Since I started doing research for my C-WAR project, I’ve compiled lots of numbers in color-coded spreadsheets, I figured I should put some of them to use. In honor of the Hall of Fame’s induction ceremony this weekend, below is a look at some Hall of Fame averages.
Your average Hall of Fame batter played 18 years. He started his career at age 21 and retired at the age of 39 (38.5 to be exact).
He played in 2,147 games, had 9,051 plate appearances, and 7,963 at bats. Over his career your average Hall of Fame batter collected 2,411 hits, 1,676 of those hits were singles, 412 were doubles, 111 were triples, and 211 were home runs. That’s 3,678 total bases. Your average Hall of Famer has 1,329 runs scored, and 1,218 RBI. He stole 230 bases and walked 897 times.
Your average Hall of Famer hit .303 with an on-base percentage of .376, and a slugging percentage of .461. That’s an OPS of .837 with an OPS+ of 128.
Your average Hall of Famer has a wOBA of .382, a wRC+ of 127, a FanGraphs WAR (fWAR) of 72.2, and a Baseball-Reference WAR (rWAR) of 63.2
Of course, the average(s) for anything are greatly skewed by the top and bottom numbers. Thank Rickey Henderson and Lou Brock for the high stolen base average, and Ray Schalk, Johnny Evers, and Hughie Jennings, all of whom have fewer than 20 career home runs, for the low home run average. In fact 51 batters enshrined in the Hall have fewer than 100 career home runs.
Still, it’s surprising to see the low home run average, and relatively high stolen base average. Only 44 players in the history of baseball have 200 plus homers and 200 plus steals. Thirteen of them are enshrined in the Hall, several others are still active or not yet eligible. Those 13 members of the 200/200 club in the Hall are: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, George Brett, Rickey Henderson, Ryne Sandberg, Joe Morgan, Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and Roberto Alomar. Three others, Barry Bonds, Craig Biggio, and Sammy Sosa have the chance to join them in 2013.
Another interesting note, FanGraphs consistently produces a higher WAR than Baseball-Reference. Only four Hall of Fame position players have a greater rWAR than fWAR. Those players are Cap Anson (91.1-86.9), Ozzie Smith (73.0-70.1), Ryne Sandberg (64.9-62.6), and Sam Thompson (42.1-40.6).
It’s also worth noting that sometimes FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference have different numbers for the same player. For example, FanGraphs has Willie Mays with 12,493 plate appearances, Baseball-Reference has him at 12,496. These slight differences are common with historical players, the differences aren’t enough to skew the averages but it’s worth mentioning that the statistics represented here were compiled mostly from Baseball-Reference data.
Seeing the averages, that made me wonder who statistically is closest to your average Hall of Famer. Not surprisingly there is no clear winner but below are a few players that come close.
Zack Wheat played for 19 seasons. He started his career at the age of 21, and retired at the age of 39. Wheat played in 2,410 games, had 9,996 career plate appearances, and 9,106 at bats. He collected 2,884 hits, 2,104 of them were singles, 476 were doubles, 172 were triples, 132 were home runs. That’s 4,100 total bases for Wheat. Wheat scored 1,289 runs, and had 1,248 RBI. He stole 205 bases, and walked 650 times. Wheat’s slash line is .317/.367/.450. He had an OPS of .817 and an OPS+ of 129. Wheat’s career wOBA is .384, his wRC+ is 129, his fWAR is 70, and his rWAR is 56.9. So, Wheat had less power than your average Hall of Famer but his wOBA, wRC+, OPS+, and fWAR are nearly right on the money. As are his runs, RBI, and steals.
Barry Larkin played for 19 seasons. He started his career at the age of 22, and retired at 40. Larkin played in 2,180 games, had 9,057 career plate appearances, and 7,937 at bats . He collected 2,340 hits, 1,625 of them were singles, 441 were doubles, 76 were triples, and 198 were home runs. That’s 3,527 total bases for Larkin. Larkin scored 1,329 runs, and had 960 RBI. He stole 379 bases, and walked 939 times. Larkin’s slash line is .295/.371/.444. He had an OPS of .815 and an OPS+ of 116. Larkin’s career wOBA is .360, his wRC+ is 118, he has a career fWAR of 70.5, and an rWAR of 67.1. Again not perfect, but pretty similar. Larkin’s hit totals are remarkably close to the Hall of Fame averages, as are his slash line numbers, and both WAR calculations.
Goose Goslin played for 18 seasons. He started his career at the age of 20, and retired at 37. Goslin played in 2,287 games, had 9,829 plate appearances, and 8,656 at bats . He collected 2,735 hits, 1,814 were singles, 500 were doubles, 173 were triples, and 248 were home runs. That’s 4,325 total bases for Goslin. Goslin scored 1,483 runs, and had 1,609 RBI. He stole 175 bases and walked 949 times. Goslin’s slash line is .316/.387/.500. He had an OPS of .887 and an OPS+ of 128. Goslin’s career wOBA is .402, his wRC+ is 126, he has a career fWAR of 71.9, and an rWAR of 61. Goslin’s OPS+, wRC+, and both WAR numbers are pretty much on the nose, his percentages are in the ballpark, but his counting numbers are off.
Paul Molitor played for 21 seasons. He started his career at the age of 21, and retired at 41. Molitor played in 2,683 games, had 12,167 plate appearances, and 10,835 at bats. He collected 3,319 hits, 2,366 were singles, 605 were doubles, 114 were triples, and 234 were home runs. That’s 4,854 total bases for Molitor. Molitor scored 1782 runs, and had 1307 RBI. He stole 504 bases and walked 1,094 times. Molitor’s slash line is .306/.369/.448. He had an OPS of .817 and an OPS+ of 122. Molitor’s career wOBA is .361, his wRC+ is 122, he has a career fWAR of 75.2, and an rWAR of 72.5. Molitor played longer than your average Hall of Famer so his hit totals are higher, but some of his percentages are very close, as are his home runs and triples.
Roberto Alomar played for 17 seasons. He started his career at the age of 20, and retired at 36. Alomar played in 2,379 games, had 10,400 plate appearances, and 9,073 at bats. He collected 2,724 hits, 1930 were singles, 504 were doubles, 80 were triples, and 210 were home runs. That’s 4,018 total bases for Alomar. He scored 1,508 runs, and had 1,134 RBI. He stole 474 bases and walked 1,032 times. Alomar’s slash line is .300/.371/.443. He had an OPS of .814 and an OPS+ of 116. Alomar’s career wOBA is .359, his wRC+ is 118, he has a career fWAR of 67.9, and an rWAR of 62.9. Alomar’s batting average and on-base percentage are very close to the average, as are his WAR numbers, however he had considerably more stolen bases than your average Hall of Famer.
Many thanks to the incredibly smart people who work at Baseball-Reference, FanGraphs, and Baseball Prospectus. Without their tireless efforts to improve and maintain their sites and information none of this research would be possible.
Any questions or comments about the Hall, or a player listed or not listed above, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @Rosscarey
Originally posted 7/22/12