Toronto Mike

WAR Ruins Joe Carter's Legacy, I Choose Not To Care


When I was growing up, I loved reading baseball boxscores.  I was a stat junkie, particularly when it came to my Blue Jays, in a simpler time before the WAR.

WAR stands for "wins above replacement", and it is used to show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to a "replacement level", or minor league/bench player at that position.  I don't know when WAR showed up, but Tom Cheek never mentioned it once.

WAR isn't very kind to Joe Carter, a player celebrated here in Toronto for his ability to hit 30+ homers and deliver 100+ RBIs like clockwork. listed the worst 100 RBI seasons by WAR and Joe Carter dominated the list.

  1. Dante Bichette
  2. Ruben Sierra
  3. Joe Carter
  4. Tony Armas
  5. Joe Carter
  6. Eddie Robinson
  7. Joe Carter
  8. Joe Pepitone
  9. George Bell
  10. Bill Buckner

That's our Joe holding down 3 of the top 7 spots.  That's 3 seasons when Joe Carter's team would have won more games by replacing him with a minor-leaguer.

But worse is how he ranks among the 19 guys who have amassed 1400 to 1500 RBI in their careers.  His career WAR is by far the lowest, an underwhelming 16.5.  Again, that means his teams won exactly 16.5 more games than they would have with a replacement player in Joe's spot.

I'm glad we didn't talk about WAR when I was a kid.  I remember Joe Carter as a consistent producer who delivered in the clutch.  He was worth more than 16.5 additional wins, including this one.

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