”All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times.”
- Ecclesiasticus 44:7
We can never really grasp what it was like to watch Herman “Germany” Schaefer play the game like an all-time great. All we have left of him are memories and numbers.
“Herman Schaffer [sic], second baseman and principal prop of the Detroit infield, is one of the few ball players whose value to a team is not shown by statistics,” wrote one observer.
8.9 Career rWAR
Part I: The Pride and Glory of Their Day and Age
This is the fate of the twenty-six players in The Glory of Their Times, whose true contributions to the game can never be fully understood or properly measured.
1898 - 1947
|Name ||Position ||First Year ||Final Year ||Career WAR ||HOF |
|Rube Marquard ||P ||1908 ||1925 ||32.5 ||Y |
|Tommy Leach ||3B/LF ||1898 ||1918 ||47.1 ||N |
|Davy Jones ||LF ||1901 ||1919 ||16.5 ||N |
|Sam Crawford ||RF ||1899 ||1917 ||75.3 ||Y |
|George Gibson ||C ||1905 ||1918 ||14.8 ||N |
|Jimmy Austin ||3B ||1909 ||1929 ||22.8 ||N |
|Fred Snodgrass ||CF ||1908 ||1916 ||15.8 ||N |
|Stanley Coveleski ||P ||1912 ||1928 ||61.4 ||Y |
|Al Bridwell ||SS ||1905 ||1915 ||19.2 ||N |
|Harry Hooper ||RF ||1909 ||1925 ||53.3 ||Y |
|Joe Wood ||RF ||1908 ||1922 ||40 ||N |
|Chief Meyers ||C ||1909 ||1917 ||25.2 ||N |
|Hans Lobert ||3B ||1903 ||1917 ||23.1 ||N |
|Rube Bressler ||LF/P ||1914 ||1932 ||19.4 ||N |
|Babe Herman ||RF ||1926 ||1945 ||39.3 ||N |
|Edd Roush ||CF ||1913 ||1931 ||45.1 ||Y |
|Bill Wambsganss ||2B ||1914 ||1926 ||3.7 ||N |
|Sam Jones ||P ||1914 ||1935 ||42.8 ||N |
|Bob O’Farrell ||C ||1915 ||1935 ||21.3 ||N |
|Specs Toporcer ||SS ||1921 ||1928 ||5.8 ||N |
|Lefty O’Doul ||LF/P ||1919 ||1934 ||25.4 ||N |
|Goose Goslin ||LF ||1921 ||1938 ||66.2 ||Y |
|Willie Kahm ||3B ||1923 ||1935 ||34.69 ||N |
|Heinie Groh ||3B ||1912 ||1927 ||48.1 ||N |
|Hank Greenberg ||1B ||1930 ||1947 ||55.7 ||Y |
|Paul Waner ||RF ||1927 ||1945 ||73.9 ||Y |
Total Team Career WAR: 928.6
Now, the concept of Similarity Scores
is great, it starts at a thousand and subtracts a point for each incremental difference in a particular stat. And while it does tell you similar batters for career stats and for age-seasons, you have to consider the era differences and the constant changing of value of productions. Similarity score does take into account positional differences, however, I went for a broader approach.
Utilizing a spreadsheet and Sports-Reference’s Stathead tool, I searched for each player’s career (At-Bats/Innings) and (OPS+/ERA+), and some rWAR for good measure, I then set minimums and maximums for each stat (Usually within 15%, or 2-3 seasons worth for playing time).
Having set up my ideal simulacrums’ statlines, I headed over to Stathead and searched for players matching the criteria, ideally spending a significant amount of time at the same position in the new set of years.
