Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1972 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 1972 season. The 1972 season began with the first strike in baseball history, which reduced teams' schedules by 6-9 games, and ended with perhaps the best postseason ever.

The Best of 1972

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
1Steve Carlton25.114.96.1
7.8
1Steve Carlton25.114.96.1
7.8
2Joe L. Morgan25.816.05.3
7.0
2Joe L. Morgan25.816.05.3
7.0
3Dick Allen23.212.14.1
5.6
3Gaylord Perry24.318.53.9
5.8
4Gaylord Perry24.318.53.9
5.8
4Dick Allen23.212.14.1
5.6
5Bob Gibson20.014.03.9
5.3
5Bob Gibson20.014.03.9
5.3
6Catfish Hunter19.513.73.7
5.2
6Cesar Cedeno24.115.73.6
5.2
7Cesar Cedeno24.115.73.6
5.2
7Catfish Hunter19.513.73.7
5.2
8Jim Palmer19.013.63.5
4.9
8Jim Palmer19.013.63.5
4.9
9Johnny Bench20.113.33.4
4.8
9Johnny Bench20.113.33.4
4.8
10Claude Osteen18.614.03.1
4.5
10Claude Osteen18.614.03.1
4.5


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
1Steve Carlton23.115.74.6
6.3
1Steve Carlton23.115.74.6
6.3
2Joe L. Morgan24.217.53.7
5.4
2Joe L. Morgan24.217.53.7
5.4
3Cesar Cedeno24.216.33.3
5.0
3Gaylord Perry22.017.33.3
5.0
4Bob Gibson19.214.23.3
4.8
4Cesar Cedeno24.216.33.3
5.0
5Gaylord Perry22.017.33.3
5.0
5Bob Gibson19.214.23.3
4.8
6Carlton Fisk16.910.93.1
4.2
6Bobby Murcer24.117.52.6
4.3
7Johnny Bench19.413.62.9
4.3
7Johnny Bench19.413.62.9
4.3
8Don Sutton17.212.72.9
4.2
8Billy Williams24.217.22.6
4.2
9Catfish Hunter18.815.02.7
4.2
9Carlton Fisk16.910.93.1
4.2
10Bobby Murcer24.117.52.6
4.3
10Don Sutton17.212.72.9
4.2


Steve Carlton
The greatest individual performance of 1972 was the pitching of Steve Carlton. Steve Carlton started 26.3% of the Philadelphia Phillies' games but earned the pitcher win in 45.8% of the Phillies wins that year. Steve Carlton went 27-10 and the Phillies went 29-12 in games started by Carlton. When Steve Carlton did not pitch, the Phillies went 30-85. Blown up to 162 games, that's a 42-120 pace.

Not surprisingly, Steve Carlton's Player won-lost record was exceptional. In fact, Carlton's 1972 season is one of the top five seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records, as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level. The top 10 single seasons in both pWOPA and pWORL are presented in the next table.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Babe Ruth192730.615.16.9
8.8
1Babe Ruth192730.615.16.9
8.8
2Lefty Grove193123.311.46.4
7.9
2Sandy Koufax196525.114.56.3
8.1
3Sandy Koufax196525.114.56.3
8.1
3Lefty Grove193123.311.46.4
7.9
4Dwight Gooden198521.311.06.1
7.6
4Steve Carlton197225.114.96.1
7.8
5Steve Carlton197225.114.96.1
7.8
5Dwight Gooden198521.311.06.1
7.6
6Lefty Grove193022.211.55.8
7.3
6Lefty Grove193022.211.55.8
7.3
7Sandy Koufax196322.613.25.5
7.1
7Ted Williams194628.415.65.5
7.3
8Ted Williams194628.415.65.5
7.3
8Barry Bonds200128.015.65.4
7.3
9Lou Gehrig192725.312.85.4
7.0
9Sandy Koufax196322.613.25.5
7.1
10Barry Bonds200128.015.65.4
7.3
10Joe DiMaggio193728.317.05.2
7.1


