The great thing about comparing catchers is that we have so much more data available for measuring how good they are at defense. For measuring most players defensively I stick to Range Factor (the average number of putouts plus assists) per nine innings compared to the league average for the position as well as Defensive Wins Above Replacement (henceforth DWAR). The nice thing about these statistics is that they can be compared across all eras (though the method of calculating DWAR changes somewhat as we get closer to the modern era) unlike statistics like Total Zone Runs and Ultimate Zone Rating.
But with catchers we can compare how good they were at throwing out runners, as well as how many passed balls they allowed. This gives a bit better overall picture. Another thing I’m going to do for each position is compare players to the current average hall of famer at their position. I want to hopefully raise the bar for each position, so by choosing players that are at least average and removing the ones below average it’ll be a positive step forward.
And here’s the list of every single candidate I considered, alphabetical by first name. This list contains 37 players that played in the MLB, and three that played in the Negro Leagues. I’m going to reference the “out of the 38” a bunch of times in this piece so remember that’s what I’m talking about. Current hall of famers bolded:
Just for fun, here’s a list of some statistics with the lowest ranking HOFer and highest ranking non HOFer reflected.
|Category||Worst HOFer||Best Outside the Hall|
|WAR||Schalk (28.5)||Torre (57.6)|
|All Star Games||Lombardi (7)||Freehan (11)|
|H+BB||Campanella (1694)||Simmons (3327)|
|HR||Schalk (11)||Parrish (324)|
|BA||Schalk (.253)||Mauer (.308)|
|OBP||Rodriguez (.334)||Schang (.393)|
|SLG||Schalk (.316)||Posey/Posada (.474)|
|OPS+||Schalk (83)||Tenace (136)|
|TB||Schalk (1675)||Simmons (3793)|
|CSvsLgAvg||Piazza (-.08)||Molina (.13)|
|RF/9vsLgAvg||Lombardi (-.2)||Freehan (.51)|
|Gold Gloves||Fisk/Piazza (0)||Molina (8)|
|Silver Sluggers||Parrish (6)|
|Top10 MVP||Ferrell (0)||Mauer (4)|
|Top10 WAR||Schalk/Ferrell (0)||Simmons (5)|
|Top10 OPS||Schalk/Ferrell (0)||Simmons (5)|
The average hall of fame catcher has 52.6 WAR, 2564 H+BB, 221 HR, .288 BA, .361 OBP, .814 OPS, 120 OPS+, 2964 TB, and .04% above average CS%.
When compared against the average hall of famer, a few locks rise above the rest:
Not all of them are better than the average hall of famer in every category, but they are clearly the best catchers in baseball history. I’m not going to spend a bunch of time on any of these guys, since they’re all clearly in.
Then there are a couple of guys that are currently in that should be clearly out.
Schalk is in for his defensive acumen according to his hall of fame plaque, with several of his cohorts saying he was the best catcher of the deadball era. He’s eight percent better than league average at throwing out runners, which is tied for the fifth best out of the 37. He made .06 more putouts and assists per nine innings (Range Factor/9) than the league average, which puts him at eighteenth out of the 37. He does lead all 34 catchers in top ten in the league DWAR, doing so 11 times. That’s two more than the next guy, Gary Carter. But I just don’t see his defense being so valuable to make up for how bad he was on offense. He also fails to reach the 2000 hits plus walks total. My rule (that has almost no exceptions, well, one or two exceptions) is that if an MLB player has fewer than 2000 H+BB they’re out. If they have 4000 or more H+BB, they’re in.
Given Schalk’s very underwhelming offensive numbers, his argument basically comes down to that he threw out 3.6% more baserunners compared to league average than the typical catcher in the hall of fame did. That’s not enough. Ferrell was much stronger offensively but still not great, and was at best the sixth best catcher of the 1930s. As far as I can tell he was mostly inducted because he caught a quartet of knuckleballers at one point in his career. On a possibly related note he led the league in passed balls allowed five times. Ferrell is out as well.
Next up is the biggest Cooperstown omission among all the backstops. Well, kind of. He’s in the hall of fame, but not as a player. That’s right, we’re talking Joe Torre
Joe Torre vs. Carlton Fisk
Torre was primarily a catcher during his career but partway through switched positions. He won an MVP as a third baseman in 1971. Due in part to the positional switch Fisk enjoys a significant advantage in WAR, since he was a catcher throughout his whole career. Fisk played for longer, and Torre was better at his best, especially given that he played in a more pitching dominant era.
