Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1969 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 1969 season.

The 1969 season saw the largest expansion in major-league history, as major-league baseball expanded from 20 to 24 teams. The 1969 season also saw the addition of a second playoff round, with the two leagues split into divisions for the first time. Finally, the 1969 season ended with a surprise World Series winner, the Miracle Mets, who won 27 games more than the previous year, winning 100 regular-season games only two years after losing over 100 for the 5th time in 6 years.

The Best of 1969

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
1Tom Seaver21.213.54.6
6.2
1Denny McLain23.215.84.6
6.4
2Denny McLain23.215.84.6
6.4
2Tom Seaver21.213.54.6
6.2
3Juan Marichal21.614.94.2
5.9
3Juan Marichal21.614.94.2
5.9
4Harmon Killebrew24.715.24.1
5.8
4Harmon Killebrew24.715.24.1
5.8
5Bob Gibson22.716.93.9
5.7
5Bob Gibson22.716.93.9
5.7
6Mike Cuellar20.714.53.9
5.5
6Mike Cuellar20.714.53.9
5.5
7Willie McCovey22.212.23.8
5.3
7Rico Petrocelli22.516.53.6
5.3
8Rico Petrocelli22.516.53.6
5.3
8Willie McCovey22.212.23.8
5.3
9Frank Robinson25.015.83.4
5.2
9Frank Robinson25.015.83.4
5.2
10Fergie Jenkins22.417.63.3
5.2
10Fergie Jenkins22.417.63.3
5.2


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
1Rico Petrocelli24.517.34.2
6.0
1Rico Petrocelli24.517.34.2
6.0
2Bob Gibson21.616.03.8
5.5
2Bob Gibson21.616.03.8
5.5
3Juan Marichal19.814.23.6
5.2
3Jimmy Wynn24.115.73.6
5.3
4Jimmy Wynn24.115.73.6
5.3
4Reggie Jackson26.217.13.4
5.2
5Reggie Jackson26.217.13.4
5.2
5Juan Marichal19.814.23.6
5.2
6Larry Dierker20.015.43.2
4.8
6Sal Bando23.816.93.2
5.0
7Sal Bando23.816.93.2
5.0
7Larry Dierker20.015.43.2
4.8
8Fritz Peterson17.613.03.0
4.4
8Claude Osteen20.917.12.9
4.6
9Claude Osteen20.917.12.9
4.6
9Hank Aaron24.316.32.9
4.6
10Harmon Killebrew22.715.72.9
4.5
10Harmon Killebrew22.715.72.9
4.5


Most Valuable Players
The two Most Valuable Players in 1969 were both slugging first basemen who went on to hit over 500 career home runs and are now in the >Baseball Hall of Fame. Measured by pWins over positional average, they were also the two best position players in major-league baseball in 1969.

Willie McCovey's and Harmon Killebrew's careers are compared in the next table, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Willie McCovey Harmon Killebrew
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1954
 
90.40.40.465-0.00.0
1955
 
381.62.20.426-0.3-0.1
1956
 
441.93.70.339-0.9-0.6
1957
 
91.01.20.454-0.10.0
1958
 
130.51.20.282-0.4-0.3
1959527.34.50.6211.2
1.7
15321.917.70.5541.53.1
19601019.26.80.5740.8
1.5
12414.311.10.5641.12.1
196110610.48.50.5520.3
1.2
15017.615.30.5350.21.7
1962899.36.50.5871.0
1.6
15523.917.90.5712.03.6
196315221.916.20.5752.0
3.5
14218.715.50.5470.82.2
196412913.411.60.5360.3
1.4
15822.819.80.5350.52.2
196516021.213.20.6173.0
4.4
11315.99.50.6262.63.7
196614919.912.10.6223.0
4.3
16221.915.70.5822.43.9
196713518.911.40.6242.8
4.2
16323.314.10.6233.45.1
196814821.714.50.5992.5
4.0
10010.28.00.5590.61.4
196914922.212.20.6453.8
5.3
16224.715.20.6194.15.8
197015221.613.30.6183.0
4.5
15722.716.10.5862.64.3
197110512.58.50.5961.4
2.2
14717.815.60.5320.21.6
1972816.57.40.467-1.0
-0.4
13916.512.50.5680.82.0
197313014.710.60.5821.4
2.5
696.36.60.487-0.40.2
197412811.59.50.5460.5
1.3
1229.69.00.5140.21.2
197512211.712.10.492-0.9
0.1
1068.27.10.5360.51.4
1976826.37.00.472-0.7
-0.1
197714113.812.70.522-0.1
1.0
197810811.49.90.5350.3
1.1
19791179.29.50.491-0.6
0.2
1980483.23.00.510-0.1
0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,584297.8221.00.57424.1
45.7
2,435301.5235.40.56221.444.1


Pitching Greats
The 1969 season was something of a transitional year in pitching: the end of the era of the great pitchers of the 1960s and the beginning of the era of the great pitchers of the 1970s. The 1969 season was the first great season (and first Cy Young Award) in the career of Tom Seaver and the last great season in the career of Juan Marichal.

