FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Worst player with a minimum 5000 career PA:

    Neifi Perez -1.5 WAR…. some interesting names just above him

    Comment by another know it all — February 18, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  2. That WAR graphs is mean.

    Comment by Carson Cistulli — February 18, 2011 @ 1:13 pm

  3. Bill Bergen is Latin for Jeff Francoeur.

    Comment by Dandy Salderson — February 18, 2011 @ 1:21 pm

  4. This is what’s great about baseball. This guy is nothing more than a statistical anomaly, but he sounds like a fascinating guy nonetheless. I would read a book about him if someone wrote it. Seriously, a guy who threw out 144 batters in 112 games (although not nearly as many innings because he only had 536 chances) but batted a .319 OPS would be a really interesting read.

    Comment by Edwincnelson — February 18, 2011 @ 1:25 pm

  5. Sounds like an article, not a book…

    Comment by Brad Johnson — February 18, 2011 @ 1:44 pm

  6. Great stuff. I’ve often wanted a series on the worst players on the best teams. Sure, the 1927 Yankees had Ruth and Gehrig and all, but what about Benny Bengough? He racked up 85 PAs and hit .247 with only 6 extra base hits and 4 walks. And yet, he was part of the best team in the history of baseball. What about his story? Doesn’t it deserve to be told?

    Comment by Dan in Philly — February 18, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

  7. So Jeff Mathis really does have some competition?

    Comment by pressure — February 18, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  8. What about me? I had a .600 OPS in the middle of the steroid era.

    Comment by Rey Ordonez — February 18, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

  9. And yet Neifi is a veritable slugger compared to the excruciating awfulness that is Juan Castro (career wOBA .260, -4.4 WAR). Only 2800 something PA, but honestly, how exactly does this guy have a 16 year major league career? Who keeps thinking he deserves another shot at the majors?

    Comment by Roger — February 18, 2011 @ 2:30 pm

  10. This made my day.

    Comment by Cody — February 18, 2011 @ 2:48 pm

  11. And Marty Bergen is Latin for Ugueth Urbina.

    Comment by PTS — February 18, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  12. Dude looks just like Bill Callahan.

    Comment by nolan — February 18, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

  13. I don’t understand the inclusion of a WAR graph since

    1. We barely even know how to quantify catcher defense now
    2. Catcher defense is not included in some dude’s WAR from 100 years ago

    leading therefore to

    3. WAR excludes the one thing he WAS good at

    He certainly wasn’t a great player but he’s probably more worthwhile than his WAR paints him.

    Comment by hunterfan — February 18, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

  14. The article about Bill’s brother Marty was great. Thanks for the link.

    Comment by hunterfan — February 18, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  15. I laughed SO hard haha

    Thanks for throwing that in, Mr. Pawlikowski

    Comment by Jesse — February 18, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  16. The only thing you have to understand is that the graph is there to be funny.

    Comment by Danmay — February 18, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  17. Saw this coming…but Joe, no Greg Maddux article? :)

    Comment by Julian Levine — February 18, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  18. I still wonder what would’ve happened if Michael Jordan had made it to the bigs.
    Even if he had a putrid offence, we could have seen him dunk a fly ball over the fence.

    Comment by Laidan Egoudaire — February 18, 2011 @ 4:15 pm

  19. Oh anything can be dragged out for 240 pages…

    Comment by joser — February 18, 2011 @ 4:17 pm

  20. I’m not sure about calling his defensive abilities “mythical.” “Anecdotal,” maybe.

    Comment by joser — February 18, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  21. Boy, and Kelly Leak had such promise as a youngster …

    Comment by monkeyball — February 18, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  22. One trick is to tell them stories that don’t go anywhere. Like the time I took the fairy to Shelbyville. I needed a new heel for my shoe so I decided to go to Morganville, which is what they called Shelbyville in those days. So I tied an onion to my belt, which was the style at the time. Now to take the ferry cost a nickel, and in those days, nickels had pictures of bumblebees on them. Give me five bees for a quarter you’d say. Now where were we, oh ya. The important thing was that I had an onion on my belt, which was the style at the time. They didn’t have white onions because if the war. The only thing you could get was those big yellow ones…

    Comment by Grandpa Simpson — February 18, 2011 @ 5:10 pm

  23. “As William of The Captain’s Blog eloquently chronicles, Bill’s brother Marty, himself a catcher in the late 19th century, took an axe to his wife and children before slicing his own neck. ”

    apprently Bill tried to do the same thing but he missed.

    Comment by Jim — February 18, 2011 @ 5:21 pm

  24. Jesus, lifetime OPS+ of 21 with 3,000 plate appearances, how is that even possible? Makes Ray Oyler look like George Sisler.

    Comment by Graham Womack — February 18, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

  25. I guess he’s half-way to being a rock bottom riser.

    Comment by Charlotte — February 18, 2011 @ 8:59 pm

  26. please tell me this is intended in as much humor as the graph itself is

    Comment by fredsbank — February 18, 2011 @ 9:34 pm

  27. The Dodgers kept bringing Bill Bergen back because of his defense. 100 years later, they keep bringing Juan Castro back because of his….defense.

    Comment by d240z71 — February 18, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

  28. Is there a number of years that must go by before we can joke about a man murdering his wife, three year-old son, and six year old daughter with an ax? I’m a history teacher so I wonder about these things.

    Comment by UncleCharlieVT — February 18, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  29. Must have had some arm.

    Did they ever try him as a pitcher?

    Comment by shthar — February 19, 2011 @ 3:27 am

  30. The way I see it, they’d certainly now be dead already anyway, so we’re officially all clear.

    Any bastards who joked about it in, say, 1955, should be ashamed of themselves.