This was not perfect, in fact it was very flawed, as some players appeared in the search results with incomplete careers. Some had started before departing to join the war efforts and returned after their work was done, while some had the final seasons of their careers left out at the cutoff year. Nonetheless, I felt the playing time and results were not too far removed from the Careers of Players Past.
|Name ||Position ||First Year ||Final Year ||Career rWAR ||HOF ||Equivalent |
|Doyle Alexander ||P ||1971 ||1989 ||35.1 ||N ||Rube Marquard |
|Carney Langsford ||3B ||1978 ||1992 ||40.4 ||N ||Tommy Leach |
|Gary Ward ||LF ||1979 ||1990 ||17.7 ||N ||Davy Jones |
|Reggie Jackson ||RF ||1967 ||1987 ||74.0 ||Y ||Sam Crawford |
|Jerry Grote ||C ||1963 ||1981 ||15.1 ||N ||George Gibson |
|Jim Davenport ||3B ||1958 ||1970 ||18.2 ||N ||Jimmy Austin |
|Roberto Kelly ||CF ||1987 ||2000 ||20.5 ||N ||Fred Snodgrass |
|Dave Stieb ||P ||1979 ||1998 ||56.4 ||N ||Stanley Coveleski |
|Chico Carrasquel ||SS ||1950 ||1959 ||21.2 ||N ||Al Bridwell |
|Vada Pinson ||CF ||1958 ||1975 ||54.2 ||N ||Harry Hooper |
|Kevin Appier ||P ||1989 ||2004 ||54.5 ||N ||Joe Wood |
|John Romano ||C ||1958 ||1967 ||20.9 ||N ||Chief Meyers |
|Doug Rader ||3B ||1967 ||1977 ||24.4 ||N ||Hans Lobert |
|Willard Marshall ||RF ||1942 ||1955 ||19.6 ||N ||Rube Bressler |
|Daryl Strawberry ||RF ||1983 ||1999 ||42.2 ||N ||Babe Herman |
|George Foster ||LF ||1969 ||1986 ||44.2 ||N ||Edd Roush |
|Bobby Richardson ||2B ||1955 ||1966 ||8.1 ||N ||Bill Wambsganss |
|Jack Morris ||P ||1977 ||1994 ||43.5 ||Y ||Sam Jones |
|Terry Kennedy ||C ||1978 ||1991 ||21.6 ||N ||Bob O’Farrell |
|Don Buddin ||SS ||1956 ||1962 ||5.6 ||N ||Specs Torporcer |
|Joe DiMaggio(PW) ||CF ||1946 ||1951 ||29.0 ||Y1 ||Lefty O’Doul |
|Tim Raines ||LF ||1979 ||2002 ||69.4 ||Y ||Goose Goslin |
|Terry Pendleton ||3B ||1984 ||1998 ||28.5 ||N ||Willie Kamm |
|Doug DeCinces ||3B ||1973 ||1987 ||41.7 ||N ||Heinie Groh |
|Ralph Kiner ||LF ||1946 ||1955 ||47.9 ||Y ||Hank Greenberg |
|Billy Williams ||LF ||1959 ||1976 ||63.7 ||Y ||Paul Waner |
Total Team Career rWAR: 917.6
Average Player rWAR: 35.3
Now, you’re probably looking at Team Career rWAR
”That looks like a lot. Is that a lot?”
It’s a big number, sure, and I was impressed when I first saw it too. But there were a few things I didn’t consider when I prematurely deemed this “An All-Time Great Team with Specs Toporcer and featuring Bill Wambsganss”.
NEW YORK YANKEES and Philadelphia A’s
Eleven of the top thirteen teams with the most Team Career War are Yankees. The first and sixth teams on that list are the 1928 and 1927 Philadelphia Athletics.
The Philadelphia Athletics: A Team to Surpass
Metal Gear Yankees
On May 24, 1928, these baseball goliaths clashed on a day the likes of which will never be seen again. A Hall of Fame game like no other. And a doubleheader to boot.
In terms of Single-Season Highs in WAR, the 1927 Yankees are once again the team to know. 66.3 fWAR.
