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Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR: The WAR 100 Team or "WAR Lords"

This is the all-time WAR team, with one caveat. Because modern pitching has improved so much over pitching of yore, I have made sure that at least one modern-era player is included at each position. The WAR 100 Hall of Fame is based on career WAR. The position indicated is the player's primary position. The team indicated is the player's primary team. I have cheated a bit with Babe Ruth by listing him as a pitcher. But he would have been a Hall of Fame pitcher if he hadn't switched to the outfield because he was an even better hitter. Ruth would hit when he pitched on my team.

The all-time leaders for each position are starred with an asterisk. Active players are bolded and their WAR can still go up or down. I moved up Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams slightly because they did not play as many games as some of their peers: Gehrig due to the illness that now bears his name, Williams because he served as a fighter pilot during some of his prime years. Their career WAR would be higher otherwise.

I moved Mickey Mantle to left field, which he did play at times.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: WAR clearly undervalues catchers! It's not that Johnny Bench was half the player that Willie May was. It's that WAR doesn't do Johnny Bench justice, or any other great catcher.

The Best Players by Position, according to career WAR (with starters underlined)

Catcher: Johnny Bench (75.2), Gary Carter (70.1), Carlton Fisk (68.5)
First Base: Lou Gehrig (112.4), Stan Musial (128.2), Albert Pujols (100.0)
Second Base: Rogers Hornsby (127.0), Eddie Collins (124.0), Joe Morgan (100.6)
Shortstop: Honus Wagner (130.8), Alex Rodriguez (117.8), Cal Ripken (95.9)
Third Base: Mike Schmidt (106.8), Eddie Matthews (96.6), Adrian Beltre (95.7)
Right Field: Hank Aaron (143.0), Mel Ott (107.8), Frank Robinson (107.3)
Center Field: Willie Mays (156.4), Ty Cobb (151.1), Tris Speaker (134.1)
Left Field: Ted Williams (123.1), Rickey Henderson (111.2), Mickey Mantle (110.3)
Pitcher: Babe Ruth (182.5), Cy Young (168.0), Walter Johnson (165.2), Roger Clemens (139.6)
Relief: Pete Alexander (120.2), Kid Nichols (116.1), Tom Seaver (110.1), Greg Maddux (106.7)
Designated Hitter: Barry Bonds (162.8), Nap Lajoie (107.4), Jimmie Foxx (97.0)
Utility: Pete Rose (79.7)

Pete Rose was an all-star at five different positions, playing more than 500 games at each. He was thus the most versatile of the high-WAR superstars.

WAR per 162 games and WAR7

Another way to evaluate players is by determining their WAR per 162 games, and their peak WAR, or WAR7. The computations are pretty simple. For the first divide the player's total WAR by the games played, then multiply by 162. For the latter, add the WAR for the player's seven highest WAR seasons. WAR per 162 games tells us how productive a player was for his entire career. WAR7 tells us how productive a player was in his seven most productive years.

If we consider WAR per 162 games, we find some positive and negative surprises. Please keep in mind that 8 WAR per season is MVP level, 5 WAR per season is All-Star level, and 2 WAR per season is average.

Positive Surprises: Mike Trout (9.88), Roger Connor (6.84), Arky Vaughn (6.47), Billy Hamilton (6.44), Charlie Keller (6.37), Lou Boudreau (6.35), Joe Gordon (6.27), Andrelton Simmons (6.15), Jim Glasscock (5.75), Bobby Grich (5.58), Scott Rolen (5.58), Al Rosen (5.46), Lenny Dykstra (5.39), Adrian Beltre (5.32), Wally Berger (5.12), Ken Boyer (5.00)

Of course we really shouldn't be surprised by Mike Trout at this point in his career! He has been amazingly good since his rookie year, and keeps getting better.

Negative Surprises: Leo Durocher (0.51), Connie Mack (1.25), Lloyd Waner (1.96), Harold Baines (2.22), Casey Stengel (2.55), Rick Ferrell (2.56), Ray Schalk (2.63), Dave Parker (2.63), Steve Garvey (2.65), Bill Mazeroski (2.73)

The first seven players above in the "negative surprises" are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, although Durocher, Mack and Stengel are better known as managers. Lloyd Waner was an average player based on WAR and OPS+. Rick Ferrell wasn't even the best player in his own family; his brother Wes was a better hitter even though he was primarily a pitcher! I was surprised to see that Steve "my hair is always perfect" Garvey made this list. Mazeroski is also in the HOF, but it wasn't because of his 84 OPS+ and he never had a five WAR season.

