Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1971 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 1971 season.

The Best of 1971

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
1Fergie Jenkins24.317.74.5
6.3
1Fergie Jenkins24.317.74.5
6.3
2Tom Seaver19.913.44.1
5.6
2Vida Blue21.615.34.0
5.6
3Vida Blue21.615.34.0
5.6
3Joe Torre26.017.03.9
5.6
4Joe Torre26.017.03.9
5.6
4Tom Seaver19.913.44.1
5.6
5Catfish Hunter20.815.53.7
5.2
5Catfish Hunter20.815.53.7
5.2
6Sonny Siebert18.813.53.6
5.0
6Willie Stargell23.014.33.6
5.1
7Willie Stargell23.014.33.6
5.1
7Jim Palmer20.114.83.5
5.1
8Jim Palmer20.114.83.5
5.1
8Wilbur Wood22.417.73.2
5.0
9Wilbur Wood22.417.73.2
5.0
9Sonny Siebert18.813.53.6
5.0
10Andy Messersmith20.716.23.1
4.8
10Andy Messersmith20.716.23.1
4.8


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
1Tom Seaver19.513.63.8
5.2
1Tom Seaver19.513.63.8
5.2
2Willie Stargell23.214.73.5
5.0
2Fergie Jenkins22.718.13.4
5.1
3Vida Blue20.515.43.4
5.0
3Willie Stargell23.214.73.5
5.0
4Fergie Jenkins22.718.13.4
5.1
4Vida Blue20.515.43.4
5.0
5Hank Aaron21.113.23.1
4.5
5Joe Torre23.917.02.9
4.5
6Joe Torre23.917.02.9
4.5
6Hank Aaron21.113.23.1
4.5
7Don Sutton17.713.62.9
4.2
7Mickey Lolich25.022.82.2
4.3
8Wilbur Wood20.817.52.4
4.1
8Don Sutton17.713.62.9
4.2
9Mel Stottlemyre Sr.17.714.42.4
3.8
9Wilbur Wood20.817.52.4
4.1
10Clyde Wright17.614.52.4
3.8
10Reggie Jackson23.017.02.3
3.9


Based on Player won-lost records, particularly pWins over either positional average or replacement level, the BBWAA did a very good job in choosing major award winners. The top two players in both pWOPA and pWORL won the National League MVP and Cy Young awards, while the top American League player on all four of the above tables won both the MVP and Cy Young awards in the American League.

I take a somewhat closer look at these three players, plus one more, next.

Fergie Jenkins
The best player in the major leagues in 1971, as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level, was Chicago Cubs' starting pitcher, Fergie Jenkins. Award voters recognized Jenkins as the best pitcher in the National League, although they did not also award him the MVP award (he finished 7th).

The 1971 season was Jenkins's best season, but he had a season almost as good three years later. Jenkins's 1971 and 1974 seasons both rank among the top five seasons of the 1970s by a pitcher, as measured by pWins over replacement level. The top 10 such seasons are shown in the next table.

Top 10 Pitcher Seasons of the 1970s
ranked by pWORL
Player Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Steve Carlton197225.715.26.2
8.0
2Bob Gibson197022.113.95.1
6.5
3Fergie Jenkins197124.317.74.5
6.3
4Fergie Jenkins197423.014.64.6
6.2
5Gaylord Perry197225.219.04.1
6.1
6Ron Guidry197818.99.84.6
6.0
7Jim Palmer197520.612.44.2
5.8
8Vida Blue197121.615.34.0
5.6
9Nolan Ryan197323.015.93.8
5.6
10Tom Seaver197119.913.44.1
5.6


Fergie Jenkins's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Fergie Jenkins
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1965PHI22
7
0.70.80.464-0.1
0.0
0.60.60.512-0.00.1
23
61
9.79.90.4930.1
1.2
10.210.20.4990.21.4
1967CHN24
39
20.517.60.5372.2
3.8
18.317.50.5111.22.7
1968CHN25
40
21.718.30.5432.6
4.2
20.119.00.5141.53.0
1969CHN26
43
22.417.60.5603.3
5.2
20.718.20.5322.13.9
1970CHN27
40
22.217.20.5643.4
5.0
20.817.20.5472.64.2
1971CHN28
39
24.317.70.5804.5
6.3
22.718.10.5553.45.1
1972CHN29
36
18.916.50.5342.1
3.6
18.718.80.5000.92.5
1973CHN30
38
16.218.60.466-0.5
0.9
16.918.60.476-0.21.3
1974TEX31
41
23.014.60.6134.6
6.2
20.214.50.5823.14.7
1975TEX32
37
16.915.20.5261.0
2.5
15.715.60.5020.21.7
1976BOS33
30
11.311.50.4960.0
1.0
12.111.90.5030.21.3
1977BOS34
28
10.410.20.5030.2
1.3
11.311.40.4980.11.3
1978TEX35
34
15.010.60.5862.3
3.5
14.711.50.5601.62.9
1979TEX36
37
15.214.40.5120.6
1.9
15.515.40.5010.21.6
1980TEX37
29
12.812.10.5140.5
1.6
11.811.00.5170.51.5
1981TEX38
19
6.77.20.482-0.2
0.6
6.17.40.453-0.50.2
1982CHN39
34
13.914.70.4860.3
1.4
12.314.40.461-0.40.7
1983CHN40
33
9.111.00.453-0.5
0.4
10.210.90.4830.11.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
665
290.9255.80.53226.4
50.6
278.8262.30.51516.940.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.0 0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
665
290.9255.80.532
50.6
278.8262.30.515 40.9