Collectively, these two teams top out at 147.3 rWAR and 158.2 rWAR, respectively. If you want to look up their fWAR and make your own post, be my guest. There is the glaring issue of no
relief pitchers, but I think Specs and Bill make up for that, neither coming close to 3.0 rWAR in a single season. A feat, I should mention, that was accomplished no more than five times by the great Mike Marshall. As a reliever
Part II: The League of Today Having two sets of 26 players loosely related, I felt almost compelled to utilize the 26-man roster to its full potential. Both The Glory and Glory II would have the opportunity to face the modern-day league. Selecting which versions of these players to use for the simulation was a mix of single-season rWAR and OPS+ highs. Some of these players were almost Troutian, while others resembled AAAA players. The extremes of the way century-old players are viewed is not lost on me. Baseball has changed, baseball (with the help of Manfred) will continue to change, and baseball teams change. So instead of adding these new teams to the league and wreaking havoc on league alignment and playoff structure, I’m going to have to say goodbye to some very near and dear ballplayers and their clubs.
Quickstart Download Link
For The Glory, of course, it goes without saying, the St. Louis Browns have been overthrown and every player sent to a ballpark upstate.
For their counterparts however, I found it a bit more challenging, but ultimately decided the team should share a division with its artificial rival. So the Boston Red Sox organization has been reappropriated and renamed to the The Yesteryear Pride.
Final Player Comparison
|Glory Player ||OSA Rating ||Adv. ||OSA Rating ||Pride Player |
|Rube Marquard ||55 ||G ||40 ||Doyle Alexander |
|Tommy Leach ||70 ||G ||40 ||Carney Lansford |
|Davy Jones ||40 ||P ||55 ||Gary Ward |
|Sam Crawford ||70 ||Tie ||70 ||Reggie Jackson |
|George Gibson ||75 ||G ||50 ||Jerry Grote |
|Jimmy Austin ||40 ||G ||35 ||Jim Davenport |
|Fred Snodgrass ||75 ||G ||55 ||Robeto Kelly |
|Stanley Coveleski ||80 ||G ||60 ||Dave Stieb |
|Al Bridwell ||60 ||G ||55 ||Chico Carrasquel |
|Harry Hooper ||65 ||P ||70 ||Vada Pinson |
|Joe Wood ||80 ||Tie ||80 ||Kevin Appier |
|Chief Meyers ||80 ||Tie ||80 ||John Romano |
|Hans Lobert ||55 ||G ||50 ||Doug Rader |
|Rube Bressler ||50 ||P ||65 ||Willard Marshall |
|Babe Herman ||70 ||Tie ||70 ||Daryl Strawberry |
|Edd Roush ||70 ||Tie ||70 ||George Foster |
|Bill Wambsganss ||35 ||Tie ||35 ||Bobby Richardson |
|Sam Jones ||50 ||Tie ||50 ||Jack Morris |
|Bob O’Farrell ||80 ||G ||55 ||Terry Kennedy |
|Specs Toporcer ||45 ||G ||40 ||Don Buddin |
|Lefty O’Doul ||80 ||G ||75 ||Joe DiMaggio(PW) |
|Goose Goslin ||70 ||G ||65 ||Tim Raines |
|Willie Kahm ||55 ||P ||60 ||Terry Pendleton |
|Heinie Groh ||65 ||P ||75 ||Doug DeCinces |
|Hank Greenberg ||80 ||Tie ||70 ||Ralph Kiner |
|Paul Waner ||60 ||P ||70 ||Billy Williams |
Glory Adv.: 12 Pride Adv.: 6 Wash:8
Now, OOTP is a fair but fickle engine, having my cake prepared and baked was the simple task of creating and importing.
Having it eat itself without any problems was going to be the hurdle to clear. Both of these teams are severely lacking on the pitching side so any call to the bullpen would have to involve a tired starter or a position player. Ideally, the high stamina of the old-timers would make a bullpen obsolete after they’re warmed up. But as seamless and impractical as this sounds in reality, it was not met with the same suspenseful thrill by our emotionless overlords.
SIM I: I’ve Made a Huge Mistake Funny thing, selecting Auto-Play Until. Even if the team is under control of a human manager, the AI will bypass this if you tell it “DO NOT DISTURB”. The gist of it is, I made a whoopsie and both teams started putting players on waivers and signing minor league free agents. All this ended up being a long exercise in which team had the better individual players and front office.
