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Nomar's Peak

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When Nomar Garciparra retired, my initial thought was "certainly on the Hall of Fame track, but just didn't play long enough." As I've looked closer, however, he looks better than I thought. Particularly when you look at wWAR, Nomar's peak really becomes apparent. He leapfrogs a bunch of shortstops on the All Time WAR list—many of them Hall of Famers. He's #19 on the shortstop wWAR list. And any time you're #19 of all time at your position, you deserve at least an extended look for the Hall of Fame.

He had just a single season with value in between 1997's 5.9 WAR and 2004's 0.9 WAR (that was 2.1 WAR in 2006). I can't find another player who packed so much of his career value (94.8%) into a half dozen seasons.

Even after this closer look, he's probably not a Hall of Famer. But he's really close to the borderline. He does deserve one of my favorite compliments you can give a borderline candidate—at least he was better than Jim Rice.

(WAR data from Baseball-Reference.)