Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Veach Heads List of Tigers Left Fielders

Today, we'll continue the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) series using Sean Smith's WAR database to rank Tigers left fielders. Other parts of the series including an explanation of WAR can be found in theWAR folder.

The Tigers have had some outstanding outfielders over the years - Ty Cobb, Al Kaline and Sam Crawford to name a few. One outfielder, who doesn't receive a great deal of attention, is Bobby Veach, the Tigers leading left fielder with 42.7 WAR (Table 1). Veach starred for the Tigers from 1912-1923 but was overshadowed by the great Cobb. His two best years were 1917 (6.5 WAR) and 1919 (6.6 WAR).

Behind Veach were Willie Horton (25.0), Bobby Higginson (21.4), and Charlie Maxwell (18.9). Higginson gets a bad rap from many Tigers fans but it needs to be remembered that he had some good years before his career soured at the end. He had four years of 120 OPS+ or better between 1996 and 2001.

Table 2 shows that Veach also leads in WAR per 600 plate appearances (WAR600) but just barely, 3.91 to 3.90 over Rocky Colavito. After leading the Indians in home runs in 1959, Colavito was traded to the Tigers for batting champion Harvey Kuenn before the 1960 season. Rocky proceeded to provide strong slugging and solid defense for the Tigers from 1960-1963.

Table 1: Top Ten Tigers Left Fielders by WAR

Player

PA

WAR

Bobby Veach

6,544

42.7

Willie Horton

5,923

25.0

Bobby Higginson

5,596

21.4

Charlie Maxwell

3,112

18.9

Rocky Colavito

2,691

17.5

Matty McIntyre

3,346

17.0

Steve Kemp

2,892

14.2

Dick Wakefield

2,489

13.3

Fats Fothergill

2,611

12.3

Davy Jones

2,462

11.2



Table 2: Top Five Tigers Left Fielders by WAR600

Player

PA

WAR600

Bobby Veach

6,544

3.91

Rocky Colavito

2,691

3.90

Charlie Maxwell

3,112

3.64

Dick Wakefield

2,489

3.21

Matty McIntyre

3,346

3.04

3 comments:

  1. Seeing Bobby Higginson up there made me shiver. I never liked Higgy. Probably seeing him in person watch as they intentionally walked the dude in front of him to get to Higgy and then take 3 straight strikes to end the inning left a bad taste in my mouth.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lee, I loved Wille Horton and his whole career with our Tigers, but Bobby Veach is one of the under-rated and all but forgotten hitting stars from the teens to 1920's. Veach was an rbi machine, and from all accounts a terrific defensive leftfielder. Part of two of the greatest outfields of all time; with Cobb and Sam Crawford, and later with Cobb and Harry Heilmann. At various times in his career, he Led the League in hits once(with two seasons over 200), doubles twice, triples once, and rbi three times. He also had six 100 or more rbi seasons and one with 99. A player like Veach deserves some serious consideration from the HOF Veteran's Committee.
    Ron.

    ReplyDelete
  3. AnonymousMay 19, 2010

    It will be great to watch Detroit Tigers,i have bought tickets from http://ticketfront.com/event/Detroit_Tigers-tickets looking forward to it.

    ReplyDelete

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