Friday, December 30, 2011

War Graphing Some Notable Non-Hall of Fame Players

Graham Womack of Baseball: Past and Present recently undertook a huge project of asking 86 other baseball writers, fans and researchers who the best players were that are not currently in the Hall of Fame. The results, which Womack posted here were fascinating. Since there was little else to do on this eve of New Year's Eve and since your favorite Fan was supposed to be voter number 87 and procrastinated beyond the point of no return, the idea came to support some of these non-Hall players with War Graphs to others already in the Hall of Fame.

What is a War Graph? It's a fabulous tool on Fangraphs that they generously and wondrously provide free to the public and even allow us to download the results. What the War Graph does is give a graphical view of how a player accumulated wins above replacement during their career. And we can use it to compare any two or more players side by side. Now, before this writer gets roasted by comments, WAR is not the be all and end all of all statistics in measuring players. It is simply one statistic site's snapshot of the value provided by a player during the players's seasons and career. There are other useful tools such as OPS+, wOBA, wRC, win shares, WPA and many others. But since no site has created "wOBA Graphs," let's just use this one and call it a conversation starter, okay?

While the following War Graphs do start a conversation about a non-Hall player compared to HOF players, this Fan wouldn't go so far as to say in every case that the non-Hall guy should be in the Hall of Fame. There are a couple of exceptions to that statement as you will see. But for the most part, start with Womack's list, look at the War Graphs and have a conversation.

There. Has the Fan covered his fuzzy behind enough to continue? Re-reading... Yeah, looks good, let's continue. Here are the War Graphs. If they prove hard for you to see, simply click on the graph itself to make it larger. Then hit your Return key to see to come back.

The first one compares Minnie Minosa to the fearsome Jim Ed Rice. The funny line at the top of Minosa's graph shows that he had a habit until late in life to make guest appearances in the game for the fun of it.

This next one compares Robbie Alomar (who is in) compared to Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker and Willie Randolph who are not in. In this case, this Fan thinks all three have a case.

This next one compares Hank Greenberg to Jon Olerud and Keith Hernandez. Hernandez and Olerud had stunningly similar careers.

This one compares Barry Larkin, who many predict will get into the Hall of Fame to Alan Trammell, who will never get in.

This one compares Tim Raines, who is not in, to Dave Winfield, who is.

This one compares one of this Fan's favorite all time players (Dwight Evans) with another whose longevity and magic numbers (like 3000 hits) got him into the HOF: Dave Winfield.

The next one compares Graig Nettles, Ken Boyer and Ron Santo. Santo seems like the right choice based on this graph.

And finally, this one compares Jeff Bagwell to Harmon Killebrew.

Thanks once again to Fangraphs for being so freaking cool!


Left Field said...

Did you really just...?

OK, I'll stop now.

El Jefe said...

I've been making the Dewey vs. Mr. May argument for YEARS