There is no such thing as a Hall of Fame candidate with no narrative case.
Jacob Haynes is just some guy who was very good at batting for the Flowers for 18 seasons. Then he was very good for the Mints for 1, then very good for the Flowers for another 5. If you check the wiki, this is all you’ll hear. If you ask most people, this is all (if anything) you’ll hear. Not me tho, I’m different.
(There’s more after this. If you don’t care about numbers, you can skip this section.)
He flies under the radar a lot, but the assessment that Haynes is “lowkey one of the best batters in Blaseball” is not at all inaccurate. One glance at his Blaseball-Reference page will show you this, and so will one at its career Batting Average leaderboard. He’s #8 there (#5 if you bump up the PA requirement to the HoF’s 2000), with a career BA of .315 – a normal guy who’s one of the best players by the most normal statistic there is.
The only player above him in BA that’s played all 24 seasons like he has is Hall of Famer Knight Triumphant, who (as the Atlantis Georgias love to remind us all) spent a few seasons of their career pitching. You’ll also find him among good company at #8 on the OBP leaderboard among HoF-eligible batters at .362 and #14 on the slugging equivalent at .602 (right above Summers Preston, who was absolutely robbed of the HoF spot they deserved).
What Haynes is (nearly) king at, though, is games played, at 2148 recorded games – that’s more than anyone except Howell Franklin. Despite playing so much and so well, though, he doesn’t appear on any counting stat leaderboards for one simple reason: the Boston Flowers. By the end of the Expansion Era, he batted 13th in a lineup of 13, racking up only around 7,200 plate appearances to Howell’s 9,400. If he’d played most of his seasons for a different team, like, for example, the Breath Mints, he’d easily be up there on leaderboards like Hits and RBI, considering his incredible BA.
While the most basic metrics seem the most fitting way to evaluate a guy like Jacob Haynes, advanced ones also rate him very well; among HoF-eligible hitters, he’s 9th in career wOBA (weighted On-Base Average, a stat similar to batting average or on-base percentage that weights different kinds of hits more accurately), 10th in career OPS+ (On-base Plus Slugging, adjusted for the league’s average and park factors, so that things like playing in an harder era or harder ballparks don’t hurt a player), and 11th in career wRC+ (weighted Runs Created Plus, which tries to quantify a player’s run value provided through weighted hits and also adjusts for league average and park factors).
He’s an incredible batter, but there is one advanced stat Jacob Haynes doesn’t excel in. The worst base stealer of all time by wSB (weighted Stolen Bases, which estimates the number of runs created or lost by a player through stealing compared to the league average) is Rat “Plate Appearances Georg” Mason at -73.8. The second-worst is Jacob Haynes at -60.0. Despite being one of the best batters in the league, Haynes is legendarily bad at stealing bases; 2 out of the 5 sentences in the “Community Lore” section of his wiki page are dedicated to his base-stealing (in)ability.
Despite this, he is still #11 on the career WAA (Wins Above Average, a counting stat which tries to quantify the total number of wins a player contributed to their team above the average player, taking baserunning into account) leaderboard among HoF-eligible batters, at 50.3, and #22 on the career WhAT (Wins (historical) above Tokyo, which is similar to WAA but compares players to the S11 Tokyo Lift as a baseline instead). The difference between the two is explained by the fact that players got better and better than the S11 Lift over time, and so WhAT favors players who peaked in the Expansion Era over those who peaked in Discipline or were excellent throughout all eras, Haynes being the latter.
I Will Stop Talking About Numbers Now
If you skipped the last part, all you have to know is that Jacob Haynes was a better batter than Jessica Telephone (when you take into account entire careers, not just peaks, but even with peaks it’s a tossup) and any purely-statistical ballot is incomplete without him.
On a surface level, Jacob Haynes seems to be the most typical stats-only case there is. His lore is simple: he’s just a normal guy. In fact, I can provide for you the entire text of his wiki page without interrupting the flow of this article at all:
Nothing is known about Jacob ‘Just a Guy’ Haynes. For all intents and purposes, he seems to be just a regular guy.
Despite having no public record of his existence, he is regarded as one of the most beloved members of the Flowers, and viewed by many fans as ‘that guy who plays Blaseball for the Boston Flowers.’ A real scrapper.
Haynes’s obsession with third base remains unexplained. Flowers third base coach Businessmun Ferret is credited with Haynes’s recent improvements in his base-stealing game.
That’s it. Under the hood, “recent improvements” were the result of early Discipline-era changes to the way players decide whether to steal bases, making high-Base Thirst (self-explanatory) low-Laserlikeness (stealing skill, rather than desire) players like Haynes get caught stealing less often. That last sentence was added in September 2020, right after Season 8, and it was the last change to the fan lore section of his wiki page.
If this was your only source, it’d be fair to assume Haynes wasn’t a particularly beloved player, despite being one of the best in the game, and this combined with his low total star count would make him an enticing choice to steal via Equivalent Exchange, which is exactly what the Breath Mints did after the Flowers’ playoff run in S18. He performed as he always did – excellently – but this isn’t the statistics section. The most notable part of his stay with the Mints, besides the doubling of his seasonal plate appearances and the jump in their runs scored, is the cultural institution of Haynesposting.
Jacob Haynes eats his orange peels with mayonnaise.
Jacob Haynes maintains a “menu” of their board game library to share with guests when deciding what to play.
Jacob Haynes plays Super Smash Bros as Ganondorf and only uses jab.
See, Jacob’s a completely normal guy, right? Therefore anything he does must also be, by extension, normal, no matter how weird it is. This idea carried the Mints (and later the Flowers) through uncountable Jacob Haynes Facts, for which there is a website and a Twitter.
After his season-long stay with the Mints, he was returned to the Flowers for Hierophantic Foible, the batter he was initially traded for, with an Equivalent Exchange chance of 54%, and that was only after much encouragement to not focus too hard on it and let our other Will go to some wild wimdy (it did, we Alternated Jaylen Hotdogfingers that season), on a team famous for not being particularly performance-minded with Wills. There was no question about it. Jacob “five wiki sentences” Haynes was one of our most beloved players and we had to trade back for him, not just because of his statistical performance, but because we loved him.
There’s an argument to be made that Jacob was the core of this team. Before he went to the Mints, Jacob Haynes was the last player on the Flowers who had stayed on the active roster playing the same position since the start – between the churn of constant incinerations, necromantic Shadowings, and a (very welcome) S17 reverb that moved two of our original pitchers to the lineup. In S18, with Jacob Haynes, we went 67-32, our best season ever. In S19, once he’d been traded off, we went 39-60. Sure, there were other changes; all our pitchers relied almost entirely on Ruthlessness, which was nerfed that season, and the addition of a batting Jaylen Hotdogfingers and NaN didn’t help either, but there’s no doubt that his loss hurt, both emotionally and statistically.
The Story (with a Few Numbers)
On the website, Jacob Haynes has a very simple story. He’s one of the best batters in Blaseball. He was good from the start and consistently so, having never put up a below-average batting season by essentially any metric, but he constantly tries to steal and gets caught. He’s never been Elsewhere, Shelled, or Shadowed, he’s never gained a permanent modifier, and he’s never been involved in any major plot events.
However, there’s a clear character that develops from these randomly-generated facts if you put a little thought into it. Jacob’s just a normal guy who loves to play Blaseball and doesn’t quite get what’s happening in the rest of the league. Above all, he’s dedicated and persistent, both at what he’s good at and what he’s not, and he loves his team. As his teammates fell around him – being feedbacked, swept Elsewhere, incinerated, Released – he kept playing, and though his base-stealing attempts repeatedly failed, he kept trying. Though he put up good numbers in S19 on the Breath Mints, with an OPS+ of 158 (100 is always league average), which is almost exactly his career average of 159, once he returned home in S20, he immediately had one of his best seasons ever, with his OPS+ jumping to 191, and then followed it up with a 205 OPS+ in S21. He was happy to be back, and his performance showed it.
A Blaseball player will give you what you put into them; claiming a character has no narrative case is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, there’s players with more popular or less popular stories, and there’s players who you might personally find more compelling, but there’s no such thing as a player without a narrative. There are always dots, and if you take the effort to connect them, everyone has a story. Everyone is someone’s favorite, even the player who is quite literally lored as the most uninteresting guy on the planet – in fact, Jacob’s story is one of my favorites in the game.
While I’m at it, I’m going to tell a few more stories about Jacob Haynes. Going into the Expansion Era, the Flowers had three great five-star batters: Castillo Turner, Margarito Nava, and Jacob Haynes.
Turner was Shadowed by the Flowers’ brief necromancy of Sutton Picklestein later went on to be traded back and forth between the Flowers and Millennials several times before picking up the Fifth Base and joined many teams right as they were about to die, becoming a sort of ILB psychopomp. Nava was Shadowed by the Flowers’ brief necromancy of Chorby Soul and a Fire Eater on the team that experienced the most (individual) incinerations in league history, a narrative that has delightful tension when combined with the fact that xe was generally lored as the team’s captain and protector. Jacob Haynes just loved to play ball. The lore that was given to him so long ago – that he was just a regular guy – was supported again and again by the sim, and a comparison to the rest of the Flowers’ best hitters makes this clear.
You may have heard the next Jacob Haynes story. It’s about Spies pitcher Chet Takahashi and a Smokey Wooden Squiddish Egg of Strength, which was given to him by the Gift Shop in S23. Because of the Flowers’ abundance of Traitor items, he only held onto the egg for eighteen days before it was traded over to someone else, but it was still understood to be Jacob’s Egg – the others were just babysitting. It gave him his first (though temporary) modifier he’d ever had – Squiddish. The Flowers fans loved that egg right up until the day it was stolen through the tunnels by Chet Takahashi, who was immediately declared their sworn enemy. It’s unclear whether Jacob held this grudge as well or if he was confused by the enthusiastic hatred his teammates and fans held for Takahashi, but either way he certainly had part in the revenge enacted by Nic Winkler, when he batted in Jacob (and Wade Howe) to Shame Chet Takahashi for the very last scoring play of the Expansion Era.
Jacob’s numbers hold up better than nearly anyone else’s. If, like me, you’re a stats voter, the fact that he’s one of the best hitters of all time should be enough for you. If not, consider that his story allowed him to become a beloved player on two different teams, one of which he only stayed on for a season, largely because the sim has characterized him arguably more than any other player on the Flowers (except maybe Gloria Bugsnax). Thank you for your consideration, and let’s grow!