Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1922 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



(revised February 21, 2015)

In its Fall, 2013, update just after Thanksgiving of that year, Retrosheet released play-by-play data for three new seasons: 2013, 1939, and 1922. This article looks at the earliest of these three seasons: the 1922 season.

The 1922 season featured an All-New York World Series for the second year in a row, the most wins by any team in St. Louis Browns history, and three .400 hitters, the first 30-30 player in major-league history, and a Triple Crown winner.

The Best of 1922

I calculate Player won-lost records two ways: pWins, which tie to team wins and eWins, which control for context and the ability of one's teammates. For players with more pWins than eWins, their Player wins contributed to more team wins than one might expect; for players with more eWins than pWins, just the opposite is true: their Player wins translated into fewer team wins than expected. Or more briefly: a player with more pWins than eWins was better in context, a player with more eWins than pWins was worse in context.

The top 10 players in pWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Wilbur Cooper20.915.73.1
4.6
1Wilbur Cooper20.915.73.1
4.6
2Joe Bush17.011.92.9
4.1
2Joe Bush17.011.92.9
4.1
3Babe Ruth18.211.42.8
3.9
3Dave Bancroft21.116.82.5
4.0
4Dave Bancroft21.116.82.5
4.0
4Babe Ruth18.211.42.8
3.9
5Bob Shawkey18.614.52.5
3.9
5Bob Shawkey18.614.52.5
3.9
6Dazzy Vance14.910.72.4
3.5
6Max Carey25.420.02.0
3.8
7Pete Donohue13.29.02.4
3.3
7Dazzy Vance14.910.72.4
3.5
8Rogers Hornsby15.010.62.3
3.3
8Eppa Rixey17.013.42.1
3.4
9Eppa Rixey17.013.42.1
3.4
9Rogers Hornsby15.010.62.3
3.3
10Max Carey25.420.02.0
3.8
10Pete Donohue13.29.02.4
3.3


The top 10 players in eWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

eWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          eWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1Rogers Hornsby16.411.32.6
3.7
1Dave Bancroft21.817.72.5
4.0
2Dave Bancroft21.817.72.5
4.0
2Rogers Hornsby16.411.32.6
3.7
3Babe Ruth17.211.12.5
3.6
3Babe Ruth17.211.12.5
3.6
4Ray Grimes17.112.51.8
3.0
4Max Carey25.020.21.7
3.5
5Bob O'Farrell12.68.91.8
2.6
5Wilbur Cooper19.016.81.6
3.1
6Max Carey25.020.21.7
3.5
6Red Faber17.715.21.6
3.0
7Pete Alexander13.510.91.6
2.6
7Ray Grimes17.112.51.8
3.0
8Wilbur Cooper19.016.81.6
3.1
8Bob Shawkey18.015.81.5
2.9
9Red Faber17.715.21.6
3.0
9Tris Speaker18.014.11.5
2.8
10Tris Speaker18.014.11.5
2.8
10Eppa Rixey15.613.31.4
2.7


So far, Retrosheet has released play-by-play data for just over 70% of all major-league games played in 1922. This is a remarkable total - we have play-by-play data for 870 games from the 1922 season, more than 90 years ago. Unfortunately, the missing games are not distributed evenly. We have complete play-by-play data for the Pittsburgh Pirates and have play-by-play data for more than 83% of all games for six other teams: Brooklyn, both Chicago teams, Cleveland, and both New York teams. The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and Washington Senators, on the other hand, are missing data for over half of their games (82, 88, and 87 missing games, respectively).

To attempt to control for this, the next two tables mirror the previous two tables except that Player won-lost records have been scaled up for players based on their actual number of games played. This scaling is done at the level of the individual player.

For example, Rogers Hornsby, who won the National League Triple Crown in 1922, played in 154 games for the St. Louis Cardinals that year. So far, Player won-lost records have been calculated for 97 of these games. Hence, Rogers Hornsby's Player won-lost records are multiplied by 1.59 (154/97).

The top 10 players in normalized pWOPA, pWORL, eWOPA, and eWORL in 1922 are shown in the next four tables.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1George Mogridge20.913.54.2
5.7
1George Mogridge20.913.54.2
5.7
2Rogers Hornsby23.916.83.7
5.3
2Rogers Hornsby23.916.83.7
5.3
3Urban Shocker22.116.53.2
4.8
3Urban Shocker22.116.53.2
4.8
4Joe Bush18.412.93.2
4.4
4Walter Johnson21.716.53.1
4.7
5Babe Ruth20.412.83.1
4.4
5Wilbur Cooper20.915.73.1
4.6
6Wilbur Cooper20.915.73.1
4.6
6Dave Bancroft23.919.02.9
4.5
7Walter Johnson21.716.53.1
4.7
7Dazzy Vance19.213.83.0
4.5
8Dazzy Vance19.213.83.0
4.5
8Joe Bush18.412.93.2
4.4
9Pete Donohue16.211.02.9
4.0
9Babe Ruth20.412.83.1
4.4
10Dave Bancroft23.919.02.9
4.5
10Bob Shawkey20.215.72.7
4.2


