Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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1979 Season

The 1979 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records

This article takes a look at the 1979 season as measured by Player won-lost records.

The Best of 1979

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
1Gorman Thomas23.014.87.8
9.6
1Gorman Thomas23.014.87.8
9.6
2Fred Lynn22.314.27.8
9.5
2Fred Lynn22.314.27.8
9.5
3Darrell Porter19.012.47.0
8.5
3Darrell Porter19.012.47.0
8.5
4Mike Schmidt24.317.26.5
8.5
4Mike Schmidt24.317.26.5
8.5
5Mike Flanagan17.811.86.1
7.9
5Mike Flanagan17.811.86.1
7.9
6Bobby Grich20.015.15.6
7.3
6Dave Winfield27.019.75.5
7.8
7Jim Kern12.46.65.6
7.4
7Dave Parker25.018.05.4
7.5
8Dave Winfield27.019.75.5
7.8
8Jim Kern12.46.65.6
7.4
9J.R. Richard20.116.05.4
7.4
9J.R. Richard20.116.05.4
7.4
10Dave Parker25.018.05.4
7.5
10Bobby Grich20.015.15.6
7.3


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
1George Foster20.313.65.9
7.5
1Fred Lynn21.415.15.8
7.6
2Fred Lynn21.415.15.8
7.6
2George Foster20.313.65.9
7.5
3Darrell Porter18.313.15.6
7.2
3Mike Schmidt23.717.75.5
7.5
4Mike Schmidt23.717.75.5
7.5
4Dave Winfield26.720.05.3
7.5
5Dave Winfield26.720.05.3
7.5
5Darrell Porter18.313.15.6
7.2
6Dave Concepcion21.517.94.9
6.8
6J.R. Richard19.716.44.8
6.9
7J.R. Richard19.716.44.8
6.9
7Dave Concepcion21.517.94.9
6.8
8Gorman Thomas21.516.44.8
6.6
8Gorman Thomas21.516.44.8
6.6
9Bobby Grich19.515.74.6
6.3
9Jim Rice22.317.54.3
6.3
10Tommy John15.311.14.3
6.0
10Bobby Grich19.515.74.6
6.3


I take a look at some of the most interesting players of 1979 at the end of this article.

1979 Postseason

The 1979 postseason was my first crushing disappointment as a baseball fan. I was an 11-year-old fan of the Baltimore Orioles in 1979. My Orioles won 102 regular-season games, beat the California Angels 3-1 in the ALCS and led the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 in the World Series with the final two games of the Series being played in Baltimore. The Orioles proceeded to score 2 runs on 17 hits in the final three games of the Series and the Pittsburgh Pirates were World Champions. The song "We Are Family" still makes me scowl.

The top postseason performers in 1979, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented next.

1979 Postseason: Total
Player Team pWins pLosses pWORL
Dave ParkerPIT1.81.00.9
Bert BlylevenPIT1.30.60.9
Willie StargellPIT1.70.90.8
Tim FoliNYN1.71.20.7
Mike FlanaganBAL1.61.10.7
Scott McGregorBAL1.51.20.7
Bill MadlockPIT1.30.80.6
Phil GarnerPIT1.61.10.6
Kent TekulvePIT1.00.60.6
Don RobinsonPIT0.70.30.4


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1979 World Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Dave ParkerPIT1.20.70.5
Mike FlanaganBAL1.40.90.5
Bill MadlockPIT0.90.60.4
Bert BlylevenPIT0.60.30.3
Willie StargellPIT0.90.70.2

1979 Postseason: League Championship Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Willie StargellPIT0.80.30.5
Phil GarnerPIT0.60.10.4
John LowensteinBAL0.60.20.4
Dave ParkerPIT0.60.30.4
Tim FoliNYN0.60.30.4


Best of 1979 by Factor and Position

Next, let's look at the top players 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 1979 in wins over positional average (WOPA) by factor were as follows.

Batting
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Dave Winfield17.911.5
5.9
1Fred Lynn15.68.47.2
2Fred Lynn14.79.3
5.4
2Gorman Thomas16.410.06.4
3Mike Schmidt17.011.5
5.0
3Dave Winfield18.111.36.4
4George Foster13.88.8
4.7
4Mike Schmidt17.211.35.5
5Dave Kingman14.910.0
4.5
5Darrell Porter15.710.25.4
6Jim Rice15.711.3
4.4
6Sixto Lezcano14.18.75.4
7Sixto Lezcano13.69.2
4.4
7George Foster14.18.65.1
8Gorman Thomas15.311.1
4.2
8Eddie Murray16.611.55.1
9Ken Singleton15.211.1
4.2
9Dave Parker16.010.55.0
10Don Baylor16.912.8
4.0
10Ken Singleton15.610.75.0
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Baserunning
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Ron LeFlore2.81.4
1.4
1Willie Wilson2.71.21.5
2Willie Wilson2.61.3
1.3
2Ron LeFlore2.71.51.2
3Jerry Royster2.41.4
1.0
3Jerry Royster2.51.31.1
4Ozzie Smith1.80.9
0.9
4Keith Hernandez1.90.91.0
5Davey Lopes1.91.1
0.8
5Omar Moreno2.71.61.0
6Amos Otis1.60.8
0.8
6Rodney Scott2.11.20.9
7Bump Wills1.91.2
0.7
7Amos Otis1.60.80.8
8Miguel Dilone1.40.7
0.7
8Lou Whitaker1.70.90.8
9Rodney Scott2.01.3
0.7
9Paul Molitor1.91.20.7
10Willie Randolph2.01.4
0.6
10Dave Concepcion1.71.00.7
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Pitching
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss Net eWins Player pWins pLoss Net pWins
1Jim Kern10.97.2
3.7
1Jim Kern12.25.86.4
2J.R. Richard17.714.2
3.6
2Mike Flanagan17.411.65.9
3Tommy John14.511.0
3.5
3Ron Guidry15.710.65.1
4Mike Flanagan16.013.1
2.9
4J.R. Richard18.513.45.1
5Ron Guidry14.511.9
2.6
5Tommy John15.210.25.0
6Bruce Sutter8.96.3
2.5
6Aurelio Lopez9.74.94.8
7Nolan Ryan15.713.4
2.3
7Dennis Eckersley15.711.34.4
8Sid Monge10.38.2
2.1
8Kent Tekulve9.35.43.9
9Kent Tekulve8.46.3
2.0
9Bruce Sutter9.55.73.8
10Burt Hooton11.29.1
2.0
10Jim Slaton12.99.23.7


Fielding by Position


Fielding, P
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Tom Seaver0.70.3
0.4
1Burt Hooton0.70.20.5
2Rick Waits0.60.3
0.3
2Vida Blue0.50.20.3
3Burt Hooton0.50.3
0.3
3Jim Slaton0.40.10.3
4Ross Baumgarten0.60.3
0.3
4Jim Todd0.40.10.3
5Vida Blue0.50.2
0.2
5Joe Niekro0.50.20.3


Fielding, C
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Gary Carter2.81.9
0.9
1Rick Dempsey2.21.40.8
2Darrell Porter2.01.3
0.7
2Gary Carter2.81.90.8
3Jim Sundberg2.01.6
0.4
3Darrell Porter2.11.30.8
4Bob Boone1.71.3
0.4
4Butch Wynegar2.21.70.6
5Rick Dempsey2.01.6
0.4
5Johnny Bench2.01.50.5


Fielding, 1B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Eddie Murray2.31.7
0.6
1Keith Hernandez3.82.51.2
2Keith Hernandez3.42.9
0.5
2Chris Chambliss2.51.90.6
3Carl Yastrzemski1.41.1
0.3
3Pat Putnam1.91.30.6
4Chris Chambliss2.32.1
0.3
4Mike Squires1.40.90.5
5Dan T. Meyer0.30.1
0.2
5Eddie Murray2.21.80.4


Fielding, 2B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Willie Randolph5.94.6
1.3
1Lou Whitaker5.43.61.8
2Lou Whitaker4.94.1
0.9
2Willie Randolph5.84.61.3
3Rich Dauer3.52.9
0.5
3Manny Trillo4.43.50.9
4Rennie Stennett3.42.9
0.5
4Rennie Stennett3.52.70.8
5Ted Sizemore5.45.0
0.4
5Rich Dauer3.62.80.8


