Home Sports Talk
Options

Was Billy Williams better than Ernie Banks?

DarinDarin Posts: 6,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

Just looking through Williams stats I was surprised how good his numbers are.
Before I was thinking he was a borderline hofer but he was 17th all time in WPA and is ahead of banks in ops+ 133 to 122.
Was he better than banks?

Comments

  • Options
    JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Hitting wise they are very close, I'll give a slight edge to Banks with his .500 SLG.
    Williams walked more, and scored a few more runs per year, but Banks drove in a few more each season. Very, very close as hitters.

    Fielding should give Mr Banks a definite edge. He played 8 years at Short while Billy played almost his entire career in Left.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Options
    LandrysFedoraLandrysFedora Posts: 1,795 ✭✭✭✭✭

  • Options
    DarinDarin Posts: 6,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    So my question is how important is WPA when comparing these players? 48 swell and Dallas seem to use it a lot. Because there’s a huge discrepancy between these two players. Williams is 62 and Banks is 31. Double for Billy. 🤔🤔

  • Options
    JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    ^^^Until someone can point out a specific reason (and no one ever can), I'll go with looking at all the regular numbers and make up my own mind.

    These two are so close it's amazing. Their careers also overlapped by more than 11 years, so they faced the same pitchers and played in the same parks for most of the time.

    I don't see how either of them could be "twice as good". I would love to know where Williams excelled over Banks.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Options
    craig44craig44 Posts: 10,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    that is a fantastic question. one i had never thought of until now. I guess I didnt realize how close they were offensively. Ernie was definitely the better home run hitter, but the SLG % are really close.

    George Brett, Roger Clemens and Tommy Brady.

  • Options
    DarinDarin Posts: 6,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @craig44 said:
    that is a fantastic question. one i had never thought of until now. I guess I didnt realize how close they were offensively. Ernie was definitely the better home run hitter, but the SLG % are really close.

    I didn’t realize how close they were either until I started looking into it. Billy had a lot of consistent years hitting at a high level as evidenced by his 133 ops+.
    His 426 career home runs is impressive, on his baseball cards he always looked so skinny but he must have generated very good bat speed to have that kind of power.
    Really underrated hitter.

  • Options

    @Darin said:
    So my question is how important is WPA when comparing these players? 48 swell and Dallas seem to use it a lot. Because there’s a huge discrepancy between these two players. Williams is 62 and Banks is 31. Double for Billy. 🤔🤔

    It's not really double because WPA is really expressed over average.

    Think of it like this. If Banks drove in 100 runs and Williams drove in 120, you wouldn't think Williams was "DOUBLE" Banks. However, if the league average hitter drove in 78 runs, then that makes Banks 28% over average, and Williams was 54% over average....which 28 to 54 is basically saying "Double" but isn't really double like one would think in absolute terms. It is not the same as if Banks drove in 100 runs and Williams 200 which really would be double.

    Banks was 31 WPA over what the league average player was for his career.
    Williams was 62 WPA over what the league average player was for his career.

    SO it isn't really double the value Banks proivded. It isn't saying Williams was twice as good as Banks there.

    We already know with a 133 to 122 OPS+ lead that Williams has that he is a better hitter for the career length. That is embedded in the WAP. So Williams should be higher.

    But WPA really goes up and down a lot based on the clutchness of players.

    If you look at the area where WPA will go up or down a lot, it is in late/close situations:

    Banks had a lifetime .735 OPS in late/close situations.
    Williams had a lifetime .880 OPS in late/close situations.

    That is a stark difference between the two there. So with Williams already in the lead 133 to 122 in overall hitting, when adding that stark difference between the two in the clutchiest of spots, it isn't surprising that Williams leads Banks by 30 wins produced above average player in WPA. Still doesn't say that williams was twice as good a hitter. Just that he was better(which OPS+ already says easily since they played in the same park and mostly the same years).

    Banks playing SS certainly cuts that and might even make Banks slightly better overral though...but Banks played 1B more than half of his career, so that aspect is diminished a little.

  • Options
    DarinDarin Posts: 6,316 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice post 48swell.
    I’m going with Billy Williams as the better player of the two.
    Yes he played left field but looks like he was pretty good out there. Lead in assists 4 times and double plays 4 times.
    His consecutive games played streak is really impressive also.

  • Options
    JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,221 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I assumed that Banks hit fourth behind Williams but he actually almost never did.
    Not being a Cubs fan, I forgot about Ron Santo.

    Santo and Williams arrived right after Banks' tremendous 6 year run where he played in nearly every game at shortstop and averaged an OPS+ of 140.
    That's a better peak than Williams I think, but close, hitting wise.

    Not sure how people feel about it being an advantage, but I would assume Williams, batting 3rd, with two HOFers behind him is going to get a lot of good pitches to hit.

    I also noted that Banks hit much better in the "3 hole" than he did hitting 5th.

    I'm going to say Banks was a better all around player, but not by much.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Options
    1948_Swell_Robinson1948_Swell_Robinson Posts: 1,686 ✭✭✭✭

    Another remarkable thing about Billy Williams is that he played every day as a left handed hitter, even in that era. Willie McCOvey dodged many games where Koufax pitched so that he could avoid an 0 for 4. McCovey also dodged lefties in the last 1/3 of his career. That helped his percentages.

    Not Williams.

    Williams led the league in games played a remarkable five times. in the years he didn't lead he played in 159, 161, 162, 162, 157. Yes, he played 162 games and didn't lead the league those years.

    William's could have even better percentages had he dodged Koufax a few times himself.

    @JoeBanzai it is unknown how much protection helps, but Williams had his best years when Banks was a shadow of himself or was retired. Williams had 182 IBB so he was pitched around often in crucial men on base spots.

    Keep in mind that getting IBB is hurting William's chance in both traditional and Sabermetric measurements to put up more crooked numbers. So in that regard he was helping the player behind him get more crooked number opportunities.

  • Options
    JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited February 27, 2024 8:20PM

    I was going to bring up the fact that it was tougher to hit as a right handed batter at the time.

    You mention Koufax, but the majority of pitchers are right handed and Sandy was only dominant for 4 seasons, actually only 1 season on the road. Don Drysdale would have been worse to face than Koufax, 6'5" threw inside and was great from 1957-68.

    Bob Gibson was dominant from 1961-74, Bunning 1957-69, Marichal 1961-73, all right handers who were better for MUCH longer than Koufax, who was really an average pitcher when he wasn't pitching in his home park (except for 1967).

    MUCH tougher for a right handed batter in that era. Ballparks usually shorter to right field than left too.

    Banks played in every game in 1954 & 55 then missed 15 games in '56. The next 7 out of 9 years played in every game, so he didn't miss many games either.

    P.S. keep in mind Ron Santo drove in an average of 105 runs with 30 HR a year from 1963-1970 drastically reducing RBI opportunities for Banks.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Options
    coinkatcoinkat Posts: 22,787 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The short answer is no. But in all fairness Billy Williams is among the most underrated and unappreciated players in MLB History.

    Experience the World through Numismatics...it's more than you can imagine.

Sign In or Register to comment.