Oh joy. Sean Smith’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is now at Baseball Reference.com. If you have play index, you can do all sorts of fun sorts. I’ll share a few.

Here are Cardinal center fielders with 5+ WAR seasons.

Rk Player WAR/pos Year
1 Willie McGee 8.5 1985
2 Jim Edmonds 8.4 2004
3 Stan Musial 7.7 1952
4 Jim Edmonds 7.3 2003
5 Jim Edmonds 7.2 2002
6 Jim Edmonds 6.8 2005
7 Jim Edmonds 6.8 2000
8 Jim Edmonds 6.4 2001
9 Johnny Hopp 6.0 1944
10 Ray Lankford 5.9 1998
11 Ray Lankford 5.5 1997
12 Ray Lankford 5.4 1996
13 Emmet Heidrick 5.3 1901
14 Curt Flood 5.1 1967
15 Curt Flood 5.0 1963
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.

Here are the top baserunning run contributors of the Whiteyball era.

Rk Player Rbaser
1 Vince Coleman 60
2 Ozzie Smith 51
3 Willie McGee 32
4 Lonnie Smith 16
5 Tom Herr 15
6 Andy Van Slyke 11
7 Milt Thompson 5
8 Terry Pendleton 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.

Here’s the top players in fielding runs saved above average.

Rk Player Rfield From To Age G
1 Ozzie Smith 197 1982 1996 27-41 1990
2 Marty Marion 132 1940 1950 22-32 1502
3 Albert Pujols 108 2001 2010 21-30 1436
4 Curt Flood 103 1958 1969 20-31 1738
5 Brian Jordan 85 1992 1998 25-31 643
6 Terry Pendleton 85 1984 1990 23-29 927
7 Arlie Latham 78 1883 1896 23-36 847
8 Ken Boyer 75 1955 1965 24-34 1667
9 Jim Edmonds 71 2000 2007 30-37 1105
10 Keith Hernandez 67 1974 1983 20-29 1165
11 Yadier Molina 65 2004 2010 21-27 703
12 Charlie Comiskey 64 1882 1891 22-31 1034
13 Red Schoendienst 61 1945 1963 22-40 1795
14 Scott Rolen 60 2002 2007 27-32 661
15 Jose Oquendo 56 1986 1995 22-31 989
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/17/2010.

Converting Win Probability added, or WPA,  into individual player Win-Loss records, we looked back at the juggernaut that was the 2004 Cardinals. Today here’s the ’82 World Champs. Remember, with WPA  there’s no accounting of fielding or position, but this does perfectly add up to the team’s 92-70 record. Defense is what this team is famous for, bear that in mind.

First, the hitters:

Offense W L
Keith Hernandez 9 0
Lonnie Smith 9 0
Ken Oberkfell 4 2
Willie McGee 4 2
Tom Herr 4 3
George Hendrick 4 4
Tom Herr 4 3
Ozzie Smith 3 4
Darrell Porter 2 3
All others 4 13

Maybe one day I’ll give Lonnie Smith his close-up, as he’s an interesting player, fraught with personal demons and peaks and valleys during his career. Nicknamed “Skates” for his lack of grace in left field, but for what it’s worth, Total Zone rates him as an average outfielder overall. Smith hit .307/.381/434 with 68 steals, and came 2nd in the MVP voting to Dale Murphy.

Keith Hernandez was equally good in what amounted to his last season as a Cardinal.  Say no to the blow, kids. Here’s the pitching/defense:

Pitching/Defense W L
Joaquin Andujar 9 4
Bob Forsch 7 5
John Stuper 5 3
Steve Mura 4 5
Bruce Sutter 7 3
Dave LaPoint 5 3
All Others 8 13

Sutter finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting and 5th in the MVP voting.  Joaquin Andujar is one player I wish I could somehow clone and put him in today’s game. My favorite Joaquin quote:

“You can’t worry if it’s cold; you can’t worry if it’s hot; you only worry if you get sick. Because then if you don’t get well, you die.”

Words to live by.

I’ve long felt that Marty Marion was wildly overrated. Maybe it’s because he won an award he didn’t really deserve. “Slats” won the 1944 NL MVP with a OPS+ of 91. No, you read that right. Marion was a negative at the plate and still won the MVP Award. Who says the BBWAA doesn’t value defense? At least back then, apparently they did. In Marion’s case, I thought that it might be to the extreme.

Looking back to that 1944 championship season using Rally’s WAR database, Marion did have a fine season, with 4 wins above replacement, but Stan Musial was Stan Musial that year, with a WAR of 9.1. Fellow teammates Johnny Hopp (6) and pitcher Mort Cooper (5.2) also had better years.  Marion wasn’t even the best shortstop in St. Louis that season. That actually would have been Vern Stephens (5.2) of the Browns, who the Cardinals defeated in the World Series that year.

Marion received as much as 40% backing of the BWWAA in the Hall of Fame voting at one point, and his name was often bandied about by the Veterans Committee.  He was also an eight-time All-Star. All of this despite a career line of .247/.320/.339.

Unmistakably, he didn’t receive these accolades because of his hitting prowess, but his glove. See how he compares with another famous Cardinal shortstop, as well as a couple of his contemporaries.

Name Debut Seasons PA WAR WAR/700PA BtRuns wOBA FldRuns Fld/700PA PosAdj.
Smith, Ozzie 1978 19 10501 64.6 4.3 -140 0.33 239 16 147
Marion, Marty 1940 13 6141 29.1 3.4 -131 0.318 130 15 100
Rizzuto, Phil 1941 13 6516 41.6 4.5 -10 0.336 121 13 105
Reese, Pee Wee 1940 16 9470 66.4 4.9 51 0.354 117 9 131

It’s not as if I didn’t believe the reports of how good Marion’s defense was, but his fielding stats bear out how spectacular he was. Marion was actually a bit of an oddity in his day. He was one of the few shortstops that wasn’t, well…short. (14 shortstops played last year that were at least 6 feet tall). At 6-2, he earned the nickname “the Octopus” for his tentacle-like, long arms that would reach out and grab ground-balls.

So yep, he was pretty brutal with the bat, but his defense really was unbelievably good, and it made up for a lot. Ozzie Smith is the benchmark for defensive shortstops, but let’s not forget how amazing Marion really was.  Perhaps had he had a longer career, he may have made it to Cooperstown. He could have been Luis Aparicio before there was a Luis Aparicio, although I guess that would be Rabbit Maranville.

Ignoring that Gibby is the CLEAR #1, I was curious where Carp would fit on the all-time list so I created a fun graph.

One caveat here is that these are career curves not just the individuals time with the Cardinals as I wanted to get a feel for who were the best pitchers on a career level. That being said I eliminated Steve Carlton from consideration because of his relative lack of playing time with the Birds.

From this graph I’d give Dizzy the lead (and even he has the fairly substantial fall-off), and everyone else is clustered in the good-great, but not all-time great kind of category.

Finally just as a bonus, and to see how great Gibby was I graphed him and Carp X 2.  Gibby still accumulates more value and has a comparable peak.

© 2011 Gas House Graphs Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha