Congratulations to the Cubs, the Indians, and their fanbases, one of which will enjoy a long-awaited championship!
Now here’s the question. Which player in baseball history was the best combined Cub/Indian? My methodology, as it was last year, is to draw the top 200 position players and pitchers from each team by Wins Above Replacement, using the Baseball Reference Play Index. Then I find the players with the highest value of
(WAR for team 1 * WAR for team 2)
Now I have to admit I couldn’t actually think of a player who played for both the Cubs and the Indians! And this was borne out by the Play Index results: there were only five position players and no pitchers who ranked in the top 200 all-time contributors to each team. Pretty surprising, considering how long both teams have been around! And here are your top five Cub/Indians:
- Riggs Stephenson (193.6)
- Andre Thornton (98.8)
- Jose Cardenal (47.4)
- Mel Hall (9.0)
- Mitch Webster (7.8)
I almost wonder whether I did something wrong here. There was so much more overlap last year between the Royals and the Mets! But until you tell me otherwise, it’s the Riggs Stephenson Series.
Bill Petti on Medium points out that Kenny Lofton’s half-season with the Cubs already puts him in third place here, not far behind Thornton. He’s not on this list because he’s not top 200 for the Cubs.
[…] has had the most distinguished joint record of contributions to both teams? (Last year: Riggs Stephenson was the greatest Cub/Indian.) Astros history just isn’t that long, so it’s a little surprising to find we come up […]