Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1952 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records



Next in my continuing series of looking at individual seasons through the prism of Player won-lost records is the 1952 season.

The Best of 1952

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
1Jackie Robinson23.013.94.7
6.2
1Jackie Robinson23.013.94.7
6.2
2Robin Roberts21.313.84.5
6.0
2Robin Roberts21.313.84.5
6.0
3Allie Reynolds19.712.84.0
5.5
3Allie Reynolds19.712.84.0
5.5
4Bobby Shantz19.412.84.0
5.4
4E. Mike Garcia21.515.23.7
5.4
5E. Mike Garcia21.515.23.7
5.4
5Bobby Shantz19.412.84.0
5.4
6Yogi Berra18.011.73.2
4.5
6Bob Lemon21.016.43.1
4.7
7Mickey Mantle22.115.13.2
4.7
7Mickey Mantle22.115.13.2
4.7
8Bob Lemon21.016.43.1
4.7
8Al Rosen22.215.73.0
4.5
9Roy Campanella16.210.43.0
4.1
9Larry Doby21.815.13.0
4.5
10Al Rosen22.215.73.0
4.5
10Yogi Berra18.011.73.2
4.5


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
1Jackie Robinson22.915.04.2
5.7
1Jackie Robinson22.915.04.2
5.7
2Robin Roberts21.817.33.1
4.8
2Robin Roberts21.817.33.1
4.8
3Mickey Mantle21.715.62.7
4.2
3Bob Lemon20.416.62.7
4.3
4Larry Doby21.215.22.7
4.1
4Mickey Mantle21.715.62.7
4.2
5Bob Lemon20.416.62.7
4.3
5Larry Doby21.215.22.7
4.1
6Bobby Shantz18.214.32.6
4.0
6Bobby Shantz18.214.32.6
4.0
7Billy Pierce16.712.92.6
3.8
7Billy Pierce16.712.92.6
3.8
8Bob Rush17.413.82.4
3.8
8Warren Spahn19.716.62.2
3.8
9Gil Hodges19.012.82.3
3.6
9Bob Rush17.413.82.4
3.8
10Al Rosen20.115.12.2
3.7
10Stan Musial22.517.12.1
3.8


Measured by eWins over either positional average or replacement level, the top player in both leagues in 1952 was the first African-American player to appear in the league (five years earlier). I compare Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby (and some other early integration pioneers) in a separate article.

The best pitcher in the major leagues in 1952 was pretty clearly Robin Roberts. Robin Roberts had an outstanding 6-year peak that was somewhat ill-timed, ending in 1955, the season before the Cy Young award was introduced. He did manage to place in the top 10 in NL MVP voting in five of those six seasons, including second place in 1952. That's the right place for Roberts, but he lost to Hank Sauer, who is notably absent from all of the above tables. Somehow Jackie Robinson managed to finish 7th in the MVP voting that year.

Robin Roberts's career record, as measured by Player won-lost record, is shown in the table below. Retrosheet is missing play-by-play data for a few games of the first three years of Roberts's career.

Robin Roberts
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1948PHI21
21
10.110.00.5030.4
1.3
10.09.40.5170.71.5
1949PHI22
43
14.513.80.5110.7
1.8
13.813.60.5050.51.6
1950PHI23
40
20.214.60.5803.4
5.0
19.916.90.5412.13.9
1951PHI24
44
21.317.10.5542.7
4.4
20.515.70.5662.94.6
1952PHI25
39
21.313.80.6074.5
6.0
21.817.30.5573.14.8
1953PHI26
44
25.118.30.5784.3
6.2
24.117.90.5733.95.8
1954PHI27
45
20.917.80.5402.3
4.2
21.618.30.5412.44.4
1955PHI28
51
22.018.00.5502.8
4.3
21.019.10.5241.73.2
1956PHI29
43
19.319.30.5000.7
2.5
19.420.10.4920.42.2
1957PHI30
39
14.220.50.410-2.4
-1.0
15.517.20.473-0.21.1
1958PHI31
36
18.315.20.5462.3
3.7
17.716.40.5201.52.8
1959PHI32
35
17.917.80.5020.7
2.3
16.716.70.5000.62.1
1960PHI33
35
14.315.10.4870.2
1.5
14.415.40.4830.11.4
1961PHI34
26
5.08.20.377-1.4
-0.8
6.78.60.438-0.7-0.0
1962BAL35
27
10.59.00.5381.2
2.1
12.310.30.5431.52.5
1963BAL36
35
14.816.00.4790.1
1.5
16.116.10.4990.82.2
1964BAL37
31
13.711.50.5451.7
3.0
12.713.00.4940.41.7
38
30
11.311.00.5070.7
1.7
12.410.60.5391.42.5
39
24
7.07.50.482-0.1
0.6
6.68.70.431-0.9-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
688
301.6274.50.52424.7
50.1
303.1281.30.51922.348.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
0.40.70.400 -0.00.90.70.543 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
690
302.1275.20.524
50.1
304.0282.00.519 48.2