Fielding, 3B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Buddy Bell5.64.2
1.3
1Buddy Bell5.44.31.1
2Ken Reitz4.43.5
0.8
2Mike Schmidt5.64.70.9
3Mike Schmidt5.54.9
0.7
3Sal Bando3.52.80.7
4Phil Garner2.21.7
0.5
4John Castino3.83.10.7
5John Castino3.63.2
0.4
5Phil Garner2.31.60.6


Fielding, SS
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Rick Burleson7.05.8
1.2
1Tim Foli6.95.01.9
2Dave Concepcion7.16.1
1.0
2Bucky Dent6.95.01.9
3Craig Reynolds6.45.5
0.9
3Dave Concepcion7.26.01.3
4Tim Foli6.35.6
0.7
4Larry Bowa6.25.01.2
5Ozzie Smith7.46.7
0.7
5Robin Yount6.65.51.1


Fielding, LF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1George Foster5.44.3
1.2
1Warren Cromartie9.26.62.6
2Willie Wilson7.26.0
1.1
2Willie Wilson7.55.71.7
3Jose Cruz Sr.7.26.3
0.9
3Ken Landreaux3.92.41.5
4Joel Youngblood3.62.8
0.8
4Ben Oglivie4.43.31.2
5Terry Whitfield5.14.4
0.7
5Terry Whitfield5.24.21.0


Fielding, CF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Amos Otis5.84.7
1.1
1Amos Otis6.24.31.9
2Gorman Thomas5.14.5
0.7
2Gorman Thomas5.64.01.7
3Andre Dawson5.75.1
0.7
3Garry Maddox7.36.41.0
4Lee Mazzilli5.24.6
0.6
4Terry Puhl4.94.00.9
5Tony Scott5.95.4
0.6
5Andre Dawson5.85.00.9


Fielding, RF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Ellis Valentine6.35.4
0.9
1Ellis Valentine6.84.91.9
2Dave Winfield7.87.1
0.6
2Dave Parker7.56.21.3
3Bake McBride6.55.9
0.6
3Bake McBride6.75.61.1
4Dan Ford5.24.6
0.6
4Dwight Evans6.55.61.0
5Larry Murray2.82.3
0.5
5Dan Ford5.24.50.7


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1979 Major-League leaders by position. The figures shown here only include Player decisions earned while playing this particular position.

Catcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Darrell Porter15.911.9
4.5
1Darrell Porter16.411.45.4
2Gary Carter15.512.8
2.9
2Ted Simmons14.510.73.9
3Johnny Bench14.712.0
2.8
3Johnny Bench15.011.73.3
4Ted Simmons13.811.3
2.6
4Brian Downing12.610.52.5
5Brian Downing12.510.6
2.2
5Gary Carter15.213.12.1


First Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Keith Hernandez20.415.3
3.7
1Keith Hernandez21.114.55.2
2Eddie Murray18.815.3
2.5
2Eddie Murray20.014.14.9
3Willie Stargell13.110.0
2.1
3Willie Stargell13.29.82.4
4Cecil Cooper16.313.5
2.0
4Bill Robinson4.92.32.4
5Mike Ivie9.17.2
1.2
5Cecil Cooper16.313.52.0


Second Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Bobby Grich19.415.8
4.3
1Bobby Grich20.015.15.6
2Davey Lopes21.318.1
3.5
2Lou Whitaker16.612.84.4
3Willie Randolph19.817.8
2.9
3Paul Molitor18.314.64.4
4Lou Whitaker15.713.6
2.7
4Willie Randolph20.217.43.7
5Paul Molitor17.415.5
2.6
5Phil Garner9.57.81.9


Third Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Mike Schmidt23.517.7
5.1
1Mike Schmidt24.217.06.6
2Ron Cey18.414.6
3.3
2George Brett20.316.24.0
3George Brett19.816.6
3.0
3Larry Parrish19.215.23.5
4Larry Parrish19.015.4
3.0
4Ray Knight17.915.02.3
5Buddy Bell18.417.0
1.2
5Bill Madlock11.08.52.1


