As any of my fellow NotGraphs contributors will proudly attest, our primary purpose here is to advance the state of baseball knowledge through cutting-edge research. To that end, I now submit to you the results of a study designed to resolve a question of vital interest. Namely: which players, in the history of this sport, have been the most overappreciated and underappreciated? Or, stated in the vernacular: of which players is it coolest, and lamest, to be a fan? You might think that such a subjective question would thwart all empirical investigation. But you would be severely underestimating the resources (and the wits) at our disposal here at the NotLabs. Among those resources is a series of measurements that provide a precise and infallible index of what we may casually term “fame”: the number of backlinks to every ballplayer’s Wikipedia page.* Players who are more famous, we postulate, will have more Wikipedia pages linking to their own page. By plotting a player’s backlink count against his career WAR, we may generate a regression line that predicts fame based on value, and then measure deviations from that line. In our first application of this methodology (to hitters only), we obtain the following. Discuss.
(Note: Players best known as anything other than baseball players, e.g. Bobby Valentine or Deion Sanders, were thrown out.)
(Another Note: Players with non-standard characters, e.g. accents, in their names were not handled correctly and were thrown out.)
(Yet Another Note: Mike Tyson, Carlos Santana, Eddie Murphy, Jim Morrison, and a few other confusingly named players were thrown out.)
(The Last Note: Excuse please the primitive and unsortable tables. I was too busy with my sophisticated analysis to worry about such things.)
* Accessible here.