By In Stuff

Talkin’ Postseason Stats

Something weird came up the other day in Denver. You probably know that Peyton Manning threw seven touchdown passes — first time anyone has done that in the NFL in 44 years. You might also know that Manning set or tied three fairly substantial quarterback records along the way.

When he threw his fourth TD pass of the game, he tied the NFL record for most 4-TD games. He and Brett Favre have 23.

When he threw his fifth TD pass of the game, he tied the NFL record for most 5-TD games. He and Drew Brees have seven.

When he threw his sixth TD pass of the game, he set the NFL record for most 6-TD games. Manning now has three of them.

The overall takeaway from this is that Peyton Manning has thrown A LOT of touchdown passes in his brilliant career, but a few people made the point that Manning did not actually SET the NFL record for six-touchdown games. He only tied it. Tom Brady also has three of those games. And they are right. Brady threw six touchdown passes against Miami in 2007, he did it again against Tennessee in 2009, and he did it a third time against Denver in 2012. Really, no matter how you count ‘em, it comes up three games.

Except it doesn’t.

The Denver game was in the playoffs. So it doesn’t count in the career stats.

Tom Tango and others have been harping on this lately, and I think they’re right: The way we treat postseason statistics in sports makes little sense. We are a postseason nation. We care way more about playoffs than just about any country in the world. We will call the Seattle Mariners’ extraordinary 116-victory season in 2001 a failure because they lost to the Yankees in a best-of-seven series in the playoffs. We put the New England Patriots remarkable 16-0 season in the discard pile because a guy caught a pass against his helmet and New England lost the Super Bowl. The Atlanta Braves won their division every single year (except the strike year) from 1991 to 2005, one of the most amazing achievements in baseball history, and yet we look at them as an underachiever because they won only one World Series.

And individual achievement? Sure, we think WAY more about what people do in the postseason. Reggie Jackson’s legendary three-home game only mattered because it was in the World Series. People remember Timmy Smith not because he ran for 204 yards in a game (so did, among others, Greg Bell, Greg Pruitt, LeShon Johnson, Frency Fuqua, Tony Collins and Jonathan Stewart … TWICE!) but because he did it in the Super Bowl. Michael Jordan isn’t considered by most to be the greatest basketball player ever because of his 10 scoring titles or career high 30.1 points per game, but because of what he did in the playoffs time and again.

This is who we are. I don’t think we’re ashamed of it. In England, they crown the Premier League champion based on regular season record. In America, we crown our NCAA basketball champion based a single elimination free-for-all every match. It’s in our character.

And yet, we have come on no consensus about postseason statistics and how they should be treated. This is especially true in baseball, where statistics are supposedly sacrosanct. For more than 40 years — until Henry Aaron came along — Babe Ruth’s 714 was perhaps the most hallowed number in all of American sports. That was how many home runs the Sultan of Swat hit. Only … it wasn’t. Those 714 home runs do not even include THE MOST FAMOUS home runs Babe Ruth hit. They do not include his called shot. They do not include the three home runs he hit in Game 4 of the 1926 World Series. They do not include his legendary performance in 1928, when he hit .625 and homered three times in the decisive game.

Babe Ruth his 729 home runs — not 714.

Then again, Henry Aaron hit 761 home runs — not 755.

And Barry Bonds actually hit 771 home runs — not 762.

There seems to be this theory that postseason statistics should be kept separate from the regular season because the postseason is quantifiably different (and not everybody gets a shot at the postseason) — and I can see that argument. But we’re not consistent about it. While Tom Brady’s six-touchdown pass game against Denver is not counted in the stats*, we do tend to count Don Larsen’s World Series perfect game. It’s strange.

*And it was a pivotal game — Brady threw six touchdown passes, New England destroyed Denver, the Broncos realized they could only go so far with Tim Tebow, the Broncos got Peyton Manning …

I think most people would agree that Bill Mazeroski is in the Hall of Fame because he hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history — the walk-off homer that clinched Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. He is not in the Hall of Fame SOLELY because of that home run, no, he might be the best defensive second baseman ever and he hit reasonably well for a second baseman in his time. But, as pointed out before, he and Frank White have virtually identical careers. I think it’s fair to say that without the home run, Maz would not be in the Hall of Fame.

Jack Morris is on the cusp of the Hall of Fame because of his amazing Game 7 in the 1991 World Series. Again, he has other credentials — the 254 regular season wins, the most-wins-in-the-1980s thing, the almost freakish durability, the reputation as a bulldog. But without that Game 7, I believe, he would have fallen off the ballot a long time ago the way Orel Hershiser and David Cone and Kevin Brown and Dave Stieb did.

And yet, at the end, when we separate out their postseason stats, they often just get lost. Curt Schilling’s career has become two totally different sets of numbers, his career stats and his postseason stats, and nobody seems entirely sure how much to weigh each side. It seems kind of ridiculous that these games that people regard as so crucial are not counted when we add up all the statistics at the end of their careers.

In a weird way, I do think football handles the postseason statistics better than baseball because football is not driven by statistics the way baseball is. Football has no magical number like 10,000 career rushing yards or 300 passing touchdowns or 1,000 career receptions. They COULD have those magical numbers — there have been 27 running backs with 10,000 yards, seven quarterbacks with 300 passing touchdowns (John Elway with exactly 300), eight receivers with 1,000 catches (Hines Ward with exactly 1,000) — but football fans are skeptical of any numbers that don’t help their fantasy team. Even Manning’s extraordinary career statistics are looked at unevenly by many people because he has only won one Super Bowl.

But baseball players — at least until the Steroid Era — are often defined by their career numbers. Lou Gehrig hit exactly 493 home runs. Baseball fans know this. But it isn’t true. Gehrig actually hit 503 career home runs. There is absolutely no doubt that Gehrig should be in the 500 homer club — it’s ludicrous that he is not.

Every Tigers fan knows that Al Kaline fell just short of 400 homers, he is credited with 399. But that isn’t true either. He hit three in World Series games, so he actually hit 402 home runs. Every real baseball fan knows that Roberto Clemente finished with exactly 3,000 hits, a heroic number for a true hero, except Clemente actually had 3,034 career hits.

And so on. I am aware, of course, of the arguments against counting postseason statistics in players totals. It’s not fair. Ernie Banks never played in a single postseason game while Derek Jeter has played in 158 of them. Mickey Mantle got 65 World Series games and hit 18 home runs in them.* Ted Williams got seven World Series games and hit 0 homers.

*If you ever want a fun trivia question ask a version of this: What Hall of Famer hit fewer World Series home runs than his namesake? The answer: Willie Mays. He hit one World Series home run. Willie Mays Aikens hit four in the 1980 World Series.

Also, we have just come to think of postseason games as being apart of the regular season. But this is the point. Statistics are just tools to enrich the games. And it’s never a bad idea to look at things from a slightly different angle.

Here, then are a couple of our all-time baseball leader boards re-imagined with postseason statistics included:

Most hits

1. Pete Rose, 4,342

2. Ty Cobb, 4,206

3, Hank Aaron, 3,796

4. Stan Musial, 3,652*

5. Tris Speaker, 3,536

6. Derek Jeter, 3,516

*This does kind of ruin the great Musial statistic of him having 1,815 hits on the road and 1,815 hits at home. In the World Series, Musial had eight hits at home and 14 on the road. However, five of those road hits were in St. Louis against the Browns, so those were sot of home hits as well.

Most home runs

1. Barry Bonds, 771

2. Henry Aaron, 761

3. Babe Ruth, 729

4. Alex Rodriguez, 664

5. Willie Mays, 661

Yes, this way would mean that A-Rod has already passed Willie Mays. So … yeah … ugh.

Postseason adjusted statistics for a few players:

— Jack Morris: 261-190, 3.90 ERA, 29 shutouts, 2,542 Ks, 1,422 walks.

— Andy Pettitte: 274-162, 3.86 ERA, 4 shutouts, 2,612 Ks, 1,101 walks.

