Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1958 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 1958 season. The most significant feature of the 1958 season, from an historical perspective, is that this was the first season in which major-league baseball was played on the West Coast.

The Best of 1958

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
1Ernie Banks24.417.64.1
5.7
1Ernie Banks24.417.64.1
5.7
2Willie Mays26.118.33.1
4.9
2Willie Mays26.118.33.1
4.9
3Eddie Mathews21.915.73.0
4.4
3Hank Aaron25.217.53.0
4.6
4Hank Aaron25.217.53.0
4.6
4Eddie Mathews21.915.73.0
4.4
5Mickey Mantle23.116.12.8
4.2
5Mickey Mantle23.116.12.8
4.2
6Warren Spahn19.015.92.5
3.9
6Jackie Jensen25.219.02.2
3.9
7Whitey Ford14.911.22.5
3.5
7Warren Spahn19.015.92.5
3.9
8Lew Burdette18.315.22.4
3.7
8Al Kaline22.616.62.2
3.7
9Robin Roberts18.315.22.3
3.7
9Lew Burdette18.315.22.4
3.7
10Bob Turley17.914.82.3
3.6
10Robin Roberts18.315.22.3
3.7


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
1Ernie Banks23.616.74.1
5.7
1Ernie Banks23.616.74.1
5.7
2Mickey Mantle23.915.43.5
5.0
2Mickey Mantle23.915.43.5
5.0
3Warren Spahn20.015.73.1
4.5
3Warren Spahn20.015.73.1
4.5
4Lew Burdette18.014.02.8
4.1
4Willie Mays25.318.62.6
4.3
5Rocky Colavito22.115.32.6
4.1
5Lew Burdette18.014.02.8
4.1
6Whitey Ford15.111.12.6
3.7
6Rocky Colavito22.115.32.6
4.1
7Willie Mays25.318.62.6
4.3
7Whitey Ford15.111.12.6
3.7
8Pete Runnels19.515.91.9
3.3
8Jackie Jensen23.518.41.7
3.3
9Jack Harshman16.814.51.9
3.2
9Pete Runnels19.515.91.9
3.3
10Jackie Jensen23.518.41.7
3.3
10Jack Harshman16.814.51.9
3.2


Most Valuable Players by Player Won-Lost Records
The best player in the major leagues, as measured by Player won-lost records, won the 1958 National League Most Valuable Player Award, Chicago Cubs shortstop Ernie Banks.

The best player in the American League, as measured by Player won-lost records, was Mickey Mantle, who finished fifth in AL MVP voting and received zero first-place votes. This was a fairly common occurrence around this time: Mickey Mantle being the best player in the American League but not winning the MVP award.

Jackie Jensen
The winner of the 1958 American League MVP award was Boston Red Sox outfielder Jackie Jensen. Jensen's name appears on all 4 of the tables above and he had a fine season in 1958 - not as good as Mantle's, but Jensen finished second in the AL to Mantle in pWins over replacement level (pWORL).

The 1958 season was easily Jensen's best, but he was generally very good through most of the 1950s. Jackie Jensen's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Jackie Jensen
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1950NYA23
45
1.62.00.434-0.3
-0.1
1.82.40.422-0.4-0.2
1951NYA24
56
5.84.70.5510.4
0.8
6.45.30.5470.40.9
25
151
20.918.80.5260.6
2.2
21.619.20.5290.72.4
1953WS126
147
19.618.40.5170.2
1.8
18.817.20.5230.41.9
1954BOS27
152
23.920.20.5421.1
2.9
23.419.50.5451.23.0
1955BOS28
152
21.218.90.5280.3
2.0
21.318.60.5340.62.3
1956BOS29
151
22.418.50.5471.2
2.9
21.418.30.5380.82.4
1957BOS30
145
22.218.50.5461.3
3.0
20.017.80.5290.52.1
1958BOS31
154
25.219.00.5702.2
3.9
23.518.40.5601.73.3
1959BOS32
148
22.218.50.5450.9
2.5
21.117.20.5511.12.6
1961BOS34
137
16.317.00.490-1.3
0.3
16.617.10.493-1.20.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,438
201.3174.60.5366.6
22.2
195.8171.00.5345.821.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
1
0.00.00.000 -0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,439
201.3174.60.536
22.2
195.8171.00.534 21.0