Joe Torre
The best position player in the major leagues in 1971, as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level, was St. Louis Cardinals' third baseman, Joe Torre.

Joe Torre won the 1971 NL MVP award. While I would have probably voted for Fergie Jenkins over him, Torre certainly had an outstanding MVP-level season and was (at least arguably) the best position player in the NL.

I wrote an article about Joe Torre last fall when he appeared on the Veterans' Committee Hall-of-Fame ballot. Prior to that, I highlighted Torre as perhaps most representative of the players in the Hall of Merit but not in the Hall of Fame in my article about Player won-lost records and the Hall of Fame. While Torre technically no longer qualifies for this distinction, I think that the Hall's announcement that Torre will be wearing a Yankees' cap on his plaque makes it clear that he is being inducted as a manager and not as a player. In my opinion, Joe Torre had a deserving Hall-of-Fame case before he managed a single game.

Joe Torre's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Joe Torre
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1960MLN19
2
0.10.00.8590.0
0.0
0.00.00.5920.00.0
1961MLN20
113
9.910.00.4970.1
1.0
9.99.90.4990.11.0
1962MLN21
80
5.86.30.482-0.2
0.3
5.55.40.5070.10.6
1963MLN22
142
14.913.60.5240.5
1.6
15.112.90.5401.02.0
1964MLN23
154
18.314.80.5541.6
2.9
18.214.90.5491.42.8
1965MLN24
148
16.613.20.5561.8
3.0
16.213.00.5541.62.8
1966ATL25
148
18.114.00.5632.0
3.3
18.313.80.5692.23.5
1967ATL26
135
14.613.00.5281.1
2.3
14.411.70.5511.62.8
1968ATL27
115
13.511.50.5401.0
2.1
12.010.40.5360.81.7
1969SLN28
159
18.814.60.5621.0
2.5
17.114.30.5440.41.8
1970SLN29
161
18.317.20.5160.3
1.9
19.715.70.5561.73.3
1971SLN30
161
26.017.00.6053.9
5.6
23.917.00.5842.94.5
1972SLN31
149
18.116.30.5260.5
1.9
16.614.90.5260.51.8
1973SLN32
141
15.413.10.5410.5
1.7
15.513.50.5340.31.5
1974SLN33
147
15.412.90.5430.6
1.7
15.013.20.5330.31.4
1975NYN34
114
10.710.60.503-0.2
0.7
9.810.40.485-0.50.3
1976NYN35
114
8.27.90.510-0.2
0.4
8.47.50.5290.10.7
1977NYN36
26
1.12.00.347-0.5
-0.4
1.01.40.401-0.3-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,209
243.7208.00.54013.8
32.5
236.5200.10.54214.332.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.0 0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,209
243.7208.00.540
32.5
236.5200.10.542 32.4


Vida Blue
The 1971 American League MVP and Cy Young Award winner was a 21-year-old phenom in his first full season. Vida Blue started 39 games, completing 24 of them. He led the American League in shutouts (8) and ERA (1.82) while striking out 301 batters in 312 innings pitched, amassing a traditional won-lost record of 24-8. As shown above, Blue's 1971 season was one of the top 10 pitching seasons of the 1970s.

Vida Blue never had another season as good as his 1971 season, although that is probably at least a bit unfair: most pitchers don't even have one season as good as Vida Blue's 1971 season. In fact, Vida Blue had several other very good seasons and overall put together a very good career.

