After the most recent Contemporary Baseball Era Committee gathering, former MLB slugger Fred McGriff was elected as the newest member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
With 493 career home runs while playing most of his career and prime before the steroids era (and not being tied to the use of performance-enhancing drugs), the Crime Dog is a deserving choice to enter the Hall.
“Lou Whitaker has a career wins above replacement that is 23 points higher than Fred McGriff,” Chris Castellani said on Twitter.
Lou Whitaker has a career wins above replacement that is 23 points higher than Fred McGriff.
— Chris Castellani (@Castellani2014) December 5, 2022
That difference is what you get using the Baseball Reference version of WAR (Wins Above Replacement).
The FanGraphs’ version has McGriff with 56.9 and Whitaker with 68.1.
It’s not as big of a difference as the Reference’s version, but it’s still sizable.
Sure, using WAR exclusively shouldn’t be a reason to determine whether a player should or shouldn’t be in the Hall, but it’s a helpful tool to see how much a player contributed to his teams.
Evidently, Whitaker helped the Tigers a lot.
Whitaker wasn’t as powerful as McGriff, and that’s clear.
A Complete Ballplayer
He was, however, much more well-rounded.
He hit .276/.363/.426 with a career 118 wRC+ (indicating he was, quite comfortably, an above-average offensive performer).
His ability to take walks made him a true threat to get on base, but he also had some pop (244 home runs) and speed (143 stolen bases).
Additionally, he was a strong defensive second baseman: Whitaker had no weaknesses in his game.
He won the 1984 World Series with the Tigers against the San Diego Padres and also went to five All-Star Games (1983–1987), was the 1978 AL Rookie of the Year, took home three Gold Glove awards (1983–1985), and four Silver Slugger awards (1983–1985, 1987).
The Tigers retired his No. 1, the most evident sign of respect.
If McGriff is (deservedly) in, then Whitaker should be in, too.