Top Pitcher in 1958: Warren Spahn
In 1958, a single Cy Young award was given for both leagues. The winner of the 1958 Cy Young Award was Yankees starter Bob Turley. The 1958 Cy Young vote was extremely close. Back then, voters only voted for one person. Turley was named on only one-third of the ballots (5/15), and won a close four-way vote, beating out Braves starters Warren Spahn (4 votes) and Lew Burdette (3 votes) as well as Pirates starter Bob Friend (3 votes).

Based on Player won-lost records, the best pitcher in the major leagues in 1958 was the Cy Young runner-up (who had won the Cy Young the previous season): Warren Spahn. Spahn's 1958 season, while the best season by a pitcher that season, was arguably no better than the 10th best season of Spahn's career.

The next two tables show the top 10 players and top 5 pitchers in career pWins over replacement level, among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Barry Bonds462.0316.859.389.7
Willie Mays461.0333.650.783.5
Hank Aaron496.1373.143.479.9
Roger Clemens318.9228.451.379.9
Mickey Mantle354.5232.550.474.7
Greg Maddux330.9273.145.274.1
Joe L. Morgan364.6281.846.973.1
Warren Spahn360.1299.743.872.5
Alex Rodriguez374.0296.842.969.7
Stan Musial395.1294.336.665.1


pWins over Replacement Level
Top 5 Pitchers
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Roger Clemens318.9228.451.379.9
Greg Maddux330.9273.145.274.1
Warren Spahn360.1299.743.872.5
Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson281.7222.238.264.1
Tom Seaver313.4260.538.563.0


Warren Spahn's career record is shown next. As I said above, his 1958 season, while the best in baseball for a pitcher that year, was just another typical Warren Spahn season - of course, there was nothing "typical" about Warren Spahn or the seasons he put together through the 1950s.

Warren Spahn
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1942BSN21
1
0.00.10.287-0.0
-0.0
0.10.20.311-0.1-0.0
1946BSN25
24
8.16.50.5541.0
1.8
7.46.50.5330.71.4
1947BSN26
41
21.314.20.6004.2
5.6
19.014.40.5692.94.3
1948BSN27
37
17.513.90.5572.4
3.7
17.015.10.5301.52.9
1949BSN28
40
21.517.80.5472.5
4.0
19.918.10.5221.52.9
1950BSN29
41
19.819.80.5000.7
2.6
20.317.00.5442.34.1
1951BSN30
42
22.316.20.5803.7
5.4
20.216.60.5492.44.0
1952BSN31
52
18.117.40.5090.9
2.5
19.716.60.5422.23.8
1953MLN32
38
20.312.70.6154.5
6.0
18.712.80.5953.75.1
1954MLN33
41
20.315.50.5663.1
4.8
18.915.10.5552.64.2
1955MLN34
40
17.814.80.5452.0
3.3
16.113.80.5401.72.9
1956MLN35
39
19.015.00.5592.7
4.2
19.014.60.5672.94.4
1957MLN36
39
18.414.60.5572.6
4.0
17.414.50.5452.13.4
1958MLN37
41
19.015.90.5452.5
3.9
20.015.70.5603.14.5
1959MLN38
40
19.216.10.5452.3
3.8
19.415.50.5562.74.2
1960MLN39
40
19.215.40.5552.7
4.2
17.515.30.5331.93.2
1961MLN40
39
19.715.30.5643.1
4.5
18.014.10.5612.74.1
1962MLN41
36
17.616.20.5201.5
3.0
17.814.30.5542.53.9
1963MLN42
33
20.013.80.5924.0
5.5
17.415.40.5301.83.3
1964MLN43
39
9.313.30.411-1.6
-0.4
10.513.90.430-1.30.0
44
37
11.615.10.434-1.2
0.1
11.515.60.424-1.5-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
780
360.1299.70.54643.8
72.5
345.8295.10.54038.566.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
8
3.23.00.515 0.54.03.30.548 0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
788
363.2302.70.546
73.0
349.8298.40.540 67.3


1958 Postseason

The 1958 World Series was a rematch of the 1957 World Series, pitting the New York Yankees against the Milwaukee Braves. As in 1957, the World Series went 7 games, but with a different final outcome with the Yankees defeating 1957 World Series hero Lew Burdette 6-2 to win the World Series.

