In another sign of the changing times and philosophies when it comes to statistical analysis in baseball, Topps editor Matthew Bleiberg has indicated on Twitter that the baseball card manufacturing company will be including the advanced stat WAR (Wins Above Replacement) on the back of future cards.
@MrBrianKenny 2013 Topps Finest Baseball base will have WAR on the back - no oWar or dWar yet...
— Matthew Bleiberg (@MatthewBleiberg) July 26, 2013
That’s right, we’re officially a long, long way from the basic six stat categories (batting average, home runs, RBIs, wins, losses and ERA) that I grew up reading and memorizing on the back of every card.
Honestly, it’s probably an overdue addition given how valued sabermetrics are now among front offices around the league. But I definitely think it’s a necessary and positive addition, mainly because I suspect the two biggest reasons that many young, casual or even old school fans aren’t receptive to advanced stats are because they don’t understand them or don’t view them as a meaningful part of the game.
With Topps taking this step, it could serve as validation to many of those hold outs, and perhaps serve as motivation to educate themselves on what WAR and other stats mean and how they can be used effectively to evaluate performance and production. I say that as someone who was admittedly slow to accept advanced stats myself. I'm still not a one-hundred percent stathead, but I've come to understand their meaning and the purpose they serve.
The more people who are up to speed with these advanced stats the better, and I view this is as one significant step towards making all fans a little smarter.