Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1945 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



I have recently updated my Player won-lost records to incorporate Retrosheet's latest release of play-by-play data. This included the release of deduced games for an additional season: 1945.

The 1945 season was the last season played during World War II (which ended during the 1945 baseball season). Major League Baseball during World War II - especially the last three seasons of World War II - was an odd mix of a handful of stars who ended up not being drafted for various reasons, aging players too old for war getting an unexpected final hurrah, and a number of players who may have never made a major-league roster had it not been for World War II. Perhaps the most famous of this latter group saw his only major-league action in 1945: one-armed outfielder Pete Gray, who played in 77 games for the St. Louis Browns.

As a resident of the North Side of Chicago, the 1945 season has another special significance: it was (as I write this) the last time the Chicago Cubs played in a World Series.

The Best of 1945

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 Newhouser22.714.94.5
6.3
1Hal Newhouser22.714.94.5
6.3
2Vern Stephens24.518.63.4
5.1
2Vern Stephens24.518.63.4
5.1
3Steve Gromek17.612.43.0
4.5
3Hank Wyse18.713.63.0
4.6
4Hank Wyse18.713.63.0
4.6
4Dave Ferriss19.615.12.9
4.5
5Dave Ferriss19.615.12.9
4.5
5Steve Gromek17.612.43.0
4.5
6Claude Passeau16.111.32.8
4.1
6Andy Pafko22.916.02.8
4.4
7Andy Pafko22.916.02.8
4.4
7Roger Wolff17.112.22.8
4.2
8Roger Wolff17.112.22.8
4.2
8Claude Passeau16.111.32.8
4.1
9Harry Brecheen12.37.22.8
3.8
9Red Barrett18.514.52.4
4.0
10Phil Cavarretta18.912.52.7
4.0
10George Myatt19.213.72.7
4.0


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
1Hal Newhouser20.914.93.6
5.2
1Hal Newhouser20.914.93.6
5.2
2Vern Stephens21.617.12.7
4.2
2Snuffy Stirnweiss23.518.62.7
4.3
3Snuffy Stirnweiss23.518.62.7
4.3
3Tommy Holmes26.319.02.5
4.3
4Nels Potter17.112.82.6
4.0
4Vern Stephens21.617.12.7
4.2
5Tommy Holmes26.319.02.5
4.3
5Nels Potter17.112.82.6
4.0
6Phil Cavarretta17.711.82.5
3.6
6Phil Cavarretta17.711.82.5
3.6
7Claude Passeau14.510.72.3
3.4
7Roy Cullenbine23.818.01.8
3.5
8Steve Gromek15.912.72.1
3.4
8Claude Passeau14.510.72.3
3.4
9Augie Galan20.815.92.0
3.4
9Augie Galan20.815.92.0
3.4
10Eddie Lake19.216.21.9
3.3
10Steve Gromek15.912.72.1
3.4


As noted above, the 1945 season saw many of the most famous baseball players of the 1940s off to war: Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial. Hall-of-Famers Hank Greenberg and Bob Feller returned from multi-season absences during the 1945 season, but too late, in both cases, to make the above leaders' tables.

And so, instead, we are left with Cleveland Indians pitcher Steve Gromek (19-9, 2.55, 251 IP), Washington Senators pitcher Roger Wolff (20-10, 2.12, 250 IP), and New York Yankees second baseman Snuffy Stirnweiss (.309/.385/.476, AL-leading 107 runs scored, 195 hits, 22 triples, and 33 stolen bases). The top two players in three of the four tables above, however, should be, I think, reasonably well known to fans of baseball history.
Hal Newhouser
I wrote about Hal Newhouser in my article on the 1946 season. From 1944 - 1946, Hal Newhouser had a traditional won-lost record of 80-27 with a 1.99 ERA over 918.1 innings pitched. In 1945, Newhouser led the American League in traditional pitcher wins (25), innings pitched (313.1), strikeouts (212), complete games (29), shutouts (8), and ERA (1.81).

Controlling for context, 1945 was the best season of Hal Newhouser's career, as measured by eWins over either positional average or replacement level. Newhouser adjusted very well to the return of most major-leaguers in 1946, posting career highs in pWOPA and pWORL in 1946. His career tailed off somewhat after that, although he was still solidly above average for three more seasons, through 1949.

Hal Newhouser's career record, as measured by Player won-lost record (for the games for which I have play-by-play data), is shown in the next table.