The best player in the 1958 World Series, as measured by Player won-lost records, was Braves pitcher Warren Spahn. Spahn was the first player for the losing team to lead in postseason pWORL since 1952. Interestingly, the same player who won the Cy Young award that Player won-lost records thinks Warren Spahn should have won also won the World Series MVP award that, again, Player won-lost records would have been inclined to give to Spahn: Bob Turley.

1958 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Warren SpahnMLN2.01.50.5
Gil McDougaldNYA1.30.60.5
Elston HowardNYA1.40.80.4
Don LarsenNYA1.00.40.4
Bill BrutonMLN1.00.50.3
Bill SkowronNYA1.20.70.3


Best of 1958 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 1958 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mickey Mantle16.910.03.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Mickey Mantle led the major leagues in batting wins over non-pitcher average 5 times in his 18-year major-league career.

Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mickey Mantle1.90.80.5
Luis Aparicio1.90.90.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Mickey Mantle is one of two players (since 1944) to lead the major leagues in both batting wins and baserunning wins over non-pitcher average in the same season. The players who have done so are shown in the next table.

Major-League Leaders in Batting & Baserunning in the same season
Batting Baserunning
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mickey Mantle
1958
16.910.0
3.2
1.90.80.5
Hank Aaron
1963
18.912.0
3.2
2.31.20.5
Carl Yastrzemski
1968
16.810.2
3.1
2.21.10.5


We now continue with 1958 leaders.



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Whitey Ford12.28.63.6
Lew Burdette14.711.43.2


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Dick Drott1.10.20.9


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Del Crandall1.30.80.4
Earl Battey0.80.40.4


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Vic Power1.41.10.3
Bob Boyd1.31.00.3


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Nellie Fox5.04.30.7


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ken Boyer4.84.10.8


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Luis Aparicio5.95.20.7


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jim Gilliam3.32.60.7


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Curt Flood5.34.01.3


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Roberto Clemente6.65.01.7


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1958 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
Sherm Lollar12.410.31.1


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Stan Musial14.211.30.9


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pete Runnels14.612.31.5
Charlie Neal15.613.31.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eddie Mathews18.916.01.3
Ken Boyer19.316.41.3


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ernie Banks23.517.13.9


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bob Cerv21.316.61.3


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mickey Mantle23.715.83.2


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rocky Colavito20.614.62.3


At a time when the list of major-league corner outfielders included Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Frank Robinson, Al Kaline, and Roberto Clemente, I find it a little surprising that the top left- and right-fielders in MLB in 1958 were apparently Bob Cerv and Rocky Colavito.

Cerv's 1958 season was fairly fluky within the context of his overall career. But Rocky Colavito was legitimately one of the best players in baseball for 8 or 9 seasons and, I believe, has a credible Hall-of-Fame case. I recently wrote a separate article about him.

Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Lew Burdette14.611.31.9
Whitey Ford12.49.21.8


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dick Hyde5.84.00.7


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 1958 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1958, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Dick Hyde7.43.90.6541.62.4
Roy Face5.83.50.6221.01.6
Ryne Duren6.24.50.5810.81.5
Tom Acker6.65.00.5670.81.5
Al Worthington10.09.50.5130.41.4


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
Warren Spahn2.52.20.8


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gus Zernial1.20.60.3
Bob L. Bowman1.10.60.3
Earl Torgeson0.90.50.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jim Rivera0.40.20.1
Sammy Esposito0.20.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1958

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1958 seasons.

Notable Debuts
The 1958 season saw the major-league debut of one player who went on to be elected to the Hall of Fame: San Francisco Giants first baseman Orlando Cepeda.

