Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
Home     List of Articles



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 Carlton25.715.26.2
8.0
1Steve Carlton25.715.26.2
8.0
2Joe L. Morgan24.915.35.2
6.8
2Joe L. Morgan24.915.35.2
6.8
3Dick Allen23.212.04.2
5.6
3Gaylord Perry25.219.04.1
6.1
4Gaylord Perry25.219.04.1
6.1
4Dick Allen23.212.04.2
5.6
5Bob Gibson20.214.53.7
5.2
5Bob Gibson20.214.53.7
5.2
6Catfish Hunter19.613.93.7
5.1
6Catfish Hunter19.613.93.7
5.1
7Jim Palmer19.313.83.6
5.0
7Cesar Cedeno24.116.03.4
5.1
8Johnny Bench20.113.23.5
4.9
8Jim Palmer19.313.83.6
5.0
9Cesar Cedeno24.116.03.4
5.1
9Johnny Bench20.113.23.5
4.9
10Claude Osteen19.214.43.3
4.7
10Claude Osteen19.214.43.3
4.7


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
1Steve Carlton23.316.04.6
6.3
1Steve Carlton23.316.04.6
6.3
2Joe L. Morgan23.616.63.9
5.6
2Joe L. Morgan23.616.63.9
5.6
3Gaylord Perry22.617.53.5
5.3
3Gaylord Perry22.617.53.5
5.3
4Bob Gibson19.414.63.2
4.7
4Cesar Cedeno24.316.53.2
4.9
5Cesar Cedeno24.316.53.2
4.9
5Bob Gibson19.414.63.2
4.7
6Carlton Fisk16.710.73.1
4.3
6Bobby Murcer24.117.62.6
4.3
7Don Sutton17.613.12.9
4.3
7Johnny Bench19.413.72.9
4.3
8Johnny Bench19.413.72.9
4.3
8Chris Speier21.117.12.7
4.3
9Chris Speier21.117.12.7
4.3
9Billy Williams24.217.22.6
4.3
10Catfish Hunter18.915.22.7
4.2
10Don Sutton17.613.12.9
4.3


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 Ruth192730.715.36.9
8.8
1Babe Ruth192730.715.36.9
8.8
2Lefty Grove193123.811.96.4
7.9
2Sandy Koufax196525.514.96.3
8.2
3Sandy Koufax196525.514.96.3
8.2
3Steve Carlton197225.715.26.2
8.0
4Steve Carlton197225.715.26.2
8.0
4Lefty Grove193123.811.96.4
7.9
5Dwight Gooden198521.411.06.1
7.6
5Dwight Gooden198521.411.06.1
7.6
6Lou Gehrig192725.612.55.7
7.3
6Barry Bonds200127.915.15.5
7.4
7Lefty Grove193022.412.05.7
7.2
7Ted Williams194628.415.45.6
7.4
8Ted Williams194628.415.45.6
7.4
8Lou Gehrig192725.612.55.7
7.3
9Mickey Mantle195725.212.85.5
7.1
9Joe DiMaggio193728.417.05.3
7.2
10Sandy Koufax196322.913.55.5
7.2
10Lefty Grove193022.412.05.7
7.2