Vida Blue's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Vida Blue
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1969OAK19
12
1.82.90.379-0.5
-0.3
2.24.10.347-0.9-0.6
1970OAK20
6
3.01.10.7331.1
1.3
2.71.30.6740.81.0
1971OAK21
39
21.615.30.5854.0
5.6
20.515.40.5713.45.0
1972OAK22
27
9.810.00.4950.3
1.2
9.39.10.5060.51.3
1973OAK23
38
16.714.10.5421.5
2.9
15.214.80.5070.41.8
1974OAK24
40
15.515.30.5030.4
1.7
16.514.90.5251.02.4
1975OAK25
39
17.113.90.5511.7
3.2
16.514.30.5351.22.7
1976OAK26
37
18.112.60.5902.9
4.3
17.413.10.5712.33.7
1977OAK27
38
16.616.50.5010.3
1.9
16.715.40.5200.92.5
1978SFN28
35
16.413.20.5552.3
3.5
16.013.10.5492.03.3
1979SFN29
37
13.316.60.445-1.0
0.2
14.017.30.449-0.90.4
1980SFN30
31
15.012.10.5542.0
3.0
13.311.60.5341.32.3
1981SFN31
18
8.17.40.5220.7
1.5
7.87.40.5130.61.3
1982KCA32
31
12.211.40.5170.6
1.7
10.611.10.489-0.01.0
1983KCA33
19
3.25.10.384-0.9
-0.5
4.66.20.427-0.8-0.2
1985SFN35
33
6.89.00.430-0.8
-0.0
7.210.50.407-1.4-0.4
1986SFN36
28
9.811.00.471-0.2
0.8
9.311.10.454-0.50.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
508
204.9187.40.52214.3
32.0
199.8190.70.51210.027.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
17
4.44.70.486 0.44.24.20.503 0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
525
209.3192.10.522
32.4
204.1194.90.512 28.2
Willie Stargell
Willie Stargell shared an NL MVP award for leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to the best regular-season record in the National League in a season which culminated with the Pirates winning a 7-game World Series over the Baltimore Orioles. As the above tables suggest, this could have been a reasonable result: Willie Stargell did lead the National League in eWins over replacement level in 1971. Except that Willie Stargell didn't share the 1971 NL MVP; he shared the 1979 NL MVP award.

Willie Stargell's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented in the next table.

Willie Stargell
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1962PIT22
10
0.61.00.393-0.2
-0.2
0.91.00.469-0.1-0.0
1963PIT23
108
9.210.40.472-0.9
-0.1
9.19.30.494-0.50.3
1964PIT24
117
12.412.20.504-0.4
0.6
12.811.50.5280.11.1
1965PIT25
144
18.516.20.5340.4
1.8
18.215.50.5400.62.0
1966PIT26
140
20.713.90.5982.8
4.2
19.514.00.5822.23.5
1967PIT27
133
16.715.10.524-0.0
1.4
17.314.70.5410.51.9
1968PIT28
127
16.615.80.512-0.4
0.9
17.214.30.5460.72.0
1969PIT29
145
19.415.80.5501.1
2.6
19.615.10.5651.63.1
1970PIT30
136
18.116.00.5310.2
1.7
18.014.60.5520.92.3
1971PIT31
141
23.014.30.6173.6
5.1
23.214.70.6123.55.0
1972PIT32
138
20.412.90.6132.6
4.0
17.213.00.5701.02.3
1973PIT33
148
25.217.50.5902.9
4.7
22.916.10.5882.64.2
1974PIT34
140
21.615.80.5772.2
3.6
21.115.60.5762.13.5
1975PIT35
124
15.811.10.5861.5
2.5
14.510.60.5771.12.1
1976PIT36
117
11.510.20.5290.0
0.9
12.410.30.5460.41.3
1977PIT37
63
5.84.10.5870.6
1.0
5.94.40.5720.50.9
1978PIT38
120
13.99.80.5881.6
2.5
13.19.30.5861.42.3
1979PIT39
126
14.510.50.5801.4
2.4
13.49.90.5751.22.1
1980PIT40
67
6.45.30.5450.3
0.7
6.24.60.5730.51.0
1981PIT41
38
1.51.70.471-0.1
0.1
1.51.50.494-0.00.1
1982PIT42
74
2.32.60.474-0.1
0.2
2.22.20.5070.10.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,356
294.2232.20.55919.0
40.7
286.2222.00.56320.541.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
36
4.43.80.537 0.44.33.40.558 0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,392
298.5235.90.559
41.1
290.5225.40.563 42.0


1971 Postseason

In the American League, the 1971 season saw the Baltimore Orioles win their third straight pennant, sweeping the Oakland A's who won what would be the first of five consecutive AL West division titles. In the National League, the Pittsburgh Pirates won their second straight NL East title and defeated the San Francisco Giants for their first National League pennant since their epic 1960 World Series victory.

The resulting World Series was a scintillating seven-game series with 3 of the last 4 games being decided by one run. Alas, my beloved hometown Orioles (I was only 3 years old, but did, in fact, live in Baltimore in 1971) came up on the short end of the stick, losing Game 7 2-1.