Hal Newhouser
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1939DET18
0
0.00.00.0000.0
0.0
0.00.00.0000.00.0
1940DET19
13
3.75.00.423-0.6
-0.2
3.84.60.456-0.30.1
1941DET20
9
2.94.00.418-0.5
-0.1
3.04.20.418-0.5-0.1
1942DET21
10
3.12.70.5320.2
0.6
2.22.20.5010.00.3
1943DET22
7
3.02.40.5600.4
0.7
2.82.30.5500.30.6
1944DET23
47
22.014.30.6074.5
6.1
19.815.60.5582.74.3
1945DET24
40
22.714.90.6034.5
6.3
20.914.90.5833.65.2
1946DET25
37
23.114.80.6094.8
6.6
19.814.70.5743.24.8
1947DET26
40
19.617.10.5341.9
3.4
19.216.30.5412.13.5
1948DET27
39
20.115.20.5693.1
4.6
18.814.20.5702.94.3
1949DET28
38
18.215.30.5432.0
3.3
19.416.30.5432.13.5
1950DET29
35
15.015.20.4960.4
1.9
13.714.10.4930.31.6
1951DET30
17
6.56.10.5130.4
0.9
6.55.50.5420.71.2
1952DET31
26
8.89.00.4960.2
1.1
9.59.20.5070.51.3
1953DET32
7
1.32.10.372-0.4
-0.2
1.32.00.394-0.3-0.1
1954CLE33
26
3.42.60.5670.4
0.8
2.21.80.5500.20.4
1955CLE34
2
0.10.10.5150.0
0.0
0.10.20.364-0.0-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
393
173.5141.00.55221.5
35.7
162.9138.00.54117.531.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
4
1.51.70.478 0.11.31.30.500 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
397
175.0142.70.552
35.9
164.3139.40.541 31.3


Vern Stephens
Unlike Hal Newhouser, Vern Stephens is not in the Hall of Fame. He did, however, make a fairly lengthy appearance in Bill James's book about the Hall of Fame, The Politics of Glory. In that book, James devoted a chapter to comparing Vern Stephens and Phil Rizzuto. Rizzuto was not in the Hall of Fame when James wrote the book, but he had considerable Hall-of-Fame support and was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee shortly after The Politics of Glory was published, in 1994. Here's what Player won-lost records say about that same comparison.

Vern Stephens Phil Rizzuto
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
194130.00.00.0
0.0
13315.314.80.5080.52.0
194214517.920.00.471-0.9
0.8
14419.615.70.5552.13.7
194313720.519.10.5170.8
2.5
194414522.916.00.5884.2
5.8
194514924.518.60.5683.4
5.1
194611514.614.00.5100.5
1.6
12614.714.70.4990.21.4
194715020.619.20.5180.7
2.3
15319.216.90.5321.12.6
194815524.919.70.5592.9
4.7
12814.314.70.493-0.01.1
194915525.717.00.6034.7
6.4
15319.417.00.5331.42.9
195014922.817.50.5653.0
4.7
15521.016.90.5542.44.0
195110913.211.10.5420.7
1.7
14418.716.10.5371.73.1
19529210.19.10.5240.5
1.3
15218.717.10.5231.02.4
1953908.48.00.512-0.0
0.6
13414.312.20.5381.32.4
195410110.210.70.488-0.6
0.3
1279.69.30.5070.31.1
1955251.72.10.443-0.2
-0.1
814.74.70.5050.10.5
1956
 
311.61.70.4880.00.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,720237.8202.20.54019.5
37.7
1,661191.1171.80.52712.227.4

Seasons in italics are extrapolated to include games currently missing from Retrosheet's play-by-play files.

Player won-lost records basically reach the same conclusion as Bill James, who clarified his position on Stephens vs. Rizzuto in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract: "I can still see it either way." (p. 607, paperback edition)

As measured by pWOPA and pWORL, Stephens has better career numbers and the three strongest seasons, but two of Stephens' best season were 1944 and 1945, when Rizzuto (and most other Hall-of-Famers of the era) was away fighting World War II.

Vern Stephens's career record, as measured by Player won-lost record (for the games for which I have play-by-play data), is shown in the next table.

Vern Stephens
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1941SLA20
0
0.00.00.0000.0
0.0
0.00.00.0000.00.0
1942SLA21
50
6.26.90.471-0.3
0.3
5.96.30.484-0.10.4
1943SLA22
30
4.54.20.5170.2
0.6
4.73.50.5700.61.0
1944SLA23
145
22.916.00.5884.2
5.8
21.316.30.5673.24.8
1945SLA24
149
24.518.60.5683.4
5.1
21.617.10.5582.74.2
1946SLA25
115
14.614.00.5100.5
1.6
15.813.80.5331.22.4
1947SLA26
150
20.619.20.5180.7
2.3
21.217.20.5511.93.5
1948BOS27
155
24.919.70.5592.9
4.7
22.319.60.5321.63.3
1949BOS28
155
25.717.00.6034.7
6.4
23.417.60.5723.24.9
1950BOS29
149
22.817.50.5653.0
4.7
21.117.80.5432.13.6
1951BOS30
109
13.211.10.5420.7
1.7
12.410.80.5330.51.4
1952BOS31
92
10.19.10.5240.5
1.3
9.59.00.5120.31.0
32
90
8.48.00.512-0.0
0.6
8.38.30.499-0.30.4
1954BAL33
101
10.210.70.488-0.6
0.3
10.410.00.510-0.20.7
34
25
1.72.10.443-0.2
-0.1
2.01.80.5260.10.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,515
210.1174.20.54719.5
35.2
199.8169.10.54216.731.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
6
0.60.90.427 -0.00.80.80.495 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,521
210.8175.10.547
35.2
200.5169.90.542 32.0




