any of the 3 game series the pirates played against the Dodgers, so he might have been injured but we got to cheer for him on his day.

  75. I agree there shouldn't be any 100% litmus tests for any stat, however, that doesn't mean it makes no difference with a borderliner like Darrell Evans. I also don't believe in someone getting in b/c of hitting some major milestone, however, it doesn't mean hitting that milestone is irrelevant. Of course if Schmidt put up his numbers with a .248 BA he would still go in. However, Nettles with his .248 BA is short, and partly b/c of the BA. Yes, OBP is a better stat than BA, but there's not this unbelievable gulf b/w the two stats like some want to make it out to be.

  76. Mike, #72

    He rates better in the Fangraphs version of WAR, at ~70. The difference is in the offensive part of it, as the same defensive numbers are used for pre-UZR historical players.

  77. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Regarding Stargell's WPA: A big reason why it is so high is because he batted in high-leverage situations over his career. The average leverage for his plate appearances was 1.076 -- almost 8% higher than the average. There is not a single active player with at least 3000 PA who has an LI that high for his career. One could argue that made Stargell more valuable, but it's not really due to any inherent skill he had. Why would it be so high? To some extent it is an artifact of his being a good player. He batted in the middle of the lineup so came up more often with runners on base. He wouldn't be pinch hit for in big spots, and might be pulled from games that were out of hand. However, I also notice that over Stargell's career, his LI was only 57th highest among 340 qualifying players. High, but not higher than everyone else. Almost 90% of the players are over 1.0, when by definition 1.0 is average. Now, there is a bit of selective sampling here, as better players, who probably tend to be involved in slightly above-average situations, will have the longer careers. But these results seem very skewed. The median LI of these 340 players is 1.037. I think that LI may somehow be miscalculated in this era, and thus Stargell's WPA is inflated not only by being up in more "big" spots than other players, but by this possible miscalculation.

    In looking through several individual seasons in the NL in the '60s and '70s, the league LI is constantly around 1.04 or 1.05. Perhaps I am misunderstanding something, but I think by definition, this has to be 1.00. I suppose if one uses the run environment of several surrounding seasons, one could determine that a particular season had a slew of close games, and therefore that season's LI was higher than average. But when every season has an inflated LI, it tells me that something is wrong. It can't just be because the NL of that era was low-scoring, making every moment bigger in comparison to all of baseball history. I checked the 1996 AL, one of the highest scoring leagues ever, and the LI that season is 1.02.

    Can Sean or anyone else shed some light on this?

  78. Willie Stargell:

    B-R WAR: 57.5 (would be indicative of on the fence borderliner)
    Fangraph WAR: 70.9 (would indicate solidly in HoFer)
    Baseball Gauge WAR: 67.3 (would indicate borderliner but solidly on right side of fence)
    Baseball Prospectus WARP: 66.0 (would indicate borderliner but solidly on right side of fence)
    Win Shares: 369 (would indicate solidly in)

  79. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #63/Matt Says: "BTW, why do people debate the 79 MVP season?" - because there were a number of players who had clearly better seasons than Stargell that year. Among the 27 NL players receiving MVP votes that year, he had the lowest WARP (2.3) of anyone, except for Dave Collins. I understand that this was a "make-up" for his great 1971 and 1973 seasons, but that's not the way that individual season awards are supposed to work - every season is separate from the others.

    #64/Dennis Says: "Was he he the same class as Willie McCovey, frequently injured and often devestating as a hitter? I think so, maybe among the top 6 offensive players in the league.....for that period of time."
    Yes, Willie McCovey is an excellent comp, even if he doesn't show up as one of the Top-10 similar. Both rarely played complete seasons, but were usually devastating hitters when they did play. Both played in parks and eras (1963-68) that made their stats look less impressive than they really were. Neither was known for his defensive abilities. Both had a great late-career three-season peak (Stargell 1971-73; McCovey 1968-70). Both were widely admired. Their career WARP is very similar (63.6/65.1). No one is suggesting McCovey is not fully qualified for the HOF; I think the same is true of Stargell.