The top 10 players in normalized eWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

eWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          eWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1Rogers Hornsby26.118.04.2
5.9
1Rogers Hornsby26.118.04.2
5.9
2Dave Bancroft24.620.02.8
4.5
2Dave Bancroft24.620.02.8
4.5
3Babe Ruth19.312.42.8
4.0
3Ken Williams25.318.72.4
4.1
4George Sisler20.714.42.5
3.8
4Babe Ruth19.312.42.8
4.0
5George Mogridge17.213.12.5
3.7
5George Sisler20.714.42.5
3.8
6Ken Williams25.318.72.4
4.1
6George Mogridge17.213.12.5
3.7
7Urban Shocker21.017.72.0
3.6
7Urban Shocker21.017.72.0
3.6
8Ray Grimes18.513.51.9
3.2
8Red Faber21.118.21.9
3.6
9Bob O'Farrell13.69.61.9
2.8
9Max Carey25.020.21.7
3.5
10Red Faber21.118.21.9
3.6
10Ray Grimes18.513.51.9
3.2


Players' performance in missing games may not be exactly the same as their performance in games for which play-by-play data exist. So, the results in these last two tables should be taken with a grain of salt.

For example, before I started writing this article, I had never heard of George Mogridge. Mogridge did have a very nice career highlighted by a solid four-year prime from 1921 through 1924 over which he earned 65 traditional pitcher wins for the Washington Senators. But the above table almost certainly over-states precisely how valuable George Mogridge was to the 1922 Washington Senators.

In 1922, George Mogridge pitched in 34 games, starting 32 of them, completing 18 of those, pitching 251.2 innings with an ERA somewhat better than league-average of 3.76 and a traditional pitcher W-L record of 18-13. That's a good, solid season, but almost certainly not the second-best season in all of major-league baseball.

I have play-by-play data for 13 games in which Mogridge appeared. In these 13 games, Mogridge started 11 games, completing 9 of them, pitching 104.2 innings with an ERA of 2.49 and a traditional W-L record of 9-4. In the 21 games in which Mogridge pitched for which I do not have play-by-play data, however, Mogridge pitched 147 innings with an ERA of 4.35 and a traditional W-L record of 9-9. Still, I think it's fun to have players I've never heard of show up on these tables. So, hooray for George Mogridge!

0.400 Hitters
As I noted above, three qualifying players batted over 0.400 in 1922, all of whom are now in the Hall of Fame: George Sisler Rogers Hornsby, and Ty Cobb. The next table compares the Player won-lost records for these three players for the games for which I have play-by-play data so far.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
George Sisler
77
10.57.90.5711.0
1.7
11.27.80.5891.32.1
Rogers Hornsby
97
15.010.60.5872.3
3.3
16.411.30.5922.63.7
Ty Cobb
56
8.06.70.5410.4
1.0
8.87.30.5450.51.1


The next table blows up the Player won-lost records based on the actual number of games played by these three players.



Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
George Sisler
142
19.314.50.5711.8
3.1
20.714.40.5892.53.8
Rogers Hornsby
154
23.916.80.5873.7
5.3
26.118.00.5924.25.9
Ty Cobb
137
19.516.50.5410.9
2.4
21.417.90.5451.22.7


We are missing a significant number of games for all three players, so it's hard to draw definitive conclusions. It is not too surprising, of course, that Rogers Hornsby's season was the best of the three. Cobb's record here seems a little weak for a 0.400 hitter. Of course, we only have data for about 40% of Cobb's 1922 season, so he might have been considerably better in the 81 games for which we don't have play-by-play data yet.

Urban Shocker
It's hard to be absolutely certain, because of missing games, but the best pitcher in the major-leagues in 1922 may have been Urban Shocker, who amassed a traditional pitching W-L record of 24-17 with a 2.97 ERA in 348 innings pitched. In the first version of this article, the adjusted numbers (which were based on team games rather than player games, as they are now) showed Shocker with more than 20 pWins as well as 20 pLosses. As I noted at the time, the latter of these was "probably overstated", and, in fact, with more data and a more accurate player-specific adjustment method, Shocker now has considerably fewer than 20 estimated pLosses.

As I have noted elsewhere, pWins and pLosses are on the same scale as traditional pitcher wins and losses. This can be seen, for example, by comparing Urban Shocker's adjusted pWins and pLosses (22.1 - 16.5) to his traditional W-L record of 24-17.

