Mariano Rivera

Column: Baseball is all about numbers, so is Hall of Fame

The only WAR Joe DiMaggio knew about was the one raging overseas as he entered the prime of his career.

World War II would end up costing DiMaggio three years in the major leagues, though his Army service mainly consisted of playing baseball in various exhibitions. It also cost him a higher career Wins Above Replacement, the stat that baseball's ever expanding analytic wing likes to trot out whenever there is a discussion of the greatest baseball players of all time.

It took three tries for DiMaggio to get elected to the Hall of Fame, though it wasn't because there weren't any new age stats to measure his career by. Voters in the 1950s were a discerning lot when it came to...