Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
Home     List of Articles



The 1949 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records


As part of their last update, Retrosheet added two new seasons with "deduced games" to supplement their play-by-play data. These are games for which they do not have full play-by-play data, but they have been able to deduce enough about what happened from box scores and newspaper reports that they were able to reconstruct play-by-play data. Combining games with full play-by-play and deduced games, I now have full play-by-play data for all seasons dating back to 1949. This gives me two new full seasons: 1949 and 1950

This article looks at the earliest season for which I now have complete play-by-play data (some of it deduced): 1949.

The Best of 1949

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
1Vern Stephens25.717.04.7
6.4
1Vern Stephens25.717.04.7
6.4
2Jackie Robinson24.915.94.5
6.2
2Jackie Robinson24.915.94.5
6.2
3Bob Lemon22.115.14.2
5.7
3Bob Lemon22.115.14.2
5.7
4Mel Parnell20.814.23.9
5.3
4Ted Williams27.017.33.6
5.4
5Eddie Joost22.515.23.9
5.4
5Eddie Joost22.515.23.9
5.4
6Stan Musial25.016.63.6
5.3
6Stan Musial25.016.63.6
5.3
7Pee Wee Reese23.016.33.6
5.2
7Mel Parnell20.814.23.9
5.3
8Ted Williams27.017.33.6
5.4
8Pee Wee Reese23.016.33.6
5.2
9Tommy Henrich19.111.33.6
4.8
9Duke Snider20.912.83.5
4.9
10Howie Pollet17.711.43.6
4.8
10Tommy Henrich19.111.33.6
4.8


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
1Ted Williams27.917.93.7
5.6
1Ted Williams27.917.93.7
5.6
2Jackie Robinson24.417.03.7
5.4
2Jackie Robinson24.417.03.7
5.4
3Stan Musial25.517.73.3
5.1
3Stan Musial25.517.73.3
5.1
4Eddie Joost21.615.63.2
4.8
4Vern Stephens23.417.63.2
4.9
5Vern Stephens23.417.63.2
4.9
5Eddie Joost21.615.63.2
4.8
6Bob Lemon20.115.62.9
4.3
6Ralph Kiner26.118.02.8
4.7
7Ralph Kiner26.118.02.8
4.7
7Pee Wee Reese23.118.42.6
4.3
8Pee Wee Reese23.118.42.6
4.3
8Bob Lemon20.115.62.9
4.3
9Mel Parnell19.215.92.3
3.6
9Mel Parnell19.215.92.3
3.6
10Hal Newhouser19.416.32.1
3.5
10Duke Snider20.315.22.0
3.5


AL MVP: Ted Williams vs. Vern Stephens
The top player in all four of the tables above was a position player for the 1949 Boston Red Sox, who lost the American League pennant on the last game of the season.

The top player in the major leagues in 1949, as measured by pWins over positional average or replacement level was Red Sox shortstop Vern Stephens.

The top player in the major leagues in 1949, as measured by (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average or replacement level was Red Sox left fielder Ted Williams.
The next table compares the 1949 seasons for Stephens and Williams in and out of context.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Vern Stephens
155
25.717.00.6034.7
6.4
23.417.60.5723.24.9
Ted Williams
155
27.017.30.6093.6
5.4
27.917.90.6103.75.6


Williams batted .343/.490/.650 in 1949 versus .290/.392/.539 for Stephens. But Stephens matched Williams in RBI with 159, although Williams scored 150 to 113 for Stephens. Williams batted before Stephens and his .490 OBP was a big reason for Stephens RBI total (Stephens drove in Williams 35 times). But Stephens also stepped his game up in the clutch.

Baseball-Reference breaks players' batting lines into high-, medium-, and low-leverage. Ted Williams' OPS in high/medium/low leverage was .983/1.079/1.259. The lower the leverage in the game, the better Williams hit.

In contrast, Stephens' split by leverage was .977/.931/.883. Two things: (1) Stephens' OPS improved the higher the leverage, just the opposite of Williams and much more favorable to the chances of the Red Sox winning games, but (2) Williams still had a higher OPS than Stephens in high-leverage situations. But Stephens also played the more important defensive position. And that, combined with his clutch hitting, ended up making Vern Stephens somewhat more valuable than Ted Williams, at least as measured by pWins.

NL MVP: Jackie Robinson
The 1949 National League MVP was Brooklyn Dodgers' second baseman Jackie Robinson. Player won-lost records agree. Jackie Robinson is the top National League player in all four of the above tables. Robinson's 1949 season was an outstanding season, but it actually was not the best season of Robinson's career - that would have been either 1951 (as measured by pWins over positional average or replacement level) or 1952 (as measured by eWins over positional average or replacement level).