    Comment by Joe D. — February 19, 2011 @ 3:36 am

  31. You just told it.

    Comment by Biff Cynic — February 19, 2011 @ 11:58 am

  32. “See also

    * Dead-ball era
    * Batting average
    * On-base percentage
    * Mendoza Line”

    Oh wiki, you amuse me.

    Comment by Powder Blues — February 19, 2011 @ 3:21 pm

  33. I thought this was gonna be about Brandon Wood when I saw the title.

    Comment by baconbitz — February 19, 2011 @ 4:37 pm

  34. And by Jeff Francouer you surely mean Jeff Mathis.

    Comment by Turbo Sloth — February 19, 2011 @ 6:24 pm

  35. Steroid era doesn’t mean everyone used steroids. Theoretically, if he didn’t use steroids, it would have made his job a lot harder. Even if he did use steroids, maybe his over-developed muscles made it difficult to swing the bat.

    Comment by André — February 19, 2011 @ 8:38 pm

  36. Achilles was much better at throwing runners out.

    Comment by André — February 19, 2011 @ 8:40 pm

  37. Maybe Martin Bergen went crazy and killed his wife and children was from watching his brother hit. :wink:

    Comment by Steve S. — February 19, 2011 @ 9:30 pm

  38. The reason Martin Bergen went crazy and killed his wife and children was from watching his brother hit. :wink:

    Comment by Steve S. — February 19, 2011 @ 9:31 pm

  39. Random extra note: his middle name was “Aloysius”. If I’m not mistaken there are more than a few dead-ball guys who shared it. When did they stop using this great name? Did parents cease naming their kids that way after Bergen’s hitting “exploits” became legendary?

    Comment by Mark — February 19, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  40. Wow, he capped his career off with a -4 OPS+ his last season. How many players have had minus OPS+’s for a season with that many ABs? One year, 1907, he only scored two runs.

    Comment by MikeD — February 20, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  41. Must be interesting to be a descendant of the Bergen’s. Most anyone would proudly mention that two of their family members played in the Major Leagues. Perhaps less so in the Bergen family.

    Friends would be gathered around the bar asking for stories: “Well, both were cathcer. There was my great grandfather Bill. He’s regarded as the worst-hitter ever in MLB history. And my great granduncle, Marty, well, he hacked to death his entire family with an axe, before comitting suicide with the same axe. Yeah, granduncle Marty was a real cutup (no pun intended.) He was so crazy, that in one game he was having delusions, and he thought the pitcher was throwing knives at him, so where ever the ball was thrown he was running the other direction. That was quite a game, I hear.”

    “Hey, guys, I’m thinking of trying out for catcher on the company softball team this year. Where do I show up?”

    Not being fair to Bill Bergen, who did play in the Majors for 11 years and obviously had to be a great defender. The fact he was such a horrible hitter would make for an interesting story, but trying to fit Marty Bergen into the family history would be tough!

    Comment by MikeD — February 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  42. Yeah, “mythical” is reserved for Colby Lewis.

    Comment by Newcomer — February 20, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

  43. Although he was by no means a historically bad hitter, my favorite baseball-card back as a kid belonged to Duane Kuiper. Exactly 1 HR in 3754 PA. That’s a great stat line.

    Comment by DJG — February 20, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

  44. I noticed something while looking at the all-time WAR chart. Greg Maddux is listed as producing -221.9 batting runs in his entire career, whereas a replacement player would have produced 60.4 batting runs in the same span. However, Maddux’s batting RAR is listed as -161.5. Shouldn’t that number be -282.3? Am I missing something here?

    Comment by Andrew — February 21, 2011 @ 1:42 am

  45. Isn’t batting runs ‘above average’? If so, you’d expoect replacement to be negative.

    So, -221.9 – (-60.4) = -161.5

    Comment by Eric R — February 21, 2011 @ 9:21 am

  46. WIN!

    Comment by Fact — February 21, 2011 @ 10:07 am

  47. If only he could have stayed away from the booze, women, and cigarettes, maybe he could have made something of himself. I saw him once when he was 17… He was washed up, out of shape, a shell of what he used to be, just barely hanging on in the low minors. But he could still hit.

    Comment by Jon — February 21, 2011 @ 4:20 pm

  48. And considering that a full 10% of Maddux’s career plate appearances were successful sacrifice hits, and 12.5% of his PA were attempts, it’s to be expected that his RAR and related stats would be terrible. Afford a pitcher 20+ years in the NL ample opportunities to be great at the one thing pitchers are supposed to be great at, and the numbers will show about 200 wasted plate appearances. It’s impressive, though, that Maddux only grounded into 15 double plays and once went over 5 years between them.

    I’m amazed that anyone other than all-time great pitchers (NL since 1970) appear at the bottom of the career offensive WAR rankings. Who else could deserve to last long enough to be so bad? Other than the fine subject of this piece, I mean. It’s amazing how much damage those sacrifice bunts can do. Heck, he even had an OPS over .400 in his time in Atlanta, had 2 years over .500, and went a 3-year stretch surpassing 100 PA (that was broken up by the strike, and he easily would have passed 100 in both 1994 and 1995 as well).

    I know Maddux needs no defending. I just find his context to be incredibly interesting.

    Especially compared to Ted Lilly, who has compiled -4.3 WAR as a batter in only 305 (!!!) plate appearances. IF he’d spent his whole career in the NL, he’d likely be close to -7.5 in 300 games played. That’s what we call an historic pace, gentlemen!

    Comment by Dann M. — February 21, 2011 @ 4:28 pm

  49. He is, AFAICT, the only player with a negative OPS+ across at least 250 PAs (at least in the Play Index era).

    Comment by Jahiegel — February 21, 2011 @ 5:24 pm

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