Bruce Markusen’s interview today with Mary Appel—author of a new book about Thurman Munson—inspired me to look up Munson in a new model I developed for the Batted Ball Reports. I came up with a system for predicting a player’s career Win Shares at any point in his career.
When Munson died at the age of 32, he had 206 Win Shares. The model predicts that Munson would have finished with about 270 Win Shares, a prediction that was pretty consistent the last few years of his career. We normally think of 300 Win Shares as the minimum threshold for a Hall-of-Fame career, so it appears that Munson would have fallen a little short. But with all the New York and postseason exposure, who knows?
By the way, a lot of people refer to Munson as a clutch player and it’s true. According to Baseball Reference, Munson had an OPS of .771 in high-leverage situations, .756 in medium-leverage situations and .750 in low-leverage situations. He batted .279 with no one on base and .302 with runners in scoring position.