Just as it is very unusual to see a pitcher who both wins and loses 20 games in the same season, so is it also unusual for a pitcher to amass 20 pWins and 20 pLosses in the same season.

The next table shows every season for which I have calculated Player won-lost records for which a pitcher amassed both 20 pWins and 20 pLosses. Keep in mind, of course, that I have complete play-by-play data only since 1944 and have not estimated Player won-lost records for any season before 1922.

pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Bob Feller27.720.34.5
6.8
24.119.13.25.2
Don Drysdale20.420.50.9
2.7
20.620.90.82.7
Gaylord Perry23.020.32.3
4.1
21.318.22.44.0
Mickey Lolich25.022.52.4
4.5
25.022.82.24.3
Nolan Ryan21.620.31.5
3.4
18.617.11.53.1
Wilbur Wood23.821.02.4
4.4
23.823.01.53.5
Phil Niekro22.021.81.0
3.0
21.822.30.62.7
Phil Niekro20.821.70.6
2.3
21.423.60.01.8


1922 Postseason

The 1922 World Series saw the New York Giants sweep the New York Yankees, although the Series included two one-run games and a 10-inning tie.

The top performances of the 1922 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the next table.

1922 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Frankie FrischNY11.20.40.4
Heinie GrohNY11.10.40.4
Jack ScottNY10.80.30.3
Art NehfNY10.90.50.3
Hugh McQuillanNY10.80.40.2
Jesse BarnesNY10.80.50.2


The top players of the 1922 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, were Giants' 3B Heinie Groh, who batted .474/.524/.579 for the Series; Hall-of-Fame 2B and 4-time World Series winner Frankie Frisch, who batted .471/.474/.529 for the Series; and Giants' pitcher Jack Scott, who pitched a complete-game 4-hit, 1-walk shutout in Game 3.

Best of 1922 by Factor and Position

Next, let's look at the top players in (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over Positional Average in various aspects of the game. The numbers in this section have all been normalized to extrapolate player games for which I am missing play-by-play data. As above, this adjustment is based on individual player games for which I have play-by-play data.
Best by Factor: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, Fielding
There are four basic factors for which players earn Player won-lost records: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, and Fielding. The top players in 1922 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rogers Hornsby18.59.64.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



It's a little surprising to not see Babe Ruth as the top hitter in the major leagues for a season in the 1920s. But Ruth only played 110 games in 1922. And it's not like Rogers Hornsby backed into his slot atop the leaderboard here. All he did was win a Triple Crown, batting .401/.459/.722 with 46 doubles, 42 home runs, 141 runs scored, 152 RBI, 250 hits, and 450 total bases - he led the National League in every one of those numbers.

Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Max Carey2.91.30.8

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Red Faber17.413.93.5
Jack Quinn13.510.33.2
Urban Shocker17.514.33.2
Eppa Rixey15.212.23.0
George Mogridge13.510.62.8
Pete Donohue11.99.22.7
Pete Alexander11.99.42.5
Dolf Luque13.210.72.5


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bob Shawkey1.20.60.5
Joe Bush0.90.30.5


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bob O'Farrell2.51.70.7


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Lu Blue2.72.30.4
Earl Sheely2.72.40.4


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Marty McManus5.54.90.6


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pie Traynor4.23.31.0


Pie Traynor is a guy who I'm looking forward to taking a closer look at as we get play-by-play data for more of his career.

In the 1950s and 1960s, he was widely regarded as the greatest third baseman in major-league history. This was almost certainly an overbid (certainly by the time Eddie Mathews hit his prime). But now, Traynor is so disregarded in sabermetric circles that, for example, he is not in the Hall of Merit.

So far, I have calculated Player won-lost records for five seasons of Pie Traynor's career: 1922, 1925, 1927, 1931, and 1934. He rates as the best defensive third baseman in the majors here in 1922 (at age 22), as the best overall third baseman in the majors in 1927 and 1931, and the best third baseman in the National League in 1925. It's a small sample size, of course, but I suspect Player won-lost records may be much kinder to Pie Traynor than other sabermetric measures.

Anyway, back to the the best fielders of 1922.

Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Dave Bancroft8.16.71.3


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Earl L. Smith3.32.31.0
Irish Meusel7.06.01.0


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Casey Stengel3.62.80.7
George J. Burns5.24.50.7
Bob Fothergill1.10.40.7


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Harry Hooper8.07.11.0


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1922 Major-League leaders in eWOPA by position. The figures shown here only include Player decisions earned while playing this particular position, and include no contextual adjustments (expected or actual).



Catcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bob O'Farrell13.29.71.7


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
George Sisler20.314.82.1


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rogers Hornsby25.518.43.7


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jimmie Dykes17.314.61.7


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dave Bancroft24.220.32.4


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ken Williams24.118.41.9


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Max Carey24.619.91.7


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Harry Heilmann19.615.21.5


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Red Faber17.514.31.5
Urban Shocker17.514.41.5
Jack Quinn13.910.81.5
Eppa Rixey15.212.31.4
Pete Donohue12.19.31.3
Pete Alexander12.19.41.3
George Mogridge12.710.11.3


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Virgil Barnes2.21.30.4
Art Decatur3.02.30.4


For relief pitchers, context-neutral records may not be the best measure of how good they are, as context can matter a great deal, depending on how a pitcher is used. Here are the top relief pitchers of 1922 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1922, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Claude Jonnard4.03.10.5610.51.0
Virgil Barnes2.41.60.5960.40.7
Art Decatur3.73.50.5140.20.6
George Murray2.52.00.5510.30.6
Curly Ogden1.71.20.5750.30.4


It's a little interesting, and indicative of the relative (un)importance of relief pitching in the 1920s, that context doesn't really improve the records of any of Barnes, Decatur, or Murray, who nevertheless still show up among the top 5 relief pitchers of 1922.

Finally, here are the best at three oft-forgotten positions that can nevertheless matter: pitcher offense, pinch hitting, and pinch running.

Pitcher Offense
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Wilbur Cooper2.52.40.6


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pat Collins1.70.60.6


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Joe Evans0.20.10.1


Major-League Baseball in 1922

Conventional wisdom has the last year of the deadball era being 1919 with baseball since 1920 looking more like the modern version. And, indeed, in 1922, four players hit 35 or more home runs, including Rogers Hornsby's major-league leading 42. Nobody in 1922 matched Chris Davis's 53 home runs (although Babe Ruth bested it in both 1920 and 1921), but only five players hit more than 35 home runs in 2013, only one more than in 1922 (with 14 more teams playing 8 more games).

On the other hand, though, neither the Boston Braves nor the Cleveland Indians hit 35 home runs as a team in 1922. The Philadelphia Phillies led the major leagues in home runs in 1922 with 116. Only three teams hit fewer than 116 home runs in 2013.

In 2013, there were a total of 4,661 home runs and 772 triples in major-league baseball. In 1922, there were only 1,055 home runs hit but 1,248 triples.

Aspects of the Deadball Era definitely still lingered in 1922. In 2013, major-league baseball teams collected 1,383 sacrifice bunts in 4,862 team games. In 1922, in 2,476 team games, there were 2,958 sacrifice bunts. In 2013, there were 2,693 stolen bases and 1,007 caught stealings. In 1922, there were 1,451 stolen bases and 1,165 caught stealings.

One statistic that was striking to me. In 2013, the major-league-wide strikeout-to-walk ratio was 2.51 (36,710-to-14,640) with 7.6 K/9. In 1922, the strikeout-to-walk ratio was 0.96 with a K/9 rate of 2.8. The major-league walk rate, however, was extremely similar in the two seasons: 3.0/9IP in 2013, 2.9/9IP in 1922.

Another number that was surprisingly (to me) similar was defensive efficiency: 0.692 in 2013, 0.682 in 1922, despite more errors in 1922 (3,215 to 2,745) in almost half as many games. And one more defensive shocker (to me). In 1922, there were more errors than double plays (3,215 to 2,242) while in 2013, there were more DPs than errors (4,340 to 2,747); no surprise there, but the difference is entirely because of errors: the number of double plays per game was actually slightly lower in 2013 (0.89) than in 1922 (0.90).

So, it was the same game, but it was different.

The next three tables compare the net win values of various offensive events in 1922 versus 2013. The 1922 win values here are calculated based only on the play-by-play data which has been released by Retrosheet.

Runs/Game HR T D S/ROE W/HBP IW
19225.250.14150.06650.05320.03390.03530.0114
20134.380.14390.08960.06550.03630.02780.0061


All K Other
1922-0.0224-0.0195-0.0228
2013-0.0228-0.0221-0.0231


SB CS WP Break-even Actual
19220.0146-0.03010.029367.4%50.1%
20130.0176-0.03340.026865.5%68.7%


Very different frequencies for a lot of events, but fairly similar values, although positive offensive events were somewhat more valuable in general in 2013, just because of the lower run-scoring environment.



All articles are written so that they pull data directly from the most recent version of the Player won-lost database. Hence, any numbers cited within these articles should automatically incorporate the most recent update to Player won-lost records. In some cases, however, the accompanying text may have been written based on previous versions of Player won-lost records. I apologize if this results in non-sensical text in any cases.

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