These are the players who should be considered for the Baseball Hall of Fame based on their Peak WAR and total WAR, with the players with the highest peaks underlined: Pete Rose (44.9/79.7), Bill Dahlen (40.2/75.4), Larry Walker (44.7/72.7), Derek Jeter (41.8/72.4), Bobby Grich (46.4/71.1), Scott Rolen (43.7/70.2), Carlos Beltran (44.4/69.8), Edgar Martinez (43.7/68.4), Kenny Lofton (43.4/68.3), Graig Nettles (42.4/68.0), Ken Boyer (46.3/62.8), Andruw Jones (46.5/62.8), Sal Bando (44.4/61.5), Todd Helton (46.5/61.2), Jim Edmonds (42.6/60.4), Keith Hernandez (41.3/60.4), Bobby Abreu (41.6/60.0), Bobby Bonds (41.1/57.9), Dick Allen (45.9/55.1), Minnie Minoso (39.9/50.5)

WAR per 162 Games for Position Players [with peak WAR aka WAR7]

Please note that WAR7 of 56 or higher means that the player in question performed at an MVP level or higher, on average, for at least seven years. To see this list sorted by peak WAR, please click here: Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR7.

10.48 (RF)       Babe Ruth* (New York Yankees) not including pitching WAR [84.7]
9.88 (CF)        Mike Trout* (Los Angeles Angels) and still rising! [61.4]
9.22 (LF)        Ted Williams* (Boston Red Sox) adjusted for five years lost to military service (est. 170 WAR, 2986 games) [69.2]
9.10 (2B)        Rogers Hornsby* (St. Louis Cardinals) [73.5]

8.83 (LF)        Barry Bonds (San Francisco Giants) obviously inflated by PEDs [72.7]
8.47 (CF)        Willie Mays (New York/San Francisco Giants) [73.7]
8.41 (1B)        Lou Gehrig* (New York Yankees) [67.7]
8.06 (CF)        Ty Cobb (Detroit Tigers) [69.2]

7.79 (CF)        Tris Speaker (Cleveland Indians) [62.4]
7.75 (CF)        Joe DiMaggio (New York Yankees) adjusted for three years lost to military service (est. 101 WAR, 2100 games) [51.2]
7.60 (1B)        Dan Brouthers (Many) [47.2]
7.58 (CF)        Mickey Mantle (New York Yankees) [64.8]
7.58 (SS)        Honus Wagner* (Pittsburgh Pirates) [65.4]
7.36 (RF/LF)  Shoeless Joe Jackson (Chicago White Sox) [52.5]
7.18 (3B)        Mike Schmidt* (Philadelphia Phillies) [58.7]
7.10 (1B)        Hank Greenberg (Detroit Tigers) [47.7]

6.91 (2B)        Eddie Collins (Chicago White Sox) [64.2]
6.84 (1B/3B)  Roger Connor (New York Giants) [47.0]
6.79 (RF/1B)  Stan Musial (St. Louis Cardinals) [64.1]
6.79 (1B/3B)   Jimmie Foxx (Philadelphia Athletics) [59.5]
6.71 (2B)        Jackie Robinson (Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers) [52.0]
6.70 (RF)        Hank Aaron (Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves) [60.3]
6.58 (SS)        Alex Rodriguez (New York Yankees) [64.3]
6.56 (RF)        Mel Ott (New York Giants) [52.9]
6.51 (3B)        Eddie Mathews (Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves) [54.3]

6.47 (SS)        Arky Vaughan (Pittsburgh Pirates) [50.6]
6.46 (3B)        Frank Baker (Philadelphia Athletics) [46.8]
6.43 (2B)        Nap Lajoie (Cleveland Indians) [60.3]
6.35 (SS)        Lou Boudreau (Cleveland Indians) [58.7]
6.27 (2B)        Joe Gordon (New York Yankees) [45.8]
6.15 (LF)        Ed Delahanty (Philadelphia Phillies) [48.6]

6.05 (1B)        Joey Votto (Cincinnati Reds) [46.1]
6.04 (1B)        Jeff Bagwell (Houston Astros) [48.3]
6.04 (2B)        Joe Morgan (Cincinnati Reds) [59.3]
6.00 (RF)        Frank Robinson (Cincinnati Reds) [52.9]

