Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1944 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



In its most recent release, Retrosheet released complete play-by-play data for the 1944 season for the first time. This article, then, looks at what Player won-lost records have to say about the 1944 season.

The Best of 1944

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
1Hal Newhouser22.014.34.5
6.1
1Hal Newhouser22.014.34.5
6.1
2Vern Stephens22.916.04.2
5.8
2Dizzy Trout24.417.94.1
5.9
3Dizzy Trout24.417.94.1
5.9
3Vern Stephens22.916.04.2
5.8
4Stan Musial25.415.64.1
5.7
4Stan Musial25.415.64.1
5.7
5Bucky Walters20.013.73.8
5.2
5Bucky Walters20.013.73.8
5.2
6Mort Cooper17.110.93.6
4.8
6Mort Cooper17.110.93.6
4.8
7Johnny Hopp21.914.43.1
4.6
7Lou Boudreau22.618.13.0
4.7
8Lou Boudreau22.618.13.0
4.7
8Johnny Hopp21.914.43.1
4.6
9Tex Hughson14.29.03.0
4.0
9Snuffy Stirnweiss22.417.82.7
4.3
10Bobby Doerr19.213.93.0
4.3
10Bobby Doerr19.213.93.0
4.3


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
1Dizzy Trout23.117.03.9
5.6
1Dizzy Trout23.117.03.9
5.6
2Stan Musial25.516.43.7
5.4
2Stan Musial25.516.43.7
5.4
3Lou Boudreau22.917.93.3
4.9
3Snuffy Stirnweiss24.118.53.2
5.0
4Vern Stephens21.316.33.2
4.8
4Lou Boudreau22.917.93.3
4.9
5Snuffy Stirnweiss24.118.53.2
5.0
5Vern Stephens21.316.33.2
4.8
6Bobby Doerr18.413.52.8
4.1
6Hal Newhouser19.815.62.7
4.3
7Hal Newhouser19.815.62.7
4.3
7Bobby Doerr18.413.52.8
4.1
8Indian Bob Johnson24.417.92.3
4.0
8Indian Bob Johnson24.417.92.3
4.0
9Mel Ott17.612.02.2
3.4
9Stan Spence24.819.61.9
3.7
10Tex Hughson12.69.02.2
3.1
10Bill Nicholson24.519.01.9
3.7


The big story in baseball and throughout the world in 1944 was the continuing impact of World War II. Major League Baseball during World War II was an unusual time which saw a lot of new and different names appearing in Major League Baseball games. One example of this is the relative lack of Hall-of-Famers in the above tables. I count 5 Hall-of-Famers who make an appearance in one of the four top tens above. In contrast, 10 years later, 12 Hall-of-Famers appear in one of the same top ten tables in 1954.

Dizzy Trout
One non-Hall-of-Famer who appears very high in all four tables, leading the majors in eWins over both positional average and replacement level, is Detroit Tigers pitcher Dizzy Trout.

Dizzy Trout had three excellent seasons in four years between 1943 and 1946. In 1944, Trout had a traditional won-lost record of 27-14 with a league-leading 2.12 ERA in a league-leading 352.1 innings pitched across a league-leading 40 starts (as well as 9 relief appearances) with a league-leading 33 complete games and 7 shutouts. The last of Trout's great seasons was 1946, after World War II was over, when he put up a 2.34 ERA over 276.1 innings. After that, his season-high in innings pitched was 191.2 innings (in 1951), his season-high in traditional wins was 13 (in 1950), and his season-low ERA was 3.43 (in 1948).

On the one hand, the obvious conclusion one would be inclined to draw was that Dizzy Trout merely benefited from the relatively weaker competition during World War II and he was, perhaps, never really as good as he looked in 1944. On the other hand, Dizzy Trout pitched 1,121.2 innings from 1943 - 1946 (280 innings per inning). Maybe he would have still been a star - albeit perhaps a lesser star - in the mid-1940's even without World War II who just pitched too damn many innings over those four seasons and burned out (although even after 1946, he wasn't a bad pitcher, just not a star).

