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Best 5-Year WAR by Non-HOF Pitchers

Posted by John Autin
Since 1893, these are the non-Hall of Fame pitchers with at least 25.0 WAR in a 5-year span. Only those retired long enough to have appeared on a HOF ballot are listed. Limit one entry per pitcher. Baseball-Reference WAR formula is used.


WAR
Player
Years
Age
ERA+
IP
HOF High %
34.6
1996-2000
31-35
165
1209.2
One & done
34.5
1970-1974
28-32
128
1512.0
7%
33.6
1899-1903
20-24
133
1612.2
Ineligible
33.1
1893-1897
24-28
117
1928.2
One & done
32.8
1908-1912
23-27
123
1576.1
6.4%
31.6
1981-1985
23-27
145
1282.0
One & done
30.9
1992-1996
24-28
145
1014.2
One & done
30.4
1974-1978
20-24
124
1294.2
One & done
29.7
1969-1973
28-32
115
1565.1
25.5%
29.4
1976-1980
27-31
122
1250.2
One & done
29.4
1963-1967
23-27
132
1142.2
0.5%
29.3
1916-1920
32-36
136
1409.2
Banned
29.0
1985-1989
26-30
132
1259.1
11.2%
28.7
1964-1968
26-30
120
1259.0
One & done
28.6
1984-1988
19-23
135
1172.2
One & done
28.6
1916-1920
28-32
143
1487.2
--
28.2
1993-1997
30-34
148
922.0
One & done
27.6
1985-1989
21-25
130
1171.1
One & done
27.5
1919-1923
28-32
131
1408.2
1.5%
27.5
1900-1904
24-28
126
1636.0
2.6%
27.3
1985-1989
26-30
130
1085.0
--
27.3
1894-1898
21-25
114
1857.1
--
27.2
1987-1991
27-31
127
1249.0
One & done
26.8
1990-1994
25-29
149
1042.0
0.2%
26.8
1910-1914
27-31
135
1357.0
--
26.7
1972-1976
31-35
125
1301.1
30.9%
26.7
1952-1956
25-29
139
1197.1
1.9%
26.1
1954-1958
24-28
128
1206.1
--
26.1
1932-1936
23-27
135
1357.2
6.5%
25.8
1972-1976
22-26
122
1242.0
--
25.5
1949-1953
27-31
136
1220.1
--
25.4
1968-1972
28-32
126
1255.0
--
25.3
1959-1963
25-29
134
1148.2
0.8%
25.3
1929-1933
21-25
127
1304.1
3.6%
25.2
1989-1993
28-32
120
1204.2
--
25.2
1977-1981
26-30
143
1067.1
8.8%
25.2
1937-1941
30-34
136
1213.1
--
25.2
1936-1940
28-32
116
1446.1
9.4%
25.0
1989-1993
26-30
128
1118.2
One & done
25.0
1921-1925
30-34
136
1397.1
5.6%


A little perspective on Kevin Brown's 1996-2000 peak of 34.6 WAR:

  • His 34.6 WAR ranked #2 in that period, 2 WAR behind Pedro Martinez (3 Cy Young Awards in that span), 1.5 WAR ahead of Roger Clemens (2 CYAs), and 4.4 WAR ahead of Randy Johnson (2 CYAs).
  • The two best 5-year spans this century are 33.2 by Randy Johnson (2000-04, 3 CYAs) and 31.8 by Johan Santana (2004-08, 2 CYAs). Brown topped them both.
  • Roy Halladay's best 5-year WAR is 31.2. His 5 best individual seasons add up to 35.6 WAR.

Brown, with 211 wins, a .594 W% and 127 ERA+, got 2.1% of the HOF vote in his only ballot, and thus fell off the BBWAA ballot for good.

One more note on a Brown theme ... If you want to see some hard-luck W-L records, check out Ted Breitenstein with the 1890s St. Louis Browns. For 1893-97, he ranked 4th in WAR (behind 3 HOFers), but had a losing record. The Browns from 1893-96 had a .366 W%. He was lucky to escape to Cincinnati in 1897, when the Browns went 29-102.

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