Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1953 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 1953 season. The 1953 season was one of close, but no cigar. In the American League, the Cleveland Indians finished in second place for the third year in a row. In the National League, the Brooklyn Dodgers won 105 regular-season games, but still couldn't beat the Yankees in the World Series. At the player level, Al Rosen fell one hit short of winning an American League Triple Crown.

The Best of 1953

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
1Roy Campanella19.910.45.0
6.3
1Roy Campanella19.910.45.0
6.3
2Warren Spahn20.312.74.5
6.0
2Robin Roberts25.118.34.3
6.2
3Duke Snider23.613.44.4
6.0
3Duke Snider23.613.44.4
6.0
4Robin Roberts25.118.34.3
6.2
4Warren Spahn20.312.74.5
6.0
5Al Rosen26.717.14.0
5.9
5Al Rosen26.717.14.0
5.9
6Pee Wee Reese19.112.93.5
4.9
6Eddie Mathews24.216.13.4
5.1
7Eddie Mathews24.216.13.4
5.1
7Pee Wee Reese19.112.93.5
4.9
8Yogi Berra17.311.23.3
4.6
8E. Mike Garcia20.014.73.3
4.9
9E. Mike Garcia20.014.73.3
4.9
9Stan Musial26.018.32.9
4.8
10Gil Hodges18.711.53.2
4.4
10Minnie Minoso24.116.43.0
4.7


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
1Duke Snider24.114.74.0
5.7
1Robin Roberts24.117.93.9
5.8
2Robin Roberts24.117.93.9
5.8
2Duke Snider24.114.74.0
5.7
3Warren Spahn18.712.83.7
5.1
3Al Rosen24.316.13.4
5.1
4Al Rosen24.316.13.4
5.1
4Warren Spahn18.712.83.7
5.1
5Roy Campanella17.311.83.1
4.3
5Roy Campanella17.311.83.1
4.3
6Harvey Haddix18.014.32.5
3.9
6Stan Musial24.717.92.5
4.3
7Stan Musial24.717.92.5
4.3
7Eddie Mathews22.215.92.5
4.1
8Eddie Mathews22.215.92.5
4.1
8Harvey Haddix18.014.32.5
3.9
9Gil Hodges18.813.22.3
3.7
9Gil Hodges18.813.22.3
3.7
10Ray Boone18.914.12.1
3.5
10Ray Boone18.914.12.1
3.5


One somewhat striking thing about the above tables is the lack of American League players. These numbers do not make any adjustments for league strength: a win in the American League is treated exactly the same as a win in the National League. Yet, the only American League player to make the eWOPA/eWORL lists is Al Rosen. He is joined by a couple of leaguemates on the pWOPA/pWORL lists (Garcia, Berra, Minoso), but clearly the best players in 1953 tended to be in the National League.

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.

A couple of pairings in the above table show interesting examples of the potential impact of context on Player value.
Robin Roberts vs. Warren Spahn
The top two pitchers in the major leagues in 1953 were Hall-of-Famers Robin Roberts and Warren Spahn. Both pitchers had outstanding seasons and, in fact, both pitchers performed somewhat better in context (pWOPA, pWORL) than out (eWOPA, eWORL). But in context, Spahn was arguably more valuable than Roberts (by pWOPA although not by pWORL), while Roberts beat Spahn in both eWOPA and eWORL.

The table below compares Roberts's and Spahn's 1953 seasons in and out of context.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Robin Roberts
44
25.118.30.5784.3
6.2
24.117.90.5733.95.8
Warren Spahn
38
20.312.70.6154.5
6.0
18.712.80.5953.75.1


Spahn pitched at a somewhat higher quality (e.g., 0.559 OPS-allowed by Spahn vs. 0.654 OPS-allowed by Roberts) but Roberts made up the difference for the most part in quantity (346.2 innings pitched by Roberts vs. 265.2 innings pitched by Spahn).

Spahn's quality was somewhat better in context than out. For example, in 22 plate appearances with the bases loaded, batters went 4-for-22 with 1 triple, a batting line of .182/.182/.273 (OPS of .455), which gives his in-context record a bit of a boost relative to Roberts, whose record was pretty similar in or out of context.

The next table compares the careers of Robin Roberts and Warren Spahn, by season, in context, for the games for which Retrosheet has play-by-play data.

