Edgar, Grandpa and the Moose

January 30, 2017
 2017-6

 

 

Moose

 

              Hi, Bill.   You wrote about Jim Kaat that if you rearranged a few of his seasons just by a win or two, he’d have the same career won-lost record, but with, say, four 20-win seasons.   Would you put Mike Mussina in that same category?  Six seasons of 17-19 wins, only one 20 game season (his last).   Like Kaat, if you shift a couple of those wins, his Hall of Fame career becomes much easier.  

              DBurba (Not Dave)

 

              Well, actually, Jim Kaat DID win 20 games three times, so it doesn’t take a lot of re-structuring to get him to four.    For Mussina, we should start with the observation that he won 16 games in 1994, when the strike cut off the season at 112 games, and then won 19 games in 1995, when the strike limited the season to 144 games.   Also, whereas Jim Kaat started 38 or more times in a season six times including three seasons of 41 or 42 starts, Mussina never started more than 36 times in a season.   This makes it somewhat more difficult for Mussina (realistically) to get big seasons.  But anyway, for Mike Mussina, here is what I did.  

              First, I created a game log for Mussina, consisting of all his actual starts; we’re not creating or destroying starts for Mussina, just moving them around.   The career totals are the same, but the totals in each season are different.  I assigned a random number to each start, but then started adjusting the numbers gradually, through cycle after cycle of recalculation and re-ordering, so that the more of the stronger starts would be concentrated in the center, and more of the weaker starts at the beginning and end of his career.   Also, I took one start away from each of the first three years of his career and each of the last four years of his career, and added one start per season to the years 1997 to 2003.   Eventually I arrived at this record—stressing that this is merely one sample, and that you could create billions of alternative career records given the same underlying data.  

 

Year

G

IP

W

L

WPct

H

R

ER

SO

BB

ERA

CG

ShO

1991

11

70.1

5

5

.500

74

31

29

44

24

3.71

0

0

1992

31

198.1

14

9

.609

200

101

94

178

49

4.27

5

2

1993

24

160.1

12

5

.706

142

71

70

135

31

3.93

1

1

1994

24

151.2

11

5

.688

155

67

66

137

27

3.92

3

2

1995

32

214.2

13

12

.520

190

94

81

174

55

3.40

5

3

1996

36

233.2

23

10

.697

232

108

102

201

52

3.93

4

1

1997

34

204.1

12

16

.429

236

118

112

148

46

4.93

2

1

1998

30

211.2

21

3

.875

164

61

50

162

38

2.13

3

2

1999

32

226.1

21

4

.840

188

67

62

185

54

2.47

4

2

2000

35

251

28

5

.848

216

69

65

197

42

2.33

7

2

2001

35

225.2

21

8

.724

207

91

83

182

50

3.31

4

1

2002

34

245.2

24

6

.800

226

86

83

176

46

3.04

6

1

2003

32

233.2

22

4

.846

199

81

80

198

48

3.08

4

2

2004

27

186.1

11

10

.524

201

85

82

146

35

3.96

2

1

2005

29

189.2

14

9

.609

192

84

81

140

52

3.84

2

1

2006

31

194.1

7

14

.333

195

97

94

162

42

4.35

2

0

2007

26

163.2

4

13

.235

178

105

96

106

45

5.28

2

0

2008

33

197.2

7

15

.318

258

141

126

141

49

5.74

4

1

18 yrs

536

3562.2

270

153

.638

3453

1557

1456

2812

785

3.68

60

23

 

 

              Pretty sure that that’s a Hall of Famer.  

 

 

 

Mariners retire No. 11 to honor legendary slugger Edgar Martinez

 

              Is Edgar really a "slugger"?  Edgar Martinez was a fantastic hitter, but he was a high-average hitter who only hit 30 homers once.   I think of Greg Luzinski as a "slugger".   Ted Kluszewski was a slugger, and Juan Gonzalez, and Jose Canseco.   Edgar Martinez was a hitter. 

 

 

 

Grandpa

 

            David Ross has retired now, and it would be difficult to imagine how anyone could leave the majors in a better way.   He played 15 years in the major leagues, but played only 883 games, and played 100 games in a season only once, that total being 112 in 2007.    He had a long major league career, but played an average of just 59 games a season—yet I don’t think anyone would say that he wasn’t a good player.   We certainly thought of him as a good player in Boston, not an every-day guy, but a guy who was just as good as the every-day guy while he was in there.  

            So I had a couple of questions:

            1)  I got to wondering how close it was to a record, playing 15 years but only 883 games, and

            2)  I was wondering what his teams’ won-lost records were with/without him in the lineup.  

 

            On the second issue. . . .you may know from the World Series that the Cubs had a fantastic record with Ross as the starting catcher in 2016.    They were 39-11.   It is hard to process how good that is.   The Cubs, 103-58 on the season, were 28 games over .500 in the 50 games that Ross started—but only 17 games over .500 in the 111 games that other catchers started.   If you extrapolate from that data point without other facts, you can convince yourself that David Ross was the NL MVP in 2016.

            A key reason for the odd number, of course, was that Ross was Jon Lester’s personal catcher, catching all 32 of Lester’s starts.    The Cubs went 25-7 (.782) with Lester on the mound—but also went 14-4 (.778) with Ross catching and Lester NOT on the mound.   So I got to wondering about Ross’s CAREER record in this regard, whether his teams have always done well with him as the starting catcher.

            Not so much. 

            Actually, from the start of Ross’s career through 2010, Ross’s teams had a terrible record with Ross catching, compared to how they did without him.     Ross’s teams had a worse record with Ross as the starting catcher than with other catchers at every single stop from 2002 through 2010, except that with Pittsburgh in 2005 the team was 14-17 (.452) with Ross catching, whereas they had a .443 winning percentage when he wasn’t catching.   Otherwise. . .always worse.

            The most remarkable "bad number" here is with the Reds in 2007.   That was the only year that Ross started half of his team’s games, starting 98 of the 162.   The team was 38-60 with Ross as the starting catcher—whereas they were over .500 with the backups.   That’s a bad number.  

            From 2001 to 2010, Ross’s teams were 34 games worse with Ross in the starting lineup than without him.   It’s a lot.   This started to turn around for him in 2011 with Atlanta.   In 2011 Ross was the backup to Brian McCann.   The Braves were in their Prague Spring era; they had young guys like Freddie Freeman, Jason Hayward, Brian McCann and Martin Prado, and it appeared that they were going places.   Ross had a pretty good year with the bat, hitting .263 with 6 homers in 152 at bats. 

            Ross started that season as the personal catcher for Jair Jurrjens and sometimes Brandon Beachy.   On May 4 he caught Tim Hudson for the first time—the first time he had caught anyone except Jurrjens or Beachy—and Hudson pitched a 1-hit shutout.    He didn’t catch Hudson again until June 10, but Hudson pitched well then, and then he caught him on June 20, and Hudson pitched 8 innings of two-hit shutout baseball.   He caught him again his next start; Hudson pitched six shutout innings.   In his first four starts with Tim Hudson, Hudson gave up only 2 runs in 29 innings, a 0.62 ERA.  

            He caught Derek Lowe for the first time on May 17; Lowe—who pitched well the first half of that season—had one of his best games.   Gradually Ross transitioned from being the personal catcher for the Braves YOUNG starters (Beachy and Jurrjens) to being the personal catcher for their two old sinker-ball pitchers, Hudson and Lowe.   He caught Tommy Hanson for the first time on June 7; Hanson pitched six innings of two-hit shutout ball.  

            By the end of the season the Braves starting rotation was in chaos, with Beachy and Jurrjens hurting and Lowe’s career headed for the barn; the Braves were starting guys like Mike Minor, Randall Delgado and Julio Teheran, and Ross caught some of the starts of each of them.   In the end, Ross’s catching assignments were pretty much the same as the rest of the team, almost a random catch.  But the team had a 28-14 record with Ross starting, whereas they were only two games over .500 (61-59) when Ross was not starting.   That’s +6.7 games with Ross starting, which was the best year of his career in this regard until his epochal departure tour.

            He was a little under water in 2012-13, a little over in 2014-15.   For his career, Ross’s teams were 15.8 games better when Ross wasn’t catching than when he was. 

            On the other issue. . .Ross had a long major league career but played only 59 games per season.   Is this some sort of record, or close?

            After floundering around, I finally realized that the way to measure this is to multiply the years by 90 and subtract the games played, so that if a player plays 90 games a year or more he doesn’t show up in this category, but if he has a long career playing LESS than 90 games a year, he will register.   90 games, 100, 80, 110. . .it doesn’t matter; the same guy is going to show up as the leader in this category no matter how you figure it, because he is way ahead of everybody else.  

            The guy who is going to win this no matter how you figure it is Tom Prince.   Tom Prince played 17 seasons in the majors, but only 519 games.     He played fewer games than anyone else who played 16 seasons (except pitchers), or 15, or 14.     He is the absolute king of this category, the Prince and the King.    There was a player in the late 1990s named Mike Frank, which gives us a name string:  Mike Frank Thomas Prince Fielder Jones.

            Anyway, what I learned that is interesting here is that this category is completely and totally dominated by catchers; I expected to find a lot of backup catchers on the list, but mixed with backup infielders and glove wizard shortstops who hit .175.    It’s all catchers.     The top two are Tom Prince and Corky Miller, a recent catcher that many of you will remember.  

            The third guy is Lou Klimchock.   Klimchock, an infielder, was an interesting player, and I wrote about him at some length somewhere on this site within the last year or so.   I always knew there was something unique about him, and this method puts the button on it; there’s no other infielder like him who had a 12-year career and played only 318 major league games.  

            But after Klimchock, the next twenty guys (not counting pitchers and a couple of position players who converted to pitching in mid-career). . .the next twenty guys are all catchers.    I figured what I called the "David Ross Score", although obviously now we would have to change it to the Tom Prince Score.  This is the list:

 

 

 

 

First

Last

 

 

David Ross

Rank

First

Last

Year

Year

Seasons

Games

Score

1

Tom

Prince

1987

2003

17

519

1011

2

Corky

Miller

2001

2013

11

216

774

3

Lou

Klimchock

1958

1970

12

318

762

4

Matt

Sinatro

1981

1992

10

140

760

5

Guillermo

Quiroz

2004

2014

10

148

752

6

Josh

Billings

1913

1923

11

240

750

7

Randy

Knorr

1991

2001

11

253

737

8

Raul

Chavez

1996

2009

11

263

727

9

Tim

Laker

1992

2006

11

281

709

10

Mark

Parent

1986

1998

13

474

696

11

Clyde

Manion

1920

1934

13

477

693

12

Grover

Hartley

1911

1934

14

569

691

13

Moe

Berg

1923

1939

15

663

687

14

Art

Jorgens

1929

1939

11

307

683

15

Fred

Jacklitsch

1900

1917

13

490

680

16

Charlie

Silvera

1948

1957

10

227

673

17

Alberto

Castillo

1995

2007

12

418

662

18

Wil

Nieves

2002

2015

12

427

653

19

Ray

Hayworth

1926

1945

15

699

651

20

Koyie

Hill

2003

2014

11

341

649

21

Jamie

Quirk

1975

1992

18

984

636

22

Ralph

Houk

1947

1954

8

91

629

23

Adam

Moore

2009

2016

8

96

624

 

          &nbs​p;   Of those 23 players, at least ten are great human interest stories, but anyway, the other thing that struck me about the list is:  This does not change over time.    Everything in baseball changes over time, right?   Rosters are different, playing styles are different. . .everything changes.   When you make a list like this, it is almost always dominated by the players from one era, because some era always has a relevant edge.

              But not here.    The role of a backup catcher is EXACTLY the same now that it was in 1900 and before, basically.    On the chart above every year from 1900 to the present is covered except 1946 and the years 1958-1974, and that’s just a little anomaly; there are catchers exactly like this from the years 1958 to 1974, too.  (Hawk Taylor, Tim Hosley, Jimmie Coker, Don Pavletich, Duffy Dyer, Bill Plummer, Hank Foilies.   They’re just on the second page of the list.)  