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

Steve Carlton
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1965SLN20
15
0.90.90.494-0.0
0.1
1.21.40.471-0.10.1
1966SLN21
9
3.33.10.5110.2
0.5
3.22.80.5290.30.5
1967SLN22
30
13.111.10.5421.5
2.5
11.711.70.5020.51.5
1968SLN23
34
14.413.90.5080.8
2.0
13.913.70.5030.71.8
1969SLN24
32
16.315.00.5211.4
2.9
15.613.30.5391.83.1
1970SLN25
34
16.217.60.479-0.0
1.4
16.216.50.4960.51.9
1971SLN26
37
18.616.00.5382.1
3.7
16.818.30.4790.11.6
1972PHI27
41
25.114.90.6286.1
7.8
23.115.70.5954.66.3
1973PHI28
40
18.721.40.466-0.5
1.2
18.019.00.4870.31.9
1974PHI29
39
18.116.00.5311.8
3.2
18.218.00.5030.92.3
1975PHI30
37
16.416.20.5030.8
2.2
15.716.20.4920.41.8
1976PHI31
35
17.112.50.5783.0
4.1
15.814.30.5241.42.6
1977PHI32
36
20.415.50.5683.3
5.0
18.315.00.5502.54.0
1978PHI33
34
15.615.20.5060.8
2.1
15.415.30.5010.72.0
1979PHI34
36
16.914.90.5321.9
3.1
16.215.10.5171.42.6
1980PHI35
38
19.913.20.6014.1
5.4
18.515.10.5512.43.8
1981PHI36
24
11.58.30.5802.2
3.0
11.710.00.5401.52.5
1982PHI37
38
21.615.40.5844.1
5.6
18.915.40.5502.64.0
1983PHI38
37
17.716.80.5131.3
2.8
18.316.80.5211.73.1
1984PHI39
34
13.012.00.5211.3
2.2
13.813.60.5040.91.9
1985PHI40
16
4.86.80.413-0.7
-0.2
5.16.10.453-0.30.3
41
32
10.313.80.427-1.2
-0.2
10.313.70.429-1.2-0.1
42
32
7.612.30.383-2.2
-1.1
8.511.00.436-1.1-0.1
1988MIN43
4
0.51.50.239-0.5
-0.4
0.41.40.225-0.5-0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
744
338.0304.30.52631.4
58.9
325.0309.60.51222.149.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
16
6.96.50.514 1.16.36.60.490 0.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
760
344.9310.80.526
60.0
331.3316.10.512 50.0


Joe Morgan
From 1965 through 1971, Houston Astros second baseman Joe Morgan was one of the best second basemen in baseball. He scored 100 runs twice, led the league in walks and triples once each, stole more than 40 bases three times, walked more than 100 times twice, and even hit double digits in home runs three times. He was named to the All-Star team twice.

In November, 1971, Morgan was traded to the Cincinnati Reds and went from being "one of the best second baseman in baseball" to being the best player in baseball for the next six years. And outside of the occasional fluke season in that time period (e.g., Steve Carlton), it wasn't particularly close.

The next table shows the top 10 players of the 1970s, as measured by pWins over positional average and replacement level.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Joe L. Morgan220.9158.134.6
49.6
1Joe L. Morgan220.9158.134.6
49.6
2Jim Palmer171.0122.327.9
41.4
2Jim Palmer171.0122.327.9
41.4
3Tom Seaver177.3138.626.5
39.9
3Tom Seaver177.3138.626.5
39.9
4Johnny Bench174.3132.920.8
32.9
4Reggie Jackson212.9162.720.2
35.4
5Reggie Jackson212.9162.720.2
35.4
5Steve Carlton183.1160.219.3
33.8
6Steve Carlton183.1160.219.3
33.8
6Johnny Bench174.3132.920.8
32.9
7Fergie Jenkins171.1143.318.4
32.6
7Fergie Jenkins171.1143.318.4
32.6
8Bobby Grich152.2122.718.4
29.2
8Gaylord Perry176.5150.917.7
32.4
9Gaylord Perry176.5150.917.7
32.4
9Don Sutton163.0143.616.3
29.4
10Mike Schmidt150.4111.716.9
27.0
10Bobby Grich152.2122.718.4
29.2