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
0.91.00.492-0.0
0.1
1.31.40.473-0.10.1
1966SLN21
9
3.33.30.5060.1
0.4
3.32.90.5260.30.5
1967SLN22
30
13.311.30.5391.5
2.5
12.012.00.5000.51.5
1968SLN23
35
14.514.30.5040.7
1.9
14.214.00.5020.71.8
1969SLN24
32
16.615.30.5211.4
2.9
15.913.60.5391.93.2
1970SLN25
34
16.718.00.4820.0
1.5
16.916.80.5020.72.1
1971SLN26
37
19.016.30.5392.2
3.7
17.118.70.4780.11.6
1972PHI27
41
25.715.20.6286.2
8.0
23.316.00.5924.66.3
1973PHI28
40
19.421.60.472-0.2
1.5
18.319.20.4880.41.9
1974PHI29
39
18.416.30.5311.8
3.2
18.618.50.5020.92.4
1975PHI30
37
17.016.50.5070.9
2.4
15.916.60.4890.41.7
1976PHI31
35
17.512.80.5793.1
4.3
16.214.40.5281.62.8
1977PHI32
36
20.615.80.5663.3
4.9
18.515.40.5452.43.9
1978PHI33
34
16.015.60.5060.9
2.2
15.715.60.5010.72.0
1979PHI34
36
17.215.10.5321.9
3.2
16.515.30.5181.52.7
1980PHI35
38
20.313.30.6054.2
5.5
18.915.10.5562.64.0
1981PHI36
24
11.78.50.5802.2
3.1
12.010.10.5431.62.6
1982PHI37
38
21.915.50.5854.2
5.7
19.115.80.5472.64.0
1983PHI38
37
18.217.00.5161.5
2.9
18.717.20.5201.73.1
1984PHI39
34
13.012.10.5191.2
2.2
13.913.80.5020.91.9
1985PHI40
16
4.86.90.413-0.8
-0.2
5.26.20.454-0.30.3
41
32
10.414.00.427-1.2
-0.2
10.513.90.431-1.2-0.1
42
32
7.812.50.384-2.2
-1.2
8.711.30.436-1.1-0.1
1988MIN43
4
0.51.50.237-0.5
-0.4
0.41.40.224-0.5-0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
745
344.7309.50.52732.5
60.1
330.9315.30.51222.549.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
16
7.16.60.518 1.16.56.60.496 0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
761
351.8316.10.527
61.2
337.4321.90.512 50.6


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. Morgan215.1151.435.1
49.9
1Joe L. Morgan215.1151.435.1
49.9
2Jim Palmer173.7125.427.7
41.2
2Jim Palmer173.7125.427.7
41.2
3Tom Seaver179.6141.626.3
39.7
3Tom Seaver179.6141.626.3
39.7
4Johnny Bench175.1132.121.6
34.0
4Reggie Jackson213.8162.820.4
35.9
5Reggie Jackson213.8162.820.4
35.9
5Steve Carlton187.4163.220.2
34.8
6Steve Carlton187.4163.220.2
34.8
6Johnny Bench175.1132.121.6
34.0
7Bobby Grich147.4117.718.7
29.2
7Gaylord Perry181.3154.318.5
33.3
8Gaylord Perry181.3154.318.5
33.3
8Fergie Jenkins173.5146.518.1
32.3
9Fergie Jenkins173.5146.518.1
32.3
9Bert Blyleven158.9134.316.2
29.3
10Willie Stargell169.7122.116.6
28.4
10Don Sutton165.0146.116.2
29.3


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
1.20.50.6970.3
0.4
1.10.80.5710.20.2
1964HOU20
10
1.01.50.412-0.2
-0.1
1.11.30.454-0.10.0
1965HOU21
157
20.620.40.5020.5
2.2
22.019.60.5291.63.3
1966HOU22
122
15.913.30.5441.8
2.9
16.013.80.5381.62.8
1967HOU23
133
16.715.20.5240.9
2.3
17.614.60.5471.73.1
1968HOU24
10
1.00.70.5930.2
0.2
0.80.80.5000.00.1
1969HOU25
147
18.517.30.5170.8
2.4
19.816.90.5391.63.2
1970HOU26
144
19.417.20.5301.9
3.5
19.218.20.5131.33.0
1971HOU27
160
21.517.90.5452.1
3.7
21.218.20.5391.83.4
1972CIN28
149
24.915.30.6185.2
6.8
23.616.60.5883.95.6
1973CIN29
157
26.116.40.6145.0
6.8
23.916.60.5903.85.5
1974CIN30
149
23.415.60.5994.2
5.7
22.215.80.5853.65.0
1975CIN31
146
23.814.40.6234.8
6.3
22.914.60.6114.35.8
1976CIN32
141
23.013.40.6325.1
6.5
23.014.20.6174.66.0
1977CIN33
153
21.614.30.6024.1
5.5
20.514.50.5863.44.9
1978CIN34
132
16.413.20.5551.9
3.0
15.113.50.5281.12.2
1979CIN35
126
15.013.60.5240.9
2.0
14.813.10.5311.02.1
1980HOU36
141
17.415.20.5341.4
2.7
16.014.80.5210.92.1
1981SFN37
90
11.69.10.5591.3
2.2
11.09.20.5451.01.8
1982SFN38
134
17.812.70.5832.6
3.8
17.013.40.5591.93.1
1983PHI39
123
16.112.30.5662.0
3.0
15.413.00.5411.32.3
1984OAK40
116
11.912.30.4920.2
1.1
12.211.80.5090.61.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,648
364.6281.80.56446.9
73.1
356.3285.10.55641.267.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
50
6.75.40.554 1.26.75.70.538 1.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,698
371.3287.20.564
74.3
363.0290.80.556 68.1