          &nbs​p;   Isn’t that interesting, that somehow this little niche in the game has stayed there, while everything around it has changed?   In 1900 catchers always batted eighth; pitchers always batted ninth, catchers eighth.   In 1900 catchers didn’t have shin guards or chest protectors, and teams stole 250 bases a year.    In the 1950s and 1960s, teams liked to have big old left-handed home run hitters as backup catchers, like Carl Sawatski and Johnny Blanchard and Aaron Robinson and Ed Kirkpatrick and Duke Sims, Ed Bailey the last five years of his career.   But somehow, THIS has not changed. 

           ​;   Ross is not in the top 100, by the way.  By the formula I settled on to evaluate this, he ranks about 175th.   

 

 
 

COMMENTS (23 Comments, most recent shown first)

bjames
Dizzy Dean's national broadcasting career was almost entirely AFTER he was elected to the Hall of Fame, not before. The big thing about Dean was the movie, The Pride of St. Louis. The movie was released in 1952, and he did a few broadcasts for the Mutual network in 1952. He was elected to the Hall of Fame that winter, inducted in '53, and became a national broadcaster (first for ABC, later for CBS) really beginning in 1953.
6:20 PM Feb 13th
 
bjames
Al Kaline was definitely a hitter, and Rocky Colavito was definitely a slugger.
6:11 PM Feb 13th
 
billsizer
Loved the Grandpa piece............By your estimation, Al Kaline was a hitter, not a slugger, correct? If so, I agree. Rocky Colavito was a slugger.
5:45 PM Feb 12th
 
evanecurb
I understand why Tangotiger picked Jim Palmer as someone in the HOF that you could kee out if you rearranged his season totals. But I see a big problem with using Palmer as the example. He had several seasons - 1974 and 1979 especially come to mind - where he missed time due to injury and pitched ineffectively when he didn't miss time. He also missed most (all?) of 1967 and 1968 due to injuries. Mussina was healthy throughout his career, so there's a big difference between the two in that respect.​
1:04 PM Feb 4th
 
PeteRidges
Think of a number, N, between 40 and 86.

Then who had the most seasons, playing between 1 and N games? That's since 1876, pitchers excluded.

The answer is, you've guessed, Tom Prince. No-one even ties him.
7:43 AM Feb 1st
 
rwarn17588
OldBackStop's point about Dizzy Dean is a good one. But I've always wondered whether Diz got into the Hall of Fame also because of his broadcasting. He got behind the mike in 1941 and quickly because a star in that field because of his unique style ("He was sludding into third"). When you take in the totality of his career, the HOF makes a bit more sense. It's for the same reason I didn't object when Red Schoendienst got in as a player, coach and manager.
11:29 AM Jan 31st
 
SteveN
You mentioned Corky Miller. My recollection is that his only offensive plus was that he could be hit by pitch many times a year.
6:03 AM Jan 31st
 
JackKeefe
The Dodgers had their own Gulliver in A.J. Ellis. His quintessential Gulliver season was 2014, when A.J. Ellis hit .191 and slugged .254, but somehow coaxed 53 walks in 347 plate appearances.

Like Bud Harrelson, AJ usually hit eighth. Being smart enough to know his limitations, Ellis didn't swing at many pitches; he always gave the opposing pitcher a chance to fall behind in the count. Ellis wanted to give the man on the mound every incentive to work around him to get to the pitcher. If you needed someone to work out a meaningless walk, Ellis was your man. If you needed someone to actually drive the ball, you needed a pinch hitter.

Ellis was a backup catcher in the Tom Prince mold, though the Dodgers gave Ellis way too many starts, partly because he was Clayton Kershaw's personal catcher. Claiming credit as a catcher for Kershaw's pitching success is like a coach claiming credit for a homer because he patted the guy's butt as he rounded the bag. If anything, Kershaw deserves even more credit for his success with a dud like Ellis behind the plate.