  80. @79
    To clarify the point about Stargell's MVP "making up for" 1973, I would mostly agree with you. Awards should not work that way. "Two wrongs don't make a right," as they say, and I think that generally applies in sports-- whether it's Hall of Famers, MVPs, make-up calls, or whatever else, it's silliness to try to "correct" something by making it worse. However, what I and others were arguing, perhaps poorly, is that when assessing Willie Stargell, calling him an "MVP" is not a misnomer. To say that he had an MVP-season is to accurately assess the quality of his play. Was that season the one in which he actually won the award? No, it wasn't. But when you look at a list of players who won the MVP, it feels right to have Willie Stargell on the list. And when you list Stargell's accomplishments:
    475 homers
    2 World Series
    2 OPS titles
    2 home run titles
    7-time All-Star
    well... MVP just "fits." I think that's the argument most of us were making. Now, your point is well-received. Stargell absolutely did NOT deserve the 1979 MVP, and awards shouldn't just make up for past failures. But to call Stargell an MVP is to accurately assess his career.

  81. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I wouldn't mind if a voter, finding two choices for an award equally deserving, unable to be sure one is better than the other, chose the guy who might have deserved it in the past, or who is nearer the end of his career. But Stargell's '79 was not that type of season. To see him as a legitimate MVP candidate that season, one would have to not only decide he deserved credit as the team leader, but presume his leadership and "intangibles" were worth at least as much as his actual on-field play. And that no one else in the league deserves any such credit. If Stargell's inspiration was really worth that much, he probably deserved the MVP almost every season he played. Or did it only manifest itself that one season?

    Not to mention that Mr. Clutch batted a mighty .212 with RISP that season.

  82. Michael E Sullivan Says:


    You are too kind. Rereading, you were clear enough. I read you sloppily and was unduly affected by things said before I even got to your post.

    I do notice that there seems to be a big difference in Stargell's Rbat from other 147 OPS+ guys after normalizing for PAs. Other sites don't seem to have this discrepancy. It seems that whether he's a pretty clear in or an in-borderliner hinges on whether B-R is missing something important, or spotting something that others are missing.

    AFAIK, there shouldn't normally be that kind of variation in batting production measures.

  83. Mike Felber Says:

    Andy, as Micheal E. Sullivan & Matt Y elaborate upon subsequent to my musings re: whether Pops is rated too low offensively: why don't you have a carefully done thread done here about the reasons behind these various measures of WAR & WARP (& Win Shares) being sometimes dramatically different? One thing that can be measured is how much each varies from each other, or a mean, average &/or medium #. For example, as per post #78: B-R's WAR seems to be approaching 20% lower than the other 3 measures of Stargell, & another calculation, Win Shares, seems to support the other site's assessments. How often is there such a discrepancy? Is it most often with WAR from B-R?

    And exactly WHAT components makes it vary so much sometimes? If WAR is to be respected as at least, & hopefully better, than a ballpark calculation, it be behooves us to analyze just WHY it varies significantly in certain formulas & instances. And hear arguments why certain differences are likely valid or not! So everyone can decide for themselves which makes the most sense, when.

  84. Mike, I have asked Sean to look at this very issue--I don't know the intricacies of how WAR is calculated and I've asked him to illuminate it. Hopefully he will have time this off-season.

    Besides which, I think we can all agree that I rarely write a "carefully done thread" :)

  85. Mike Felber Says:

    Matt, now you are saying something different than you communicated in posts 38 & 47. Where you indicated B.A. should be at a certain level, absent any context provided or reference to overall productivity-& then that without context saying you want it near .260. While BA means something, it is not nearly as important as other measures in assessing overall quality. I also do not see an error in comparing hits to BB, the latter are rated it seems appropriately lower, but close to that of a single. ACTUALLY, high walk guys are arguably at least a bit underrated, since measures of offensive productivity using OPS + are good, but I have seen convincing arguments that it should be a weighted formula of 1.8/1 re: OBP & SLG. I think it likely balances out pretty well between high average & high walk guys, since they both can put up high OBP, but the highest tend to walk a lot. Though those with more OBP than slugging seem undervalued.

    There is an irony here. All modern metrics show that those who hit for high average without much power or walking much have been generally. But these folks-& those who walk a lot absent much power-seem to be more valuable than just an unweighted OPS + suggest. The original correction is the most important one, but if we look at those with the same OPS + but different ratios of it, high slugging guys are a bit overrated!

    I tend to agree with you about Evans re: fitness for the HOF, a borderline out. Unless it is discovered that his defense is significantly underrated. But if he was a better at defense or as a hitter (still was good), or stole quite well, or any # of these things to lesser degrees but in combination: he would clearly be HOF worthy.