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

Joe L. Morgan
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1963HOU19
8
1.10.60.6710.3
0.4
1.00.90.5350.10.2
1964HOU20
10
1.11.50.419-0.2
-0.1
1.11.40.432-0.1-0.0
1965HOU21
157
21.120.40.5080.7
2.4
22.620.00.5311.73.4
1966HOU22
122
16.314.10.5361.6
2.8
16.314.50.5301.42.6
1967HOU23
133
17.015.80.5180.8
2.2
18.015.00.5441.63.1
1968HOU24
10
1.00.70.5920.2
0.2
0.80.80.5060.00.1
1969HOU25
147
19.117.50.5211.0
2.6
20.217.40.5371.63.2
1970HOU26
144
20.217.80.5312.0
3.6
20.018.80.5161.43.1
1971HOU27
160
22.118.60.5432.0
3.6
21.818.50.5421.93.5
1972CIN28
149
25.816.00.6175.3
7.0
24.217.50.5793.75.4
1973CIN29
157
26.917.10.6115.0
6.8
24.417.60.5813.55.3
1974CIN30
148
23.816.80.5863.9
5.4
22.516.60.5753.34.8
1975CIN31
146
24.415.40.6144.7
6.2
23.315.40.6024.05.6
1976CIN32
139
23.314.30.6204.8
6.2
23.215.00.6084.45.8
1977CIN33
153
22.314.70.6034.2
5.7
21.114.90.5863.54.9
1978CIN34
132
16.913.40.5572.0
3.2
15.514.20.5220.92.0
1979CIN35
126
15.214.00.5200.7
1.9
15.313.70.5270.92.1
1980HOU36
141
17.615.30.5351.4
2.7
16.214.90.5221.02.2
1981SFN37
90
11.99.30.5611.4
2.3
11.39.50.5431.01.8
1982SFN38
134
18.213.80.5682.3
3.5
17.414.00.5551.83.0
1983PHI39
123
16.612.80.5632.0
3.0
15.913.60.5381.22.3
1984OAK40
116
12.012.20.4960.2
1.2
12.211.80.5080.51.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,645
373.9292.20.56146.3
72.7
364.2296.00.55239.665.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
50
6.85.60.547 1.16.65.90.530 0.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,695
380.7297.80.561
73.8
370.9301.90.552 66.7


Gaylord Perry
In 1972, Gaylord Perry pitched 342.2 innings with an ERA of 1.92 and 24 wins for a Cleveland Indians team that only won 72 games total. It was an exceptional season. Of course, it was also merely the second-best season by a major-league pitcher in 1972.

It was, however, one of the top five pitching seasons of the 1970s, as measured by pWins over replacement level.

Top 10 Pitcher Seasons of the 1970s
ranked by pWORL
Player Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Steve Carlton197225.114.96.1
7.8
2Bob Gibson197021.713.65.0
6.5
3Fergie Jenkins197124.117.34.6
6.4
4Fergie Jenkins197422.814.34.6
6.2
5Ron Guidry197818.69.64.6
6.0
6Jim Palmer197520.312.14.3
5.9
7Gaylord Perry197224.318.53.9
5.8
8Nolan Ryan197322.915.73.9
5.7
9Tom Seaver197719.012.34.2
5.6
10Tom Seaver197119.613.04.1
5.5