1945 World Series

The 1945 World Series was probably most notable as the last World Series appearance (through at least 2015) by the Chicago Cubs, who lost in seven games to the Detroit Tigers. The top performances of the 1945 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the next table.

1945 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Hank GreenbergDET1.60.80.5
Claude PasseauCHN1.00.40.4
Dizzy TroutDET1.00.70.3


Hank Greenberg, who rejoined the Tigers on July 1, 1945 after four years in the Army batted .304/.467/.696 in the World Series with 2 home runs, 7 runs scored, and 7 RBI. Dizzy Trout went 1-1 with a 0.66 ERA in 13.2 innings.

For the losing Cubs, Claude Passeau started 2 games and relieved in a third, earning a record of 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings of work. Phil Cavarretta batted .423/.500/.615 in the seven games, although his performance ended up looking less impressive in context (e.g., Cavarretta went 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI in the Cubs' 9-3 Game 7 loss).

Best of 1945 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 1945 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tommy Holmes17.811.33.0

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Johnny Dickshot1.91.10.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Hal Newhouser16.012.13.9
Claude Passeau11.58.43.1
Preacher Roe12.29.32.9


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Thornton Lee1.60.41.1


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mike Tresh2.71.80.9


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Babe Dahlgren2.62.30.3


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Irv Hall6.35.50.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
George Kell6.44.81.6
Steve Mesner5.54.01.6


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Buddy Kerr7.05.71.2


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Red Schoendienst6.04.81.1


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Johnny Rucker4.73.41.3


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Roy Cullenbine7.76.80.9


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1945 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
Bill Salkeld9.26.31.6


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Phil Cavarretta16.110.82.3


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Snuffy Stirnweiss23.419.02.4


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Whitey Kurowski18.114.01.9


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Vern Stephens20.816.92.4


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hank Greenberg11.48.31.2
Jeff Heath15.211.91.2


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Buster Adams18.214.61.3


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Roy Cullenbine23.117.71.7


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hal Newhouser16.412.12.2


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ray Prim2.01.30.3
Jittery Joe Berry6.86.00.3
Frank Barrett4.33.60.3


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 1945 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1945, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Andy Karl9.27.90.5400.71.7
Jittery Joe Berry6.15.40.5290.41.0
Ace Adams7.27.30.499-0.00.9
Cy Buker4.63.90.5390.40.8
Johnny Hutchings9.210.20.474-0.40.7


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
Dave Ferriss2.52.20.7


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rene Monteagudo1.71.20.3
Butch Nieman1.30.70.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bill L. Mueller0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1945
Notable Debuts
The 1945 season saw the major-league debut of one player who would eventually be elected to the Hall of Fame (with some extra credit for his post-playing managerial career) - Red Schoendienst - and one player who is not in the Hall of Fame but has been elected to Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit - Billy Pierce.

Red Schoendienst's 1945 debut was fairly typical throughout baseball history. He was 22 years old in 1945 and appeared in 137 games for the St. Louis Cardinals, mostly in left field, before settling in as the Cardinals' second baseman for a decade.

In contrast, the circumstances behind Billy Pierce's major-league debut were fairly unique to World War II. Pierce was 18 years old in 1945 and went from the Detroit sandlots to appearing in five games for the eventual World Champion Tigers. Pierce would not reappear in the major leagues until 1948 when he was 21 years old. The next table compares the career records of Red Schoendienst and Billy Pierce, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Red Schoendienst Billy Pierce
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
194513718.616.90.5230.4
1.8
50.10.50.134-0.2-0.2
194614217.215.60.5240.9
2.3
194715117.617.70.4990.5
2.0
194811911.912.40.489-0.2
0.8
222.32.60.470-0.10.1
194915119.017.90.5150.5
2.1
3910.712.70.459-0.60.3
195015317.119.10.472-0.8
0.6
4015.415.50.4990.52.0
195113516.816.40.5060.3
1.6
3917.213.20.5662.53.8
195215220.917.10.5492.0
3.6
3515.613.50.5361.72.9
195314619.615.90.5522.1
3.6
4218.615.80.5412.03.6
195414818.017.80.5030.3
1.8
3812.812.30.5100.71.9
195514516.617.00.4950.2
1.6
3416.210.30.6113.44.5
195613212.614.40.467-0.5
0.6
3917.815.30.5381.93.4
195715019.917.60.5311.5
3.1
4118.314.80.5522.53.9
195810611.012.10.477-0.2
0.7
3517.814.80.5462.33.6
195950.00.10.099-0.1
-0.1
3415.313.20.5381.62.8
1960676.15.80.5100.3
0.8
3113.410.40.5622.03.0
1961723.23.90.447-0.2
0.1
3911.010.10.5210.81.7
1962983.64.40.450-0.3
0.1
3011.98.80.5742.13.0
196360.20.20.429-0.0
0.0
386.07.80.436-0.70.0
1964
 