Notable Happenings Season Series:
Heading into the final three games of the season, the Times Glory had a 13-3 lead in the season series, scoring 152 runs, and allowing 106 runs. This isn’t as simple as the Times Glory having the best offense and the best record in the league. The Pride had the second best offense in the league and were 10th in the AL in runs allowed, while the Glory were 14th in the AL in runs allowed and had the worst Zone Rating in the AL.
The final road trip of the season took them to Yesteryear. The Pride had the wildcard locked up, but home field was still up for grabs. The Bay Rays were right on their heels. Had the Glory not come off of a series win against Tampa, this series might have meant nothing. And right away, it went to extras. The Glory scored thrice in the eighth and ninth to keep the Pride down, but the Pride scored seven in the bottom of the ninth to remind everyone who they were. The Glory immediately scored three runs again to remind everyone who do they think they are, I am. But all was not lost, as there was another. Davie Stieb put up a quality start and George Foster hit a tie-breaking solo shot in the eighth to give the Pride HFA in the wild card. The final game of the season was strictly a formality, but the Pride came up on top once again.
Final Season Series Results: Glory 173. Pride 127. 14-5
The Rays, in the meantime, had been swept by the Yankees and lost any momentum they might have had going into the playoffs. This concluded the regular season.
The best individual batting seasons to come from these two teams were Tommy Leach (TG) with 7.4 WAR and Joe DiMaggio (YP) with 7.3 WAR. Tommy Leach tied Hank Greenberg as the major league leader in home runs with 57, and led the lead in Slugging (.687) and OPS (1.066).
Lefty O’Doul was fifteen (15) Home Runs from the Triple Crown, triple slashing .344/.397/.601 and driving in 160 runs. Catcher John Meyers sustained a 10 WAR pace for 100 Games. Backup catcher Bob O’Farrell squeaked out 0.8 WAR across 80 Games. Edd Roush, backup center fielder and speed demon, managed 3.4 WAR in 85 Games despite having only started 67. Doug DeCinces and George Foster ended up posting very similar seasons, with Foster having the negligible edge in OPS+ and WAR. 139 and 6.9 from George and 138 and 6.8 from Doug. It’s the little things sometimes.
Bold totals indicate player led league. Italic totals indicate player led team.
|Name ||Age ||W ||L ||ERA ||G ||GS ||IP ||HR ||BB ||SO ||WHIP ||ERA+ ||fWAR |
|Smoky Joe Wood ||22 ||20 ||2 ||2.94 ||32 ||32 ||202.1 ||12 ||73 ||270 ||1.09 ||173 ||7.6 |
|Stan Coveleski ||29 ||19 ||10 ||3.99 ||33 ||33 ||230.1 ||27 ||76 ||232 ||1.30 ||128 ||5.0 |
|Rube Marquard ||29 ||13 ||7 ||6.80 ||32 ||32 ||185.1 ||66 ||54 ||187 ||1.47 ||75 ||-1.8 |
|Sad Sam Jones ||36 ||11 ||9 ||5.99 ||33 ||29 ||171.1 ||46 ||82 ||169 ||1.63 ||85 ||-1.0 |
|Kevin Appier ||25 ||16 ||6 ||3.14 ||33 ||33 ||214.2 ||25 ||62 ||235 ||1.08 ||162 ||5.6 |
|Dave Stieb ||27 ||13 ||6 ||4.06 ||34 ||34 ||208.1 ||28 ||73 ||209 ||1.20 ||126 ||3.2 |
|Jack Morris ||24 ||9 ||12 ||6.26 ||34 ||34 ||179.2 ||34 ||64 ||133 ||1.53 ||81 ||0.7 |
|Doyle Alexander ||36 ||1 ||1 ||4.74 ||28 ||0 ||57.0 ||9 ||14 ||56 ||1.21 ||108 ||0.4 |
The best individual pitching season came from Smoky Joe Wood. 20 Wins and 270 Strikeouts in 202.1 Innings. A league leading 7.6 fWAR with league best peripherals, 0.5 H9 and 12.0 K/9. He would no doubt have a Silver Slugger along with his Cy Young, if the American League gave one out. 22 Home Runs and a 117 OPS+ in 91 Games as a DH.