— Curt Schilling: 227-148, 3.41 ERA, 22 shutouts, 3,236 Ks, 736 walks.

— John Smoltz: 228-159, 3.29 ERA, 17 shutouts, 3,283 Ks, 1,077 walks, 58 saves.

— Mariano Rivera: 89-61, 2.07 ERA, 691 saves, 1,279 Ks, 307 walks.

— Chipper Jones: .303/.402/.528, 567 doubles, 38 triples, 481 homers, 1,677 runs, 1,670 RBIs.

— Carlos Beltran: .285/.362/.502, 453 doubles, 77 triples, 371 homers, 1,381 runs, 1,343 RBIs, 319 stolen bases, 48 caught stealing.

— MannyBManny: .312/.410/.583, 566 doubles, 20 triples, 584 homers, 1,581 runs, 1,909 RBIs.



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43 Responses to Talkin’ Postseason Stats

  1. Unknown says:

    I would like to imagine that you wrote this because of my tweet about it. I was actually surprised when you mentioned, in some post from a month or two ago, that post season stats aren’t counted in career totals.

    Not because I didn’t know it, of course I knew it, but because I had subconsciously thrown out the idea because it makes so little sense. It actually gets me a little riled up because I have been told about 714, 755, etc. and those are just flat out wrong.

    The sure way to know this – tell any 10 year old about this and they ill immediately turn to their dad and call him a liar.

    • Way too far.

      For most of baseball history, only 2 teams got an opportunity each year to play in the postseason. Some of the all time greats, because of the teams they were on, got little or no postseason experience (Walter Johnson, Ernie Banks, etc.). The 714 and 755 numbers are comparatively equal to the opportunities ALL players got regardless of their teammates.

      Now that 10 out of 30 teams make the postseason each year, it’s less of an issue, but still, compared to other sports, a single player in baseball has less of an ability to carry his team to the postseason than in other sports.

      I think the 729 and 761 numbers have merit to consider. But it adds to the story, not corrects it. It depends on what you want the statistics to do … tell the story of how many times the player hit homeruns that impacted a game, or tell the story of how to compare one player equitably to another.

    • Wilbur says:

      I’m trying to visualize a 10 year-old calling his father a liar.

    • djangoz says:

      The problem is counting stats vs percentage stats.

      I have no problem looking at a player’s OBP or SLG including the playoffs. But more hits, HRs and Wins based on more opportunities seems a bit strange.

    • Unknown says:

      Your argument doesn’t follow. Careers are rife with unequal opportunities. One player played in a post-season, one pitched for a high-scoring team, one hit behind an On-base machine, one got injured, one got called up late, etc.

      Career stats should measure what you did in your career, not what you did for your career except the most-important bits.

      And my 5-year old has no problem calling me out when he thinks I made a mistake, I hope he doesn’t lose it by 10.

    • Devon Young says:

      djangoz – I’m wondering, do you think there should be asterisk by Roger Maris’s 61 HR season? Or Guidry’s 25 W’s in 1978 (since win # 25 came in game 163)?

  2. I think single season stats should only include the 162 game season.

    And I’m ambivalent about career stats including postseason, when so few (especially historically) teams made it there. This isn’t the NBA where every all-time great makes the playoffs practically every year.

    But completely agreed that for single game records, regular season versus postseason should matter diddly squat. Brady has three 6 TD games, Larsen has a perfect game, and so on.

    • Devon Young says:

      What would you do about stats for players from the 154 game season? They’re still 8 games short. Which still leaves things uneven. If it were up to you, would you allow post-season stats from those days, up thru game # 162?

  3. The Crank says:

    Also worth noting that the standard is higher in the postseason. Pitchers facing a higher standard of hitter and vice versa.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Our inconsistency is breathtaking. College football counts conference championship and bowl games in the overall season stats, so sometimes the rushing leader got a chance to play in 2 additional games than the guy in second place. That seems wrong to me. But as far as CAREER numbers go, a career means EVERYTHING and you can’t exclude postseason from someone’s career. Just ridiculous to do so. It’s always irritated me.