As you can see Torre was actually ok at throwing out runners. And while that’s a big part of catching, it’s not all of it. The wear and tear gets to a lot of players later in their careers, and Torre didn’t help his cause with the rest of his defense either. His Range Factor/9 was .43 below the league average. Torre had some other fairly run of the mill numbers (for a hall of fame catcher) with four Top 10 OPS seasons and three seasons in the top 10 for WAR amongst position players. He was dynamite in that 71 season too, it was a very deserved MVP. He led the league in batting average (.363), total bases (352), hits (230), and RBI (137).
Fisk’s numbers are fairly comparable to Torre’s, but the greater longevity gives him a leg up in some career numbers. Amongst the 34 catchers he’s third in home runs (behind only Bench and Piazza) and second in total bases, trailing only Ivan Rodriguez. Oh, and one time during the World Series he waved at a baseball and it did what he wanted. Meanwhile Torre never had a single at bat in the playoffs.
Fisk was elected to the HOF with 79.6% in 2000, his second year of eligibility. Torre never got more than 22% of the vote. Is Fisk actually better than Torre? I would give him a slight edge, since he logged so much more time at catcher, no easy task. I’m not trying to set this up as a choice between the two though. I think both Torre and Fisk are pretty clear hall of famers. They’re not shoe ins like the first set, but they belong in Cooperstown.
That was kind of anticlimactic, so let’s just speed up the boring part and name two guys that are in Cooperstown who pretty clearly belong there as well.
Gary Carter and Bill Dickey, Come on Down!
You could quibble and say that Carter’s BA/OBP/OPS isn’t good enough, but he did finish top ten in the league for OPS three times, and had nine top ten appearances in WAR for position players. That’s more top ten WAR appearances than any other catcher, Bench is next with eight. Carter is in for sure.
Currently there are 18 catchers in the hall. I’m looking to pare that down just a bit. We’ve removed two, and added one, with nine total confirmed so far. Next up is the hometown boy.
Joe Mauer vs. Mickey Cochrane
Mauer and Cochrane had remarkably similar careers given how far apart they played. Both were MVP winning catchers that were great hitters that drew walks without a lot of power. Both suffered significant injuries relatively late in their careers, after they’d essentially already made their hall of fame case. Mauer’s caused him to move to first base where he wouldn’t be as productive with his bat, especially compared to other first basemen. Cochrane suffered a head injury during the 1937 season and never played again. By that point he was already 34 years old and was coming off one of the worst seasons of his career in 1936. 1936 saw his lowest OPS+ and TB in ten years. He’d had a good opening month in 1937 but was clearly on the downside of his career.
On their own Cochrane’s numbers look considerably more impressive but given that he played in the hitting boom of the late 20s and early 30s they’re really about on par with one another. There are a few points in Cochrane’s favor. He has two MVPs to Mauer’s one. Though oddly neither of Cochrane’s MVP seasons were in his top five seasons statistically. Cochrane also appeared in the top ten in the league for OPS six times compared to Mauer’s four, and in the top ten in the league for WAR seven times, again to Mauer’s four appearances. Only Buck Ewing had more top ten appearances in OPS among catchers than Cochrane did. And only Gary Carter and Johnny Bench had more top ten appearances in WAR.
That said, Mauer’s peak value was clearly higher than Cochrane’s. Cochrane only ever led the league in a statistical category once, with his .459(!) OBP in 1933. Mauer led the league in OBP twice, BA three times, CS% twice, and OPS, OPS+, and SLG once (yes those last three were all in 2009).
I’d give Cochrane the slight edge here, but that just goes to show how deserving Mauer is of being in the hall. Most people consider Cochrane one of the greatest catchers ever. Yes, Cochrane had his career cut short due to injury while Mauer extended his by switching to first base. And Mauer undoubtedly provided less value at first than he did at catcher. Since he switched away from being a full time catcher after 2013 Mauer’s BA is just .277 with a .361 OBP. He’s averaged just 2.3 WAR per season in that time frame. That’s compared to 4.8 WAR per season from 2005-2013 and a .323 BA with a .406 OBP.