  86. Mike Felber Says:

    Your threads are engaging & thought provoking. And you are overwhelmingly temperate & considered in your comments.

    Perhaps forward over my post #83 to Sean, & he can consider if he will have those particulars addressed. It would be great to see an average difference on all how players of a certain criteria-like those with certain PAs-are computed. Then the outlier differences could examined, & that would be instructive as to what are the dramatic differences in the component parts of the formulas. Is B-R usually the outlier? And is it arguably very justified?

  87. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mike, a detailed explanation of the difference between different systems would be great (it probably exists in bits and pieces around the Interweb), but briefly:

    Win Shares essentially uses a replacement level of zero. Anyone who plays, no matter how poorly, will accumulate some WSh. Durable and/or long-careered players thereby gain an advantage in accumulating WSh.

    I believe WARP used to use separate replacement levels for both offense and defense. A player's batting was compared to replacement level batting, and his fielding to replacement level fielding. This made the overall replacement level too low, because players like that don't generally get to the majors. A player with a terrible glove will at least be able to hit a little, and vice versa. (I think Baseball Prospectus was going to change this and I do not know if that has occurred.)

    WAR sets a higher replacement level, probably more accurate to true life. Players who perform very poorly can be below replacement and lose WAR. The differences between B-R WAR and Fangraphs WAR are that B-R estimates runs created by BaseRuns, calibrated to equal the team's actual runs scored, and I believe Fangraphs uses wOBA. On defense, B-R uses Total Zone, and FG uses UZR.

  88. Mike Felber Says:

    Thanks Johnny. I know knew about Win Shares, & always thought that credit should not accrue to poor play. I am interested in the differences between B-R & other WAR scores. Why do Stargell & some others seem to do worse on this site? What is it, say, about using actual runs scored instead of wOBA that downgrades him, & is it justified. Actually, weighted OBA would seem to penalize him a bit, since he slugged better than he got on base. Yet Fangraph rates him the highest. Is that not puzzling?

    But it seems that using actual runs scored causes most of the variation. Thus an explanation & argument why this might be useful or not would be very valuable. I wonder if any systems would be willing to adjust their formulas if found imperfect?

  89. @John Q & Lawrence Azrin

    But it shows his value was more than what he did on the field. His offense for the time he did play and what he did in the club were big factors on why the Pirates had the sucess they had in 1979. We all should know by now that value is more than what is in the numbers. It was to honor his career and impact to not only the Pirates but to all of baseball, and to be almost 40 many years before the steroids era does say something about his ability at that time. Sometimes there are exceptions to the rule, and in this case he was deserving.

  90. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I see a discrepancy even on Fangraphs. In the Advanced section, they show him with 510.7 runs above average, and in the Value section, 519.0 runs above average. A small difference, but both seem to be based on wOBA, so why does it exist? I don't spend enough time at FG to know the nuances of their stat section. On this site, Batting Runs shows Stargell at 494.2 runs above avg. WAR batting has him 446. That is a good question, why they are so different.

    One difference could be park factors. FG says they use 5-year regressed factors. It's not clear but it looks like it might be the previous 5 seasons. B-R uses 3-year factors, bookending the season in question. That could certainly change things for any one season but over a long career I don't think it would be responsible for such a gap.

    I think calibrating individual runs created to team runs scored is a great feature of B-R WAR. As with a lot of sabermetrics, there are different approaches which can be acceptable based on what you are trying to measure (usually value vs ability). But to me, while we are trying to isolate how many runs an individual batter was responsible for, his performance came in the context of a team, and if the estimated runs created of the team's players don't match the actual team's runs scored, something is missing. (NB, I have no idea whether the numbers on Fangraphs fit this description or not.) Despite its flaws, I always loved Win Shares' central conceit that all the players' WSh added up to the team's actual wins.

  91. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    If B-R is normalizing to equal team runs scored, then Rbat is to some extent not fully accounting for value in lower scoring eras. If the run - win conversion is sufficiently better for lower scoring eras (which I think it is), then this should be ok.

    The question is -- do other formulas whose offensive measures *are* fully accounting for era also use a favorable run-win conversion for lower scoring eras or not? If they are, they could be partly double counting the adjustment.

    If that's not what's going on, then there must be some noticeable difference in credit for some outcomes between wOBA and BaseRuns, and it would be good to pinpoint exactly what it is.

  92. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    I took a look at some players in fangraphs that I was familiar with the B-R analysis. At first it seemed like guys from the 60s and 70s were rated higher in general in fangraphs, while modern players were roughly equal.

