erik lundegaard

Wednesday September 18, 2019

Baseball Team WAR: The Quiz

Over the weekend I did a deep dive into the team pages of Baseball Reference. I like their team pages. At the top, they list all the numbers retired by that team (Mariners have two, Edgar and Junior, while the Yankees lead the pack with 22, which I won't bother to list here), as well as the best players in that franchise's history by bWAR (Wins Above Replacement as calculated by Baseball Reference). Babe Ruth, for example, is tops on the Yankees team page, but not with his overall WAR (182.4), just the WAR he accumulated with the Yankees (142.6). The rest he accumulated with the Boston Red Sox as both hitter and pitcher (19.3 and 20.6), and with the Boston Braves in his final truncated season after the Yankees cut him loose (-0.1).

You get the idea. 

Anyway, I was on one team's page and I was surprised by who led that team in WAR. It was an active players for original-16 team. It made me wonder how many active players have accumulated the most WAR in their team's history.

That's the thought that led to the deep dive. It also led to these trivia questions. I‘ll post answers tomorrow. 

  1. Two active players lead their current team’s all-time WAR chart—meaning, in theory, they‘re the most valuable player that team has ever had. One of them is Mike Trout with the Angels. Who is the other?
    1. HINT: It’s an NL team.
    2. HINT: He made his MLB debut in 2008.
  2. Two other active players are the all-time WAR leaders for an MLB team but not the one they‘re currently playing for. Name them.
    1. HINT: One started in the AL, won rookie of the year, and now plays for an NL team.
    2. HINT: The other started in the NL, was a recent MVP, and now plays for an AL team. 
  3. Which player in baseball history accumulated the most WAR for one team?
    1. HINT: The franchise is no longer in the same city, nor has the same name, as when he pitched for them.
  4. Which player has the most overall WAR without making the top 5 for any one team?
    1. HINT: He played for three teams—all in the American League.
    2. HINT: I once had a memorable run-in with him. Well, memorable to me. 
  5. Thirty-one players in baseball history have accumulated 100+ WAR but only 15 managed to do so for one team. Which team has the most such 100+ WAR players?
    1. HINT: It's not the Yankees.
    2. HINT: They switched cities in the 20th century. 
  6. This is a bit tough and convoluted. If you count the top 5 players in terms of WAR for each of the 30 MLB franchises—so 150 slots in all—only two names appear twice. One has the fourth-most WAR for one team and fifth-most for another. The second player has the most WAR for one franchise and the fifth-most for another. Name them.
    1. HINT: One player began his career in the first decade of the 20th century, and the other ended his career in the first decade of the 21st century.
    2. HINT: The modern player is a pitcher.
  7. Which player has the highest WAR for any expansion franchise?
    1. The team is tied for the most World Series titles by any expansion franchise.
  8. Here's a few for the Yankee fans and/or haters: Of the 22 numbers the team has retired, and excluding managers (Billy, Casey, Torre), who accumulated the least amount of WAR while in pinstripes?
    1. HINT: His number is also retired by another team.
    2. HINT: The two retired numbers aren't the same.  
  9. Now reverse it: Which player accumulated the most amount of WAR for the Yankees but never had their number retired? Who's second?
    1. HINT: The first player's most-used number was retired by the Yankees for another player in the 1970s.
    2. HINT: The second player had to switch numbers when he joined the Yankees, because the iconic number he wore had long been retired by the Yankees. 

See you tomorrow. 

UPDATE: Here are the answers . 

Posted at 01:38 PM on Wednesday September 18, 2019 in category Baseball  
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Twitter: @ErikLundegaard