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

Gaylord Perry
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1962SFN23
13
2.32.40.4840.0
0.2
2.42.60.479-0.00.2
1963SFN24
32
3.24.80.397-0.8
-0.4
3.74.70.438-0.5-0.1
1964SFN25
46
12.310.50.5391.2
2.5
11.710.70.5220.82.1
1965SFN26
49
11.412.80.472-0.2
0.9
11.513.20.465-0.40.8
1966SFN27
36
17.612.60.5833.0
4.4
15.712.40.5582.13.4
1967SFN28
42
18.017.90.5010.7
2.3
17.915.40.5361.83.3
1968SFN29
39
15.814.60.5191.2
2.5
17.114.30.5452.13.4
1969SFN30
40
21.018.80.5272.0
3.8
20.618.60.5261.93.7
1970SFN31
41
22.419.70.5322.3
4.0
20.817.60.5412.44.1
1971SFN32
38
16.316.00.5050.9
2.4
16.816.60.5040.92.4
1972CLE33
41
24.318.50.5683.9
5.8
22.017.30.5603.35.0
1973CLE34
41
20.018.50.5201.0
2.8
20.518.60.5251.23.1
1974CLE35
37
17.515.10.5371.5
2.9
18.914.10.5722.64.1
36
37
17.315.80.5220.9
2.5
18.514.40.5632.23.8
1976TEX37
32
13.810.40.5711.8
2.9
14.610.90.5711.93.1
1977TEX38
34
14.912.50.5441.4
2.8
14.011.40.5511.52.8
1978SDN39
37
16.112.00.5732.6
3.8
15.513.70.5321.52.8
1979SDN40
32
13.912.40.5271.3
2.4
13.812.80.5191.12.2
41
34
11.111.50.490-0.1
0.9
12.111.70.5080.31.4
1981ATL42
23
8.68.30.5080.6
1.4
9.29.40.4930.41.2
1982SEA43
32
11.011.80.482-0.2
0.9
12.912.80.5020.31.5
44
30
9.312.40.430-1.3
-0.3
10.911.40.489-0.11.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
786
318.1289.50.52423.7
51.5
321.0284.60.53027.555.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
1.01.10.470 0.11.01.00.498 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
788
319.0290.60.524
51.6
322.0285.60.530 55.4


1972 Postseason

The 1972 postseason might have been the best postseason of all time. All three postseason series went the maximum number of games and 11 of the 17 postseason games were decided by a single run, including 6 of 7 World Series games. At the end of all of that, the Oakland A's won the franchise's first World Series in 42 years, two cities ago.

The best players in the 1972 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown in the next table.

1972 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Gene TenaceOAK1.91.10.5
Catfish HunterOAK1.91.30.5
Blue Moon OdomOAK1.61.00.5
Johnny BenchCIN1.71.10.5
Joe Coleman Jr.DET1.00.30.4
Jack BillinghamCIN1.30.70.4
Vida BlueOAK1.51.00.4
Joe L. MorganCIN1.81.50.3
Tom HallCIN0.80.30.3
Al OliverPIT1.10.60.3
Rollie FingersOAK1.20.90.3
Ross Grimsley Jr.CIN1.00.70.3
Bert CampanerisOAK1.31.10.3
Joe RudiOAK1.41.00.3


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1972 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Gene TenaceOAK1.40.50.5
Catfish HunterOAK1.30.90.4
Jack BillinghamCIN0.90.50.3
Rollie FingersOAK1.00.60.3

1972 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Joe Coleman Jr.DET1.00.30.4
Vida BlueOAK0.80.20.4
Blue Moon OdomOAK0.90.40.4
Bert CampanerisOAK0.70.10.3
Ross Grimsley Jr.CIN0.70.20.3
Al OliverPIT1.10.60.3
Johnny BenchCIN0.90.40.3
Tom HallCIN0.70.30.3
Matty AlouOAK0.90.60.2
George FosterCIN0.40.00.2
Gonzalo MarquezOAK0.30.10.2
Al KalineDET1.00.70.2
Steve BlassPIT1.01.00.2


Best of 1972 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 1972 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dick Allen17.09.23.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bobby Bonds2.50.70.9

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Bobby Bonds's 1972 season is one of the top ten baserunning seasons of any season for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top 10 Single-Season Baserunning Totals
(Wins over non-Pitcher Average)
Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA
Maury Wills19624.11.41.3
Rickey Henderson19884.01.71.2
Ron LeFlore19803.51.31.0
Rickey Henderson19853.41.41.0
Tim Raines Sr.19853.51.51.0
Willie Wilson19803.11.20.9
Rickey Henderson19833.41.60.9
Bobby Bonds19722.50.70.9
Rudy Law19832.81.10.9
Vince Coleman19853.82.00.9