Munson’s Win Shares

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.

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  1. TOM TUNISON said...

    When Munson died tragically in 1979 he was 7th All time in WAR for catchers with only 6 Hall of Famers ahead of him. He now is 15th which is still great. He was also #2 all time in WAR 7 to Johnny Bench and he is now 7th on that list. He was and is one of the greatest catchers of All time and most definitely should be in the Hall of Fame.

    I also have done a little project which I call WAR 10 “The Thurman Munson Test”.
    10 consecutive years of WAR for a catcher with at least 1000 games caught and Munson is #7 with Gary Carter – 1977 – 1986, Johnny Bench – 1968 – 1977, Mike Piazza – 1993 – 2002, Ivan Rodriguez – 1995 – 2004, Mickey Cochrane – 1926 – 1935, and Yogi Berra – 1950 – 1959 ahead of him. Munson is always in great company in all of these discussions but never called one of the greatest ever – its rather pathetic in my opinion.

  2. TOM TUNISON said...

    Also Munson’s career Postseason OPS beats them all. Icing on the Hall of Fame career cake if you will.

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