Their careers are compared in the next table. Their 1969 seasons are shown in bold.

Tom Seaver Juan Marichal
Age Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
223617.314.40.5462.1
3.5
115.23.50.6001.11.5
233817.214.60.5402.0
3.3
3012.911.70.5241.02.1
243921.213.50.6114.6
6.2
3818.215.80.5342.03.5
254220.715.60.5693.3
4.8
4223.016.30.5844.36.0
263919.913.40.5994.1
5.6
3318.712.90.5933.75.3
273619.116.50.5362.1
3.7
3922.415.50.5914.46.1
283920.314.00.5924.0
5.4
3723.114.40.6175.26.8
293214.414.50.4980.5
1.7
2612.812.70.5030.61.7
303718.913.60.5833.4
4.8
3820.316.60.5512.84.3
313516.614.20.5391.8
3.1
3821.614.90.5924.25.9
323319.212.50.6064.2
5.6
3413.213.30.4980.51.6
333616.115.40.5110.9
2.2
3717.014.10.5472.33.6
343314.411.90.5471.9
2.9
259.912.70.438-1.00.0
352610.511.70.472-0.2
0.7
3413.613.20.5080.81.9
362310.87.50.5892.2
3.0
113.52.40.5880.50.8
37226.710.00.399-1.3
-0.6
20.20.90.211-0.3-0.3
383413.114.90.467-0.3
0.9
393413.311.30.5401.2
2.3
403514.610.90.5732.1
3.4
41289.310.10.480-0.2
0.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS677313.4260.50.54638.5
63.0
475235.7190.90.55332.351.0
AGES 24-31299151.1115.30.56724.0
35.2
291160.2119.10.57427.339.7


Rico Petrocelli
Controlling for context, the best player in major-league baseball in 1969, as measured by (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over either positional average or replacement level, was Boston Red Sox shorstop Rico Petrocelli.

The 1969 season was easily the best of Petrocelli's career, but he had a very strong peak from 1967 through 1972. Rico Petrocelli's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Rico Petrocelli
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1963BOS20
1
0.10.10.6820.0
0.0
0.10.10.5370.00.0
1965BOS22
103
8.711.10.440-0.9
-0.1
10.710.70.5000.31.1
1966BOS23
139
15.016.50.477-0.3
0.9
16.715.90.5110.82.1
1967BOS24
142
16.014.30.5291.5
2.9
17.115.40.5261.53.0
1968BOS25
123
12.712.40.5060.7
1.8
13.913.20.5141.02.1
1969BOS26
154
22.516.50.5763.6
5.3
24.517.30.5864.26.0
1970BOS27
157
20.717.20.5472.4
4.0
21.218.10.5402.23.9
1971BOS28
158
19.917.20.5360.9
2.4
20.517.10.5441.22.7
1972BOS29
147
18.815.20.5541.6
3.0
18.216.00.5330.92.3
1973BOS30
100
9.910.70.481-0.6
0.3
10.710.10.5150.11.0
1974BOS31
129
14.714.20.5080.2
1.3
13.613.40.5040.01.1
1975BOS32
115
11.911.90.5000.0
1.0
11.112.20.475-0.60.4
1976BOS33
85
6.47.60.458-0.6
-0.0
6.77.60.468-0.40.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,553
177.4164.70.5198.5
22.6
184.9167.10.52511.225.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
17
1.71.50.539 0.31.91.60.551 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,570
179.1166.20.519
22.9
186.8168.60.525 26.2


1969 Postseason

The 1969 postseason was historic for two reasons. First, the leagues were split into divisions so that, for the first time, both leagues played League Championship Series to determine who would make the World Series.

Second, the World Series was won by an expansion team for the first time ever, and not just any expansion team, but the expansion team that, to that point, had been by far the least successful, the New York Mets who shocked the 109-win Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.

The top players in the 1969 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown below.

