The Greatest Games By Hall of Famers

From SABR member Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times on April 18:

What are the best games by the best players in baseball history? When did they shine and do the most to help their teams win?

First, let’s define what’s meant by “best game.” I’m distinguishing between a great performance and a great game. A great performance can be something like Jim Bottomley’s 12-RBI game where he went 6-for-6, or Willie Mays hitting four homers in one game. Those are the best days some Hall of Famers ever had. I’m looking not only for a time when a player had a great performance, but his achievements came in key moments.

In other words, I’m looking at WPA, the story stat that’s caught on tremendously over recent years. WPA has its critics, but it does a good job covering the ebbs and flows over a game as it calculates how each plate appearance affects the chances for either team to win the game.

When you get down to it, a player whose plate appearances made the biggest difference in helping his team win, that’s a pretty good definition of what makes a great game.

With that in mind, here are the best WPA performances by a Hall of Famer in the years for which WPA is available (from 1950 onward). I’ll divide this into two lists, one for hitters and one for pitchers.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: April 18, 2011. Last Updated: April 18, 2011.