Jackie Robinson's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Jackie Robinson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1947BRO28
151
18.416.00.5340.3
1.7
19.116.90.5300.11.6
1948BRO29
147
21.115.10.5833.1
4.6
20.517.40.5421.73.2
1949BRO30
156
24.915.90.6114.5
6.2
24.417.00.5893.75.4
1950BRO31
144
19.015.00.5572.1
3.5
19.316.20.5441.73.2
1951BRO32
153
24.615.20.6194.8
6.4
22.115.70.5853.34.8
1952BRO33
149
23.013.90.6234.7
6.2
22.915.00.6044.25.7
1953BRO34
136
21.414.10.6033.0
4.5
20.014.90.5731.93.4
1954BRO35
124
14.712.00.5510.9
2.1
15.611.90.5681.42.6
1955BRO36
105
11.19.10.5500.8
1.6
11.110.20.5200.21.1
1956BRO37
117
14.010.50.5731.7
2.7
13.311.30.5400.91.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,382
192.1136.70.58426.0
39.5
188.3146.50.56219.132.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
38
4.14.70.465 -0.04.34.20.508 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,420
196.2141.40.584
39.5
192.6150.60.562 33.2


Eddie Joost
The third-best player in major-league baseball, on all four tables above, was Philadelphia A's shortstop Eddie Joost. Joost is probably best known today (if he's known at all) as one of the "Walking Eddies" along with Eddie Yost and Eddie Stanky. Joost drew over 100 walks in six consecutive seasons from 1947 - 1952. His best walk total came in 1949 - 149. Those 149 walks bumped Joost's .263 batting average up to a .429 on-base percentage, good for 128 runs scored while playing an above-average defensive shortstop. Pretty nice season.

The 1949 season was easily the best of Joost's career, but he put together a solid career.

Eddie Joost's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table. I am missing a number of games in his career prior to 1949. The records below only reflect games for which I have play-by-play data. Overall, Joost actually played 1,574 games in his major-league career.

Eddie Joost
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1936CIN20
13
0.50.90.357-0.2
-0.1
0.61.00.400-0.1-0.1
1937CIN21
6
0.30.60.371-0.1
-0.1
0.30.50.350-0.1-0.1
1939CIN23
42
4.84.80.498-0.0
0.4
4.14.80.462-0.30.0
1940CIN24
88
8.68.60.4990.1
0.9
8.29.60.461-0.50.2
1941CIN25
152
19.716.60.5431.8
3.6
19.218.60.5070.52.4
1942CIN26
142
18.116.90.5170.7
2.3
18.017.80.5030.31.9
1943BSN27
65
6.77.30.477-0.4
0.2
6.87.10.490-0.20.4
1945BSN29
35
3.84.40.458-0.3
-0.0
3.85.00.433-0.6-0.2
1947PHA31
151
21.017.50.5451.7
3.3
19.118.00.5140.52.0
1948PHA32
135
17.915.00.5441.6
3.0
18.016.00.5301.22.6
1949PHA33
144
22.515.20.5963.9
5.4
21.615.60.5813.24.8
1950PHA34
131
15.416.00.4910.0
1.3
16.815.80.5160.82.1
1951PHA35
140
19.216.80.5331.6
3.0
20.516.40.5572.54.0
1952PHA36
146
21.016.80.5552.2
3.8
20.817.00.5512.13.6
1953PHA37
51
7.05.90.5420.7
1.2
7.05.30.5661.01.5
1954PHA38
19
1.31.60.446-0.2
-0.0
1.71.40.5430.10.3
1955BOS39
56
3.04.60.394-0.7
-0.4
3.44.20.448-0.30.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,516
190.6169.60.52912.5
27.8
190.0174.10.52210.025.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
7
0.60.80.455 0.00.50.90.376 -0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,523
191.3170.30.529
27.8
190.5174.90.522 25.4


The 1949 World Series

From 1947 - 1956, the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers met in the World Series 6 times in 10 years. The 1949 World Series was the second of those meetings. It was also the shortest of those meetings, with the Yankees winning in five games.

The top two players in the 1949 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, won complete-game 1-0 wins in Games 1 and 2: Allie Reynolds, who added a 3.1-inning save in Game 4; and Preacher Roe, who picked up the Dodgers' only victory of the Series.

