According to WAR and the Hall of Stats, Rick Reuschel was a top 100 player. That was—and still is—a revelation. When I create lists of the best players outside of the Hall, I still hesitate a bit before listing Reuschel’s name. So, what gives?
...So, here are some reasons why Rick Reuschel is better than we seem to think…
1- Part of it is unexplainable. Reuschel’s raw numbers are actually nearly Hall-worthy. He had a .528 winning percentage and 114 ERA+. Nolan Ryan had a .526 winning percentage and an ERA+ of 112 (I understand Ryan pitched longer, but still… this is a little surprising).
2- He played for some pretty terrible teams. His teams combined for a winning percentage of .463. This doesn’t lead to a lot of wins, awards, or publicity.
3- He didn’t give up a lot of unearned runs. He was right at the league average. Considering the defense he played in front of, you’d think he would have given up more. If looking at things in terms of runs allowed rather than earned runs allowed, Reuschel would look much better.
4- He played in front of some horrendous defenses. Phil Niekro must sympathize with him. If you think about how bad his defenses were and how many unearned runs they must have led to, you realize that the actual number of unearned runs Reuschel allowed was probably unbelievably low. He helped this by not walking many players and not allowing many home runs. Those are easy ways to be beaten and Reuschel didn’t let his opponents do it.
I don’t think I’ve ever publicly said “Rick Reuschel should be in the Hall of Fame.” I was still uncomfortable with why his WAR-based numbers looked so good. But now I know. And I think I’m ready to say it.
Rick Reuschel should be in the Hall of Fame. He wasn’t flashy. He wasn’t famous. But he provided more value than the average Hall of Famer. That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Posted: February 08, 2013 at 11:55 PM | 110 comment(s)
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