    Then I realized that all the modern guys I thought to compare had a fairly high walk rate, while the older players mostly did not (at least by modern standards). I threw in Vlad Guerrero, and lo, his fangraph WAR is 10 points higher than at B-R. Thome, OTOH, is about the same. Also Mike Schmidt, a high walk rate guy from an earlier deader era is about the same at fangraph and B-R. So it appears that players with a walk rate of 15%+ are judged similarly at the two sites, but players with a much lower walk rate do a fair bit better at fangraphs.

    So it looks like B-R WAR really does count walks as worth more than other algorithms. The question is:

    Who's right?

    Tango says (about the B-R calculation) that his weights are based on the average win probabilities in a bunch of base-out situations weighted by their occurence probability, which is the way I'd go about deciding what various results are worth. I don't know how they came up with the various weights in wOBA.

  93. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Tango created wOBA. It is based on linear weights.

  94. Johnny Twisto Says:

    If B-R is normalizing to equal team runs scored, then Rbat is to some extent not fully accounting for value in lower scoring eras.

    Can you expand on this? Not sure I understand.

  95. Off-topic, but since we are getting into a detailed conversation about stats, I had some questions about WPA.

    If I understand it correctly, WPA is historically based and adjusted for the run-scoring environment, park factors, and homefield advantage. But, otherwise, it is not specific to the teams. So, temporarily ignoring the homefield advantage, each team enters a game with a 50% chance of winning, or a .500 win probability. The winning team ends up at 1.000 and the losing team at 0. So the winning team will have a net WPA of .500 and the losing team a net WPA of -.500. (All of this assumes no homefield advantage, so there is obviously a slight adjustment based on that). Over the course of a season, a team will have a total WPA of .5(W-L) (if the homefield advantage is equal for all teams in all parks and thus cancels out).

    Is this right? Does everyone (but me) know this? It seems like pretty useful information.

    Looking at the Yankees for this season, it seems to hold true. A WPA for pitchers of 7.9 and for batters of 6.2 totaling 14.1. They were 28 games over .500.

  96. Mike Felber Says:

    Good sleuthing Mr. Sullivan! That is indeed a good question. The differences are not slight- form some players like Stargell, it is around 15 WAR points. Even 1/2 that is significant. But is it like Pops case, where in the other measures of WAR, WARP, & even Win Shares, that B-R WAR rates lower walk players worse than all the others? If more or less so, then if WAR is important & frequently cited-as it is here-we should get to the bottom of which systems/philosophy is more accurate. If your idea applies, but the lower walks are across the board penalized by this site, then guys from Sisler to Dawson & Kingman should also suffer in WAR. At least in offensive WAR: it would be interesting to see if the varying defenses were rewarded differently. But with all the talk about imperfect fielding metrics, it may be that those are not as predictably inaccurate, i.e., being caused by one thing (walks).

    Of course, the offensive WAR may be only habitually wrong on 1 or several sites. Hopefully we can find out.

  97. Since I was nowhere close to being alive in 1973, can some one be so kind as to explain what made Pete Rose's season so special, above that of his own teammate Joe Morgan who had a 9.9 WAR and mostly better stats besides AVG and those 230 hits? Did Rose's season just 'feel' like an MVP season, or what was the deal? Thanks.

  98. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    well Rbat is basically measuring runs above what the average player produced.

    If an average player in player A's league/homepark/year produced 1000 runs, and player A produced 1400 is that better or worse than if an average player in player B's league/homepark/year produced 1500 while player B produced 2000 -- which player did better offensively? I'd say player A, but if Rbat is normally to actual (nominal, not adjusted) runs scored by the team, then Rbat is going to be higher for player B (500 vs. 400).

    Now, if the run->win conversion is linear on average runs produced in the context (i.e. if league A is 10 runs per win, while league B is 15, then that will fully correct for the bias once you are looking at wins instead of runs. But if it isn't, then this method may unfairly penalize players of lower-scoring eras and boost those of high-scoring ones.

  99. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #97/Cheese Says: "Since I was nowhere close to being alive in 1973, can some one be so kind as to explain what made Pete Rose's season so special, above that of his own teammate Joe Morgan who had a 9.9 WAR and mostly better stats besides AVG and those 230 hits? Did Rose's season just 'feel' like an MVP season, or what was the deal? Thanks."