The fact that guys like Tom Prince or AJ Ellis hang on for so long is a testimony to the paucity of players able---or willing---to catch. First and foremost, there is the punishment of baseballs slamming into your hands or ricocheting off your body. Few people catch unless they have to. Usually if you can rake, they move you out from behind the plate to a safer position to keep your bat in the lineup. For guys like AJ Ellis, who have no bat to begin with, the ability to take a punch probably counts as much as anything else they bring to the table. Roster-wise, there's not a big demand for catchers compared to other positions, usually 2 catchers per team, so you don't have the biggest pool of talent to choose from either. This I think is by design. Through the decades, it's been the practice in baseball to subject the fewest players possible to the rigors of catching, and so teams are willing to put up with astonishingly feeble hitters as a result. Guys like Tom Prince who exist solely to take enough punishment behind the plate to give the team's regular catcher a break once in a while.
1:16 AM Jan 31st
 
OldBackstop
Dizzy Dean has fewer career wins than Sandy and only two seasons that were remarkable, 1933-34 where he went 58-19 in 69 starts (when men were men and finished, sometimes for other men). Three of Dizzy's 12 years were only one game....I always sort of wondered why Koufax was the poster child for a meteoric HOF career.

Must have been the nickname.......well, Big Sexy Colon comes up in 2024 or so.

Here is how you might ruin Dizzy's life:

8 4
15 10
12 12
9 5
15 10
15 10
9 4
18 7
17 5
9 5
15 6
8 5




12:40 AM Jan 31st
 
bjames
Tango. . .let's see, who would be best for that? You would need somebody who was only in the Hall of Fame because he had a few great seasons. Koufax and Drysdale might be best. We know you could do that with Koufax, because there are pitchers who have records similar to Koufax who aren't in the Hall of Fame. Drysdale, I think all you would have to do is just cut him back by about 6 starts every year, so that he is going 15-13 rather than 18-16, and that would probably do it.
9:10 PM Jan 30th
 
tangotiger
Bill: how about the reverse, and taking a HOFer and making him a non-HOF? Jim Palmer might be Mussina's twin in this regard.
6:57 PM Jan 30th
 
shthar
How similar is the Glen Gulliver score to the Cangelosi score?
6:19 PM Jan 30th
 
DavidHNix
It seemed like Lou Klimchock had a card with a different team every season in the 60s -- he had so many cups of coffee he must still be awake. I was always curious what the story was. Bill explained a couple of years ago, but I can't find it on the site now. As I recall, he said the A's mishandled Klimchock initially; he kept hitting well enough in AAA for team after team to take a look, but they apparently decided he was shopworn and he never got another full shot. An archetypal Quad-A player.

SABR has a nice bio: http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/40144e54


3:26 PM Jan 30th
 
bjames
OK, Kimchi, you asked for it. It is obvious how you would figure the Glenn Gulliver score; you just figure the player’s OPS as it is, and as it would be if the player had zero walks, then find the difference between the two, and divide by the OPS. (You may think that, since the walks don’t affect the slugging percentage, that this should be figured just based on on base percentage, not OPS. The reason why this is wrong can be explained by pointing out that, without the slugging portion, Barry Bonds, Babe Ruth and Ted Williams would have among the highest Glenn Gulliver scores of all time.)

Anyway, that’s the “right” way to do it, but you can do essentially the same thing by just doing On Base Percentage minus batting average, divided by OPS. That’s easier, and it’s the same thing except that it counts a hit batsman as a walk, which is OK; I am certain that Glenn Gulliver wouldn’t mind.

The highest Glenn Gulliver scores ever for a regular player are by a 19th century player named Yank Robinson; he had the highest figure ever for a player with 400 plate appearances, .287 in 1890. He hit .229 with no homers, but drew 101 walks in 98 games. Robinson has three of the top five scores of all time, the other two being Jack (Whadda) Crooks in 1892 and Tony Smith in 1910.
The highest Glenn Gulliver score by a regular since 1910 is .252, by Eddie Yost in 1956; Yost hit .232 with 11 homers, but drew 151 walks. The second-highest score since 1910 is actually by Adam Dunn in 2011, the year he hit .159; he drew 75 walks in 122 games and didn’t really do anything else, giving him a Gulliver score of .234. After Dunn and post-1920, we have Floyd Baker, 1948; Maxie Bishop, 1929; Jimmy Wynn, 1976; Rickey Henderson, 1996; Wes Westrum, 1951; Bud Harrelson, 1974; Cal Abrams, 1955; Max Bishop again, 1927; Gene Tenace, 1980; Donie Bush, 1912; Charlie Gehringer, 1941; Roy Cullenbine, 1947; Bill North, 1978; Harlond Clift, 1945; Eddie Yost, 1955; and Eddie Joost, 1947.