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 Carlton197225.715.26.2
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


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
2.32.50.476-0.0
0.2
2.42.70.476-0.00.2
1963SFN24
32
3.15.10.381-1.0
-0.5
3.74.80.433-0.6-0.1
1964SFN25
46
12.610.80.5381.2
2.5
11.810.90.5200.72.0
1965SFN26
49
11.713.10.472-0.3
0.9
11.713.40.467-0.40.8
1966SFN27
36
18.113.10.5813.1
4.5
15.912.90.5542.03.3
1967SFN28
42
18.718.40.5050.8
2.5
19.415.60.5552.54.1
1968SFN29
39
16.215.00.5191.3
2.5
17.114.70.5381.93.2
1969SFN30
40
21.719.40.5282.1
3.9
20.919.00.5231.83.6
1970SFN31
41
23.020.30.5312.3
4.1
21.318.20.5392.44.0
1971SFN32
38
17.216.40.5111.2
2.7
17.317.00.5051.02.5
1972CLE33
41
25.219.00.5714.1
6.1
22.617.50.5653.55.3
1973CLE34
41
20.619.00.5201.1
2.9
21.119.10.5251.33.1
1974CLE35
37
18.115.30.5411.7
3.1
19.414.40.5732.74.2
36
37
17.416.20.5180.8
2.4
18.614.90.5562.03.6
1976TEX37
32
14.110.40.5772.0
3.1
15.011.00.5772.13.3
1977TEX38
34
15.312.80.5431.4
2.8
14.211.80.5471.42.7
1978SDN39
37
16.512.20.5762.7
3.9
15.713.90.5311.52.7
1979SDN40
32
14.012.60.5251.2
2.3
14.013.00.5181.12.2
41
34
11.311.90.486-0.2
0.8
12.512.00.5100.41.4
1981ATL42
24
8.78.60.5030.5
1.3
9.29.60.4910.31.2
1982SEA43
32
11.012.10.476-0.3
0.7
12.813.10.4940.11.3
44
30
9.612.80.430-1.4
-0.4
10.811.70.479-0.30.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
787
326.4297.00.52424.2
52.4
327.6291.10.53027.655.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
0.91.10.460 0.11.01.00.489 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
789
327.3298.10.524
52.4
328.6292.10.530 55.7


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 TenaceOAK1.91.10.6
Blue Moon OdomOAK1.71.00.5
Catfish HunterOAK1.91.40.5
Joe Coleman Jr.DET1.10.30.5
Johnny BenchCIN1.71.10.5
Jack BillinghamCIN1.30.70.4
Joe L. MorganCIN1.91.50.4


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1972 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Gene TenaceOAK1.40.50.6
Catfish HunterOAK1.40.90.4

1972 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Joe Coleman Jr.DET1.10.30.5
Blue Moon OdomOAK1.00.40.4
Vida BlueOAK0.80.20.4
Al OliverPIT1.10.50.3
Ross Grimsley Jr.CIN0.70.20.3
Bert CampanerisOAK0.70.10.3
Johnny BenchCIN0.90.40.3


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 Allen16.99.23.6

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bobby Bonds2.60.70.9
Bert Campaneris2.81.30.8

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
Rickey Henderson19884.11.71.2
Maury Wills19624.01.61.1
Ron LeFlore19803.91.61.1
Rickey Henderson19853.51.41.1
Willie Wilson19803.21.21.0
Tim Raines Sr.19853.61.61.0
Rudy Law19832.91.10.9
Rickey Henderson19833.41.70.9
Tim Raines Sr.19863.41.50.9
Bobby Bonds19722.60.70.9