Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1966 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 1966 season, which saw a World Series winner appear for the first time in the city of my birth, the same year that my older sister first appeared in the same city.

The Best of 1966

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
1Juan Marichal23.114.45.2
6.8
1Juan Marichal23.114.45.2
6.8
2Sandy Koufax23.416.54.1
5.9
2Sandy Koufax23.416.54.1
5.9
3Willie Mays25.816.44.0
5.6
3Willie Mays25.816.44.0
5.6
4Jim Kaat21.316.63.2
4.8
4Jim Kaat21.316.63.2
4.8
5Gaylord Perry18.113.13.1
4.5
5Dick Allen22.815.83.0
4.5
6Willie McCovey19.912.13.0
4.3
6Gaylord Perry18.113.13.1
4.5
7Dick Allen22.815.83.0
4.5
7Bob Gibson20.015.52.9
4.5
8Bob Gibson20.015.52.9
4.5
8Frank Robinson25.017.72.6
4.3
9Willie Stargell20.713.92.8
4.2
9Willie McCovey19.912.13.0
4.3
10Dick McAuliffe17.712.72.8
4.0
10Roberto Clemente26.219.22.5
4.3


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
1Juan Marichal20.215.13.3
4.8
1Juan Marichal20.215.13.3
4.8
2Sandy Koufax20.215.53.0
4.6
2Frank Robinson25.717.63.0
4.7
3Frank Robinson25.717.63.0
4.7
3Sandy Koufax20.215.53.0
4.6
4Harmon Killebrew22.015.12.8
4.3
4Harmon Killebrew22.015.12.8
4.3
5Ron Santo23.517.32.6
4.2
5Ron Santo23.517.32.6
4.2
6Dick McAuliffe17.713.22.6
3.8
6Jim Bunning20.016.42.4
4.1
7Jim Bunning20.016.42.4
4.1
7Dick Allen21.415.52.4
3.9
8Dick Allen21.415.52.4
3.9
8Hank Aaron25.118.92.1
3.8
9Willie McCovey18.112.02.3
3.5
9Dick McAuliffe17.713.22.6
3.8
10Al Kaline21.015.12.2
3.7
10Al Kaline21.015.12.2
3.7


The top two players on three of the four tables above reprised their roles from 1965. I wrote a bit more about them and compared their peaks in my article on the 1965 season.

American League MVP

The Baltimore Orioles acquired Frank Robinson from the Cincinnati Reds on December 9, 1965, for Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun, and Dick Simpson. All Robinson did was win a Triple Crown and lead the Orioles franchise to its first World Series win ever.

Needless to say, Frank Robinson was a unanimous choice as American League MVP.

Robinson also led the major leagues in (context-neutral) eWins over replacement level. Measured by eWins over either positional average or replacement level, 1966 was the finest season of Robinson's career. Interestingly, though, putting Robinson's career in context, his 1966 season was only his fifth-best season in pWins over either average or replacement level.

The next table shows Frank Robinson's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Frank Robinson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1956CIN20
152
23.118.00.5621.6
3.3
22.618.20.5531.22.9
1957CIN21
150
20.418.20.5280.0
1.7
22.618.20.5531.12.8
1958CIN22
148
20.518.90.520-0.1
1.4
20.116.80.5450.82.2
1959CIN23
146
18.015.20.5410.7
2.1
19.314.10.5782.03.3
1960CIN24
139
18.314.40.5601.1
2.4
19.914.00.5872.13.4
1961CIN25
153
24.617.30.5872.6
4.5
22.916.60.5802.24.0
1962CIN26
162
26.718.20.5953.0
4.7
25.418.30.5812.34.0
1963CIN27
140
21.616.80.5621.5
3.0
20.116.00.5571.22.6
1964CIN28
156
26.417.90.5963.2
5.0
24.117.70.5772.23.9
1965CIN29
156
23.518.20.5641.7
3.4
23.818.10.5681.93.6
1966BAL30
155
25.017.70.5862.6
4.3
25.717.60.5933.04.7
1967BAL31
129
20.415.70.5651.5
3.1
20.214.50.5822.03.5
1968BAL32
130
16.915.00.5300.2
1.6
16.614.00.5430.61.9
1969BAL33
148
25.015.80.6133.4
5.2
22.016.00.5781.93.5
1970BAL34
131
18.214.00.5651.5
2.9
17.913.80.5661.52.9
1971BAL35
133
19.616.00.5521.0
2.5
17.214.60.5410.61.9
1972LAN36
103
14.412.60.5330.4
1.6
13.411.40.5420.61.7
1973CAL37
147
15.912.00.5691.8
3.5
15.211.60.5691.83.4
38
144
13.010.90.5430.9
2.3
12.89.90.5641.32.7
1975CLE39
49
4.12.60.6140.7
1.2
3.52.40.5900.50.9
1976CLE40
36
2.52.10.5400.2
0.4
1.81.60.5360.10.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,807
398.1307.50.56429.8
60.1
387.2295.40.56730.860.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
35
5.13.40.601 1.04.93.90.555 0.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,842
403.2310.80.564
61.1
392.1299.40.567 60.7


National League MVP

The National League MVP in 1966 was Roberto Clemente. Based on the above tables, Marichal and Koufax would have certainly placed 1-2 on my hypothetical 1966 NL MVP ballot. Nevertheless, Clemente had a fine season and was a worthy MVP contender.