    Well Cheese, Rose played on the team with the best record in the NL (99 W), and as you said had the best BA with that huge hits total(230), which was one of the highest in recent memory. The hits and BA would've impressed the voters more than Morgan's superior OBA and stolen bases and more valuable defensive position. Plus (more importantly) Rose had that whole "Charlie Hustle" aura which allowed the writers to rhapsodize endlessly about his grittiness and other intangibles.

    It's not as though Morgan wasn't recognized in the MVP voting; he finished (a distant) 4th and got one 1st place vote, although he was well behind Rose and Stargell. Rose actually does well by WAR, with his 8.5 WAR 4th behind Morgan's 9.9 (3rd amongst position players). Remember, this was at least a decade before Bill James' Abstracts came out in the mainstream media, so although there was a vague awareness of the importance in getting on base, no one had done serious analysis that was published anywhere. I's say Stargell and Morgan were more deserving, but Rose is by no means a ridiculous choice.

  100. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    97: In 1973 batting average was massively overrated as a stat by most fans and sportswriters.

    Some people then would have understood that Morgan's OBP of .406 to Rose's .401 was a clue that Rose's gaudy BA didn't mean as much as the numbers suggested, but most would not have. Morgan's traditional power stats that year weren't big enough to rank him in most people minds as a premier power hitter, even though his OPS+ was 154.

    Here are the stats that most writers would have been looking at that year:

    Morgan: .290 BA, 82 RBI, 26 HR

    Rose: .338 BA, 64 RBI, 5 HR

    "Great power" meant 100 RBIs or 30 HRs to a lot of people back then. It was not well understood by the typical fan how flukey the RBI statistic is as a measure of power or clutch hitting. Most would never even have known about Morgan's 111 BBs v. Rose's 65 BBs, or his slightly higher OBP, let alone had any idea how to measure what that meant in terms of their respective value.

    Rose did have an excellent season despite his meager power and moderate walk rate -- .338 was a very high average (and .400 a very high OBP) in those days, and earlier in his career Rose was both a solid baserunner and a top notch outfielder. Think Ichiro.

  101. One of the differences seems to be in replacement level. Eyeballing a bunch of players, Fangraphs seems to have higher replacement level values in a lot of cases. Using Yastrzemski, for example, there's a difference of about 20 WAR (108 to 88), with about 50 runs worth coming from a difference in replacement value (466 to 413)

    Looking at Yaz, the two systems seem to rank him about equally during his best years (12.2-12.1 in 1967, 10.1-10.5 in 1968, 9.1-9.4 in 1970) but the difference can be quite substantial as you drift away from his peak (3.2-5.7 in 1964)

    I don't know if there's any consistency to this trend, or if it has to do with context or other factors.

  102. I don't see where what I said in #38 and #47 are inconsistent. I just look for a balanced resume, as stupid as that might sound. I look at more than just the WAR at B-R or a BA. With that said, I also don't like litmus tests or 100% milestones, but that doesn't mean hitting a milestone or batting a certain amount shouldn't matter when evaluating a player either. To me, Schmidt would have still went in if he had a .248 BA, but he would have been more of a borderliner solid in in instead of an inner-circle guy. I have felt for a while now that the WAR at others sites are perhaps a bit better, whether that was b/c walks are perhaps overvalued a bit or defensive metrics untrustworthy --we're all still trying to find out how to integrate everything....and find out what forms of evaluation are better than others.

    This is largely why i advocate a more moderate approach such as agreeing that improving advance metrics would be great and needed ( I personally like the B-R WAR, but it's far from something that should make up 90% of the evaluation process IMO), but lets also keep history and context relevant. It kills me, and i know there's plenty of these types out there, that look at the WAR at B-R and then they make their decision mostly on that without looking at other forms of evaluation, whether that be raw numbers, traditional viewpoints, HOM, WARP, fangraph WAR, win shares etc etc. I like to see players that have balanced resumes across many different forms of evaluation.

    i.e Rusty Staub --he has something like 360 win shares I believe, and according to this number he'd be a solid HoF pick, however, once you start looking at the rest of his numbers/ways of evaluation, you realize there's many other sites that score him as not even borderline worthy. I think his WAR at B-R is at 45--B-G has him at 48. He was a fine player, but not a HoFer. As far as I'm concerned, no one will ever corner the market on how to evaluate a player....and, that's a good thing.

