Position Players by WAR: Modern Era

Baseball Prehistory | Deadball Era | Liveball Era | Post-War
Expansion | Free Agency | Modern Era

I think we’re all familiar with the Modern Era, so I’m not going in to too much detail:

I drew the line wrong though. I should have started it in 1993, with the introduction of two new teams: the Colorado Rockies and the Florida Marlins, and the huge boost in runs scored per game. Instead, I set it to 1995 because I had noted the wrong date for the two expansion franchises. They were joined by the Tampa Bay Rays and the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998. For the most part, it doesn’t change much, but as I’ve learned doing this series, you guys catch everything, so it’s better to be up-front about it.

Here are the players that move in to the Modern Era if I change the cutoff to 1993:

By strong request of Big Jgke I have updated the images to include these players.

Here is the first half of the Modern Era, almost all retired:

The second half finishes up with some players still starting their careers but are already in the top 500 for WAR. Just look at Pujols!

None of these players are in the Hall of Fame (yet). How many of them do you think are deserving? Who do you think has a shot, even though they may still be playing?

Player list (career WAR in parentheses):

Barry Bonds (169.7) Alex Rodriguez (107.4)
Ken Griffey Jr. (85.6) Chipper Jones (85.5)
Jeff Bagwell (83.9) Albert Pujols (80.6)
Frank Thomas (79.1) Jim Thome (73.5)
Ivan Rodriguez (73.4) Manny Ramirez (72.2)
Larry Walker (72.2) Scott Rolen (71.6)
Edgar Martinez (71.6) Andruw Jones (70.5)
Derek Jeter (70.4) Craig Biggio (70.1)
Roberto Alomar (68.2) Mike Piazza (68.2)
Jim Edmonds (68.1) Gary Sheffield (65.8)
Kenny Lofton (65.1) Sammy Sosa (64.6)
John Olerud (62.4) Jeff Kent (61.9)
Vladimir Guerrero (61.7) Bobby Abreu (61.5)
Robin Ventura (61.3) Todd Helton (60.6)
Luis Gonzalez (60.1) Brian Giles (57.8)
Lance Berkman (56.2) Jason Giambi (54.3)
Carlos Beltran (54.1) Moises Alou (53)
Jorge Posada (51.9) Adrian Beltre (50.8)
Ichiro Suzuki (50.7) Mike Cameron (50.4)
Carlos Delgado (49.1) Mark Grace (48.7)
Omar Vizquel (48.4) Ellis Burks (48.1)
Bernie Williams (47.8) J.D. Drew (46.9)
Chase Utley (44.3) Miguel Tejada (44)
Nomar Garciaparra (43.2) Steve Finley (43)
Chuck Knoblauch (42.6) David Justice (42.4)
Jason Kendall (42.2) Ray Lankford (42.2)
Magglio Ordonez (41.8) Johnny Damon (41.8)
Reggie Sanders (41.4) Juan Gonzalez (38.8)
Derrek Lee (38.3) Ken Caminiti (38)
Edgar Renteria (37.7) Placido Polanco (37.4)
Miguel Cabrera (37.3) Tim Salmon (37.1)
Jimmy Rollins (36.7) David Wright (36.6)
Mark Teixeira (36.3) Brady Anderson (36.2)
Jeff Cirillo (36.1) Troy Glaus (36)
B.J. Surhoff (35.8) David Ortiz (35.6)
Shawn Green (35.1) Javy Lopez (34.6)
Carl Crawford (34.5) Tino Martinez (33.8)
Mo Vaughn (33.7)  

I think you commenters are the best copy writers. You’ve kept me honest. Even when I make dumb mistakes.

I’d like to apologize heartily to Andre Dawson for forgetting him. As fredsbank so eloquently put it:

so I know FG hates that Dawson is in the Hall, but to blatantly omit it seems a little over the top

(An additional thanks to My echo and bunnymen and ofMontreal who said the same, but were kinder about it)

Additional apologies to Mark Belanger (caught by Joe of Chop-n-Change, and Rick Ferrell (caught by SF 55 for life).

Thank you Rich for letting me know that just because they share a name, the American Association and the American League didn’t actually have a direct connection. Thank you Sam, Dash, Richard Gadsden, fredsbank, Rafael J, hunterfan, and Rally for letting me know that I should really have made my cutoffs better, specifically in regards to Ty Cobb (as stated by Rally):

I can see using those cutoffs Cobb gets lumped into the liveball era. But you know that isn’t right – he exemplified the way to play baseball in the deadball era. His peak years were all deadball.

Thank you to ibn Bob for reminding me there was more than one strike-cancelled World Series, dorasaga for reminding me of the proper year when the Cubs last won the World Series (happy 103rd birthday!), and ofMontreal for pointing out that the Red Sox are not in the National League (bet they wish they were though).

And a super-special thanks to bcp33sox and James III for helping me improve the graphs and WAR lists at the end of each article to make the experience less painful for you people reading.

Making mistakes is the best way of improving. Thank you all for taking the time to read, and especially for those of you who take the time to comment and correct me. All the mistakes brought to my attention should (theoretically) be fixed now. Let me know if you find any more.


I'm an expat living in Japan since 2003, doing sales and marketing work. More of my work is available on Henkakyuu, my personal blog. Also feel free to inspire me to use twitter more often @henkakyuu

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11 years ago

It’s really mind-boggling that Jeff Bagwell only got 41.7% of the HoF vote.

11 years ago
Reply to  Jimmy

Agreed. You have to wonder how long he could have sustained that nice, long run of dark squares if his shoulder ahdn’t given out on him. It was torturous those last few years to see how badly he wanted to play, but just couldn’t due to his shoulder. His throws turned to shot-puts and he winced on every swing, but he still got out there. That guy was a gamer.