Shortstop
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Dave Concepcion21.218.2
4.3
1Dave Concepcion21.617.85.0
2Roy Smalley III22.420.7
3.5
2Tim Foli18.315.24.2
3Garry Templeton22.021.2
2.3
3Roy Smalley III22.620.44.1
4Toby Harrah3.52.2
1.5
4Garry Templeton22.121.12.5
5Tim Foli16.816.6
1.4
5Robin Yount18.517.72.5


Left Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1George Foster19.713.7
5.1
1George Foster19.313.74.4
2Dave Kingman21.617.1
3.5
2Ben Oglivie14.411.33.9
3Jim Rice18.215.1
2.5
3Jose Cruz Sr.23.019.33.1
4Jose Cruz Sr.22.319.3
1.8
4Dave Kingman21.217.12.6
5Oscar Gamble4.73.0
1.7
5Oscar Gamble5.23.02.6


Center Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Fred Lynn20.815.2
5.2
1Fred Lynn22.014.17.6
2Gorman Thomas20.716.1
4.2
2Gorman Thomas22.214.67.3
3Amos Otis19.616.3
2.9
3Amos Otis20.315.54.4
4Lee Mazzilli18.715.2
2.6
4Andre Dawson22.818.73.1
5Ron LeFlore15.714.0
1.4
5Terry Puhl15.312.22.4


Right Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Dave Winfield26.520.1
4.6
1Dave Winfield27.019.65.6
2Dave Parker24.018.9
3.4
2Dave Parker25.018.05.4
3Sixto Lezcano20.616.4
3.2
3Sixto Lezcano21.415.65.0
4Ken Singleton17.713.7
3.1
4Ken Singleton18.413.04.5
5Jack Clark19.215.1
2.7
5Champ Summers9.86.72.7


Starting Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1J.R. Richard18.114.5
3.8
1Mike Flanagan17.811.86.1
2Tommy John14.711.4
3.4
2J.R. Richard18.913.75.4
3Mike Flanagan16.313.3
3.1
3Ron Guidry15.410.74.9
4Ron Guidry14.311.8
2.5
4Tommy John15.510.74.9
5Nolan Ryan16.113.7
2.5
5Dennis Eckersley16.311.74.6
6Burt Hooton11.79.4
2.4
6Jim Slaton13.29.24.1
7Dennis Eckersley15.013.0
2.1
7Mike Caldwell13.39.44.0
8Dennis Martinez16.114.3
1.9
8Bill 'Spaceman' Lee14.310.93.5
9Ken Kravec15.413.6
1.9
9Joe Niekro17.514.23.4
10Tom Seaver12.610.8
1.8
10Jerry Koosman16.613.43.3


Relief Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Jim Kern11.17.9
3.1
1Jim Kern12.46.65.6
2Bruce Sutter9.16.5
2.5
2Aurelio Lopez9.95.14.7
3Sid Monge10.68.4
2.1
3Kent Tekulve9.55.63.9
4Kent Tekulve8.66.5
2.1
4Bruce Sutter9.75.93.7
5Tom Hume4.72.9
1.7
5Sid Monge11.17.93.1
6Ed Farmer4.83.1
1.6
6Don Stanhouse6.74.22.5
7Mike G. Marshall9.88.1
1.6
7Mike G. Marshall10.27.72.4
8Elias Sosa6.75.2
1.4
8Ed Farmer5.12.82.3
9Dick Drago6.04.6
1.4
9Mark Littell6.34.02.2
10Mark Littell5.94.5
1.4
10Ron G. Davis6.44.22.2


Designated Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Don Baylor8.75.2
3.4
1Don Baylor9.34.74.5
2Jim Spencer4.83.1
1.6
2Cliff Johnson8.45.62.6
3Cliff Johnson7.86.2
1.5
3Darrell Porter2.61.01.5


Finally, here are the best at three oft-forgotten positions that can nevertheless matter: pitcher offense, pinch hitting, and pinch running.