  103. Thank you #99, #100. This was the first time I'd looked at that season's vote totals and without first-hand knowledge of the players/era it is always tough to get context from numbers. I had a feeling it was along those lines, it was just odd at first glance to see Morgan's numbers compared to Rose and to have Morgan 4th (with my modern evaluation goggles :) )

    Ok, so 230 hits and Stargell's numbers do look impressive with that angle. Morgan did get his 2&3 years later anyway with great OBP and OPS+ (Including a fantastic 1976 on paper!). Cheers.

  104. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    Matt Y -- what some of us here want to do is figure out which stats are good at evaluating which players and why -- to correct the problems.

    It's no good to just say "well all the stats are imperfect so be moderate". What we want to do is figure out why the differences exist and which stats are closer to the truth about which things, and from that make one that is best and really usable as a complete indicator of player value. Or if you inherently have to balance things (such as peak versus total value), to know which stats are best for judging each axis.

  105. I respectfully and completely disagree Mike!

    Until the stats are made definitively better ( a big IF in many many ways), I would say it's very disingenuous to push one form of evaluation to the point of near 100% exclusion of all the others--perhaps, one day one stat or one version of WAR will raise head and shoulders above all the rest. For that, I say continue trying to make the formulas and stats better, however, there's very likely always going to be different formulas with different outcomes and perspectives. The complex stats are great and provide us with another tool to evaluate players, but they probably should and probably will remain just one form of evaluation for the foreseeable future..

    I do not agree with today's mentality where things are so flippin' black and white --i.e. if this is true, than that is 100% false and not worth looking at ..... or the mentality of 100% division of labor or tasks --well, scouts scout and statisticians evaluate player's careers. The vast majority of things in life have shades of gray and very little is really black and white. Yes, 100 HRs are 100HRs, that's black and white, but not all 100 HRs are equal. People argue today on issues to the point where they just want to eliminate others' perspective. Yes, almost everything has some degree of merit, and I'll continue to push traditionalist to look at the saberstats, but I'll also continue to push sabermetricians to not get so caught up in their thing that all context and history have been boiled from the game.

  106. Here's another couple interesting ones to look at:

    Jack Morris

    B-R WAR: 39 (indicative of not even a borderliner)
    Baseball Gauge WAR: 53 (borderliner out)
    Fangraph WAR: 52 (borderliner out)
    B-P WARP: 36 (not even a borderliner)
    Win Shares: 221 (borderliner out)

    I'm not saying Jack should go into the Hall, but I do think he's a legitimate borderliner given what he did during some big games and his era. I get why he gets some Hall-play despite the 39 WAR.

    Andy Pettitte:

    B-R WAR: 50.2 (borderliner out)
    Fangraph WAR: 66.9 (borderliner on the fence perhaps in)
    Baseball Gauge WAR: 51 (borderliner out)
    B-P WARP 58.1 (borderliner just out)
    Win Shares : 210 (borderliner out)

    Andy actually has a better sabermetric argument that most give him credit for- he likely needs another year or two.

  107. "Stargell's career WAR of 57.50 is nothing to sneeze at and puts him ahead of a bunch of other HOFers, but also puts him right in the neighborhood of Jeff Kent, Ken Boyer, Will Clark, Darrell Evans, and Bobby Bonds. To me, this seems about right in terms of what he achieved as a player (with the exception of the 2 WS wins, which is definitely special.)"

    Being "right in the neighborhood" of the likes of those five is a better argument for Hall of Fame induction than against.

  108. #107

    So, you think those 5 should be in the Hall? Unless you're a very large Hall guy, I don't see how Stargell being compared with this group of names above is an argument for his induction. I would only consider Kent a HoFer from this group --the others are borderliners but clearly out. Other than Kent, which I think will eventually make it, the others didn't get much play. 3 of the 4 fell off the ballot the first year, and Boyer lasted 20 years on the ballot but never got more than 25% of the vote. I'll predict Kent makes it somewhere b/w years 8-13.

  109. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    Matt on Morris v. Pettitte:

    BG WAR seems to be much higher than B-R WAR for pitchers. I do not consider 51 borderline.

    Fangraph WAR seems to be moderately higher for pitchers than B-R, but not as much as BG. 15 WAR is a big difference. If Pettitte is only on the line according to FG's 66.9, then Morris is not really borderline with a 52. Consider that the difference between Schilling and Moyer is roughly the same.

    I see Andy as having 3 stats say "close to border, but clearly out", one that says "borderline in" (FG) and one that says "not even close out" (BG).