Those are the regulars. The highest score by a player with 100 plate appearances, since 1950, is .363, by John Jaha in 2000; Jaha hit .175 but drew a walk a game. Following Jaha: Dick Howser in 1968, JC Martin in 1970, Tim Blackwell in 1979.

If we go down to 40 plate appearances to make Colin Walsh eligible, your guy Walsh is actually 7th on the list. A fella named Eugenio Velez with the Dodgers in 2011 played 34 games and didn’t get a hit, but did draw two walks, giving him a Gulliver score of 1.000, plus I am pretty sure that “Eugenio” is a girl’s name. He is followed by Corky Miller, 2004 (.777; Corky is also a girl’s name), Phil Gagliano, 1974 (.703). . . whereas Walsh had 4 hits and 15 walks in 63 plate appearances, Gagliano had 15 walks in just 46 plate appearances, with just two hits. Anyway, 4th place on this list is Sammy Strang, 1908, .606, then Will Sawyer, 1883, .580, Frank Hemphill, 1906, .571, and Colin Walsh, 2016, .548.

Glenn Gulliver, in his two seasons in the majors, had scores of .257 and .198, whereas the average score is .105. The .257 in 1982 is five points higher than the highest figure by a regular in the last 100 years, .252 by Eddie Yost.

Career numbers. . .the highest scores for a player with 10,000 plate appearances are .149 (Rickey Henderson), .147 (Joe Morgan), and .143 (Darrell Evans), which means that, to have a career THAT long, you have do something other than draw lots of walks. (The lowest score for a player with 10,000 plate appearances is .044, Bill Buckner.)

If we go down to 9,000 plate appearances, the answer is Eddie Yost, .183, with Henderson still in second place at .149. Which answers your question: There is no other Eddie Yost in baseball history. He’s the only one. If we go down to 8,000 plate appearances, Henderson drops to third, as Donie Bush joins the list at .161; Bush and Maxie Bishop are the closest you can come to Yost. If we go down to 7,000 at bats, it is still Yost-Bush-Henderson, although Adam Dunn is in a virtual tie with Henderson at .149.

6,000 plate appearances, you start to hit other guys; the list changes to Yost-Eddie Joost-Miller Huggins-Roy Thomas-Donie Bush.
5,000 plate appearances, and Maxie Bishop actually takes over the lead, with a score of .193, followed by the Brat, Eddie Stanky, a .187, then Yost, .183, Gene Tenace, .179, and Joost, .169. 4,000 plate appearances, Yank Robinson takes over the lead, also at .193, but a higher .193 than Bishop; otherwise the list doesn’t change. 3,000 at bats, Jack Crooks takes over the lead, .205, followed by Eddie Lake, .196, then Robinson, Bishop and Stanky, but an active player now appears on the list in 15th place, Chris Iannetta at .157, just ahead of Roy Cullenbine. Very surprised by that; I didn’t realize Iannetta walks that much.

2,000 plate appearances, the only change to the top 5 is Wes Westrum bumping Stanky from the fifth spot, at .191; I think Stanky and Westrum were teammates for a couple of years.

1,000 plate appearances, Lance Blankenship comes onto the list in second place, at .198.

Well, finally, if you get down to 200 plate appearances so that Glenn Gulliver is eligible, Glenn Gulliver is in 4th place among players who have played in the last 100 years. In the last 100 years, the top four are 1) Dick Smith, a 1950s Pirates player who played in five seasons despite a .134 batting average, 2. Billy Holm, a wartime .156 hitter, 3. Tom Burgess, a 34-year-old expansion player from 1962, and 4. Glenn Gulliver. Dick Smith has a Glenn Gulliver score of .311; Gulliver, of .243.