  6. The logical follow-up is, which players’ Hall of Fame chances are most helped by this? Looking at Andy Pettitte’s numbers above, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing those again.

  7. nscadu 9 says:

    I like the idea of World Series stats counting, but playoff formats have changed too much to count all the division and championship series, not to mention the extra wild cards.

  8. Aaron Ross says:

    I don’t think that there is an inconsistency to counting playoff stats for HOF consideration but not for “official” stat tallies. When compiling lists of who had the most hits or HRs or whatever, you work with a level playing field for comparison sake. Hence, since not everyone gets into the postseason, that is left out. However, when evaluating a player on his own merits without comparison to others, which is really the heart of HOF voting (yes, I know that we look to see which players are comparable, but that it more setting a standard than it is a direct winner-take-all comparison), then we consider how that player did in every chance that was presented to him. Sometimes it does get a bit silly – Mazeroski and Morris are being helped because of one game. On the other hand, Pettite may certainly be helped by an impressive postseason career.

  9. Devon Young says:

    Tommy John would be credited with 294 W’s… surely he would’ve made him come back to pitch in 1990 for some poor team needing an attendance boost.

  10. Josh Catone says:

    This seems like a flawed rationale:

    “And so on. I am aware, of course, of the arguments against counting postseason statistics in players totals. It’s not fair. Ernie Banks never played in a single postseason game while Derek Jeter has played in 158 of them. Mickey Mantle got 65 World Series games and hit 18 home runs in them.* Ted Williams got seven World Series games and hit 0 homers.”

    Mickey Mantle played 18 seasons. Tedd Williams played 19. Mantle hung up his cleats when he was 36, Williams when he was 41. Williams also lost 3 years to WWII… so did a lot of all-time greats. Should we just knock out 3 years prime years from every player post-WWII since they didn’t have to deal with that?

    Of course not. But it demonstrates that inconsistencies are always there, era to era, player to player, team to team. So the rationale for not counting playoff stats that, “it’s not fair to players who didn’t get to the playoffs,” falls kind of flat.

  11. Frank says:

    Melding post-season stats into regular season stats makes it all the more difficult to compare today’s players with those of earlier eras. Derek Jeter has played in 158 post-season games over 16 years in which the Yankees made the playoffs. That’s 10 extra games per year. So we have to think of Jeter playing 171-game seasons. Talk about needing an asterisk!

    Mickey Mantle played in 65 post-season games over 12 years in which the Yankees made the playoffs. That’s 5½ extra games per year. Many of those came in an era when the regular season was 154 games, so even with the extra games, his seasons are only 159½ games long.

    But most players in Mantle’s era didn’t play in the post-season at all, especially in the American League where the Yankees had hegemony. This further minimizes the accomplishments of good players on bad teams.

    I’m not sure what is motivating this urge to meld the stats. Can’t we think compartmentally anymore? Can’t we appreciate the qualitative difference in post-season / under-pressure performances? I mean if it’s just another home run, then we would just have regular old Frank Baker, and not “Home Run” Baker, a name which fires the imagination.

  12. Hot Cousin says:

    I think that using Derek Jeter’s prolific post-season resume as an example of why it’s unfair to use these stats is a bit off base. He is the greatest outlier in the conversation, why make him the centerpiece of the argument?

  13. invitro says:

    “The way we treat postseason statistics in sports makes little sense.”

    I have no problem saying that Aaron hit 755 HRs. Everyone knows (or really should know) that means regular-season only. Everyone knows or at least suspects he hit more in the postseason. Getting upset about this is just being pedantic, and it’s not worthwhile.

    The real issue, I think, is in measuring a career. Now I think most reasonable, maybe nearly all, consider postseason stats when measuring a career. Don’t they? Now it seems to me that Joe mentions postseason stats in HoF posts less than usual… I’m not sure, I may have to go back and read the BBWAA Experiment (or whatever it was called) posts. So Joe may be mostly criticizing himself.