While the Glory had the #1 seed on lock through most of the season, the Pride had to claw their way to a wildcard spot. And what they did with it was something amazing. It’s one thing to lose the season series against a better division rival. Everyone does that. It’s another thing to absolutely spoil their championship hopes as the wildcard in the first round. The Pride went on to beat the Angels in 5 for the pennant and were pitted against the 96-win Dodgers. They won one game.
Having the best offense of all-time will do wonders for your bottom-third pitching staff, and the Glory coasted to a #1 seed and HFA throughout the playoffs. They won their first home game handily, 10 to 1. Then were promptly ground into dust by the buzzsaw of Yesteryear. The team had 9.2 Pitching WAR. May I remind you, Smoky Joe had 7.6 alone. So many valiant efforts in vain. But you can’t feel sorry for a one seed. We need to move on and hope for next year.
Sim II: Historic Modifications. There were a lot of doubts I could get this done. “Surely they’ll have your head”, they told me. And I said, “Four pitchers is plenty. And don’t call me Shirley.” Imagine having the flexibility of a completely different lineup every night. The advantage this creates on offense outweighs any problems that could arise from a short-handed staff. Besides, we have a secret weapon. A position player who can pitch. And with the stamina of 20th century pitchers on my side, he’ll be lucky to see two games a week.
Notable Happenings Season Series:
In 19 games, these two teams slugged it out like heavyweights. They started the season by scoring 112 runs in a three game series. The Glory led the series 2-1. They did not see each other for three months. For three whole months, these teams simmered and stewed until their next meeting, going a combined 36-138 against all other opponents along the way. They met again on July 10th in a 4-3 contest won by the Pride. Vada Pinson hit a walk-off double with one out in the ninth. A sign of things to come for them. A low-scoring affair in favor of the home team. Something that happens to normal ball clubs all the time. And the next game started out the same way, the Glory put up a 6-spot in the fifth frame, the Pride drive in 7 in the eighth inning, and the Glory score 11 more runs in the ninth to make it a 24-16 ballgame. There is no normal when it comes to these two teams, even against one another. The next four contests are split, but go 96-73 in the Glory’s favor. August, however, completely shifts the tide in the Pride’s favor. Winning 5 of 7 and outscoring the Glory 106-89. Going into the final weekend, the season series was close as it could be, 9-7 in favor of the Pride. High-scoring and tight contests made this must-see TV. Wild card hunt? I want to see a slugfest. Both teams combined for 112 runs in three games again, but this time, the Pride prevailed, 2 games to 1.
Final Season Series Results: Glory 328. Pride 307. 8-11
In terms of hitting, nobody on these two teams had a particularly remarkable season outside of John Meyers, who led the league in Slugging (.651). The only other league leader in any category was Al Bridwell, with 151 runs. Meyers, as a catcher, in 126 Games, triple-slashed .336/.413/.651 and put up 7.7 WAR. Glory outfielders averaged almost 6 WAR, while infielders average right around 4.5 WAR. On the Pride, though, averaged around 3 WAR from their position players, and this might just be a result of the bench being underutilized and very solid, but unspectacular season from starters. Tim Raines triple-slashed .335/.414/.508 while being decent in the field, while Joe DiMaggio went .331/.417/.628/ at the plate, but hardly saw the field. Both topped out at 6 WAR.