Even among non-pitchers, however, Clemente, while excellent in 1966 (and in his career), was clearly a notch below the great Willie Mays. The next table compares the 1966 seasons of Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, in and out of context. The table below that then decomposes their (context-neutral) value by factor to show how Mays ends up ahead of Clemente.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Willie Mays
152
25.816.40.6124.0
5.6
22.317.10.5661.93.4
Roberto Clemente
154
26.219.20.5782.5
4.3
25.020.40.5511.33.0


Decomposition of eWORL
Wins over Average
Batting Baserunning Fielding Position Replacement eWORL
Willie Mays2.3-0.3
0.1
-0.4
1.7
3.4
Roberto Clemente1.8-0.2
0.3
-0.7
1.9
3.0


1966 Postseason

The 1966 World Series turned out to be a passing of the torch for two dynasties. The Orioles made the first of what would end up being 4 World Series appearances in 6 seasons (and 7 playoff appearances in 14 seasons) while the Dodgers made their final World Series appearance in a run that had seen them win 11 National League pennants in 20 seasons (and 3 in 4 years).

Games 3 and 4 of the 1966 World Series both ended with final scores of 1-0 with the only run scoring on a solo home run. The top four player performances of the 1966 World Series, as measured by pWins over replacement level, were the two pitchers who won those games and the two batters who hit those home runs.

1966 World Series: Top Player Performances
pWins pLosses pWORL
Wally BunkerBAL1.20.30.5
Frank RobinsonBAL1.10.20.5
Dave McNallyBAL1.30.90.3
Paul BlairBAL0.70.20.3


Best of 1966 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 1966 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Frank Robinson19.310.93.9

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bert Campaneris3.01.50.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Sandy Koufax17.312.35.0


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Sonny Siebert0.70.30.5


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Buck Rodgers2.11.40.8


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Don Mincher1.91.40.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bobby Knoop6.45.41.0


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Eddie Mathews4.33.80.6


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Maury Wills5.75.00.7
Gene Alley5.85.10.7


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Carl Yastrzemski8.36.81.5


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Curt Flood6.15.40.8


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tony Oliva6.24.41.8


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1966 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
Joe Torre14.310.42.1


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie McCovey17.612.02.0


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Pete Rose Sr.19.316.91.8


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ron Santo22.717.02.3


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dick McAuliffe14.411.71.7


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Carl Yastrzemski24.319.81.6


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie Mays21.416.81.6


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Frank Robinson22.315.32.5


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Sandy Koufax17.612.52.6


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Phil Regan6.74.21.2


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 1966 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1966, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Billy McCool8.35.30.6111.52.4
Stu Miller7.54.40.6301.62.4
Jack Aker8.76.00.5931.42.4
Phil Regan7.54.80.6121.42.2
Ron Kline6.63.70.6381.42.1


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
Earl Wilson2.61.91.0


Earl Wilson was one of the finest hitting pitchers since World War II and 1966 was his finest season. Overall, Wilson ranks second in career pitcher offense wins over positional average, and his 1966 season ranks third in single-season pitcher offense wins over positional average for all player-seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Gates Brown1.40.90.3
Chuck Hiller1.40.90.3
Roger Maris0.80.30.3
Bob Allison0.60.10.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Felix Millan0.20.00.1
Bert Campaneris0.30.10.1
Shaun Fitzmaurice0.10.00.1
Jim Kaat0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1966

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1966 seasons.

Notable Debuts
Two players debuted in 1966 who would go on to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan. Their career statistics are compared in the next table.

