The World Series is here and so it’s time again to figure out which player in the history of baseball has had the most distinguished joint record of contributions to both teams in contention for the title. (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 with a really solid winner this year: Jimmy Wynn, “The Toy Cannon,” a longtime Astro who moved to LA in 1974 and had arguably his best season, finishing 5th in MVP voting and leading the Dodgers to a pennant. Real three-true-outcomes guy: led the league in walks twice and strikeouts once, and was top-10 in the National League in home runs four times in the Astrodome. Career total of 41.4 WAR for the Astros, and 12.3 for the Dodgers in just two years there.
As always, thanks to the indispensable Baseball Reference Play Index for making this search possible.
Other contenders: Don Sutton is clearly tops among pitchers. Sutton was the flip side of Wynn; he had just two seasons for Houston but they were pretty good. Beyond that it’s slim pickings. Jeff Kent put in some years for both teams. So did Joe Ferguson.
Who are we rooting for? On the “ex-Orioles on the WS Roster” I guess the Dodgers have the advantage, with Rich Hill and Justin Turner (I have to admit I have no memory of Turner playing for the Orioles at all, even though it wasn’t that long ago! It was in 2009, a season I have few occasions to recall.) But both these teams are stocked with players I just plain like: Kershaw, Puig, Altuve, the great Carlos Beltran…
What’s the right (semi-) norm to take here? The minimum career WAR for either team? That captures something but I’m not sure it’s 100% right.
I usually use product, but I experiment with different things. In this case Wynn comes out on top with both product and min. You want something kinda concave, if you use + you’re just gonna get the best player who played for (team 1 or team 2)
[…] So here we have it, a Red Sox / Dodgers series, and so it’s time for my annual post about what player had the best combined career for both teams. (Last year: Jimmy Wynn was the greatest Astro/Dodger.) […]