5.97 (LF)        Charlie Keller (New York Yankees) [38.7]
5.92 (RF)        Larry Walker (Colorado Rockies) [44.7]
5.90 (1B)        Johnny Mize (St. Louis Cardinals) [48.8]
5.87 (3B)        Wade Boggs (Boston Red Sox) [56.4]
5.74 (2B)        Bobby Grich (California Angels) [46.4]
5.67 (C)          Mickey Cochrane (Philadelphia Athletics) [36.9]
5.65 (2B)        Chase Utley (Philadelphia Phillies) [49.3]
5.62 (C)          Johnny Bench* (Cincinnati Reds) [47.1]
5.61 (1B)        Albert Pujols (St. Louis Cardinals) [61.7]
5.59 (LF)        Rickey Henderson (Oakland Athletics) [57.6]

5.48 (3B)        Chipper Jones (Atlanta Braves) [46.8]
5.48 (2B)        Charlie Gehringer (Detroit Tigers) [50.5]
5.44 (3B)        Dick Allen (Philadelphia Phillies) [45.9]
5.38 (2B)        Robinson Cano (Seattle Mariners) [50.5]
5.37 (RF)        Roberto Clemente (Pittsburgh Pirates) [54.2]
5.33 (2B)        Rod Carew (Minnesota Twins) [49.8]
5.32 (3B)       Adrian Beltre (Texas Rangers) [49.3]
5.25 (C)         Thurman Munson (New York Yankees) [37.0]
5.20 (RF)       Harry Heilmann (Detroit Tigers) [47.2]
5.18 (SS)       Cal Ripken Jr. (Baltimore Orioles) [56.3]
5.12 (3B)       Ron Santo (Chicago Cubs) [53.8]
5.09 (2B)       Ryne Sandburg (Chicago Cubs) [57.5]
5.08 (CF)       Ken Griffey Jr. (Cincinnati Reds) [54.0]
5.08 (RF)       Al Kaline (Detroit Tigers) [48.9]
5.07 (LF)       Al Simmons (Philadelphia Athletics) [45.8]
5.06 (3B)       George Brett (Kansas City Royals) [53.2]
5.03 (1B/DH) Frank Thomas (Chicago White Sox) [45.2]
5.01 (CF)       Duke Snider (Brooklyn Dodgers) [49.9]
5.00 (3B)       Ken Boyer (St. Louis Cardinals) [46.3]

Players whose WAR7 suggests they belong on the list above:

4.96 (1B)      Miguel Cabrera (Detroit Tigers) [44.7]
4.94 (C)        Gary Carter (Montreal Expos) [48.2]
4.72 (LF)      Carl Yastrzemski (Boston Red Sox) [55.5] his peak was ultra-high, but longevity hurt some of his stats
4.63 (CF)      Andruw Jones (Atlanta Braves) [46.5]
4.39 (SS)      Robin Yount (Milwaukee Brewers) [47.3]
4.39 (3B)      Brooks Robinson (Baltimore Orioles) [45.7]
4.37 (1B)      Todd Helton (Colorado Rockies) [46.5]
4.32 (SS/1B) Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs) [51.9] in his prime he was beyond elite, the first of the home-run crushers at shortstop
4.25 (1B)      George Sisler (St. Louis Browns) [47.0]
4.25 (RF)      Reggie Jackson (Oakland Athletics] [46.8]
4.04 (1B)      Willie McCovey (San Francisco Giants) [44.9]
3.63 (*)         Pete Rose (Cincinnati Reds) [44.9] longevity hurt some of his stats but WAR7 confirms he was comparable to Al Simmons, Goose Goslin, Miguel Cabrera, Willie McCovey

Players with high WAR averages who fell a bit short on WAR7, meaning that they didn't sustain the highest level of play for at least seven years, using a cut-off of ~ 45 WAR7:

6.44 (CF)       Billy Hamilton (Philadelphia Phillies) [42.7]
6.37 (LF)        Charlie Keller (New York Yankees) [38.7]
6.15 (SS)        Andrelton Simmons (Los Angeles Angels) [33.0] but only because he hasn't played seven full seasons yet
6.04 (1B)        Cap Anson (Chicago Cubs) amazingly he didn't play 100 games until age 32 and still had 3,435 hits! [41.8]
5.86 (C)          Buster Posey (San Francisco Giants) [37.1]
5.81 (RF)        Elmer Flick (Cleveland Indians) [41.3]
5.76 (SS)        George Davis (New York Giants) [44.4]
5.75 (SS)        Jim Glasscock (Cleveland Blues) [41.0]
5.60 (3B)        Evan Longoria (Tampa Bay Rays) [40.9]
5.58 (3B)        Scott Rolen (Philadelphia Phillies) [43.7]
5.53 (C)          Mickey Cochrane (Philadelphia Athletics) [36.9]
5.46 (3B)       Al Rosen (Cleveland Indians) [33.3]
5.40 (CF)       Larry Doby (Cleveland Indians) [39.6]
5.40 (C)         Mike Piazza (New York Mets) [43.1]
5.39 (CF)       Lenny Dykstra (Philadelphia Phillies) [33.0]
5.38 (1B)        Mark McGwire (Oakland Athletics) [41.9]
5.37 (1B)       Bill Terry (New York Giants) [41.2]
5.34 (LF)       Fred Clarke (Pittsburgh Pirates) [36.2]
5.27 (2B)       Ian Kinsler (Texas Rangers) [40.4]
5.27 (RF)       Reggie Smith (Boston Red Sox) [38.7]
5.26 (CF)       Kenny Lofton (Cleveland Indians) [43.4]
5.25 (C)         Thurman Munson (New York Yankees) [37.0]
5.24 (2B)       Frankie Frisch (St. Louis Cardinals) [44.4]
5.24 (LF)       Ralph Kiner (Pittsburgh Pirates) [43.7]
5.23 (SS)       Barry Larkin (Cincinnati Reds) [43.1]
5.23 (2B)       Dustin Pedroia (Boston Red Sox) [42.4]
5.20 (CF)       Jim Edmonds (St. Louis Cardinals) [42.6]
5.16 (3B/DH) Edgar Martinez (Seattle Mariners) [43.7]
5.16 (3B)       David Wright (New York Mets) [40.2]
5.12 (CF)       Wally Berger (Boston Braves) [3.58]
5.09 (C)         Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers) [32.8] unfortunately one of the greatest catchers was a victim of racial discrimination and injuries
5.09 (2B)       Lou Whitaker (Detroit Tigers) [37.9]
5.06 (SS)       Joe Cronin (Boston Red Sox) [43.9]
5.06 (CF)      Hack Wilson (Chicago Cubs) [35.8]
5.05 (C)        Bill Dickey (New York Yankees) [34.2]
5.04 (SS)      Joe Tinker (Chicago Cubs) [32.9]
5.00 (SS)      Allen Trammell (Detroit Tigers) [44.8]
5.00 (RF)      Bobby Bonds (San Francisco Giants) [41.1]
5.00 (SS)      Nomar Garciaparra (Boston Red Sox) [43.1]
4.99 (SS)      Bill Dahlen (Chicago Cubs) [40.2]
4.98 (SS)      Luke Appling (Chicago White Sox) [43.8]
4.98 (LF)      Bob Johnson (Philadelphia Athletics) [36.0]
4.94 (3B)      Sal Bando (Oakland Athletics) [44.4]
4.93 (C)       Joe Mauer (Minnesota Twins) [39.0]
4.88 (LF)      Manny Ramirez (Boston Red Sox) [39.9]
4.85 (2B)      Willie Randolph (New York Yankees) [36.3]
4.84 (RF)      Sam Crawford (Detroit Tigers) [39.7]
4.84 (SS)      Ozzie Smith (St. Louis Cardinals) [42.5]
4.78 (LF)      Ryan Braun (Milwaukee Brewers) [39.2]
4.73 (CF)      Richie Ashburn (Philadelphia Phillies) [44.5]
4.72 (CF)     Jim Wynn (Houston Astros) [43.4]
4.68 (LF)      Goose Goslin (Washington Senators) [43.2]
4.68 (1B)      Keith Hernandez (New York Mets) [41.3]
4.64 (1B)      Jim Thome (Cleveland Indians) [41.5]
4.64 (CF)     Kirby Puckett (Minnesota Twins) [37.6]
4.63 (RF)     Paul Waner (Pittsburg Pirates) [42.2]
4.63 (1B)      Will Clark (San Francisco Giants) [36.1]
4.62 (2B)      Billy Herman (Chicago Cubs) [35.5]
4.59 (RF)     Tony Gwynn (San Diego Padres) [41.3]
4.57 (3B)      Paul Molitor (Milwaukee Brewers) [39.7]
4.57 (2B)      Roberto Alomar (Toronto Blue Jays) [42.9]