Bold totals indicate player led league. Italic totals indicate player led team.
|Name ||Age ||W ||L ||ERA ||G ||GS ||IP ||HR ||BB ||SO ||WHIP ||ERA+ ||fWAR |
|Smoky Joe Wood ||22 ||8 ||14 ||3.13 ||53 ||46 ||279.1 ||13 ||82 ||372 ||1.16 ||180 ||11.6 |
|Stan Coveleski ||29 ||5 ||14 ||5.31 ||55 ||48 ||252.2 ||44 ||97 ||229 ||1.41 ||106 ||2.6 |
|Rube Marquard ||29 ||1 ||20 ||6.08 ||56 ||37 ||202.2 ||57 ||84 ||191 ||1.49 ||92 ||-0.9 |
|Sad Sam Jones ||36 ||5 ||15 ||5.80 ||56 ||31 ||208.0 ||38 ||98 ||169 ||1.55 ||97 ||0.6 |
|Rube Bressler ||31 ||3 ||66 ||58.8 ||155 ||0 ||164.0 ||180 ||599 ||41 ||8.71 ||10 ||-37.0 |
|Kevin Appier ||25 ||13 ||11 ||4.16 ||55 ||37 ||255.0 ||33 ||121 ||263 ||1.42 ||135 ||4.0 |
|Dave Stieb ||27 ||11 ||15 ||6.11 ||54 ||41 ||249.0 ||46 ||138 ||245 ||1.48 ||92 ||0.9 |
|Jack Morris ||24 ||7 ||25 ||6.50 ||54 ||44 ||246.1 ||43 ||113 ||215 ||1.70 ||86 ||1.6 |
|Doyle Alexander ||36 ||8 ||26 ||8.30 ||64 ||40 ||222.1 ||46 ||83 ||102 ||1.90 ||68 ||-0.8 |
Rube Bressler managed to accumulate -68.2 rWAR. His Runs Allowed per 9 was 80.7. His Walks per 9 was 32.9. His FIP was 28.91. I won’t act like he was great in his heyday, he was primarily an outfielder. But this just completely negated his career rWAR. The absolute value of his rWAR production would have made him a Hall of Famer, instead I’ve created a monster.
Smoky Joe Wood on the other hand, *wipes brow* Golly, I’m gonna need another wipe. All those Innings and Strikeouts and he still can’t get a Cy Young or a shot at Ryan’s Live Ball Era Strikeout Record. My Goodness. Imagine your ace leading the league in ERA, IP, and Ks and not even getting half of the first-place votes.
In terms of teams being bad, these teams are on that list. Their combined 77 wins would have put them 18 games back in the wild card chase.
Non-designated pitchers accounted for 284 IP for the Glory.
Non-designated pitchers accounted for 440 IP for the Pride.
The Glory went 27-135. This breaks the all-time loss record but is .037% ahead of the Cleveland Spiders in terms of Winning Percentage. Any attempt to pit this team’s pitching stats against the all-time losers would be disingenuous however, as four pitchers and a Rube Bressler can hardly be called a staff.
The Pride managed a much more respectable 50-112. No doubt helped by the defense, 2nd in Zone Rating and only 9th in Errors, while the Glory had a -49.8 ZR and almost 30 more errors. And while the Glory nabbed over a quarter of their wins off of the Pride, the Pride only had the season series as hardly a fifth. Was it luck? Some of it was absolutely luck, but it can’t be overlooked that this was a solid, well-rounded team once you looked past the mound. Contributions from every single player almost made them as good as the Giants, who went 53-109.
The offenses, as expected, are once again great. What can be said of them has pretty much already been said and spread enough. But the pitching. That speaks for itself.
I dreamed of creating the most accurate representation of this team, and I succeeded.
Sim IV: Eureka, the Simulation Module I’ve discovered this very cool, very accurate tool that pits two teams against one another in a simulation, a vacuum of sorts, devoid of any outside influence there would be in the real world of baseball. Where the only things that matter are the players’ abilities and the manager’s choices.
Sim 1: 162 Games of Playtime Yeah, the Glory won 86 to 76, outscoring the Pride 2701 to 2446. 1 is good, yeah, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Anyone who wants to see the stathead search links or any other worksheets I have can ask, because I have no clue how to share my research without doxxing myself or removing the table formatting of a worksheet.
- ^ Joe DiMaggio, for his entire career, was a Hall of Fame Inductee. The six seasons after his return from service would not warrant selection to the Hall of Fame.