    Morris has one stat showing borderline out (win shares), and 4 showing various level of clearly out.

    Also, Pettitte is still pitching, and pitching well. Which is one reason his resume looks better today than the last time I looked at him. He's still young enough that it's plausible that he gets another 2-3 good years in, at which point he'll be a pretty legitimate candidate. With current stats, he's getting close enough to merit discussion, but very clearly out. His peak is much too weak to be considered seriously with barely borderline career value. He needs another ~10 WAR to get serious consideration IMO. And if he does, his probable win total will make him a fairly likely selection, even if more deserving pitchers are left out (cf Kevin Brown).

  110. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Pettitte's postseason performances since returning to the Yankees are making his postseason resume look like what some fans always thought it was. He had disturbing tendency to get beaten around occasionally, and for some reason those starts were always forgotten. But Andy II has eliminated the bad postseason starts.***

    Anyway, he seems clearly capable of continuing to pitch well for another couple years. He has lost some mph on the fastball but adjusted wonderfully. I love watching him pitch. It's a question of his dedication, as he makes noise about retiring every season. I hope he does come back and can pitch himself into the HOF.

    ***jinx protection

  111. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Actually, going back to 2003, Andy I's last season with the Yankees, he is 9-3, 2.93 over his last 111 postseason IP.

  112. I didn't mean to bring up the two as a comparison, but can understand how it looks that way --they were interesting studies IMO. As for quibbling over whether Morris' WAR at fangraph and BG are borderline worthy, well, it's quibbling. He's barely borderline at best at some sites, but BG WAR is not a lot higher. Sorry. The BG WAR being a lot higher than B-R WAR is just NOT true -- if you poke around enough they're pretty comparable. Many pitchers are quite close and some BG WAR's are actually a bit lower. I'd say on average pitchers are slightly higher at BG, but it varies more than what you're stating here! I'd call 50 WAR +- a few borderline at any site --why, well, the WAR's can vary by 15+ points.

    As for Pettitte needing 10 plus WAR, well, I'll assume you mean 5 more with the 5 playoff WAR he should already be credited for. Another good year or two and he's across the line for nearly all large Hall people and a good majority of moderate Hall guys (HGH aside). After 1-2 to more good seasons, he'd have a pretty strong resume to the traditionalist and a fair resume to the sabermetrician. He'd be short with some moderate Hall people, and probably all small Hall people and high peak people, but lets face it, the Hall isn't small, and they really don't elect many "peak-only" guys anymore. Pettitte is somewhat hurt by having two of his best seasons cut short by injuries --if they weren't cut short he'd have a solid 5 year peak, but hey, injuries are part of the game.

    Going back to August 09, Pettitte is a combined 22-5 with 3.28 ERA --this includes playoffs.

  113. So, in short, Pettittee's 51 BG WAR is just borderline as well, but yes,he's still on wrong side of line. Again, BG WAR for pitchers is not a lot higher than B-R--it varies. Another year (or two) could change that given he should get credit for playoffs whether that is with 5 more WAR or the titles and wins. I didn't think he was coming back earlier in year, but I'm hearing that he might be leaning towards one more year. As much as you can get sick with the core four stuff, it be nice to see Posada, Mo and Pettitte around for 2 more years....Posada would have to adjust to part-time DH though. Jeter will be around another 4 years.

  114. Here's just a quick sample of some guys I just looked at as a comparison of BG WAR to B-R WAR --

    Whitey Ford
    BG WAR 53
    B-R WAR 55.3

    David Cone
    BG WAR 55.4
    B-R WAR 57

    Jamie Moyer
    BG WAR 43
    B-R WAR 48

    Luis Tiant
    BG WAR 62.5
    B-R WAR 60

    Bret Saberhagen
    BG WAR 54
    B-R WAR 55

    Tommy John
    BG WAR 59
    B-R WAR 59

    Roy Halladay
    BG WAR 54
    B-R WAR 54

    Billy Pierce

    53 at both sites

    Pettitte's WARs are basically the same at both site as well. 50.2 vs. 50.9

    If you poke around, yes, Schilling's WAR at BG is 10+ points higher, as is Early Wynn, Jim Kaat (is actually 63 at BG vs. 41) and some others, but it varies quite a bit as evidenced by these examples. Mussina's is also 5 points higher at BG, but Moyer's is 5 points lower at BG.

