For my next installment of In Motion, I thought it would be interesting to see what WAR Graphs might look like in this context.
The screen shot above depicts center fielders and their cumulative WAR over time (the x-axis shows age, but you can also change it to account for seasons). The color of each data point is related to how much WAR each player earned in that individual season--dark red indicates elite, dark blue indicates negative WAR.
Looking at Mickey Mantle and Ty Cobb it's impressive how good they were up to age 30. Mantle, in particular, had some incredible seasons before he was 26. However, we can see how injuries started to chip away at Mantle's greatness and a decrease in the slope* of his WAR graph. We also see how Wilie Mays' consistency would lead him to catch and essentially mimic Ty Cobbs phenomenal career.
(*Comparing WAR Graphs gave me an idea for comparing slopes of WAR accumulation--an idea I'll be returning to later this week. Stay tuned.)
I've loaded 10 center fielders into the tool, but displaying all 10 at the same time gets quite messy. In addition to Mantle, Mays, Snyder, and Cobb you can also look at Edmonds, Griffey, Jr., Speaker, DiMaggio, Ashburn, and Beltran. You can pick and choose which players to highlight and track as well, to increase readability.
I am having some problems embedding the visual here, so be sure to check it out in all it's motion glory here.