Robin Roberts Warren Spahn
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1942
 
10.00.10.287-0.0-0.0
1943
 
1944
 
1945
 
1946
 
248.16.50.5541.01.8
1947
 
4121.314.20.6004.25.6
19482110.110.00.5030.4
1.3
3717.513.90.5572.43.7
19494314.513.80.5110.7
1.8
4021.517.80.5472.54.0
19504020.214.60.5803.4
5.0
4119.819.80.5000.72.6
19514421.317.10.5542.7
4.4
4222.316.20.5803.75.4
19523921.313.80.6074.5
6.0
5218.117.40.5090.92.5
19534425.118.30.5784.3
6.2
3820.312.70.6154.56.0
19544520.917.80.5402.3
4.2
4120.315.50.5663.14.8
19555122.018.00.5502.8
4.3
4017.814.80.5452.03.3
19564319.319.30.5000.7
2.5
3919.015.00.5592.74.2
19573914.220.50.410-2.4
-1.0
3918.414.60.5572.64.0
19583618.315.20.5462.3
3.7
4119.015.90.5452.53.9
19593517.917.80.5020.7
2.3
4019.216.10.5452.33.8
19603514.315.10.4870.2
1.5
4019.215.40.5552.74.2
1961265.08.20.377-1.4
-0.8
3919.715.30.5643.14.5
19622710.59.00.5381.2
2.1
3617.616.20.5201.53.0
19633514.816.00.4790.1
1.5
3320.013.80.5924.05.5
19643113.711.50.5451.7
3.0
399.313.30.411-1.6-0.4
19653011.311.00.5070.7
1.7
3711.615.10.434-1.20.1
1966247.07.50.482-0.1
0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS688301.6274.50.52424.7
50.1
780360.1299.70.54643.872.5


Duke Snider vs. Roy Campanella
The top two players on the NL pennant-winning Brooklyn Dodgers (and the two best non-pitchers in the National League), as measured by Player won-lost records, were Duke Snider and Roy Campanella. In context, Campanella was the best player in baseball. Controlling for context, Campanella was still easily a top-10 player but the best non-pitcher in baseball was Duke Snider.

As with Roberts and Spahn, both Snider and Campanella look better in context (pWOPA, pWORL) than out of context (eWOPA, eWORL). But Campanella timed his hitting exceptionally well so that, for example, his OPS in high/medium/low-levarage situations in 1953 was 1.266/1.102/0.815. Snider, on the other hand, was more consistently excellent across all situations: OPS of 1.043/0.957/1.110 in high/medium/low-leverage situations.

The next table compares Campanella's and Snider's 1953 seasons in and out of context. The table after that compares their careers, by season, in context. Incidentally, MVP voters in 1953 apparently thought context mattered: they awarded the MVP to Campanella with Snider placing third.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Roy Campanella
144
19.910.40.6565.0
6.3
17.311.80.5953.14.3
Duke Snider
153
23.613.40.6384.4
6.0
24.114.70.6224.05.7


Roy Campanella Duke Snider
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1947
 
401.92.50.433-0.3-0.1
1948836.85.50.5550.9
1.4
534.65.00.479-0.40.0
194913011.29.80.5340.8
1.7
14620.912.80.6203.54.9
195012612.610.00.5571.3
2.3
15220.817.00.5501.42.9
195114316.311.40.5892.6
3.7
15020.115.80.5601.73.2
195212816.210.40.6103.0
4.1
14419.914.90.5722.13.6
195314419.910.40.6565.0
6.3
15323.613.40.6384.46.0
19541118.68.70.4970.0
0.7
14923.615.10.6103.45.0
195512314.410.10.5872.4
3.4
14824.214.80.6214.05.6
195612412.410.40.5441.0
2.0
15123.015.20.6013.14.7
19571038.68.20.5140.4
1.1
13919.015.70.5481.02.5
1958
 
10610.110.60.487-0.60.2
1959
 
12615.511.30.5771.62.7
1960
 
1009.07.70.5390.41.1
1961
 
839.86.60.5951.22.0
1962
 
806.34.60.5790.71.1
1963
 
12913.012.50.510-0.30.7
1964
 
894.85.60.462-0.50.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,215127.094.80.57317.5
26.7
2,138270.1201.30.57326.446.1


1953 Postseason

Ho hum. Another Yankees-Dodgers World Series, their second consecutive meeting, fourth meeting in the past seven seasons, with two more matchups coming in the next three years. This time, the stars of the World Series were Billy Martin and Mickey Mantle.

1953 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Billy MartinNYA1.30.60.5
Mickey MantleNYA1.40.70.4
Yogi BerraNYA0.90.40.3
Carl ErskineBRO1.10.80.3


Best of 1953 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 1953 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Al Rosen17.911.03.2
Duke Snider17.610.83.1

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eddie Miksis1.30.70.3
Jackie Robinson1.40.80.3
Bill Bruton1.71.10.3
Red Schoendienst1.50.90.3

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Robin Roberts19.214.15.0
Warren Spahn14.49.94.5


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Sal Maglie1.00.30.7


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Del Crandall1.61.10.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gil Hodges2.21.70.5
Walt Dropo2.41.90.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jim Gilliam5.04.10.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Willie Jones4.23.70.5


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Pee Wee Reese5.03.51.5


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Minnie Minoso5.94.91.0


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Duke Snider4.93.31.6


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jim Piersall7.75.32.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1953 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
Roy Campanella16.711.72.7


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gil Hodges14.510.21.8


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Red Schoendienst18.716.11.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Al Rosen24.016.43.1


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pee Wee Reese18.915.82.0


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Stan Musial20.815.22.0


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Duke Snider23.614.93.6


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carl Furillo19.115.41.4


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Robin Roberts19.414.52.6
Warren Spahn14.610.12.4


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ernie T. Johnson4.33.10.5


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 1953 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1953, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Ellis Kinder9.45.90.6141.72.7
Harry Dorish9.17.80.5380.71.7
Dave Hoskins6.85.60.5460.71.4
Marlin Stuart5.54.20.5660.61.2
Clem Labine7.56.90.5220.41.2


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
Mickey McDermott2.11.80.6
Don Larsen1.71.30.6
Early Wynn2.01.80.6


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bobby Hofman1.10.60.3
Peanuts Lowrey1.81.40.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Don Thompson0.160.030.06


Noteworthy Players of 1953

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1953 seasons.