    I am trying to improve the way I use stats, and I know I am badly deficient here. I have been copying the postseason numbers from b-r for about the top 500 players, so I can try to learn them, or at least quote them when ranking players. A lot of it is a surprise. Did you know that Mike Schmidt sucked in the playoffs? He had a .690 OPS in 36 games. Or that Fred Lynn was terrific, with a 1.043 OPS in 15 games? Anyway, the ones of us that are bad in this area should consider postseason stats more when talking about the HoF.

    But if Joe or somebody has a problem with different people weighing postseason stats differently (with respect to regular season stats)… well, I can’t get on board that. The decision of how much to count them is a subjective one, and reasonable people should realize that reasonable people will differ, and differ widely.

    (But I know that several people here that I hope are reasonable used the words “idiot” and “ignorant” to describe people that favor a small HoF. So asking for a recognition of subjectivity may be difficult.)

  14. I think that using Derek Jeter’s prolific post-season resume as an example of why it’s unfair to use these stats is a bit off base. He is the greatest outlier in the conversation, why make him the centerpiece of the argument?

    Because the outliers are important. What if Jeter with his post-season stats was approaching a career stat record (e.g., career hits, doubles, etc.)? Those who still respect history would likely be crying foul about how unfair it was for Jeter to play in all of those extra games. It’s already unfair that more modern players have 162 games in a season vs. the classic 154 games, but now they can add all of their WC, LCS, and WS stats?

    Also, post-season stats are a team-dependent opportunity and thus that also does not seem fair. But there are many variables that are unfair — parks, offensive eras, wars, unlucky injuries, strikes and lockouts, organization decisions regarding when to call up young players and start their careers, etc.

    But correcting for all of those variables is relatively difficult compared to the post-season variable. We can simply exclude the latter.

    • Hot Cousin says:

      My original thought was since he is so atypical of the affect of post-season stats on a players career he should not be pointed to as being representational.

      It seems to me that almost all counting stats are team-dependent. Runs and RBI clearly. But hits and even home runs are at the very least products of plate appearances. Playing on superior offensive teams will give you more opportunities. Batting lead off rather than clean up will give you more of these type of opportunities.

      I agree that it is unfair to compare single season totals from a 154 game season vs 162, though the number of single season leaders from long ago that remain is impressive. But what is the overall effect of 8 potential games a years over the course of a career compared to every other change in the game since? I’m going to say I have no idea and neither does any one else.

      There is nothing inheritently fair about a baseball career. On one hand there’s nothing in rules that say you can’t literally play forever compiling stats, on the other hand you can’t literally play forever compiling stats.

      Rose has 67 more hits than Cobb and 2808 more plate appearences. Aaron has 41 homers than Ruth and 3319 more plate appearences. I think knowing this tells us something. Should we count differently to reconcile an obvious disparity in narrative?

      You mention unfair variables that are difficult to correct. I would say they are inherent vairables that are impossible to correct, and do not need correcting. It’s fun to play what if? (Ted Williams 721 HR! Brien Taylor Cy Young winner!) But it’s speculation. If things were different, things would have been different. I totally agree. But if we can’t do that we should simply remove the absolute knowable from the stats, like how Derek Jeter would perform in 158 post season games, and say we have a clearer picture? It’s a simple calculation but it obscures what actually happened in favor of what did not happen “because of variables.”

      Counting stats are not necessarily illuminating. Picking and choosing what to count does not make it more so.

    • Hot Cousin says:

      This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. drunyon says:

    I think it’s going to be arbitrary wherever the cutoff point is. You may say “Lou Gehrig actually hit 503 home runs in his career, counting the postseason.” Well, what about all the home runs he hit in games that got rained out? He hit those in his career while playing for a major league team, too. Or what about all the home runs he hit in spring training, or maybe in the minors? Were those not part of his “career”? What about all the home runs Jackie Robinson hit in the Negro Leagues? Do those count?

    The truth is, it’s always going to be arbitrary and somewhat unfair no matter how it’s done.

    Right now we define it to say “career stats only count if you are playing for a major league team in a game that doesn’t get rained out and you’re playing in the regular season”. You want to redefine it to add postseason games. Well, that’s fine, but that’s still going to arbitrarily exclude a lot of stats.

