There will always be comparisons between Carlton Fisk and Thurman Munson. Munson fans admitting Fisk had the better career will say that he was better in his prime than Fisk, so he should also be in the hall of fame. Of course, I have Fisk having a better career with him being the number 3 catcher and Munson the number 20 catcher on my list. First, we will do career WAR. Of course, Fisk has more WAR, but he had more seasons to accumulate it. Munson played 11 seasons and had 5,905 plate appearances to accumulated 46 WAR (wins above replacement). Carlton Fisk played 24 years had 9,853 plate appearances and accumulated 68.4 WAR. Munson accumulated more WAR per year, but Fisk had more non-prime years.
I found a formula which I am confident in which calculates a winning percentage for WAR. Fisk has a win loss record of 116-45 or a winning percentage of 72%. Munson has a win loss record of 75-24 or a winning percentage of 75.6%. Munson has a higher winning percentage but in a shorter period. However, the difference in win and losses is Fisk has 31 more victories and 21 more losses. That is a winning percentage of 59.6%. Of course, most team would love a catcher playing at a .590 level, so Fisk has the better career. I did calculate a winning percentage for win shares. I didn’t like it as much, but in that one Fisk had a higher win-loss percentage in his career than Munson had. There is no doubt that Win Shares likes Fisk better than Munson no matter how I calculate the numbers. I used the different formulas, to lessen the flaws of each system. So, I know that they do rate players differently.
OK, I’m giving Munson an 8-year prime as from looking at his stats I would say that is when he was a real good baseball player. The years were from 1970 to 1977. I figure him at 64-17 or a .79.3%. Carlton Fisk at the same time I figured a 7-year prime from 1972 to 1978 a seven-year prime. I figured him win-loss record of 52-7 or an 8.80 win-loss percentage. However, Munson had an extra prime year and his win loss was 12-10, which is a 54.5% winning percentage, so Munson gets the edge. So, Munson had a better prime, which is a good argument for the hall of fame. However, it doesn’t make Munson a better player. I think Fisk’s edge in career more than makes up for Munson’s edge in prime. Also, Fisk is much better than Munson in Win Shares which I also put into consideration. I also haven’t tried peak.
I just took the high three years for peak. Munson had a record of 28-2 and Fisk had a record of 29-2 in WAR. Pretty close, but Fisk earned 19 more-win shares than Munson in win shares, so I rate Fisk with a higher peak. Munson has over 700 points. If you have more than 750, I say you should be in unless there is a good reason not to put you in. I have 181 players with 750 points. He was a great catcher, who met an untimely death. There is debate on how long he would have stayed a good catcher. However, I would have no problem if he is elected to the hall of fame. However, to me Carlton Fisk was a better catcher.