Pitcher Offense
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Rick Sutcliffe1.41.8
0.5
1Rick Sutcliffe1.61.50.8
2Mike Krukow1.11.2
0.4
2Steve Carlton1.82.10.8
3Steve Carlton1.62.4
0.4
3Rick Reuschel1.31.60.5


Pinch Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Del Unser2.61.5
1.1
1Del Unser2.71.41.4
2H. Pat Kelly1.81.0
0.9
2H. Pat Kelly1.91.01.0
3Denny Walling2.41.5
0.9
3Denny Walling2.41.51.0


Pinch Runner
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Miguel Dilone0.80.4
0.5
1Miguel Dilone0.80.40.3
2Matt Alexander0.90.5
0.4
2Matt Alexander0.80.50.3
3Tim Raines Sr.0.20.0
0.2
3Tim Raines Sr.0.20.00.2


Noteworthy Players of 1979

For many seasons, the top 10 lists at the start of these articles contain mostly players in the Hall of Fame or at least players in the Hall of Merit. The 1979 season is an exception. Of the 14 players who show up on one or more of the four tables above, only three of them are in the Hall of Fame and only three are in the Hall of Merit.

Based on Player won-lost records, the story of the 1979 season appears to be somewhat unheralded players having career years. I take a closer look at five of these players next.

Gorman Thomas
As measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level, Gorman Thomas has a case for having been the most valuable player in major-league baseball in 1979. Controlling for context, Thomas looks a little less impressive when looking at eWins, but still in the top 10 among major-league players in 1979.

The 1979 season was Thomas's best, but he had a solid 5-year prime from 1978 - 1982 for the Milwaukee Brewers which culminated with the only World Series appearance in Brewers history.

Gorman Thomas's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Gorman Thomas
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1973MIL22
60
4.05.3-1.5
-1.0
4.15.2-1.3-0.8
1974MIL23
17
2.11.40.7
0.8
2.01.60.30.5
1975MIL24
121
7.78.5-0.9
-0.2
7.98.3-0.50.2
1976MIL25
99
9.07.90.9
1.8
8.68.30.10.9
1978MIL27
137
16.313.82.3
3.8
16.713.43.14.5
1979MIL28
156
23.014.87.8
9.6
21.516.44.86.6
1980MIL29
162
19.918.11.5
3.3
20.018.11.73.5
1981MIL30
103
13.711.02.3
3.7
13.511.22.03.3
1982MIL31
158
21.317.43.7
5.5
20.717.92.74.4
1983CLE32
152
17.519.7-2.5
-0.8
18.119.1-1.20.5
1984SEA33
35
3.73.6-0.1
0.3
3.53.8-0.6-0.2
1985SEA34
135
12.512.00.4
2.0
13.411.02.33.9
1986MIL35
101
6.28.0-2.1
-1.3
7.07.3-0.60.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,436
156.9141.612.6
27.3
157.0141.512.827.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
17
1.52.0 -0.31.42.1 -0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,453
158.4143.6
27.0
158.4143.6 27.1


Fred Lynn
Fred Lynn ranks in the top two in each of the first four tables in this article, including number one in eWins over replacement level.

Fred Lynn's 1979 was not as extreme relative to every other season of his career as the other four players profiled here. But, as measured by Player won-lost records, 1979 was Lynn's best season, even slightly better than his Rookie-of-Year/MVP 1975 season. Through 1979, Fred Lynn's age-27 season, he had put up two MVP-caliber seasons in his five-year career, along with two other seasons that were at least All-Star level quality (1976, 1978). The future looked bright indeed. Unfortunately, Fred Lynn never had another season as good as his 1975 or 1979 season again. Nevertheless, he still had an excellent career.

Fred Lynn's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Fred Lynn
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1974BOS22
15
1.91.50.4
0.5
2.01.40.70.9
1975BOS23
145
22.316.15.9
7.7
22.116.35.57.2
1976BOS24
132
17.215.81.0
2.6
18.314.83.24.8
1977BOS25
129
15.314.90.1
1.7
15.015.1-0.31.2
1978BOS26
150
20.316.14.0
5.8
19.217.32.03.7
1979BOS27
147
22.314.27.8
9.5
21.415.15.87.6
1980BOS28
110
14.912.22.5
3.8
14.812.32.23.4
1981CAL29
76
8.410.0-1.8
-0.8
8.99.5-0.80.1
1982CAL30
137
18.614.83.7
5.2
18.415.03.34.8
1983CAL31
117
14.914.8-0.0
1.3
15.314.40.61.9
1984CAL32
142
18.215.91.6
3.2
18.815.32.84.4
1985BAL33
124
14.713.70.7
2.1
14.713.70.72.0
1986BAL34
112
15.712.33.1
4.4
15.113.01.93.2
1987BAL35
111
11.912.7-1.1
0.1
12.312.3-0.30.8
1988BAL36
114
12.613.9-1.5
-0.2
13.812.70.92.2
1989DET37
117
10.812.0-1.5
-0.3
11.511.4-0.21.0
1990SDN38
89
5.66.7-1.4
-0.8
5.96.3-0.6-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,967
245.8217.523.8
45.9
247.4215.927.249.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
15
2.12.1 0.22.31.9 0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,982
247.8219.5
46.0
249.6217.7 49.9