    So again, a WAR of 51 at BG is in that borderline range as well IMO. Seems to me that BG just is more highly variable, but it's not way higher across the board than B-R. I suspect it varies more erratically because there's some issues with defensive metrics.

  115. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    I haven't done an exhaustive study or anything, but of the 30odd pitchers I've looked at on both BG and B-R, a few are roughly equal, and all the rest are anywhere from a bit to quite a bit higher at BG. I've yet to see a pitcher whose BG WAR was more than a hair lower than their B-R WAR, but I've seen a fair number that are 20% higher.

    I'll accept even some cherry picked examples at least as enough evidence that I'd need to do more research before holding on to my current opinion. Can you find any pitcher whose BG WAR is >15% *lower* than their B-R WAR?

  116. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    ok sorry I missed that you did find one guy: Jamie Moyer who is if not 15% lower, at least more than 10% lower -- along with a bunch that are roughly equivalent.

    I couldn't suss out too much about their pitcher evaluation, but they definitely have a higher replacement level than B-R for position players. If the same is true for pitchers, that would explain Moyer's doing worse there he's probably got more innings than anybody on your list except maybe tommy john. doesn't explain Kaat's doing so well over there though.

  117. No, I haven't, but there are some ~7-10% lower at BG (see bellow). Yes, if there's a 20% difference it's always in favor of BG. However, the majority of pitchers are in the same ballpark --eyeballing it I'd say ~80% of the pitchers are close (within a WAR of 1-3 or within 5%) The big differences, and this is by means of a very rough eyeball crude analysis, seems to be mostly with HoFers with WARs above 60 that were high strikeout pitchers. Schilling, Smoltz, Ryan, Pedro, Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson, Clemens, etc all rank ~13-20% higher at BG. The Kaat 63 at BG is a bit perplexing though, but Kaat was a great defensive player and he played on some interesting defensive teams (I think I'll take a closer look at Kaat).

    So, in short, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle between us. BG's WAR in on average higher, but it's comparable. I'd like to see the median between the two sites. I suspect this would be a better indicator given the variability at BG. Defensive metrics and K's or K/walk ratio might be at the heart of the difference and variability.

    Warren Spahn:

    BG: 85
    B-R: 93

    Tom Glavine:

    BG: 59
    B-R: 67

    Rick Reuschel:

    BG: 61
    B-R 66


    BG: 43
    B-R 47

  118. Kaat (25 season 4500IP and 24 IP in playoffs):

    BG WAR: 63
    B-P WAR: 49
    B-R: 41
    Win Shares 269
    ERA+ 108
    WPA: 4.0
    Wins: 283 +1 in playoffs

    John (26 season 4700IP and 88 Innings in playoffs)):

    BG WAR 59
    B-P WAR: 64.5
    B-R: 59
    Win Shares: 291
    ERA+ 111
    WPA: 25
    Wins: 288 + 6 in playoffs)

    Tiant (19 seasons 3500IP and 34 playoff IP):

    BG WAR: 63
    B-P WAR: 63
    B-R WAR 60
    Win Shares: 252
    ERA+ 114
    WPA: 25.5
    Wins: 229 + 3 in playoffs

    Pettitte (16 season 3055IP and 263 playoff IP)

    BG WAR: 51 (add ~5 WAR for postseason play)
    B-P WAR 58 (add ~5 WAR for postseason play)
    B-R WAR 50.2 (add ~5 WAR for postseason play)
    Win Shares 210 (add ~20 Win Shares for postseason play)
    ERA+ 117 (with 263 postseason IP, and given the similarities of his numbers, you can safely assume his ERA + would still be around 117 in ~3400IP)
    WPA: 23 (add 2 more points for postseason play)
    Wins: 240 + 19 in playoffs

    Seems to me Kaat still wouldn't be a good choice; Tiant would be a nice Vet pick; John is on the fence hurt by being too much a compiler, but still wouldn't be a terrible Vet pick (perhaps give him a smidgeon of credit for surgery as well); and Pettitte is 1-2 seasons away when including post season numbers via either playoffWAR or Wins and championships.

    Fangraph doesn't have WAR for pitchers that pitched pre-1980?

  119. Joe Jackson and the hall of fame.

  120. Jeff Zoerner Says:

    Willie was better than Reggie Jackson in every way. I'm surprised it's Willie being discussed instead of Reggie, as I am surprised that Reggie always ranks higher on all-time lists. Why?