But despite all of that Mauer still has a higher career WAR than Cochrane. He wouldn’t have gotten there without his four above average seasons at first, but those above average seasons still count for something. If Mauer doesn’t get into the hall it’ll probably be for the dumb reason of his career lingering on for too long and people remembering the pretty good but not great first basemen rather than the transcendent catcher.
From 2005-2013 Mauer was more than just the best catcher in baseball. He was an all time great. He had 42.8 WAR during that nine season span. That’s better than the best nine year stretch that Torre, Fisk, or Dickey ever had, and just .4 WAR behind Berra’s best nine year stretch. And that’s not me cherry picking a time frame for Mauer either, that’s essentially just his entire career at catcher.
Joe Mauer and Mickey Cochrane are not top five all time catchers. But unless that’s your standard for hall of fame they both deserve to be there.
Yadier Molina is tough to evaluate because I’m not sure what the bar is for a player like him getting into the hall of fame. The catchers that got into the hall with the best defensive reputations are Ray Schalk, Ivan Rodriguez, Roy Campanella, and maybe Johnny Bench. Molina is more deserving than Schalk but that’s not the bar. Rodriguez has more hits than any catcher ever, won an MVP, and is an undisputed top five catcher all time. Roy Campanella had a very brief MLB career but for a few years was one the top five players in the game. And Johnny Bench is the greatest MLB catcher of all time.
The underlying question here is how much does defense really matter? Is it more important for a shortstop than a catcher? How much better do you have to be defensively to get into the hall?
Among the 37 catchers considered only Ivan Rodriguez and Roy Campanella were better at throwing runners out than Yadier, who is 13% better than average over the course of his career. The next closest non hall of famer on that list is Bob Boone at 7%, followed by a bunch more at 6%. Range Factor/9 isn’t a point in Yadier’s favor though, with his RF/9 .26 below the league average. Despite that (and driven by his strong CS%) Molina finished in the top ten in DWAR six times in his career. That said both Jim Sundberg and Bob Boone finished in the top ten for DWAR more than Yadier did. Plus, Molina was never able to crack the top ten in WAR, which factors in DWAR. The only catchers with more gold gloves than Yadier are Rodriguez and Bench, though Molina’s eight gold gloves are just one ahead of number four on the list, Bob Boone, with Sundberg one behind him.
But Bob Boone was not a good hitter, he was around Ray Schalk level. And while Sundberg was better, he still wasn’t as good as Molina. Schalk and Ferrell are the only catchers with a lower OPS+ in the hall than Yadier. But if you compare Molina to someone like Ozzie Smith, another defensive specialist, it looks pretty good for Yadier in some ways. Their OBP’s are basically the same, Yadier has a 98 OPS+ compared to Ozzie’s 87. Ozzie’s career high in OPS+ is 112, from 1991 when he hit .285 with a .380 OBP, .747 OPS with three homers. Compare that to Molina’s best offensive output, which was from 2012 when he had a 137 OPS+. Yadier hit .315, with a .373 OBP, .874 OPS and 22 HR. There’s no doubt amongst the two defensive specialists that Molina was a superior hitter.
But catchers aren’t shortstops. Talk about throwing out runners and pitch framing all you want but most baseball people would tell you shortstop is the most important defensive position and they’d be right. And Molina still can’t touch someone like Ozzie in career value. Molina has 2185 H+BB. Ozzie had 3532. Molina has 8 Gold Gloves. Ozzie had 13. And his 76.5 WAR is more than double Yadier’s. It’s a fun comparison, but it really is apples and oranges.
As it stands right now I wouldn’t put Yadier in the hall. He’s still got time left and there are plenty of less deserving players in Cooperstown, but if we’re trying to raise the bar he’s a casualty of that effort.
Remember when I said that to be in the hall you had to have at least 2000 H+BB? Well, Roy Campanella is the exception that proves the rule.
Campanella didn’t debut in the major leagues until he was 26 years old. But if it hadn’t been for the color barrier he certainly would have hit the ground running sooner. From 1938-1946 Campanella was the catcher for the Baltimore Elite Giants in the Negro Leagues. By the time he was a full time starter in the MLB in 1949 Campanella was already one of the best, if not the best, catcher in the game. If he’d gotten the chance to break into the MLB sooner, he would have started putting up monster numbers even earlier in his career.
There are only four catchers in MLB history that have won two MVP awards. Johnny Bench, Mickey Cochrane, Yogi Berra, and Roy Campanella. Pretty good company. Berra and Campanella are the only ones of that crew to win three.