The top postseason performers in 1971, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented next.



1971 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Roberto ClementePIT2.21.10.6
Jim PalmerBAL1.81.10.5
Manny SanguillenPIT1.30.80.4
Steve BlassPIT2.12.00.3
Brooks RobinsonBAL1.51.00.3
Nelson BrilesPIT0.60.10.3
Richie HebnerPIT1.20.70.3
Mike CuellarBAL1.71.60.3


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1971 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Steve BlassPIT1.70.70.6
Jim PalmerBAL1.10.60.4

1971 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Richie HebnerPIT1.10.40.4
Mike CuellarBAL0.80.30.3
Roberto ClementePIT0.90.30.3
Bob W. JohnsonPIT0.70.30.3
Brooks RobinsonBAL0.70.30.2
Boog PowellBAL0.60.20.2
Paul BlairBAL0.50.20.2
Willie McCoveySFN0.70.40.2
Curt MottonBAL0.30.00.2
Dave CashPIT0.60.40.2


Best of 1971 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 1971 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie Stargell16.59.03.5
Hank Aaron16.59.23.4

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bert Campaneris2.41.20.6
Amos Otis2.41.20.5
Bobby Bonds2.21.10.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Vida Blue17.312.74.6
Tom Seaver15.711.14.6
Wilbur Wood17.914.23.7


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ray Sadecki1.40.11.3


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Ellie Rodriguez1.61.00.6
Johnny Edwards1.40.80.6


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
George C. Scott2.62.00.6


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tommy Helms5.54.01.5


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Graig Nettles5.74.41.3


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bud Harrelson5.24.11.1
Bert Campaneris5.44.41.1


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Willie Horton5.24.40.9


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mickey Rivers4.12.12.0


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Roberto Clemente6.65.11.5


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1971 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
Dick Dietz13.211.21.1


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Hank Aaron10.96.31.7


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Joe L. Morgan21.018.31.6
Ron Hunt16.813.91.6


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Joe Torre23.817.22.7


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Leo Cardenas18.617.41.5
Bert Campaneris17.916.71.5


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie Stargell22.815.13.1


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bobby Murcer21.316.22.0


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Reggie Jackson22.816.92.2


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Vida Blue17.612.82.7
Tom Seaver16.111.32.6


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ken Sanders7.95.80.7


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 1971 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1971, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Ken Sanders10.96.90.6131.72.8
Cecil Upshaw7.74.90.6091.22.0
Tug McGraw6.63.90.6291.31.9
Jim Brewer6.74.30.6131.01.8
Lloyd Allen7.04.80.5921.01.7


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
Fergie Jenkins2.72.50.9


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
H. Tommy Davis1.00.50.3
Gates Brown1.10.60.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Blue Moon Odom0.20.00.1
Bobby Valentine0.10.00.1
Jimmy Stewart0.10.00.1
H. Pat Kelly0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1971

Finally, 1971 was the final season for two players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: Ernie Banks and Jim Bunning. Their careers, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the final table of the article.

Ernie Banks Jim Bunning
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1953101.01.10.475-0.0
0.1
195415418.619.50.488-0.0
1.6
195515421.718.20.5442.2
3.9
153.15.70.355-1.2-0.8
195613917.716.60.5161.1
2.5
153.52.30.5980.61.0
195715621.517.50.5522.2
3.9
4518.314.50.5582.64.0
195815424.417.60.5814.1
5.7
3615.015.00.5000.61.9
195915524.818.00.5793.7
5.5
4016.216.70.4930.41.8
196015622.019.90.5251.5
3.2
3815.013.70.5231.32.5
196113816.815.40.5221.0
2.4
3818.814.90.5582.64.0
196215417.416.90.508-0.7
0.7
4318.514.60.5582.74.2
196312912.612.00.512-0.2
0.7
4015.216.40.4820.11.6
196415616.916.90.501-0.7
0.6
4118.313.90.5692.94.6
196516318.316.90.521-0.2
1.2
3919.514.50.5733.34.9
196614112.213.10.482-1.2
-0.2
4320.717.10.5482.54.2
196715117.314.50.5430.4
1.8
4019.415.30.5602.84.3
196815016.815.10.527-0.1
1.2
278.512.20.410-1.5-0.6
196915518.013.90.5651.0
2.4
3412.712.80.4980.51.6
1970725.05.70.465-0.7
-0.2
3512.213.20.479-0.11.0
1971381.32.10.389-0.4
-0.3
317.49.40.441-0.80.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,525304.4270.80.52912.9
36.6
600242.5222.40.52219.540.1




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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