Notable Debuts
Two Hall-of-Famers made their major-league debuts in 1953: Al Kaline and Ernie Banks. Kaline and Banks present a fairly nice contrast between career (Kaline) versus peak (Banks). Their careers are compared in the next table.

Al Kaline Ernie Banks
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1953300.70.80.472-0.1
0.0
101.01.10.475-0.00.1
195413814.316.00.472-1.1
0.2
15418.619.50.488-0.01.6
195515222.817.60.5641.8
3.5
15421.718.20.5442.23.9
195615324.618.30.5732.4
4.1
13917.716.60.5161.12.5
195714921.517.20.5561.6
3.2
15621.517.50.5522.23.9
195814622.616.60.5772.2
3.7
15424.417.60.5814.15.7
195913620.316.00.5591.5
3.0
15524.818.00.5793.75.5
196014717.318.80.479-1.5
-0.0
15622.019.90.5251.53.2
196115322.815.70.5922.5
4.2
13816.815.40.5221.02.4
196210017.112.70.5731.4
2.5
15417.416.90.508-0.70.7
196314522.615.90.5872.2
3.7
12912.612.00.512-0.20.7
196414619.016.90.5280.2
1.6
15616.916.90.501-0.70.6
196512515.313.30.5340.4
1.6
16318.316.90.521-0.21.2
196614220.915.00.5822.2
3.7
14112.213.10.482-1.2-0.2
196713121.514.40.6002.7
4.3
15117.314.50.5430.41.8
196810113.39.00.5971.7
2.6
15016.815.10.527-0.11.2
196913118.313.50.5751.5
2.9
15518.013.90.5651.02.4
197013115.614.00.5280.2
1.5
725.05.70.465-0.7-0.2
197113316.812.30.5771.7
2.9
381.32.10.389-0.4-0.3
197210610.07.90.5590.8
1.5
1973919.99.20.5200.2
1.0
197414713.111.20.5410.9
2.3
1975
 
1976
 
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,833380.5302.40.55725.5
54.2
2,525304.4270.80.52912.936.6


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1953 was the final season for Hall-of-Fame first baseman Johnny Mize. So far, I have only calculated Player won-lost records since 1947 and, even then, I am missing a few games from 1947 - 1950. So, obviously, I have not calculated Player won-lost records for the vast majority of Johnny Mize's career.

One player whose last full season was 1953 (he played 6 games in 1954) for whom I do have his entire major-league career is Luke Easter. Easter did not make his major-league debut until he was 33 years old and played only three full major-league seasons, 1950 - 52, his age 34 - 36 seasons. In addition to his brief major-league career, Luke Easter also had significant careers before and after in the Negro Leagues (before) and in the International League (after). Luke Easter's career is discussed in some detail in his thread at the Hall of Merit (which had not inducted him as of 2013).

The table below compares the Player won-lost records for those games for which Retrosheet has play-by-play data for Johnny Mize and Luke Easter. For Mize, in addition to missing all of his career through 1946, I am also missing large portions of the 1947 - 50 seasons as well. Mize was three years older than Easter, so the right age comparison would be Mize's 1947-49 seasons to Easter's 1950-52. Unfortunately, I am missing games for these three seasons for Mize.

Even with that caveat, however, the comparison is intriguing. Easter's MLB career matches up reasonably well with the mid-30s career of Hall-of-Famer Johnny Mize, a player who was probably the best NL first baseman of the 20th century at his retirement.

Johnny Mize Luke Easter
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
19369011.46.70.6311.8
2.6
193710514.010.50.5721.0
2.0
1938879.78.60.530-0.1
0.7
19398911.38.70.5640.7
1.6
1940769.86.60.5981.3
2.0
1941587.24.80.5980.9
1.5
1942669.55.30.6411.7
2.4
1943
 
1944
 
1945
 
194610113.38.90.6001.5
2.4
194715421.314.30.5982.5
4.0
194815220.714.60.5872.9
4.3
194911911.410.60.5190.3
1.2
211.01.20.462-0.1-0.0
1950909.36.10.6031.2
1.8
14117.813.10.5761.62.8
19511139.57.70.5520.7
1.4
12816.812.90.5651.52.7
1952783.53.80.481-0.2
0.2
12716.211.30.5901.82.9
1953813.43.10.5220.2
0.5
685.65.30.5130.00.5
1954
 
60.10.30.196-0.1-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,459165.2120.20.57916.4
28.7
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.

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