1969 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Tommie AgeeNYN1.60.80.5
Al WeisNYN1.10.30.5
Mike CuellarBAL1.40.90.4
Gary GentryNYN1.00.50.3
Wayne GarrettNYN0.80.30.3
Jerry KoosmanNYN1.41.10.3
Cleon JonesNYN1.20.70.3
Ken BoswellNYN0.70.30.3
Bud HarrelsonNYN0.90.50.3


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1969 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Al WeisNYN1.10.30.5
Mike CuellarBAL1.20.70.4
Gary GentryNYN0.90.30.4

1969 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Cleon JonesNYN0.80.20.3
Tommie AgeeNYN0.80.20.3
Wayne GarrettNYN0.70.20.3
Dave McNallyBAL0.70.30.3
Ken BoswellNYN0.70.20.3
Paul BlairBAL0.70.20.2
Don BufordBAL0.60.30.2
Brooks RobinsonBAL0.60.30.2
Boog PowellBAL0.50.20.2
Curt MottonBAL0.30.00.2
Jim PalmerBAL0.50.30.1
Bud HarrelsonNYN0.40.20.1
Davey JohnsonBAL0.40.20.1
Nolan RyanNYN0.40.30.1
Art ShamskyNYN0.40.20.1
Ellie HendricksBAL0.30.10.1
Hank AaronATL0.70.60.1
Mark BelangerBAL0.40.30.1
Jerry GroteNYN0.30.20.1
Dick HallBAL0.10.00.1
Ron TaylorNYN0.20.00.1
Eddie WattBAL0.10.00.1
J.C. MartinNYN0.10.00.1
Frank RobinsonBAL0.30.20.1


Best of 1969 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 1969 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie McCovey17.09.13.7
Harmon Killebrew18.410.83.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bert Campaneris3.01.30.8

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Juan Marichal16.211.54.7
Larry Dierker16.512.14.4
Mike Cuellar15.411.14.3
Fritz Peterson14.510.24.2


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jim McAndrew0.80.10.7


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Jerry Grote1.70.90.9


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Boog Powell1.91.40.5
Orlando Cepeda2.52.10.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Felix Millan5.44.70.7


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Brooks Robinson4.63.80.9
Aurelio Rodriguez5.54.60.9


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Rico Petrocelli6.45.60.8


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tommie Reynolds4.12.81.3


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Cesar Tovar3.32.31.0
Curt Flood6.15.11.0


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Reggie Jackson6.65.31.3


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1969 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
Johnny Bench16.112.92.0


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie McCovey19.712.22.6


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Andrews16.914.11.6


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Sal Bando23.617.32.9


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rico Petrocelli24.317.54.0


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mack Jones17.413.61.4


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jimmy Wynn23.916.13.3


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Reggie Jackson24.816.53.0


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Juan Marichal16.711.92.6
Mike Cuellar15.911.32.5


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ron Perranoski6.75.00.6
Ken Tatum4.93.40.6


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 1969 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1969, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Tug McGraw9.75.70.6322.13.0
Ken Tatum7.64.00.6541.82.5
Cecil Upshaw9.46.30.6001.52.5
Ron Perranoski9.67.10.5751.12.2
Vicente Romo9.67.70.5561.12.0


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
Blue Moon Odom2.11.60.8


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie Smith (1963)1.40.80.4
Jose Pagan1.30.70.4


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tommy McCraw0.20.00.1
Vic Davalillo0.20.10.1
Billy Conigliaro0.20.00.1
Billy Grabarkewitz0.20.00.1
Sonny Ruberto0.10.00.1
Woody Woodward0.10.00.1


1969 Odds and Ends

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1969 seasons.

Taking Advantage of Expansion
As I noted in the introduction, 1969 saw the biggest expansion in major-league history as the number of teams increased from 20 to 24. Adding 100 new players to the major leagues will tend to lower the average quality of major-league players which can allow the best players to stand out more than usual.

This shows up most strongly in 1969 in the leaders by position. Five of the major-league position leaders shown earlier rank among the top 10 seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records in (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average: First Base, Shortstop, Center Field, Right Field, and Pitcher Offense.

The top 10 seasons for each of these are shown in the tables below.

Top 10 Single-Season Totals: eWOPA by Position
First Base
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA
Lou Gehrig192723.413.84.0
Jimmie Foxx193320.712.33.5
Harmon Killebrew196722.013.43.2
Jimmie Foxx193219.611.33.1
Mark McGwire199822.213.73.1
Todd Helton200121.913.43.0
Albert Pujols200421.613.73.0
Norm Cash196121.513.12.9
Johnny Mize194819.913.92.9
Todd Helton200022.013.82.8


Top 10 Single-Season Totals: eWOPA by Position
Shortstop
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA