I never heard that comp, but I didn’t know much about Maz except for the home run. It was certainly hard to keep track of players not on the Red Sox or maybe the Yankees back then, especially national leaguers if you lived in NE. WAR wasn’t invented yet; all we had were fielding percentage and assists. Here’s a bit of a shocker to me: Maz had a higher career DWAR than OWAR, so that supports your case for him as an elite fielder. Not even Ozzie Smith had that, although less shocking because he became a better hitter as his career progressed.I’m not saying that assessment of Maz’s defense was backed by empirical evidence. I’m saying it was the consensus view at the time of his election — Maz was to second base what Brooks Robinson is to third base and Ozzie Smith is to shortstop. Seems to me that’s a critical part of understanding why a guy with 30-odd career WAR got elected to the Hall (even by the VC); obviously, the big HR is part of the story too.
If Mazeroski made it more on reputation than stats, maybe Pedroia has a chance.