Raul Ibanez’s Historic Clutch Evening

Raul Ibanez batted twice tonight. He hit a game tying home run in the ninth, then a game winning home run in the 12th. His WPA for the game: .827.

We only have postseason data going back to 2002, but from our records, this is the second best single game WPA in that stretch, trailing only David Freese’s amazing performance from Game 6 of the World Series last year. Freese’s performance was the single highest WPA in postseason history, so every other player in the history of the sport is also behind him.

Baseball-Reference’s Play Index goes back further, though, and so using that tool, we can see where Ibanez’s game will rank in postseason history. Per B-R, the current top five are:

David Freese, 2011 World Series, Game 6: .969
Kirk Gibson, 1988 World Series, Game 1: .870
Steve Garvey, 1984 NLCS, Game 4: .854
Lance Berkman, 2011 World Series Game 6: .832
Charlie Keller, 1941 World Series Game 4: .826

B-R uses slightly different numbers to calculate WPA than we do, so by their calculations, Ibanez might be slightly above or below .827, so he might not be #5 on the list when they update the numbers in the morning. But it’s going to be really close.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t hit until the 9th inning.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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cletus yokel
11 years ago

Thanks, and great work! I was thinking of exactly this question.