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**rsuriyop**View PostIn the New Historical abstract, Bill James points this out in much detail on page 488 how the defensive spectrum changed for 2B and 3B. In the deadball era, a 2B might turn 40 or 50 double plays a season. That is very different from modern 2B's who hit much less than 3B's but are expected to turn 100 or more double plays in a full season.

A SS was considered a defense-first position in both the deadball era and modern baseball.

In terms of peak value, Lajoie's top 5 seasons total 171 Win Shares, while Wagner's top five total 237. Of course, that includes Wagner's historic 1908 season in which he amassed the all-time record of 59 Win Shares. But even if you exclude that season, Wagner's next five best seasons total 221 Win Shares, still a comfortable distance ahead of Lajoie. If you are looking at peak being somewhat consecutive seasons, then the gap between them widens a bit more. Lajoie had an impressive 42 WS in the expansion year of 1901. But the following year he only had 22. He had 41 WS in 1904, but then did not record another 40+ season until 1911. That is three seasons with 40+ WS in 11 seasons. On the other hand, from 1904 to 1909, Wagner's WS totals were 43, 46, 46, 44, 59, and 42. That is an impressive string of outstanding play over 6 consecutive seasons. Wagner had 13 consecutive seasons with 30 or more WS. Lajoie never had more than 3 consecutive seasons with 30+ WS. I think that is a very clear advantage for Wagner over Lajoie in terms of peak value.

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