HOF & Historical WAR

WAR, there's got to be a better way... And indeed there is, at least when it comes to guestimating the chances of active players entering the Hall Of Fame. Or at least trying to get them into some sort of historical perspective. Historical WAR gives us tools to do that.

My method to arrive at the table below is fairly simple:

  1. Sort all the players by year (combining stints for players who were traded), then by WAR in descending order.
  2. Determine in a most Excel-ent fashion who were the top 5% in WAR for each given season.
  3. Count the number of times each player's performance placed him in the top 5%.

Then I just present the data to you for your consideration and wait for your accolades and underpants.

As always with WAR the dataset is limited to 1955 and later seasons. Some players obviously got jobbed by this. I have not refined it by restricting the dataset to only players debuting in 1955 or later. It's a first draft...

Also please keep in mind that when seeking a cutoff point for the elite 5%, it is invariably just a matter of .1 WAR that includes or excludes a player from elite status. Some players may have numerous seasons where they were in or out by the skin of their teeth. I'm thinkin' on other ways to do that.

The cutoff of 5% is arbitrary. For recent seasons it typically yields a list of 35-40 players per season. Likewise the decision to cut off the report at 7 appearances in the top 5% is arbitrary. But that yields approximately 1.5 (or slightly higher with the pre-1955 debut players removed) players for consideration in each season in the dataset; being a "kinda small Hall" proponent I'm happy with that when it comes to evaluating non-pitchers.

Enjoy, and I look forward to your comments and suggestions on the methodology and the results.

Aaron, Hank          18
Bonds, Barry 18
Mays, Willie 16
Robinson, Frank 15
Henderson, Rickey 14
Schmidt, Mike 14
Rodriguez, Alex 12
Brett, George 11
Kaline, Al 11
Mathews, Eddie 11
Rose, Pete 11
Bagwell, Jeff 10
Boggs, Wade 10
Clemente, Roberto 10
Griffey, Ken (Jr.) 10
Martinez, Edgar 10
Molitor, Paul 10
Morgan, Joe 10
Ripken, Cal 10
Smith, Reggie 10
Yastrzemski, Carl 10
Carter, Gary 9
Grich, Bobby 9
Jackson, Reggie 9
Jones, Chipper 9
Larkin, Barry 9
Mantle, Mickey 9
Murray, Eddie 9
Robinson, Brooks 9
Thomas, Frank 9
Whitaker, Lou 9
Abreu, Bobby 8
Bando, Sal 8
Bench, Johnny 8
Bonds, Bobby 8
Boyer, Ken 8
Carew, Rod 8
Edmonds, Jim 8
Guerrero, Vladimir 8
Hernandez, Keith 8
Jones, Andruw 8
Lofton, Kenny 8
McGwire, Mark 8
Pujols, Albert 8
Raines, Tim 8
Santo, Ron 8
Thome, Jim 8
Trammell, Alan 8
Wynn, Jimmy 8
Allen, Dick 7
Banks, Ernie 7
Cey, Ron 7
Gwynn, Tony 7
Helton, Todd 7
Jeter, Derek 7
Killebrew, Harmon 7
McCovey, Willie 7
Nettles, Graig 7
Palmeiro, Rafael 7
Phillips, Tony 7
Piazza, Mike 7
Randolph, Willie 7
Rolen, Scott 7
Sandberg, Ryne 7
Sheffield, Gary 7
Smith, Ozzie 7
Sosa, Sammy 7
Suzuki, Ichiro 7
Tenace, Gene 7
Ventura, Robin 7
Walker, Larry 7
Williams, Bernie 7
Williams, Billy 7
Yount, Robin 7

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