Darrell Porter
Darrell Porter ranks among the top five players in major-league baseball in 1979 in each of the first four tables of this article.

The 1979 season was Porter's best season by far. In fact, measured by pWins over replacement level, Porter's 1979 season was twice as good as his next-best season.

Even so, Porter had a respectable career. He made 4 All-Star teams, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice (including 9th in 1979), and was the starting catcher for three World Series teams.

Darrell Porter's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Darrell Porter
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1971MIL19
22
1.71.70.0
0.2
1.81.70.10.3
1972MIL20
18
0.81.7-0.8
-0.7
1.01.6-0.6-0.5
1973MIL21
117
11.48.92.9
3.9
11.19.22.33.4
1974MIL22
130
12.411.31.7
2.8
12.511.21.93.0
1975MIL23
129
12.410.72.0
3.1
12.710.52.53.6
1976MIL24
119
9.810.8-0.4
0.6
9.611.0-0.70.3
1977KCA25
130
11.210.11.2
2.3
11.110.20.81.9
1978KCA26
150
15.113.12.6
4.0
15.013.22.43.8
1979KCA27
157
19.012.47.0
8.5
18.313.15.67.2
1980KCA28
118
10.59.51.2
2.2
10.29.90.61.6
1981SLN29
61
6.04.61.5
2.1
5.45.30.30.9
1982SLN30
120
11.09.12.0
2.9
10.49.70.91.8
1983SLN31
144
13.411.72.0
3.1
13.511.72.03.2
1984SLN32
127
13.011.61.8
3.0
12.412.20.61.8
1985SLN33
83
7.55.91.7
2.4
6.86.60.41.0
1986TEX34
64
4.33.40.9
1.3
4.43.31.21.6
1987TEX35
80
3.42.41.0
1.4
3.02.70.40.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,769
163.0139.128.4
43.1
159.0143.020.735.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
37
3.23.0 0.53.32.9 0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,806
166.2142.1
43.7
162.4145.9 36.3


Mike Flanagan
From 1968 - 1980, the Baltimore Orioles had at least one 20-game winner every season. Combined, the Orioles had nine pitchers who won 20 or more games a combined 22 times. Four of these pitchers combined to win a total of six Cy Young awards over these 13 seasons.

The 1979 season was Mike Flanagan's chance to join both of these groups: Orioles pitchers who won 20 games and Orioles pitchers who won a Cy Young award. It was, in fact, the only season in Flanagan's 18-year career in which he received even a single Cy Young vote. But, at least as measured by pWins (compared to either average or replacement level), Flanagan deserved his award.

Mike Flanagan's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown in the next table.

Mike Flanagan
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1975BAL23
2
0.40.7-0.2
-0.2
0.60.50.10.1
1976BAL24
20
3.84.4-0.6
-0.0
4.04.2-0.20.3
1977BAL25
36
13.910.53.5
5.2
13.211.22.13.8
1978BAL26
40
16.615.41.1
3.1
16.615.41.23.1
1979BAL27
39
17.811.86.1
7.9
16.712.93.95.8
1980BAL28
37
14.312.61.8
3.4
13.413.50.01.6
1981BAL29
20
6.26.4-0.1
0.8
6.36.3-0.00.9
1982BAL30
36
14.412.22.5
4.1
13.712.91.22.7
1983BAL31
20
7.65.62.0
2.8
6.86.30.51.3
1984BAL32
34
12.913.1-0.1
1.4
12.913.00.11.6
1985BAL33
15
4.05.3-1.2
-0.6
4.15.3-1.1-0.6
1986BAL34
29
8.810.0-1.1
0.1
9.49.40.11.3
1987BAL35
23
8.36.61.9
2.8
8.07.01.12.0
1988TOR36
34
11.411.40.1
1.5
10.412.5-2.0-0.5
1989TOR37
30
8.48.8-0.2
0.9
8.58.8-0.11.0
1990TOR38
5
1.21.4-0.1
0.1
1.11.5-0.4-0.2
1991BAL39
64
4.14.3-0.3
0.5
4.93.51.32.1
1992BAL40
42
0.91.3-0.4
-0.2
0.91.3-0.5-0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
526
154.9141.814.7
33.5
151.3145.47.326.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
7
2.42.2 0.62.22.4 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
533
157.3143.9
34.1
153.5147.8 26.4


