Yes, I double-checked, it is an off-day for the orange-and-black.
One of the many great sites on the web for baseball junkies is The Baseball Analysts. Today's "Designated Hitter" post by John Walsh is called WAR and Remembrance. He is referring to WAR, or Wins Above Replacement (player), one of the sabermetric crowd's favorite new stats. I know that long-time fans and traditionalists don't care for the clunky geekiness of the new stats. After all, do you really want to talk about VORP when you're arguing about your favorite players over a few beers? Actually, I do, because I see these things as adding new levels of richness and sophistication to something I love to cogitate about, namely, the Greatest Game on Earth. I don't consider them "argument-settlers" by any means. Just because you have a saber-stat that says player X was better than player Y doesn't mean you are done. It does mean, however, that the argument has a new landscape. It also means we can strip away SOME of the bias and emotion that accompany our arguments. It means we can improve the signal-to-noise ratio whenever we look for answers in a debate.
Today's post by Mr. Walsh references a freely-available database created by Sean Smith, who is known for his CHONE player projection system. This database attempts to classify all players and also the TOP 300 position players of all-time (1955 forward) by WAR. The 1955 cut-off is due to the availability of good data, apparently, but it suits most of us because it is post-integration and closer to our "modern" game. This list attempts to rank everything from hitting to fielding to baserunning.
The winner? Barry Lamar Bonds, of course, who finishes well ahead of the neck-and-neck 2nd and 3rd place guys, Mays and Aaron. YOU MUST CHECK IT OUT. Giants fans of our era will particularly appreciate positions 68 through 88.
Give it a gander and report back!