4.54 (LF)      Joe Medwick (St. Louis Cardinals) [39.7]
4.54 (C)        Yogi Berra (New York Yankees) [37.0]
4.53 (CF)     Chet Lemon (Chicago White Sox) [37.2]
4.50 (CF)     Andrew McCutchen (Pittsburg Pirates) [37.4]
4.49 (LF)      Tim Raines (Montreal Expos) [42.4]
4.49 (LF)      Lance Berkman (Houston Astros) [39.3]
4.48 (RF)      Vladimir Guerrero (Montreal Expos) [41.2]
4.46 (LF/3B) Minnie Minoso (Chicago White Sox) [50.5]
4.46 (3B)      Buddy Bell (Cleveland Indians) [40.5]
4.44 (C)        Carlton Fisk (Boston Red Sox) [37.6]
4.37 (CF)      Carlos Beltran (Kansas City Royals) [44.4]
4.37 (3B)      Robin Ventura (Chicago White Sox) [38.7]
4.37 (C)       Ivan Rodriguez (Texas Rangers) [39.8]
4.27 (SS)      Derek Jeter (New York Yankees) [41.8]
4.26 (CF)     Cesar Cedeno (Houston Astros) [41.4]
4.22 (1B)      John Olerud (Toronto Blue Jays) [39.0]
4.20 (3B)      Ron Cey (Los Angeles Dodgers) [37.1]
4.17 (RF)     Tony Oliva (Minnesota Twins) [38.6]
4.17 (RF)      Dwight Evans (Boston Red Sox) [37.3]
4.15 (LF)      Billy Williams (Chicago Cubs) [41.4]
4.13 (CF)     Fred Lynn (Boston Red Sox) [38.4]
4.11 (1B)      Rafael Palmeiro (Baltimore Orioles) [38.9]
4.08 (3B)      Graig Nettles (Cleveland Indians) [42.4]
4.05 (CF)     Willie Davis (Los Angeles Dodgers) [38.9]
4.03 (RF)      Sammy Sosa (Chicago Cubs) [43.8]
4.00 (CF)     Andre Dawson (Montreal Expos) [42.7]
4.00 (RF)      Bobby Abreu (Philadelphia Phillies) [41.6]
3.94 (LF)      Willie Stargell (Pittsburg Pirates) [38.0]
3.91 (2B)      Jeff Kent (San Francisco Giants) [35.7]
3.83 (1B)      Orlando Cepeda (San Francisco Giants) [34.6]
3.81 (RF)      Gary Sheffield (*) [38.0]
3.76 (RF)      Enos Slaughter (St. Louis Cardinals) [35.2]
3.75 (LF)      Jose Cruz (Houston Astros) [36.3]
3.72 (1B)      David Ortiz (Boston Red Sox) [35.2]
3.72 (2B)      Craig Biggio (Houston Astros) [41.8]
3.67 (CF)      Johnny Damon (Boston Red Sox) [33.0]
3.67 (1B/DH) Eddie Murray (Baltimore Orioles) [39.1]
3.62 (LF)      George Foster (Cincinnati Reds) [36.9]
3.62 (RF)      Ichiro Suzuki (Seattle Mariners) [43.7]
3.56 (CF)      Vada Pinson (Cincinnati Reds) [40.0]
3.55 (3B)       Darrell Evans (Atlanta Braves) [37.3]
3.50 (RF)      Dave Winfield (San Diego Padres) [37.9]
3.46 (CF)      Dale Murphy (Atlanta Braves) [41.2]
3.15 (1B)      Tony Perez (Cincinnati Reds) [36.5]
3.09 (1B)      Boog Powell (Baltimore Orioles) [30.9]
3.08 (C)        Manny Sanguillen (Pittsburg Pirates) [26.4]
3.05 (1B)      Ted Kluszewski (Cincinnati Reds) [29.2]
2.99 (CF)      Al Oliver (Pittsburg Pirates) [28.1]
2.91 (1B)      George Scott (Boston Red Sox) [30.3]
2.87 (1B)      Jim Bottomley (St. Louis Cardinals) [28.8]
2.85 (1B)      Wally Joyner (California Angels) [23.6]
2.75 (1B)      Joe Adcock (Milwaukee Braves) [23.7]
2.73 (2B)      Bill Mazeroski (Pittsburg Pirates) [26.0]
2.72 (C)        Elston Howard (New York Yankees) [26.4]
2.65 (1B)      Steve Garvey (Los Angeles Dodgers) [28.8]
2.63 (RF)      Dave Parker (Pittsburg Pirates) [37.4]
2.52 (CF)      Willie McGee (St. Louis Cardinals) [28.7]
2.51 (RF)      Rusty Staub (Montreal Expos) [33.3]
2.22 (DH)     Harold Baines (Kansas City Royals) [21.4]

NOTE: Anything below two WAR per season would be below average for a major league baseball starter.

Related Pages: The Greatest Baseball Team of All Time, The Greatest Baseball Infields of All Time, Is Mike Trout the GOAT?, Best Baseball Nicknames, Weird Baseball Facts and Trivia, All-Time Cincinnati Reds Baseball Team, Cincinnati Reds Trivia, Baseball's All-Time Leaders in WAR7

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