It’s felt that an average major leaguer should produce 2 WAR in a season. Mike Trout is not average, so much so that he already has 1.9 WAR this season after three weeks. He’s hitting .344 with 6 home runs. That 1.9 WAR has the now-30-year-old Angels star tied for 69th all time with 78.0 total WAR. We have said before he could retire tomorrow and would be selected for the Hall of Fame on the first ballot. Every month he plays, he passes more Hall of Fame players on the WAR list. Let’s look at who he has passed this season already, appreciate the greatness of Mike Trout by remembering how great these other players were.
Jim McCormick, 76.2 WAR. He was a 19th century pitcher who went 265-214 with a 2.43 ERA, 118 ERA+. He has the second highest JAWS score of any pitcher not in the Hall of Fame and is the only player on this list not in the HoF.
Bobby Wallace, 76.3 WAR. The shortstop/third baseman was inducted into the HoF in 1953. The Deaball Era played in the bigs from 1894-1918, retiring at the age of 44. He started his career in Cleveland as a pitcher and infielder both. In 1899 he got moved to St Louis and spent the rest of his career either with the Browns or Cardinals. During his time with the Browns (1902-1911), he was considered the best shortstop in the AL.
Ozzie Smith, 76.9 WAR. With due respect for Bobby Wallace, now we’re talking truly about the best shortstop. Ever. 13 All Star nods and 13 Gold Gloves. His last All Star selection was his last season with the Cardinals at age 41 in 1996. He was elected to the HoF by the BBWAA on the first ballot. I can still close my eyes and see his opening day flips on the infield.
Robin Yount, 77.4 WAR. He won two AL MVP awards for the Brewers. He collected 3142 hits and 583 doubles. He was a career .285/.342/.430 hitter, 115 OPS+ for the Brew Crew for 20 years. As a reminder, the last player Trout passed on the WAR list last year was another Brewers great: Paul Molitor. Like Smith, he was a first ballot HoF selection, in 1999.
Luke Appling, 77.6 WAR. He played for the White Sox, 1930-1950 and was inducted into the HoF in 1964. He was a career .310 hitter with a .399 OBP. My mother was always a Cubbie, but Appling was her favorite player—partly because he was a great player, partly because he was handsome, and partly because it was fun cheering at Comiskey Park by chanting Luuuuuke,” which of course sounded like booing.
Arky Vaughan, 78.0 WAR. Trout hasnt technically passed him yet, seeing as they are tied. Most of his career was with the Pirates in the 1930’s. He collected 2103 hits with a .318 batting average over 14 seasons. He retired after the 1943 season but came back as a role player with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and 1948. (His retirement came after his relationship with manager Leo Durocher fell apart; his comeback “coincidentally” coincided with Durocher getting suspended for a year.) He was inducted to the Hall in 1985.