07 Jan

totally random

It’s not an insult to say someone was an average major league player. Wendell Magee, the former Hattiesburg High and Pearl River Community College star, was, by one measure, as average as a player can be, which again is not an insult. It’s just very interesting. Magee had more than a cup of coffee in the big leagues. An outfielder who was never really a regular, he played parts of seven seasons in The Show, getting into 386 games with Philadelphia and Detroit from 1996-2002. He batted .247 for his career with 24 home runs and 122 RBIs. His best MLB season might have been his last, when he hit .271 with six homers, 19 doubles and 35 RBIs in 97 games for the Tigers. Possibly the most interesting number from Magee’s career is his WAR, or Wins Above Replacement. WAR is a statistical measure of a player’s contributions to his team relative to wins and losses. (Raise your hand if you truly understand WAR.) According to fangraphs.com: “WAR offers an estimate to answer the question, ‘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?’” It’s even possible to have a negative WAR. Babe Ruth’s career (cumulative) WAR, over 22 years as a hitter, is 182.4. Mike Trout’s is 72.5 over his nine years. McComb native Corey Dickerson, who recently signed with Miami, stands at 13.1 over seven seasons. Wendell Magee’s career WAR is 0.0. Zero, point, zero. That doesn’t mean Magee contributed nothing over his seven seasons. Obviously, he had some big hits here and there. He had four seasons with a positive WAR, three with a negative. It all added up to 0.0. So, what does it mean? Perhaps Magee was simply an average player, which, in the grand scheme, isn’t bad at all. He played in 386 big league games spread over seven seasons. Think of how many players who would kill for one day in the big leagues.

Mike Christensen

Mike Christensen

A long-time sports fan and 30-year newspaper veteran muses on all things baseball in Mississippi. Contact: mwchristens@gmail.com
Mike Christensen

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