Who is Jaxon Buckley?
Jaxon Buckley is one of Blaseball’s greatest batters. They alone earned their team about five and a half wins per season, on average, for the entirety of their career: having Jaxon Buckley on your team could be, and for the Pies often was, the difference between coasting to playoffs or missing out. Jaxon Buckley holds the record for most consecutive hits in Blaseball history at 46 games. Jaxon Buckley is, in the Pies’ lore, a cowpoke on a hlorse named Fl’tch’r, and their Jaxoniness has been evaluated through a custom made RTSK (Rootin’, Tootin’, Shootin’, and be Kind) index. Jaxon Buckley was maximized as a result of the Guess Who? Blessing in Season 8, and went from a mediocre player to one of the League’s finest. But they were a nobody, and while their profile certainly rose, they still did not exactly become a star. Their name isn’t held in the same regard as someone like Jessica Telephone, York Silk, or Nagomi McDaniel – but Jaxon, by all field metrics and beyond, is up there with them.
So let’s learn who Jaxon Buckley is. We will start with the numbers, then the narrative, and finally, the single most important criteria by which to judge any Pies player. Or, some would say, every Blaseball player ever: how much did Jaxon Buckley rig it against the Pies?
How good was Jaxon Buckley?
Great Regular Season Player
Let’s start with the most common statistics. Remember when I said they had the record for the longest hitting streak in Blaseball history? Well, they didn’t get that through singles, but through doubles. It’s not even close: the difference between them and second place, Howell Franklin, is bigger than the difference between Howell and 9th place. Despite playing at full power for only 11 seasons, and never on a greatly reduced lineup, they’ve got more doubles than players who have been in the league since D1 and have played on 4 or 5 player lineups. This synergized extremely well with the Pies’ AA blood, and was part of why the fanbase pushed for it. Side note: I’ve been informed that the Pies have a very interesting lore explanation for AA blood. It activating is interpreted as the fans throwing batteries on the field and the players eating them. That is very funny, and not in the least concerning.
Let’s dive a bit into their player attributes: Jaxon has had an humongous amount of Moxie since maximization, and currently has the most in the league at a staggering 2.1. Moxie has been found to correlate with walks: the more Moxie a player has, the more walks they draw. This has been true for as far back as SIBR’s tools can reach (the start of S3, more or less). Why, then, is Jaxon only 40th on the career walks leaderboard? Sunbeams legend Nagomi Nava has had similar or less moxie than Jaxon for their career: why, then, do they have roughly double the walks? The answer, though not directly proven by data, is easy to infer: Jaxon is too good at batting to draw walks. A similar pattern can be noticed in other superstar hitters like Aldon Cashmoney or the Triumphants.
Jaxon is second only to Workman Gloom (remember them for when they get on the ballot, please) in career on-base percentage, at a ridiculous 0.371. Every time Jaxon got up to bat, there was a 37% chance they’d get on base. They’re second, again only to Workman, in career batting average (0.348). Jaxon was primarily a relentless doubles machine, but they were also a quite good generalist: they have pretty solid stolen base and home run numbers.
All of this is well and good, but doesn’t mean much in isolation. How much did Jaxon actually contribute to the Pies’ success (or lack thereof?). To answer that question, we’re gonna need something a bit more advanced.
Incredible Regular Season Player
A few SIBR members, a while ago, devised a method to evaluate just how much a player contributed to their team’s success. It’s called WhAT, and is heavily inspired by regular baseball WAR. If that means nothing to you, think of it like this: every player on a team, over a season or career, contributes to their team’s success. If they are better, during that season or career, than an average replacement player, they have a positive WhAT score. If they are worse, a negative one. 0 means they were perfectly the same. “Average replacement player”, here, is defined as an expected fresh roll. If that player got incinerated on the spot, that’s what you’d get – an average replacement player. While here I say “WhAT”, I should specify I’m using a version of WhAT normalized per plate appearances. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it.
The numbers behind this are beyond the scope of this article (you can read about them here); the only other thing that you need to know is that a player’s WhAT score maps to how many wins they contributed to their team. If a player has 1 seasonal WhAT, they contributed one extra win. -1, they made the team miss out on one.
That’s all. So, armed with the knowledge, understanding, and sense of accomplishment that having learned WhAT gives us, we can say Jaxon Buckley was a not only great, but incredible regular season player. The Pies have been in the postseason 9 times since Jaxon was Maximized. If Jaxon had been a random replacement player instead, they would’ve only made it 4 times – once in s12, and in their s17-s19 (if it was a regular season) zenith. Jaxon alone gave their team more than twice the chances to grab a title. And, of course, if Jaxon hadn’t been Subtraxon in s23, they would’ve likely made it in – the Pies were only one win behind the Mills, and had the tiebreaker. But, again, more about that later.
What about the postseason?
What about it? Jaxon’s career postseason stats are a bit lower than their ridiculous regular season ones, but well within expected variance and still fitting of an absolutely monstrous batter. You want a single outstanding performance, they had a 2.062 OPS in the S20 Postseason. If the Pies haven’t won any championships since S2, it isn’t certainly because Jaxon isn’t helping.
Except for S23. But let’s leave that for later.
How interesting is Jaxon Buckley?
In the season 8 elections, the Pies won the “Who? You Too?” Blessing, which let them “Maximize and Steal the least Idolized player in the league.” It targeted Jaxon … who was already on the Pies. So the Pies maximized Jaxon, and stole them for themselves. In practice, this just meant Jaxon went from 2 stars to 5. This origin story is emblematic of Jaxon on a metatextual level: the sim blessed Jaxon because they were a nobody, and when, despite that, they didn’t gain much notoriety with the broader Blaseball fanbase, the sim kept blessing them with fantastic performance, parties, and a very favourable environment – Birds and AA blood. Jaxon is the archetypal silent workhorse.
That is fitting because, according to the Pies, Jaxon is a cowboy poet with RGB prosthetic arms riding a “Hlorse”. I don’t know enough about hlorses to tell you what they are, but I know enough to be very afraid. The Pies chant for them is, consequently, ”BE ROOTIN’/ BE TOOTIN’/ AND BY GOD/ BE SHOOTIN’/ BUT MOST OF ALL/ BE KIND”.
How Jaxon Buckley is Jaxon Buckley?
Pies fan Jack made an index named after that chant, which takes into account data up to S22. Let’s take Jaxon at the peak of their power and Jaxonness: S22. Who was the most Jaxon Buckley in S22? I won’t get into the specifics of this algorithm, I will just relay to you the obvious conclusion. Baby Doyle is the most Jaxon Buckley-like player, followed by Frankie Hambone, Howell Franklin, Ronan Jaylee, Randy Dennis, Conrad Vaughan, and finally, though I’m sure many of you expected to see the Philly Pies legend and in my opinion obvious Hall Of Fame member much sooner, Eduardo Woodman in 7th place.
Oh and Jaxon Buckley is 8th. Alston Cerveza 9th. Kurt Crueller is 10th on this list and is on this week’s Hall Of Fame ballot, by the way, so if you want to vote for Jaxon but also think you’re not like the other voters, consider throwing a vote their way.
Finally, leaders in career RTSK:
Baby Doyle (68.15)
Howell Franklin (53.71)
Jaxon Buckley (51.13)
How much did Jaxon Buckley rig it against the Pies?
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Blaseball is rigged against the Philly Pies. How else can you explain the team with the fourth best winning percentage and third most wins in Blaseball history failing to capture a single championship for 22 seasons, when everyone in front of them – Crabs, Tigers, Talkers – has at least 3 during that stretch? Since Jaxon is a Pies legend, we have to evaluate them by how well they follow this storied tradition.
I can confidently claim that Jaxon’s S23 was the single case where the sim rigged it hardest against the Pies. Going back to WhAT: by absolute numbers, S23 Jaxon Buckley alone was worth ten more wins than a replacement batter. That is ridiculous. Only 3 other players have ever done that with a reasonable (150+) number of plate appearances: S18 Aldon Cashmoney, S17 Logan Horseman, S17 Collins Melon. We’ve already talked about how valuable Jaxon was: this was their most valuable season, bar none. Well, it would’ve been if they hadn’t been targeted by the Subtractor Avoidance blessing in S22, and had not gained a modifier – Subtractor – which made all runs they scored count as negative.
Jaxon still provided some value to the team by getting on base and helping others advance, as long as they did not bat any runs in. Unfortunately, they batted in -133 runs. Their final WhAT score is -5.2, for the 6th worst batting season in Blaseball history. Allow me a cherry-picked comparison: that is only a little bit better than Chorby Soul II’s 85 PAs with the Miami Dale in Season 18. Chorby Soul, as you may remember, was literally the player with the worst possible attributes: they had been chomped to bits by Consumers.
Jaxon getting the modifier was only a 12.5% chance, since there were 7 other possible targets on the Pies’ lineup. Because the Pies failed that roll, a top 5 season in Blaseball history was turned into a bottom 10 one. S23 Jaxon could’ve been a peak Aldon or Melon, but the sim decided to say “no, you’re gonna be like Chorby Soul”. It is kind of incredible that the Pies still managed to end up one win short of playoffs with this massive cowpoke shaped anchor on their team. It is not hard to imagine how, had the blessing targeted literally anyone else on their team, they may have got their coveted third championship.
SIBR member Rid manually went through every Pies game in S23 and marked out every instance when a normal Jaxon would’ve altered the game’s outcome. WhAT predicted a swing of about 16 wins (from +10 to -6), and it looks like that was fairly accurate. The minimum number of extra wins they’d get would be 17, but 7 more ties could go their way. This would more than guarantee playoffs, a new seasonal Pies wins record (beating their 79 from S18) and maybe even an all time wins record (84, held by the S22 Baltimore Crabs). The Pies would only need three of the seven ties to break their way, in order to secure that last one.
I hope I’ve made a convincing case for why Jaxon should be an instant Hall Of Famer. They’ve got everything: head-spinning numbers, creative lore, data crimes, great narrative beats. The only thing working against them is their relative obscurity compared to say, Nagomi McDaniels or Jessica Telephone. Jaxon never had a big moment, never left the Pies, never even won a ring. Just put their head down and played some of the best and weirdest Blaseball that has ever been played. How can you not reward that?