Jim Kern
Jim Kern might be the best example of the theme of non-HOF-level players having career years. You probably have to be a pretty fanatic fan of a certain age, probably of at least the American League if not of one of Kern's teams (mostly the Indians and Rangers) to even recognize his name. His 1979 season was an excellent season: 13-5, 29 saves, 1.57 ERA in 143 IP, all in relief. Even in the fireman era, Kern's 1979 season stood out.

The next table shows the top 10 seasons by relief pitchers, sorted by pWins over replacement level (pWORL), earned as a relief pitcher.

Player Season Team pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
John Hiller1973DET12.25.17.18.9
Willie Hernandez1984DET9.83.16.47.7
John Smoltz2002ATL10.34.06.07.6
Dan Quisenberry1980KCA11.95.85.77.5
Jim Kern1979TEX12.46.65.67.4
Keith Foulke2000CHA9.12.96.17.4
Mariano Rivera1996NYA9.63.65.97.2
Rich Gossage1975CHA12.16.95.17.1
Blake Treinen2018OAK9.33.55.77.0
Edwin O. Diaz2018SEA9.13.35.77.0


At the time, Jim Kern's 1979 season was arguably the second-best season by a relief pitcher in major-league history. And it remains among the top five relief pitcher seasons 40 years later.

Elite Basestealers Passing in the Night

The 1979 season was the final season for St. Louis Cardinals great Lou Brock. Brock retired as the single-season and career record holders for stolen bases.

Unknown at the time, the 1979 season was also the first season for the player who would break both of those records: Rickey Henderson.

The next table compares the careers of Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Lou Brock Rickey Henderson
Age Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
20
 
8912.112.1-0.40.7
21
 
15826.620.54.76.9
22
40.10.5-0.4
-0.4
10818.013.43.95.6
23
12311.414.0-3.3
-1.9
14922.119.02.24.1
24
14817.716.7-0.8
0.9
14520.717.22.74.4
25
15422.419.11.4
3.5
14222.717.04.76.6
26
15522.019.50.8
2.9
14323.115.86.98.8
27
15622.320.20.7
2.6
15320.918.32.14.0
28
15924.820.32.6
4.9
9513.510.72.43.6
29
15925.919.24.6
6.9
14022.516.65.37.2
30
15723.919.82.7
5.0
15022.717.24.66.4
31
15520.622.1-3.9
-1.7
13623.914.58.810.5
32
15723.021.3-0.0
2.1
13419.515.14.05.6
33
15319.518.9-1.1
0.8
11617.912.15.56.9
34
16023.120.40.8
3.0
13419.216.32.34.1
35
15323.220.50.9
2.9
8711.39.02.13.1
36
13618.419.4-2.0
-0.3
11214.912.12.43.8
37
13315.716.8-2.3
-0.7
14815.713.90.72.1
38
14014.715.7-2.1
-0.5
12011.912.1-0.50.7
39
927.911.3-4.1
-3.2
15218.318.4-0.51.4
40
12010.812.8-2.8
-1.6
12114.714.0-0.01.3
41
 
12314.014.3-1.20.2
42
 
12313.512.30.21.5
43
 
726.46.1-0.00.6
44
 
301.92.0-0.3-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,614347.5328.6-8.2
25.0
3,080428.1350.262.6100.1


Article last updated: March 24, 2020

Wins over positional average and replacement level are calculated using data only for the 1979 season. Positional averages for starting pitching and relief pitching are calculated using single-year data for all starting pitchers and all relief pitchers.

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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