Wangrin speaks softly, carries a big bat


Dave Winter

OPS is considered the most important offensive baseball statistic because it measures a player’s total offensive skill.

The sum of a player’s on-base percentage and his slugging percentage, it measures a player’s ability to reach base safely and to hit for power.

Baseball analyst Bill James writes that an OPS of .900 makes you a great offensive player.

Senior and unanimous all-district first-team second baseman Ben Wangrin led the Knight in OPS in 2017. His final OPS for the season: 1.088.

It’s but one indicator of how much Wangrin contributed to the Knights’ offense this season. In the history of Major League Baseball, only six players had a career OPS above 1.000. And only Babe Ruth (1.164) and Ted Williams (1.1155) ended their careers higher than Wangrin’s 1.088.

It’s an amazing accomplishment in a season full of them for a player who seldom demanded attention over his distinguished career.

“Ben is the definition of, ‘Be seen. Don’t be heard,’” childhood and high school teammate Tyler Page said.  “He came to practice every day ready to get better. He was definitely the most consistent player on our team, and I know he’ll do great in the years to come.”

In 2017, Wangrin led team in hits (32), singles (27), runs batted in (19), batting average (.457), on-base percentage (.545) and slugging percentage (.543). 

When asked to identify a proudest accomplishment, Wangrin said, “I am most proud of going undefeated in district, which was something that I have not been a part of during my three years of varsity.”   

In each of those three years, Wangrin was voted first team all-district. The Statesman named him the Centex Newcomer of the Year in 2015.

This baseball season, though, he was the veteran welcoming a large number of newcomers to a team that lost five starters and their top two pitchers from last year’s team.

“We had a lot of new faces,” Wangrin said, “and I was unsure about what we were gonna be like, but the new guys stepped up and performed. The season went by really fast and overall it was an awesome season even though it ended too quickly.”

In addition to being consistent and a hard worker, Wangrin will be remembered for a magical moment from the 2016 season.

His walkoff single with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the seventh inning not only broke a scoreless tie against Cedar Park, it won the series and made McCallum bi-district champions for the second year in a row.

Of the course of his McCallum career, Wangrin earned five varsity letters, three in baseball and two in football. He earned distinction off the field as a member of the National Honor Society, the Peer Assistance and Leadership program, or PALS, and the Key Club. He will play college baseball at Brookhaven College in Dallas next year.

Where Wangrin’s season OPS would rank among all-time career MLB OPS leaders

All time MLB rank Player Career OPS
1 Babe Ruth 1.1636
2 Ted Wiliams 1.1155
Ben Wangrin 1.088
3 Lou Gehrig 1.0798
4 Barry Bonds 1.0512
5 Hank Greenberg 1.0169
6 Rogers Hornsby 1.0103