Dizzy Trout's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table. For seasons for which I do not have complete play-by-play data, Trout's record is extrapolated based on the games for which I do have data.

Dizzy Trout
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1939DET24
35
9.611.60.452-0.8
0.4
9.49.40.5000.21.2
1940DET25
33
4.55.10.473-0.2
0.4
4.75.40.465-0.30.4
1941DET26
40
10.05.50.6472.5
3.4
7.58.40.471-0.30.6
1942DET27
36
14.114.00.5020.6
2.0
17.816.60.5171.22.9
1943DET28
45
20.617.70.5382.1
4.1
21.518.70.5352.04.1
1944DET29
51
24.417.90.5774.1
5.9
23.117.00.5773.95.6
1945DET30
42
16.115.60.5080.8
2.3
16.114.50.5271.32.8
1946DET31
40
18.014.80.5502.2
3.8
18.015.50.5371.83.4
1947DET32
34
11.710.50.5281.0
1.9
12.811.00.5381.32.3
1948DET33
32
10.011.10.476-0.2
0.8
11.910.70.5261.02.0
1949DET34
33
2.72.70.5020.0
0.4
2.92.50.5420.30.6
1950DET35
34
13.79.60.5872.4
3.6
12.010.10.5431.32.4
1951DET36
42
11.710.90.5170.7
1.8
12.110.50.5361.12.2
37
36
8.910.10.467-0.4
0.6
9.510.30.480-0.10.9
1957BAL42
2
0.00.10.032-0.0
-0.0
0.00.10.142-0.0-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
535
176.2157.10.52914.8
31.2
179.5160.70.52814.831.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
3
1.21.20.502 0.20.90.80.529 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
538
177.3158.20.529
31.3
180.4161.60.528 31.6


1944 World Series

The 1944 World Series was historic, as it was the first and only World Series appearance by the St. Louis Browns in their 52-year history. The 1944 World Series was also one of two World Series which pitted two non-New York teams from the same city against each other (the other one being the 1906 all-Chicago World Series).

The National League's St. Louis Cardinals, who won 105 games for the third straight season (actually, they won 106 in 1942), beat the 89-win Browns 4 - 2. The top performances of the 1944 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the next table.

1944 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
George McQuinnSLA1.30.50.4
Mort CooperSLN1.30.90.3
Max LanierSLN1.00.50.3
Ray SandersSLN0.90.40.3
Blix DonnellySLN0.60.10.3
Denny GalehouseSLA1.41.10.3
Stan MusialSLN1.00.50.3


Although his Browns lost the World Series, it wasn't first baseman George McQuinn's fault. For the series, McQuinn batted .438/.609/.750 and either scored or drove in half of the runs the Browns scored in the series (6 of 12). The Browns won Game 1 2 - 1 on a 2-run home run by McQuinn in the top of the fourth inning. The Browns' other win was in Game 3, 6 - 2. In that game, McQuinn went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk, driving in two runs (including the Browns' first run of the game, with two outs in the bottom of the third to tie the score at one) and scoring another.

Best of 1944 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 1944 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Indian Bob Johnson15.79.33.0
Stan Musial16.510.22.9
Bill Nicholson16.310.42.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Roy Hughes1.50.80.3
Wally Moses1.81.20.3
Joe Kuhel1.51.00.3
Stan Musial1.81.20.3

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Dizzy Trout17.613.74.0
Hal Newhouser15.912.53.5
Tex Hughson10.27.13.0
Ken Raffensberger13.110.13.0


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Al Jurisich0.70.10.6


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ray Mueller1.51.20.3
Rollie Hemsley1.00.70.3
Paul Richards1.41.10.3
Bob Swift1.20.90.3


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Frank McCormick2.72.30.4


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Snuffy Stirnweiss6.25.11.1


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Steve Mesner3.63.20.4
Ken Keltner5.34.90.4


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Eddie R. Miller7.45.91.5


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Oris Hockett3.62.41.3


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Andy Pafko6.55.41.1
Thurman Tucker6.15.01.1