Berra actually came into the league around the same time as Campanella, making his debut in 1946. From 1948-1955 Campanella was at least as good, if not better, than Yogi.
Not only did Campanella throw out 10% more runners trying to steal than Berra did, he made a lot more plays in the field. Campanella’s range factor per nine innings was .81 better than the league average. To provide some perspective, the hall of fame average is .26 and the next best among the 37 is Buck Ewing at .6. Ebbets Field did have more foul territory than most ballparks at the time, but the other Brooklyn catchers of that era didn’t approach Campanella’s kind of range.
Campanella’s career ended after 1957 at age 36 when he was paralyzed in a car accident. Realistically though at that point Campanella had already established his greatness and had actually started to fade. From 1956-1957 his OPS+ was just 85 and he wasn’t the player he used to be. Campanella’s career was shorter than it should have been, but the value missed was on the front end, not the back.
I think Campanella belongs in the hall. I tend to value peak value more than career value anyhow, and it’s not his fault some of his prime years were spent outside the MLB due to institutionalized racism.
Ted Simmons vs. Gabby Hartnett
Ted Simmons is in many ways the opposite of Campanella. Campanella had two seasons with a WAR higher than 6, Simmons never did. Out of the 37 catchers Campanella only had more H+BB than two (Walker Cooper and Buster Posey) but only one (Ivan Rodriguez) had more H+BB than Simmons. Only Rodriguez and Fisk have more TB than Simmons. But what makes Ted Simmons anything other than a Harold Baines level player behind the plate? At his best Simmons was a great catcher, it seems like he just got lost in the shadow of Johnny Bench.
Simmons and Bench overlapped for a lot of their careers, both playing in the national league. Simmons never had a season with six or more WAR, but he had four seasons with over five. And if you look at his numbers, he looks almost exactly like the average hall of famer but with more longevity. If he’d retired after 1983 (he had one sub replacement level season as a starter and a few as a backup until retiring after 1988) his numbers would line up with the average hall of famer near perfectly.
One funny thing about Simmons is how often he was intentionally walked. The Cardinals had some decent with Simmons as the backstop but topped out at 90 wins and never made the playoffs with him on the roster. So the lack of help probably had something to do with it, but Simmons led the league in IBB twice. Only Willie McCovey was walked intentionally more times in the 70s then Simmons was. That means Simmons had more intentional walks than guys like Johnny Bench, Rod Carew, Reggie Jackson, Joe Morgan, or Mike Schmidt during the 70s. Not that second in IBB during the 70s makes him a hall of famer, but it’s interesting.
Gabby surpasses Simmons by just a bit except in the counting statistics. The biggest knock on Hartnett is that he’s only the fourth best catcher of the 1930s. You’ve got to put Josh Gibson, Mickey Cochrane, and Bill Dickey ahead of him in my opinion. But he’s not far off some of those guys. The biggest distinguishing factor is how much better Hartnett was at throwing out runners, 12% better than the league average and he led the league in CS% six times.
You could make the argument that Simmons should be ahead of Hartnett given the longevity and that he was generally able to stay healthier year to year. But it’s not like Hartnett had a short career or missed a bunch of games. Hartnett was better defensively and even if he played in an era with a bizarrely high number of great catchers I don’t think you can punish him too much for that. I’d give Hartnett the slight nod over Simmons. And given the current constitution of the hall, Simmons belongs. In my hall of fame they’re both in too, though Simmons isn’t a complete slam dunk.
Ernie Lombardi vs. Jorge Posada
The fifth best catcher of the 1930s vs. one of the “core four.” I’d always assumed when Posada came up for election to the Hall he would enjoy an undeserved amount of support due to his time on the Yankees. But when he came on the ballot in 2017 he got just 3.8%, dropping off immediately. I was wrong.
I was also wrong in thinking that he didn’t have a credible case for getting into the hall. Posada was great at getting on base, had some pop in his bat, and played a pivotal role on some great Yankee teams. He was a bit below average defensively, but not so much that he was a liability. Basically a watered down Mike Piazza.
Posada won five silver sluggers. There was a brief window after Ivan Rodriguez and Mike Piazza had fallen off before Joe Mauer took off where Posada was arguably the best catcher in the MLB (apologies to Victor Martinez and AJ Pierzynski, who didn’t provide a lot of competition).