    Separating “regular season” vs “postseason” stats isn’t perfectly fair, but it seems to be the best and most fair option we have. Nothing is ever going to be perfect, given that some players lost years to the war and others played 154-game seasons.

  16. JMPom says:

    And what about the fact that some players are on teams that score more runs than other teams, so those players get more ABs? And then there are the righties that see more lefty pitchers because there are a lot of good left-handed hitters on their team. Where does it end? Maybe it ought to end where it began, with regular season stats and post-season stats.


    • Jeff says:

      I think you are over-thinking things here. Babe Ruth did indeed hit 729 home runs while playing major league baseball. That is a fact. When you bring up times facing a left-hander or more AB’s due to better teammates, those are “average” arguments (no pun intended) not “career” arguments. If we are going on averages, than the MLB Home Run leader is Mark McGwire who hit one home run every 10.61 at bats. And Pete Rose is currently tied for 171st in hits, since that’s where he sits on the all time list. Of batting average, that is. Careers are different than averages. Everyone does not get the same number of AB’s, everyone does not play on good teams, everyone does not have the same talent, and everyone does not play in the same parks. But when we look at careers, we should look at the entirety of the career and not cut out the most critical part.

  17. Dinky says:

    You cite the best reason not to include career stats: Ernie Banks. Now football has very few counting stats that guarantee election to Canton. I don’t look at a running back and say, “5,000 career yards? He’s a HOFer!”. For that matter, the football season used to be a LOT shorter, and never had a counting stat accumulating dynasty like the Yankees when only two teams made the post season. But now football has at least 1/3 more games (not counting playoffs) than its first 25 years. I remember when 1,000 yard seasons were a hallmark of excellence; now it seems much higher. Same for passing yards. Really the only counting stats that mattered were championships. Great career with 3+ championships = HOFer. Great career with 0 championships, probably not.

    Baseball was 154 games long with maybe 7 extra games for a long long time. For every season when a pennant winner had to win a playoff there were at least as many teams with rainouts not made up. So counting stats have had more consistency over the decades in baseball. Baseball’s dirty little secret is that the Yankees make more money so they can spend more money on players and still be profitable. Yankee dynasties are easy. The Braves had a long dynasty paid for by TBS and nationwide need for cable television hours. Including postseason stats has always seemed unfair because a player was drafted by a weaker team and showed loyalty by not leaving.

    I would leave career stats based on regular season only. I don’t mind including playoff stats for single game records.

  18. mgarbowski says:

    During the 1980s the Knicks could not beat the Celtics at the Boston Garden. I think the streak began in 1984 but I know it ended on May 6, 19190 when the Knicks beat the Celtics in Game 5 of a 5-game series in Boston. So the Knicks end this streak in the most spectacular and meaningful way possible. The season starts again next fall and sure enough, the first time they go to play in Boston, sportswriters kept referring to the losing streak as if the playoff win never happened.
    I’m with Joe on this one.

  19. Richard S. says:

    What irks me is when baseball lumps World Series stats in with playoff stats and calls everything “Post-Season Stats”.

    For example, of the top ten players in career post-season hits, only Pete Rose did not have the advantage of playing entirely in the Division Series – League Championship Series – World Series era. A complete set of post-season games at present is almost three times as many games as in the World Series alone.

    If you look at career hits in the World Series alone, nine of the top ten players had theirs before the “playoff” era.

    • If you look at career hits in the World Series alone, nine of the top ten players had theirs before the “playoff” era.

      And that’s biased as well because the Yankees and a few other teams dominated and were frequently playing in the World Series without having to endure through one or two other post-season crap-shoot series. Had the Braves of the 90’s and 00’s immediately advanced to the World Series after the regular season, then (1) they likely would have won more than one World Series and (2) their players would also be sprinkled heavily throughout the World-Series-only leader board.

  20. Here’s a fun stat: Do you know what Willie Mays career post-season OPS is?


    AKA, his career home run total (though make that 661 if you factor in his lone dinger in October).