342.22.00.5210.10.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,215250.0242.40.5086.8
27.2
615222.8193.80.53522.440.8


Final Farewells
The 1945 season saw the final major-league appearances for four players who have subsequently been elected to the Hall of Fame: Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin, Paul Waner, and Lloyd Waner.

It is probably the case that all four of these players only appeared in the major leagues in 1945 because of World War II.

The final two tables of this article compare the career records of these four players. Since (as I write this) the only season of their careers for which Retrosheet has released full play-by-play data is the final one, these players' records are extrapolated here to include missing games based on actual games for which Retrosheet has released data (for seasons for which Retrosheet has released at least some data). All of the numbers here should therefore be taken with a fairly large grain of salt.

Jimmie Foxx Joe Cronin
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1925100.20.20.4900.0
0.0
1926
 
1927613.73.80.495-0.1
0.2
120.40.60.427-0.1-0.0
1928
 
1929
 
193015323.712.80.6494.3
6.0
15425.118.90.5703.75.7
193113918.611.80.6122.7
4.0
15622.118.00.5512.54.2
193215423.012.70.6444.1
5.6
14320.717.10.5492.23.8
193314921.612.90.6263.7
5.1
15224.117.70.5773.65.3
193415020.612.40.6252.9
4.4
12717.317.30.5010.21.8
193514717.713.50.5671.4
2.7
14419.220.10.489-0.21.4
193615521.414.90.5892.1
3.6
818.99.30.490-0.00.7
193715020.213.20.6052.4
3.9
14819.317.00.5321.32.9
193814923.312.60.6504.1
5.5
14322.015.00.5943.65.1
193912414.511.70.5540.7
1.8
14319.317.80.5201.22.8
194014419.513.20.5972.7
4.2
14919.017.50.5201.12.7
194113514.913.40.5260.1
1.5
14317.116.70.5060.42.1
19421008.27.70.514-0.1
0.7
452.81.90.6020.50.7
1943
 
594.02.00.6591.11.5
1944150.20.70.204-0.3
-0.2
765.65.40.512-0.10.4
1945896.67.50.470-0.5
0.1
30.40.20.7050.10.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,024258.1175.10.59630.1
49.2
1,878247.4212.40.53821.041.3

Seasons in italics are extrapolated to include games currently missing from Retrosheet's play-by-play files.

Paul Waner Lloyd Waner
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1926
 
192715525.819.00.5762.5
4.4
15020.717.20.5471.32.9
1928
 
1929
 
193014521.819.00.5340.2
2.1
687.68.00.489-0.20.6
193115022.521.00.517-0.1
1.8
15421.920.60.5160.22.1
193215426.421.20.5551.4
3.4
13418.915.60.5461.42.9
193315425.519.30.5692.1
4.0
12114.414.80.493-0.50.7
193414623.221.00.5260.6
2.6
14018.420.70.470-1.9-0.1
193513921.617.00.5591.9
3.5
12216.815.10.5260.61.9
193614824.219.00.5601.8
3.7
10612.811.30.5310.51.5
193715424.018.90.5601.5
3.4
12917.016.00.5140.21.6
193814820.720.40.503-0.3
1.4
14719.217.50.5230.52.0
193912514.417.20.455-1.9
-0.5
11210.813.60.442-1.6-0.5
1940895.96.80.465-0.6
-0.0
723.45.30.392-1.0-0.6
194110611.912.90.481-0.9
0.4
775.87.80.424-1.3-0.6
194211410.613.00.448-1.5
-0.4
1018.811.60.430-1.6-0.7
1943828.67.70.5280.2
1.0
1944914.94.80.508-0.0
0.5
341.00.70.5890.10.2
194510.10.00.9830.0
0.0
230.30.30.5010.00.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,101292.0258.10.5317.1
31.2
1,690197.7196.20.502-3.314.0

Seasons in italics are extrapolated to include games currently missing from Retrosheet's play-by-play files.



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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