But it’s hard for me to get too excited about Posada as a hall candidate. He didn’t put up the kind of career numbers to rival someone like Ted Simmons. He didn’t have the peak of a Roy Campanella or Joe Mauer. It’s true that he was part of some great teams and had almost a whole other seasons worth of at bats in the playoffs. It’s also true that his OPS was over 100 points lower in the playoffs compared to the regular season.
Ernie Lombardi is in a similar boat. On offense he was comparable to Posada. It’s true that Lombardi has over a career .300 BA. Among the 37 only five had a higher BA, three are in the hall and the other two are Joe Mauer and Buster Posey, both of whom may be headed to Cooperstown. But Lombardi played in the hitting happy 1930s.
There are some ways in which Lombardi stood out a lot more than Posada. Lombardi won an MVP. He had a top ten OPS four times. The only other players among the 37 with that combination are Torre, Mauer, Hartnett, Bench, Campanella, and Cochrane. Not bad company.
It’s also true that Lombardi led the league in passed balls nine times. You read that right, nine times! It’s hard for me to believe that he was an especially great catcher if he led the league in passed balls nine times. He was also so slow that infields played him extremely deep, knowing that he was unlikely to beat out a throw. He once joked that given how far into the outfield Brooklyn’s shortstop Pee Wee Reese played he thought Reese was the center fielder.
Like Posada, Lombardi’s numbers line up close to the average catcher in Cooperstown. On the plus side he won that MVP and was consistently a strong hitter in the league. On the other hand he was a bad catcher that was at best the fifth best catcher in baseball during his prime. I’d give Lombardi the slight edge over Posada. But given the small hall approach I’m taking, I’d leave both out.
Buck Ewing vs. Roger Bresnehan
Welcome to the dumbest part of this post. Ewing and Bresnehan are the earliest catchers in the hall of fame, so it kind of makes sense to compare them. Ewing played in an era where you could be an everyday players for 10+ years straight and never play 120 games in a season. Bresnehan played in an era in which you could hit ten home runs and lead the league.
Bresnehan got on base more but unlike Ewing he was mostly incapable of hitting for power. And when I say power I’m setting the bar lower than home runs, I’m talking about doubles. In fairness he did eclipse the all important 20+ doubles in a season landmark four times in his career, and even once hit 30.
Bresnehan was the catcher to popularize wearing shin guards, which is nice but not really hall worthy. His most compelling case for the hall of fame is probably what led to him becoming a catcher in the first place. According to his hall of fame bio, this is how the story goes:
As a pitcher, Bresnahan was displeased with the Orioles’ backup receivers, leading manager John McGraw to ask if Bresnahan wanted to catch. From that day on, Bresnahan was a catcher.
Ewing on the other hand finished in the top ten for OPS eight times! That’s more than any other catcher in the history of the game! Of course it’s easier to finish in the top ten for OPS when there are only ten batters in the whole league. While there were a few more than ten batters in the league when Ewing played, it’s fair to say the competition was not as deep or stiff.
That said, most of Ewing’s contemporaries and the players that immediately came after him point to him not only as the best catcher of his time, but one of the best players of the 19th century.
So who’s in? Well, I do have that (only somewhat) arbitrary line of hall of famers needing at least 2000 H+BB. So let’s put Ewing in and keep Bresnehan out. Who cares if one barely missed that line and the other barely cleared it?
Gene Tenace vs. Bill Freehan
In many ways Gene Tenace and Bill Freehan have polar opposite arguments for the hall of fame. Freehan was a highly acclaimed catcher in his time that was praised for doing all the little things right that make a player great. Tenace struggled to hold down a job, but looking back at his body of work has a surprisingly compelling case.
More than anything, what stands out about Freehan’s case is the all star appearances. Here’s a list of every player in the history of the game that’s not in the hall to be named an all star 11 seasons or more:
Pete Rose (banned because he gambled on the game)
Barry Bonds (steroid allegations)
Alex Rodriguez (steroid allegations and not yet eligible)
Derek Jeter (not yet eligible)
Mark McGwire (steroid allegations)
Manny Ramirez (steroid allegations)
Miguel Cabrera (not yet eligible)
Roger Clemens (steroid allegations)
Mariano Rivera (not yet eligible)
One of these names is not like the other. That’s a list of all time greats that either aren’t in because they’re not yet eligible, or aren’t in because they pulled some shady shit. And then there’s Bill Freehan, 11 time all star.