1949 World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Allie ReynoldsNYA1.40.40.6
Preacher RoeBRO1.10.30.5
Joe PageNYA0.80.30.3
Johnny MizeNYA0.50.00.3
Tommy HenrichNYA1.00.60.2
Bobby 'Doc' BrownNYA0.60.30.2
Vic RaschiNYA0.80.60.2
Cliff MapesNYA0.50.20.1
Ed LopatNYA0.40.20.1
Jerry ColemanNYA0.70.50.1
Phil RizzutoNYA0.70.60.1
Gene WoodlingNYA0.40.30.1


Best of 1949 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.
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 1949 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ted Williams19.810.84.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Johnny Pesky1.60.90.3
Dale Mitchell1.51.00.2
Alvin Dark1.20.70.2
Eddie Joost1.40.90.2
Jackie Robinson2.21.70.2
Dave Philley1.41.00.2
Mickey Vernon1.30.90.2
Phil Rizzuto1.51.10.2
Sherry Robertson1.00.60.2
Granny Hamner1.10.80.2
Catfish Metkovich0.80.50.2
Vern Stephens1.00.60.2
Ted Williams1.10.80.2
Cliff Mapes0.60.30.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Virgil Trucks14.811.83.0
E. Mike Garcia9.46.62.8
Gerry Staley9.06.22.8
Howie Pollet12.49.72.7
Dave Koslo11.18.42.6
Mel Parnell15.613.12.6
Hal Newhouser15.813.42.5
Bob Lemon15.112.82.3
Ken Raffensberger15.313.02.2


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Vic Raschi0.60.40.3
Don Newcombe0.40.20.3


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Andy Seminick1.81.10.7


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mickey Vernon2.82.40.3
Billy Goodman2.01.70.3


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jackie Robinson4.93.81.1


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Johnny Pesky4.94.10.8


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pee Wee Reese5.74.90.9


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Elmer Valo6.95.91.0


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Duke Snider4.93.31.6


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Carl Furillo6.85.51.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1949 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
Andy Seminick10.98.11.5


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gil Hodges18.115.31.3


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jackie Robinson24.117.43.4


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
George Kell17.914.81.3


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Vern Stephens23.218.02.9
Eddie Joost21.316.12.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ted Williams27.618.33.3


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Duke Snider20.115.31.9


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Stan Musial14.510.21.8


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mel Parnell15.612.41.7


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Al Benton3.11.70.6
Gerry Staley3.11.90.6


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 1949 in context, as measured by pWins over replacement level (pWORL).

Top Relief Pitchers of 1949, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Joe Page11.79.00.5661.52.9
Ted Wilks6.35.10.5530.61.4
Jack Banta8.78.80.4970.11.1
Bobby Shantz6.86.80.5000.10.9
Rip Sewell3.93.10.5560.40.8


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

Pitcher Offense
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bob Lemon2.72.20.9


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Paul Campbell0.60.10.2
Pete Reiser0.70.30.2
Billy Johnson0.70.40.2
Fred 'Dixie' Walker1.10.80.2
Wally Moses0.70.30.2
Yogi Berra0.50.10.2
Buddy Lewis0.90.60.2
Buddy Blattner0.90.70.2
Gene Hermanski0.70.40.2


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gil Coan0.10.00.05


Notable Debuts
The 1949 season saw the major-league debut of several notable players who shared a similar theme: the first trickles of integration. The last two tables of this article show the career records, as measured by Player won-lost records, of four prominent African-American players who made their major-league debut in 1949: Minnie Minoso, Don Newcombe, Monte Irvin, and Luke Easter.

Minnie Minoso Don Newcombe
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
194990.60.80.424-0.1
-0.1
3915.812.90.5501.93.1
1950
 
4018.216.30.5281.63.2
195114618.815.60.5471.1
2.4
4017.813.70.5652.64.0
195214720.518.00.5330.6
2.2
195315124.116.40.5953.0
4.7
195415327.618.20.6033.9
5.8
3110.39.40.5250.81.8
195513919.718.20.5200.2
1.8
5718.314.10.5632.84.0
195615123.318.40.5581.4
3.2
5219.813.80.5893.75.2
195715325.418.70.5762.0
3.8
3411.913.90.460-0.40.6
195814922.819.60.5380.5
2.1
5010.713.00.453-0.60.4
195914823.416.90.5812.7
4.3
6115.912.30.5642.53.7
196015422.018.80.5390.6
2.2
477.59.70.436-0.9-0.0
196115222.118.10.5501.4
3.2
1962392.62.90.477-0.3
-0.0
19631098.911.30.440-1.5
-0.7
1964300.81.10.442-0.1
0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,830262.5212.80.55215.4
35.0
451146.3129.20.53114.125.9


Monte Irvin Luke Easter
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1949362.72.60.5110.0
0.3
211.01.20.462-0.1-0.0
195011013.310.20.5661.1
2.1
14117.813.10.5761.62.8
195115123.315.90.5942.9
4.5
12816.812.90.5651.52.7
1952464.33.70.5380.1
0.5
12716.211.30.5901.82.9
195312417.414.40.5470.9
2.2
685.65.30.5130.00.5
195413517.614.90.5410.8
2.2
60.10.30.196-0.1-0.1
1955515.15.40.488-0.3
0.2
195611112.412.50.497-0.6
0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS76496.079.60.5475.0
12.3
49157.544.00.5664.78.9




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.

Home     List of Articles