Don Sutton Nolan Ryan
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
19663814.412.00.5461.6
2.8
20.10.50.198-0.2-0.1
19674313.414.70.476-0.1
1.1
19683612.212.20.4990.5
1.5
217.810.10.436-0.8-0.1
19694118.418.80.4940.6
2.3
255.25.00.5110.20.8
19704016.017.60.476-0.1
1.3
278.711.30.437-0.9-0.1
19713917.813.20.5733.1
4.4
3011.615.00.436-1.20.0
19723318.113.80.5672.9
4.2
3921.620.30.5161.53.4
19733320.214.50.5823.7
5.1
4123.015.90.5913.85.6
19744017.915.40.5372.0
3.3
4222.218.90.5402.03.8
19753516.214.70.5241.4
2.7
2813.112.40.5120.41.7
19763517.814.90.5442.0
3.4
3920.518.20.5301.33.1
19773314.913.50.5251.4
2.6
3720.316.90.5462.03.9
19783413.714.30.4890.1
1.4
3115.613.40.5371.22.5
19793312.414.10.469-0.2
0.9
3416.213.70.5421.52.8
19803213.310.80.5521.7
2.7
3515.114.10.5181.12.2
1981239.78.10.5451.3
2.1
2110.97.80.5842.12.9
19823415.414.10.5221.3
2.5
3516.616.20.5071.02.4
19833111.311.60.4930.0
1.1
2913.211.80.5271.32.3
19843311.611.60.5010.2
1.2
3011.913.00.4780.11.1
19853412.911.00.5391.1
2.4
3514.013.80.5030.72.1
19863411.911.20.5160.6
1.7
3012.412.00.5080.81.9
19873510.411.50.475-0.3
0.8
3413.514.10.4900.51.8
1988165.06.30.446-0.4
0.1
3314.115.30.479-0.01.3
1989
 
3216.111.50.5832.53.9
1990
 
3012.210.10.5471.32.4
1991
 
2710.77.90.5741.52.4
1992
 
279.49.30.5030.21.2
1993
 
133.84.70.447-0.4-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS785324.8299.90.52024.3
51.5
807359.9333.10.51923.554.9


I recently added Most Similar players to player pages. Nolan Ryan is Don Sutton's 2nd-most similar player while Don Sutton is Nolan Ryan's most similar player.

Looking at more conventional stats, the similarity tends to be overwhelmed by Ryan's 5,714 strikeouts and 7 no-hitters (vs. 3,574 and 0 for Sutton). But beyond that, they started 773 vs. 756 games, pitched 5,386 vs. 5,282 innings, and each picked up 324 pitcher wins.

Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1966 was the final season for two Hall-of-Fame pitchers: Robin Roberts and Sandy Koufax. Both Roberts and Koufax are (quite deservedly) in the Hall of Fame on the strength of outstanding peaks. Yet, despite their careers ending the same season, their peaks were essentially a decade apart.

Career records for Roberts and Koufax are shown in the table below.

Robin Roberts Sandy Koufax
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
19482110.110.00.5030.4
1.3
19494314.513.80.5110.7
1.8
19504020.214.60.5803.4
5.0
19514421.317.10.5542.7
4.4
19523921.313.80.6074.5
6.0
19534425.118.30.5784.3
6.2
19544520.917.80.5402.3
4.2
19555122.018.00.5502.8
4.3
122.62.60.5060.10.3
19564319.319.30.5000.7
2.5
163.54.40.443-0.40.0
19573914.220.50.410-2.4
-1.0
345.35.80.480-0.10.4
19583618.315.20.5462.3
3.7
4010.412.20.460-0.60.4
19593517.917.80.5020.7
2.3
359.99.60.5080.41.3
19603514.315.10.4870.2
1.5
3710.712.80.456-0.60.4
1961265.08.20.377-1.4
-0.8
4218.016.00.5291.63.1
19622710.59.00.5381.2
2.1
2811.89.40.5561.72.6
19633514.816.00.4790.1
1.5
4022.913.50.6295.57.2
19643113.711.50.5451.7
3.0
2915.811.40.5822.84.2
19653011.311.00.5070.7
1.7
4325.514.90.6316.38.2
1966247.07.50.482-0.1
0.6
4123.416.50.5864.15.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS688301.6274.50.52424.7
50.1
397159.8129.00.55320.934.1


Sandy Koufax is, of course, famous for having one of the greatest peaks ever by a pitcher. From 1963 - 1966, Sandy Koufax won 3 Cy Young Awards had 97 pitcher wins, 1,228 strikeouts, and an ERA of 1.86. But this was pitching in the best pitchers' park in the National League, in the lowest-scoring run environment since the Deadball Era. Still, from 1961 - 1966, Sandy Koufax amassed a very impressive 22.1 pWOPA and 31.2 pWORL.

Eleven years earlier, from 1950 - 1955, Robin Roberts won no Cy Young Awards, because there were no Cy Young Awards to win (Don Newcombe won the first one in 1956). He did, however, rack up 138 pitcher wins (leading the league four times). But he only struck out 964 batters and had an ERA of 2.93, because he pitched in a hitters' era.

Koufax's 1963 and 1965 seasons are better than anything Robin Roberts ever did. Even so, from 1950 - 1955, Roberts amassed 19.9 pWOPA and 30.1 pWORL, not far below Koufax.



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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