1952 Postseason

The best player in the 1952 World Series, as measured by pWins over replacement level, was Duke Snider, of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost the World Series in seven games. It is somewhat unusual for the best player in the World Series to come from the losing team, although the 1952 Series was extremely close (with the Yankees winning Games 6 and 7 by a combined 3 runs).

And it's not like Snider's performance in the 1952 World Series was subtle or his record here all that surprising: he batted .345/.387/.828 with a series-best 4 home runs and 8 RBIs. He even tied for the series lead in runs scored with 5.

The most valuable Yankees in the 1952 World Series were Reynolds and Raschi, who earned two pitcher wins apiece in the Series.

1952 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Duke SniderBRO1.50.70.5
Allie ReynoldsNYA1.81.30.4
Vic RaschiNYA1.30.80.4
Johnny MizeNYA0.70.20.3
Pee Wee ReeseBRO1.10.70.3
Gene WoodlingNYA1.10.60.3


Best of 1952 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 1952 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gil Hodges15.310.02.4
Stan Musial15.710.82.2
Jackie Robinson15.610.72.2
Ralph Kiner14.59.82.1
Larry Doby14.49.72.1

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jim Rivera1.60.90.4
Jackie Robinson2.11.30.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Robin Roberts17.413.44.0
Warren Spahn16.012.93.2
Bob Lemon16.213.13.1
Billy Pierce13.410.33.1
Bobby Shantz14.611.63.0


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Art Houtteman0.50.20.3
Robin Roberts0.70.40.3
Billy Loes0.40.20.3


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Yogi Berra1.81.30.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gil Hodges2.62.20.4


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jackie Robinson4.83.41.4


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Hector Rodriguez3.52.90.6


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Granny Hamner6.65.61.0


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Hank Sauer6.95.81.0


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Duke Snider5.43.81.5


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Carl Furillo5.84.71.0


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1952 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
Yogi Berra16.412.32.2


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gil Hodges18.913.02.2


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jackie Robinson22.515.23.9


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Al Rosen19.515.12.0


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eddie Joost20.717.21.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hank Sauer22.817.91.5


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Larry Doby20.915.42.4


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Enos Slaughter19.816.51.2


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Robin Roberts18.013.72.3


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Joe Black7.76.60.4


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 1952 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1952, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Hoyt Wilhelm10.26.90.5961.62.8
Harry Dorish6.94.00.6361.52.2
Joe Black9.27.30.5581.02.0
Al Brazle9.47.60.5541.02.0
Satchel Paige10.410.20.5050.21.4


The player whose record sticks out here to me is Satchel Paige who managed to amass double-digits in both pWins and pLosses as primarily a relief pitcher (although Paige did start 6 games this season). The next table shows every pitcher who earned at least 10 pWins and at least 10 pLosses in a season in which they had more Player decisions as a relief pitcher than as a starting pitcher (or as a batter).

Player Season pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Al Brazle195011.710.30.5310.92.1
Terry Forster197312.410.50.5400.82.1
Mike G. Marshall197414.012.70.5250.32.0
Satchel Paige195210.410.20.5050.21.4
Tiny Osborne192210.410.80.4930.11.2
John Montague197710.410.80.492-0.30.9