We are going to go Cubs-centric for Stats Sunday the final two weeks and take a look at some career leader boards in some of the advanced stats we have featured this season.
This Sunday we focus on position players. Next Sunday, it’s pitching.
Thanks to the fine folks at Baseball-Reference.com for their great team leaderboard pages.
We start with a key link so you can explore on your own. For Cubs all-time batting leaders (top 10 lists), go to this page:
We found a lot of fun stuff here.
Keep in mind this disclaimer from Baseball-Reference.com: “1500 plate appearances required for career rate batting statistics.”
In 1929, Rogers Hornsby put up the greatest overall season in Cubs history among position players according to Wins Above Replacement with a 10.4 WAR.
Cap Anson compiled the most WAR among Cubs position players in his career with the team with 84.5 (Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks and Billy Williams round out the top 5).
The best defensive player in Cubs history in terms of accumulating Defensive WAR? Joe Tinker, whose 29.7 dWAR nearly doubles Billy Jurges’ 15.1.
P.S., While Tinker had the highest single-season dWAR in Cubs history with 4.3 in 1908, Darwin Barney put up the 2nd-most last year at 3.6 (tied with Tinker’s 1905 and 1906 seasons).
Your Cubs’ career leader in OBP? Ray Grimes at .418. Bill Madlock checks in at .397, good for 5th while Mark Grace just cracks the top 10 at .386.
Cubs’ career slugging percentage is particularly interesting in that several players of recent vintage are among the leaders. Hack Wilson (not of recent vintage) is the leader at .590. But then it’s Sammy Sosa (2nd at .569), Aramis Ramirez (3rd at .531), Derrek Lee (4th at .524), Andre Dawson (6th at .507), Billy Williams (7th at .503), Ernie Banks (8th at .500) and Alfonso Soriano (9th at .495).
In terms of OPS, one Cub all-time reached 1.000. That’s Hack Wilson at 1.002. Sammy Sosa is 2nd at .928.
Did you know only one Cub has ever had 100 extra-base hits in a season? Sammy Sosa amassed 103 in 2001. Derrek Lee came oh so close with 99 in his great season of 2005.
The only Cub with over 1,000 career extra-base hits is Ernie Banks with 1,009.
In Offensive Win %, which looks at the winning percentage of a team with 9 of that particular player batting against average pitching and defense, Hack Wilson again leads at .752. Bill Madlock is 6th at .703 with Billy Williams 7th at .701.
We have talked about stolen base percentage being a key number — it’s not so much about number of steals, but how successful you are at it. Eric Young is the Cubs’ all-time leader at 80.19%.
It’s a lot of fun to peruse Cubs’ history in the context of these “modern” stats. The one thing I take out of it is how great Bill Madlock was as a Cub. He was only here for 3 years (his 23 through 25-year-old seasons from 1974-76), but he won 2 batting titles and put up this slash line in 400 games: .336/.397/.475 for an OPS+ of 139. He finished his 15-year career at .305/.365/.442 with an OPS+ of 123, so his Cubs’ numbers were all better than what he put up everywhere else in a terrific career.
Next week to wrap up the season, we find out just where Fergie and Big Z and Three Finger Brown and Mad Dog stack up on the all-time Cubs’ pitching lists.