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Roy Cullenbine8.97.51.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1944 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
Ray Mueller14.212.81.2


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Phil Weintraub12.79.51.1


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Snuffy Stirnweiss23.718.92.8


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bob Elliott19.015.21.7


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Vern Stephens21.016.52.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Indian Bob Johnson24.218.12.1


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Johnny Hopp20.115.02.0


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Stan Musial21.013.43.1


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dizzy Trout17.514.01.9


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jittery Joe Berry5.94.20.7


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 1944 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1944, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Jittery Joe Berry7.25.00.5931.11.9
Joe Heving7.15.40.5680.81.7
Gordon Maltzberger5.74.60.5550.61.2
Ace Adams7.78.10.485-0.20.8
Xavier Rescigno5.75.70.500-0.00.7


One of my favorite nicknames: Jittery Joe!

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
Dizzy Trout3.12.70.9


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Paul Waner1.61.00.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Frankie Zak0.20.10.05


Notable Debuts and Exits
Players Debuting in 1944
No players who debuted in 1944 have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, nor have any players who debuted that year come particularly close. The player who debuted in 1944 who ended up having the best major-league career, as measured by Player won-lost records, was Ed Lopat.

The second-best player to debut in 1944, as measured by career pWORL was Joe Nuxhall, who made his major-league debut on June 10th, at the age of 15! Nuxhall appeared in only one game in 1944, pitching 0.2 innings (allowing 5 runs, all earned), and did not re-appear in the major leagues until 1952 (by which time he was 23 years old, a much more reasonable age for a rookie major-league pitcher), where he began a 15-year career (not counting 1944), mostly with his hometown Cincinnati Reds.

Such was Major League Baseball during World War II.

Hall-of-Famers Retiring in 1944
Two Hall-of-Famers played their final games in 1944: Al Simmons and Chuck Klein, both of whom spent their best seasons in Philadelphia, but in different leagues. Since, as of this writing, 1944 is the last season for which I have complete play-by-play data, I am missing several games in both Simmons's and Klein's career, including, in fact, entire seasons (1924 and 1926 for Simmons, and 1928 and 1929 for both Simmons and Klein). Overall, I am missing 936 games from Simmons's career and 474 games from Klein's career.

The next table compares the career records of Al Simmons and Chuck Klein. For seasons for which I am missing games, the missing games are extrapolated based on the games for which I have play-by-play data. I made no attempt, however, to extrapolate the missing seasons.

Al Simmons Chuck Klein
Season Games eWins eLosses Win Pct. eWOPA eWORL Games eWins eLosses Win Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1924
 
1925
15323.917.70.5742.2
3.8
1926
 
1927
10615.912.70.5571.3
2.5
1928
 
1929
 
1930
13821.914.90.5942.7
4.4
15630.721.80.5853.05.5
1931
12820.713.00.6153.2
4.7
14824.819.00.5662.14.0
1932
15422.818.50.5521.5
3.3
15429.521.30.5812.74.9
1933
14620.819.20.5210.4
2.1
15230.520.40.5993.96.0
1934
13821.916.70.5671.9
3.7
11517.113.40.5611.42.8
1935
12816.716.30.506-0.1
1.3
11917.515.10.5380.92.3
1936
14318.716.90.5260.5
2.0
14622.219.50.5320.72.5
1937
10312.514.60.461-1.3
-0.1
11514.913.20.5300.31.5
1938
12512.813.80.481-0.6
0.5
12914.615.90.478-0.90.3
1939
10212.012.30.494-0.4
0.6
11011.811.70.502-0.20.8
1940
372.82.60.5250.1
0.3
11612.112.20.499-0.40.7
1941
90.70.90.425-0.1
-0.1
502.52.90.460-0.20.1
1942
 
140.00.40.059-0.2-0.1
1943
404.55.00.473-0.4
-0.0
120.30.80.293-0.3-0.2
1944
40.20.30.478-0.0
0.0
40.10.30.253-0.1-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,654229.0195.40.54010.8
29.0
1,540228.7187.90.54912.731.0




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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