Disclaimer: I’m aware that the premise of this article is flawed. It’s just a fun exercise.
Deacon White may have gotten into the Hall of Fame, but that doesn’t mean I’m done talking about him. When making a case for White, I think it is important to consider the short seasons he played. From his player page:
Seasons were short back then and [in the 1870s] White played in only 525 games (he missed only eight of his team’s games despite being a barehanded catcher).
White accumulated 24.2 WAR in those 533 team-games. If you prorate those 533 games across nine 162-game seasons, suddenly Whitecould have earned 67.2 WAR. Of course, it’s impossible to say he would have accumulated that WAR total across full seasons, but it gives you an idea of White’s relative value.
The Deacon was a barehanded catcher. He couldn’t have handled 162-game seasons. But still… what if?
What would Deacon White’s career totals look like if you prorated all of his seasons to 162 games?
Where would those totals rank?
- 2,360 runs: 1st all time.
- 4,116 hits: 3rd all time.
- 1,995 runs batted in: Tied for 5th all time.
- 209 triples: 8th all time.
Does this mean if he played in the modern era, Deacon White would have collected over 4,000 hits? No. There’s no way we can say that. The eras are completely different and a comparison is not possible.
But what if his own era used the 162-game schedule? 4,000 hits is still a stretch. But 3,000? Maybe not.