The official Major League Baseball page, MLB.com, reviewed each team’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement) leader over the past 50 seasons, from 1969 to 2019. You won’t guess the New York Mets‘ representative… or maybe you will, since he is a Hall of Famer!
First, let’s explain what WAR is. Wins Above Replacement is the most complete stat of all, one that tries to measure a player’s contributions to his team over his hypothetical replacement. To do this, it combines offensive, defensive and baserunning contributions for position players.
For pitchers, Baseball Reference explains that “WAR starts with runs allowed by the pitcher and compares it to the league average pitcher (adjusting for quality of opposition), parks pitched in, and quality of defense behind the pitcher.”
Essentially, what WAR tries to answer is this question, according to Fangraphs: “If this player got injured and their team had to replace them with a freely available minor leaguer or a AAAA player from their bench, how much value would the team be losing?”
The New York Mets’ WAR king
For the Mets, recent fans may be thinking about Jacob deGrom. While he is well on his way to be among the team’s historic leaders in WAR with 35.5 (in Baseball Reference’s version of the stat) at 31 years old, he is still far from the leader of the pack.
Millennials would answer “David Wright.” The captain accrued a very high WAR through his career, with 49.2, but that number is only good for a distant second place.
The New York Mets’ all-time leader in Baseball Reference WAR (bWAR) is Tom Seaver, so boomers win! Kidding aside, the former ace, now 75 years old, achieved 65.8 WAR, from 1967-77, and in 1983.
The dominant Seaver played a prominent role in the New York Mets’ 1969 World Series-winning campaign and has been a hall of famer since 1992.