John Olerud Inducted to the Hall of Stats

Dec 4, 2012 by Adam Darowski
John Olerud: Photo Credit

Yesterday, to little fanfare in the baseball world (but much fanfare inside my heart), Deacon White was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee. He was joined in the honor by umpire (and former pitcher) Hank O'Day and former Yankees executive Jacob Ruppert.

The honor was long overdue for White (and perhaps all three). Ever since the first iteration of the Hall of wWAR, White has been honored by my formulas. It finally became a reality.

White becomes the 208th player in the Hall of Fame (counting only those inducted for their Major League play). Because White was already in the Hall of Stats, that means we get to induct somebody new. And by the nature of the Hall of Stats, it’s no surprise. We take the next guy from the Hall Rating list.

I’m proud to “induct” John Olerud to the Hall of Stats.

Olerud reminds me a lot of Keith Hernandez. Both were first basemen who could hit, but didn’t have an overwhelming amount of power. They offset that modest power with incredible plate discipline. And both were superior glovemen who won multiple Gold Gloves at first base.

One way to show how well Olerud got on base is to look at his career ranking in plate appearances (139th all time) against his ranking in times on base (83rd all time). The opposite might be Omar Vizquel, who ranks 17th all time in plate appearances against 48th in times on base.

Olerud is the owner of two magnificent 7+ WAR seasons. He was above three WAR another half-dozen times.

Honestly, I’m still surprised that Olerud rates this highly. It’s not that I don’t appreciate his skills—on base skills and defense have always been undervalued. But it surprises me that the Hall of Fame (and therefore the Hall of Stats) is big enough that a first baseman with 58.4 WAR and a couple big seasons makes the cut. This makes me think that my own ideal Hall might actually be a bit smaller than the Hall of Fame and Hall of Stats.

That’s not to take anything away form Olerud. He was a great player. Because of nature of the Hall of Stats—and the BBWAA’s voting habits—he may not keep his spot for too long. But today, John Olerud belongs in the Hall of Stats.

Just a couple notes about changes I made while Olerud was inducted:

Congratulations to John Olerud. And thanks, as always, for reading!

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