Freehan finished 2nd in MVP voting in 1968, catching Denny McClain’s 31 win season and getting a world series ring with the Detroit Tigers. He had a WAR of 7. He won a gold glove every year from 1965-1969. If you’re going to have a discussion of “who was the best catcher of the 1960s?” it comes down to Freehan and Joe Torre.
But that’s the thing. Part of the reason Freehan had so many all star appearances is because there wasn’t much competition. He’s below average in almost every significant category compared to the average hall of fame catcher. The only statistic he scores well in is RF/9, with a .51 compared to a .26. Obviously that speaks to how well he fielded his position, but for a catcher the more important fielding statistic has to be CS% compared to league average. And in that regard Freehan was very average.
Another thing that separates Freehan from other “best at their position of” whatever time they played in is that his peak just wasn’t as long or as high as the other players that make that case. In 1967 and 1968 he had an OPS+ above 140, but those were the only seasons in his career he was above 126.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is Gene Tenace. Tenace was only named to one all star team. He was nobody’s idea of the consummate catcher. He did win World Series MVP in 1972, when he batted .348 with four home runs and an OPS of 1.313 but that was really his only moment in the sun. When he first came up for election to the hall of fame in 1989 he got two tenths of one percent of the vote.
But looking at his stats now he looks like one of the best catchers of his era. He led the league in walks twice. He has the second highest OPS+ of all the catchers considered here, behind only Mike Piazza. He’s fourth in OBP, behind only Mickey Cochrane, Joe Mauer, and Wally Schang. Among his full time seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances) his OPS+ never fell below 130. And he wasn’t bad at throwing runners out either, though his RF/9 is a pretty rough -.25, lower than any hall of fame catcher.
The question with Tenace is if he played long enough to be considered hall of fame material. Unlike someone like Roy Campanella, Tenace’s numbers for when he was at his peak aren’t so jaw dropping that you have to let him in. I have Tenace on the outside looking in too.
Josh Gibson, Louis Santop and Biz Mackey
These are three Negro League catchers. Josh Gibson is very well known (the “Black Babe Ruth”) so it goes without saying he’s in. Santop was the best negro league catcher of the 1910s and Mackey was the best negro league catcher of the 1920s. Bizarrely Mackey actually took over for Santop as the starting catcher for the Hilldale Daisies after Santop committed an error in the 1924 Colored World Series.
I covered this in the intro but thought I’d just reiterate it here. I don’t like talking about statistics of negro league players, because they’re often incomplete and unreliable. What is the perspective when given a number like a .470 batting average for Louis Santop one season? It’s not directly comparable to major league numbers.
But at the same time the best of these players were as good or better than the best major leaguers. I don’t think that can really be disputed. Negro League teams frequently won exhibitions against major league all star teams. Numerous MLB stars raved about some of the players in the Negro Leagues. And once black players were allowed to enter the game, they quickly became some of the best in the league.
My point is, it’s not like negro league players are overrepresented in the hall of fame. If anything they’re still underrepresented. I have a hard time believing that there should be more white catchers from the pre-integration era in the hall of fame than black catchers. And with that both Santop and Mackey are in.
When all is said and done he should be headed to the hall, but given how much of his career is left I don’t want to judge it quite yet.
And voila, we have seventeen hall of fame catchers!
From an era balance perspective we’re doing ok here, though not great. The bizarre amazing catcher revolution of the 1930s makes it look a little weird, but here’s a decade by decade breakdown.
And how are we doing compared to the average hall of famer? Currently in the hall the average hall of fame catcher has 52.6 WAR, 2564 H+BB, 221 HR, .288 BA, .361 OBP, .814 OPS, 120 OPS+, 2964 TB, and .04% above average CS%.
The new average hall of famer has 57.5 WAR, 2785 H+BB, 264 HR, .292 BA, .362 OBP, .833 OPS, 124 OPS+, 3317 TB, and still .04% above average CS%. In fact the only measurable dips are in DWAR Top Ten appearances (from 3.3 to 2.9) and RF/9 compared to league average, from .26 to .21.
See, improving the hall of fame is easy if I’m just allowed to do it by fiat!
First basemen are next, though it might be a while.