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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Edmonds’

Edmonds was best known for catches like this one against the Royals on June 10, 1997.

The official announcement of Jim Edmonds’ retirement on Friday went largely unnoticed, which was kind of fitting because that’s mostly how the All Star centerfielder’s 17-year career was treated. Edmonds has always been a player best known for either making highlight reel catches or coming down with a nagging injury (he only had four seasons with 150 or more games played), sometimes doing both on the same play. A closer look, however, reveals what Edmonds really was: a legitimate candidate for the Hall of Fame.

When most people think about Hall of Fame centerfielders, names like Ty Cobb, Willie Mays, Tris Speaker, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle come to mind. For that reason, it’s easy to understand why the immediate reaction to Edmonds’ candidacy would be dismissive. Once you get past that immortal quintet, however, Edmonds follows very closely behind, at least according to Sean Smith’s version of WAR.

Hall of Fame Centerfielders (and Upcoming Candidates), Ranked by WAR

Player G PA WAR HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS+
Ty Cobb 3034 13068 159.4 117 1938 0.366 0.433 0.512 168
Willie Mays 2992 12493 154.7 660 1903 0.302 0.384 0.557 155
Tris Speaker 2789 11988 133 117 1529 0.345 0.428 0.500 157
Mickey Mantle 2401 9909 120.2 536 1509 0.298 0.421 0.557 172
Joe DiMaggio 1736 7671 83.6 361 1537 0.325 0.398 0.579 155
Ken Griffey Jr. 2671 11304 78.5 630 1836 0.284 0.370 0.538 135
Jim Edmonds 2011 7980 68.3 393 1199 0.284 0.376 0.527 132
Duke Snider 2143 8237 67.5 407 1333 0.295 0.380 0.540 140
Richie Ashburn 2189 9736 58 29 586 0.308 0.396 0.382 111
Max Carey 2476 10770 50.6 70 800 0.285 0.361 0.386 107
Larry Doby 1533 6302 47.4 253 970 0.283 0.386 0.490 136
Bernie Williams 2076 9053 47.3 287 1257 0.297 0.381 0.477 125
Edd Roush 1967 8156 46.5 68 981 0.323 0.369 0.446 127
Earl Averill 1669 7215 45 238 1164 0.318 0.395 0.534 133
Kirby Puckett 1783 7831 44.8 207 1085 0.318 0.360 0.477 124
Earle Combs 1455 6507 44.7 58 632 0.325 0.397 0.462 125
Hack Wilson 1348 5556 39.1 244 1063 0.307 0.395 0.545 144
Lloyd Waner 1993 8326 24.3 27 598 0.316 0.353 0.393 99

Note: Includes Hall of Famers who played at least 50% of total games in centerfield.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Despite being sabermetrically inclined, I still have my suspicions regarding both predominant versions of WAR. However, when any metric states a player ranks among the best at his position, it is wise to take notice. Using more traditional statistics, Edmonds would still rank among the top-10 Hall of Fame centerfielders in terms of OPS+, runs and RBIs, not to mention fourth in homeruns. By just about any measure, Edmonds was one of the best centerfielders to every play the game. But, is that enough to warrant election to the Hall of Fame? (more…)

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