Cepeda was the first of two consecutive Giants' first basemen to win the National League Rookie-of-the-Year award. Cepeda's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Orlando Cepeda
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1958SFN20
148
15.714.20.5240.1
1.2
16.515.00.5240.11.3
1959SFN21
151
19.016.70.5310.5
1.9
18.515.50.5440.92.2
1960SFN22
151
19.017.90.515-0.4
1.0
18.115.40.5400.51.8
1961SFN23
152
20.615.90.5651.4
3.0
20.915.90.5671.53.2
1962SFN24
162
18.714.60.5611.1
2.4
18.315.50.5420.41.7
1963SFN25
156
19.914.70.5761.9
3.3
19.514.20.5782.03.3
1964SFN26
142
18.113.10.5801.8
3.0
17.513.00.5731.52.8
1965SFN27
33
0.80.90.459-0.0
0.1
0.71.00.399-0.2-0.0
28
142
15.513.20.5400.4
1.5
14.812.40.5440.41.5
1967SLN29
151
22.614.30.6133.0
4.6
19.614.10.5821.73.2
1968SLN30
157
17.614.80.5440.4
1.8
16.115.10.517-0.40.9
1969ATL31
154
18.615.70.5430.3
1.8
16.315.70.509-0.80.6
1970ATL32
148
16.015.30.511-0.7
0.7
17.513.80.5590.82.2
1971ATL33
71
7.96.70.5400.1
0.7
7.46.70.527-0.10.5
34
31
2.22.30.481-0.2
-0.0
2.42.10.5380.00.2
1973BOS35
142
14.513.40.5190.5
2.3
13.113.20.498-0.11.6
1974KCA36
33
2.52.70.483-0.1
0.2
2.12.80.426-0.4-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,124
249.2206.50.5479.9
29.5
239.2201.30.5437.926.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
22
1.82.70.395 -0.42.02.30.473 -0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,146
251.0209.20.547
29.1
241.2203.60.543 26.8


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1958 was the final season for two players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall osf Fame: longtime Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Bob Lemon and longtime Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese.

One nice thing, from my perspective, is that Lemon and Reese played their entire careers with the two teams for which I have the most complete set of play-by-play data at least since 1947. As a result, I have almost complete career Player won-lost records for the two of them.

Like most players of their generation, Lemon and Reese both missed three full seasons due to military service during World War II. Even with this gap in their records, however, both players have solid Hall-of-Fame caliber career records as measured by Player won-lost records. Pee Wee Reese, in particular, rates as one of the top twenty players in career pWins over either positional average or replacement level among all players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

The career records of Bob Lemon and Pee Wee Reese, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented in the final table below.

Bob Lemon Pee Wee Reese
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1940
 
8411.79.80.5431.22.1
194140.00.10.052-0.0
-0.0
15219.417.50.5261.23.1
1942
 
15121.417.20.5552.34.0
1943
 
1944
 
1945
 
1946545.16.30.444-0.5
0.1
15222.315.80.5853.55.0
19474710.88.20.5661.6
2.4
14219.014.00.5762.53.8
19485220.416.10.5592.9
4.5
15120.316.70.5482.03.5
19494622.115.10.5944.2
5.7
15523.016.30.5853.65.2
19507223.619.60.5472.9
4.9
14118.914.20.5722.74.0
19515619.116.50.5371.9
3.5
15422.517.40.5643.04.6
19525421.016.40.5623.1
4.7
14918.614.30.5652.33.6
19535020.718.70.5261.8
3.6
14019.112.90.5983.54.9
19544018.213.10.5823.3
4.7
14120.815.40.5743.14.7
19554915.213.10.5371.5
2.7
14517.715.40.5351.63.0
19564319.616.30.5452.3
4.0
14718.916.40.5351.73.2
1957257.49.50.440-0.8
-0.0
1039.510.60.474-0.50.4
1958151.01.30.443-0.1
0.0
595.04.80.5080.20.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS607204.2170.30.54524.0
40.7
2,166288.2228.70.55833.855.6




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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