2:41 PM Jan 30th
 
Fireball Wenz
That method puts Schofield at 389. He had three seasons as a starter in the mid-1960s that spoiled it for him.
1:53 PM Jan 30th
 
Fireball Wenz
Ducky Schofield comes to mind - 19 years, 1321 games.
1:45 PM Jan 30th
 
rwarn17588
I just looked up Colin Walsh on Baseball Reference. If I were a GM, I'd give him a helluva lot more of a chance in the big leagues than just a cup of coffee. He draws walks like crazy wherever he goes. His lifetime on-base percentage in the minors is .393.

Does Walsh have any big discrepancies I'm overlooking that would make a big-league team reluctant to play him?
12:53 PM Jan 30th
 
hotstatrat
Lou Klimchock first reached the Majors at 18 and did not have any seasons completely with his Major League team. What you have there is a 12 year replacement level player: -2.8 brWAR or -3.0 fgWAR over his entire career.
12:16 PM Jan 30th
 
hotstatrat
Thanks.

Just for fun, four back-up utility infielders (is that a redundancy?) with long careers spring to my mind. Two are from my childhood and two are more recent players:
Dick Tracewski 1962-1969 8 years 614 games = 106
Chico Ruiz 1964-1971 8 years 565 games = 155
John McDonald 1999-2014 16 years 1100 games = 340
Ramon Santiago 2002-2014 13 years 920 games = 250

The Tom Prince score rewards long careers with few games. What if we just want to know who spent the most years in the Majors as a back-up?

I see that it would be difficult to identify back-up seasons unless you had complete accurate information on a player’s injuries.

Then there is the problem of handling time in the minors. I can easily rationalize ignoring mid career send-downs, but John McDonald, for example, had mere call-ups his first three years. Is it satisfying to consider those years and games? (It might not be worth the effort to consider them.)
12:06 PM Jan 30th
 
therevverend
300 HRs 500 doubles is quite a bit for just a high average hitter. Edgar hit cleanup in all his big seasons, went over 100 RBIs 6 times. Not exactly a Rod Carew, Tony Gwyn type 'hitter'. You 'slug' in runs don't you? Nobody sprayed line drives deep into the gaps like Edgar. Seeing Ichiro next to him you knew which was which.
In '96 Edgar was on fire, on pace to pass Earl Webb's record of 66 doubles. In late July, for mysterious reasons, Pinella decided to play him at 3rd base. He'd played 1st base a couple times but not 3rd. DHing full time.
Dan Wilson was benched, must have been a Sunday. So John Marzano was catching. There was an infield fly between 3rd and home, batter automatically out. Marzano and Martinez stumble after it like drunken sailors.
Martinez gets under it, calls it. Then staggers. Marzano races in at the last moment and collides his gigantic head into Martinez's knee. Edgar missed almost a month, never ran the same again. And we could forget about the doubles record.
11:58 AM Jan 30th
 
OldBackstop
HeyBill, While you have the window open, how about the top list with non-catchers?

I'll bet there are stories there....phenoms with a long string of injuries....

Interesting article....catchers are the long snappers of baseball....
11:58 AM Jan 30th
 
kimchi
Now that we have the long-awaited "David Ross Score", how about a "Glenn Gulliver Score".
Gulliver"s skills, such as they were, appealed to my favorite all-time manager, Earl Weaver. Basically, all Glenn did well was draw walks.
I mention this because my Braves now have the reincarnation of Glenn G., Colin Walsh.
Check out his numbers, especially pinch-hitting. Last year, 1-for-17, but 10 walks. BA of zero-something, but an OBP over .400!
Gulliver had only 2 years in MLB, and Walsh may not get much more than that. Other than long-time regulars like Eddie Yost, have there been any guys make a long career out of nothing but drawing walks?
8:05 AM Jan 30th
 
cderosa
For Martinez, neither "slugger" nor "hitter" does it for me.

To me, he was "Edgar the Hammer."
7:14 AM Jan 30th
 
 
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