  21. soxmann says:

    As a side note, had Tom Brady thrown for 7 TDs in a blowout, he and Bill Belichick would be eviscerated for running up the score. It happens every time the Patriots win by a lot.

    For some reason Peyton and other quarterbacks are never subjected to this scrutiny.

  22. For some reason Peyton and other quarterbacks are never subjected to this scrutiny.

    Manning’s 7th TD was a result of the Ravens keeping it a close game, thus the Broncos still needed to move the ball, take time of the clock, and/or score. The Broncos did not run up the score and they did not win by a lot.

    If Brady were in the same situation, no logical person would argue differently than with Manning.

  23. KHAZAD says:

    I would hate to lump in post season stats with regular season in any sport. Getting to the post season is a team effort, and some people just end up playing in more post season games that others. In the regular season, there is equal opportunity. Yes there can be mitigating factors, such as injuries and the length of career, but they all have the same opportunity.

    If you want to use them for memories or talk about a player’s feats when they did make the post season, sure.

    Jeter, for instance, is going to make the hall of fame anyway. But he shouldn’t get credit for 200 extra hits because he had the good fortune to play in 158 games in the post season. 66 of those games (ALDS)were only available at the beginning of his own career, and 54 others (ALCS)have only been played since 1969, and were only 5 games for the first 16 years. He didn’t make those games by himself. He played on the best team, with the most money, in an era where that made the most difference, and the era where teams played the most games. It has little to do with him.

  24. Toar Winter says:

    Time for a postseason WAR question. How is it calculated for the postseason? I’ve seen somewhere that Bill James said a postseason win should be worth 3x a regular season win. Would this make Jeter the career WAR leader? I would think this would be the career counting stat that might be in jeopardy with postseason numbers being included in overall career stats. Is there even a postseason WAR? If not, how accurate can it be as a metric if it can’t be measured in the most important games of the year?

  25. I think the takeaway here is that any number, absent of context, is incredibly unhelpful at describing a player’s ability or “story”.

    Babe Ruth hit 729 home runs, except:
    * That was in a far shorter post season schedule, with one round and not three (or two or four)
    * He did it in 154 games a year (not 162)
    * He did it as a lefty
    * He didn’t have to face any black pitchers or black defenders
    * He didn’t miss time flying fighter planes in two wars
    * He did it in mostly in Yankee Stadium, with its well known short right field fence
    * He never had to bat against Randy Johnson or Sandy Koufax, or hundreds of others
    * He never missed a game because he didn’t play on Yom Kippur (although that was a post-season game in Koufax’s case)
    * He didn’t have the benefit of year-long 21st century training and medicine

    It is an impossible task to try and remove the context of baseball history from baseball statistics. Taking a number like 729 and saying “Babe Ruth is better because 729 > 664” is telling an incomplete story. Saying 729 > 664 is a factoid, not a fact.

  26. dbutler16 says:

    I like the English system better. I think it’s ridiculous the way Americans totally disregard a great regular season if a playoff championship doesnt come along with eat. A team that has a tremendous, record setting regular season is ridiculed rather than celebrated if they don’t “win it all”. Better to finish last.

  27. I hear the argument against adding counting stats from postseason, since some unlucky great players don’t get to the postseason.

    But what argument is there against adding rate stats, at least in cases where the rate improves? After all, in October you’re playing against better opposition than over the course of a regular season.

    Best example I can think of is Mariano Rivera. WHIP as of today on, 1.0031 (third all-time). Add in postseason: 1436 innings, 1079 hits + 307 walks = 1386 WH, WHIP of 0.9652. Best rate ever for that many innings.

  28. Luis says:

    That would mean that my favorite player – Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga hit exactly 400 HR’s. TO THE HALL OF FAME!!!

  29. Luis says:

    That would mean that my favorite player – Andres “Big Cat” Galarraga hit exactly 400 HR’s. TO THE HALL OF FAME!!!

  30. Les Egr says:

    Possibly the most impactful change – Fred McGriff goes from 493 HRs to 503 and likely goes into the HoF

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