By Jason Wojciechowski on July 11, 2014 at 10:52 AM
Coco Crisp has shot up the leaderboard since the last time I updated.
Career bWAR: 30.7
Tied with: Billy Jurges, Greg Vaughn
Next up: Harry Steinfeldt
Andrew McCutchen is also sort of "next up" but not meaningfully -- the Pirates wonder has passed Crisp on the career leaderboard despite playing just six seasons so far (to Crisp's 13), so he's obviously accumulating WAR at a much faster rate than Crisp is and, while you never know what'll happen over a week or two, in any meaningfully long sample, McCutchen's going to outdistance Crisp as they travel up the board.
On the way from 30.1 to 30.7, by the way, and into the Top 500 (woo), Crisp passed:
- Brian Roberts, still technically active but unlikely to re-pass Crisp
- Gary Matthews (the older one)
- Ginger Beaumont, an outfielder who started his career in 1899, played mostly for the Pirates, and was the leadoff hitter in Game 1 of the 1903 World Series (i.e. the first World Series). The opposing pitcher for the Bostom Americans was Cy Young
- Shane Victorino, who may or may not re-pass Crisp
- Mike Smith, an outfielder who also pitched a little and whose career ended in 1901. His real name is Elmer Ellsworth Smith. I have no idea why he's listed as "Mike." He also pitched some early in his career, but this WAR is his position-player WAR
- Mike Hargrove, who is better known today as a manager, but who began as the Human Rain Delay as a batter. He led the league twice in walks and once in OBP. His real first name is Dudley
- Hal Trosky, who was born in Norway, Iowa and played first base for Cleveland from 1933 to 1941. He was born "Trojovsky" and led the league in total bases in 1936, beating Lou Gehrig by two and topping other such luminaries as his teammate Earl Averill, Jimmie Foxx, and Joe DiMaggio
- Chris Speier, who played 19 years as an infielder, ending in 1989. He made three All-Star teams early in his career but was a defense-first guy with little stick thereafter
- Sherm Lollar, a catcher, mostly for the White Sox, from 1946 to 1963. He actually made seven All-Star teams and was an above-average hitter for his career (104 OPS+)
- Arlie Latham, The Freshest Man on Earth. Coco Crisp has more bWAR than the Freshest Man on Earth. Superb.
- Eddie Joost, who debuted in 1936, but didn't really get going until 1947, when he was 31. He made All-Star teams at 33 and 36 and somehow finished 11th in the MVP voting in 1947 while leading the league in both strikeouts and sacrifice bunts
As for who Crisp is tied with now, you know Greg Vaughn, the Brewers slugger who bashed 169 homers in Milwaukee before moving on to stops in San Diego, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, and Colorado as his career petered out. Well, no, that's not fair -- Vaughn's career year came at age 32, as a Padre, when he had a 156 OPS+ and won a Silver Slugger. A fifth of his career WAR came from that season. He is Mo Vaughn's cousin.
Billy Jurges is probably less familiar. The New Yorker was a shortstop for the Cubs and New York Giants from 1931 to 1947. He played through the war years -- he was already 33 in 1941, so maybe he was too old or had something wrong with him such that he avoided a military stint. According to his SABR Bio, he's actually notable for a variety of reasons, including that a shooting incident with a showgirl may have been a partial inspiration for Bernard Malamud's "The Natural" and that a beaning in the head in 1940 began the process that eventually led to mandatory batting helmets. He was also the manager of the Red Sox (and had been so for all of three weeks) when Pumpsie Green debuted for the team, finally "completing," in a sense, baseball's integration. Boston had been the last team not to have a black player on their team.