Photographer: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Friday Baseball Blogging: Buster Posey's Achievement

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
Read More.
a | A

Buster Posey is in his fifth season, and baseball-reference credits him with a total of 19.5 WAR (wins over replacement).

That makes him the best Giants catcher since the move to San Francisco. Tom Haller did better on this measure than I expected, at 19 WAR. No one else comes close. Not Bob Brenley; not Dick Deitz.

What about franchise history?

The Giants have had one HOF catcher, Roger Bresnahan. He totaled 27.2 WAR with the Giants from 1902 through 1908. That’s Posey’s target. I can find only one more; Chief Myers, who caught for the middle-era McGraw winners, 1909-1915, and had 21.4 WAR with the Giants

Wes Westrum doesn’t come close. Walker Cooper wasn’t there long enough (only 3-plus seasons). Harry Danning was a regular for a while in the 1930s and 1940s, but didn’t reach 15 WAR. Not Gus Mancuso, who caught for the Bill Terry pennant winners. Frank Snyder was the catcher for those 1920s teams, but he’s not a contender (anyone remotely close from those teams would be in the Hall of Fame). I didn’t check the 19th century, but I don’t think there’s anyone.

That’s the Giants weakest position. There are HOFers everywhere. For example George Davis had 44 WAR with the Giants. Granted, the positions are a little tricky; Davis played more SS than anything else in New York, just as I’m counting all of Posey’s contributions to catching even though he’s played some 1B. Breshnahan, too, played a lot of games in the outfield and elsewhere.

Here’s my question: are there other positions among the “original” 16 franchises that are even weaker than Giants catcher? How rare is it for someone to be a contender for all-franchise team this quickly? I really have no idea. Anyone want to speak up for their team?

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at

To contact the editor on this story:
Max Berley at