Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1984 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 1984 season: Tigers, Cubs, Padres, Sandberg, et al.

The Best of 1984

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
1Cal Ripken25.819.34.5
6.2
1Cal Ripken25.819.34.5
6.2
2Ryne Sandberg25.319.13.3
5.0
2Ryne Sandberg25.319.13.3
5.0
3Alan Trammell20.015.13.3
4.8
3Alan Trammell20.015.13.3
4.8
4Dwight Gooden16.411.63.2
4.3
4Eddie Murray22.214.83.2
4.6
5Eddie Murray22.214.83.2
4.6
5Dwight Gooden16.411.63.2
4.3
6Willie Hernandez9.93.13.1
3.9
6Kirk Gibson21.614.72.9
4.3
7Rick Sutcliffe16.411.73.0
4.1
7Tony Gwynn Sr.25.318.22.5
4.1
8Kirk Gibson21.614.72.9
4.3
8Rick Sutcliffe16.411.73.0
4.1
9Bert Blyleven14.39.22.7
3.8
9Lou Whitaker19.515.22.6
3.9
10Lou Whitaker19.515.22.6
3.9
10Willie Hernandez9.93.13.1
3.9


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
1Cal Ripken25.119.54.0
5.7
1Cal Ripken25.119.54.0
5.7
2Mike Schmidt21.816.12.7
4.1
2Mike Schmidt21.816.12.7
4.1
3Bert Blyleven15.010.52.5
3.6
3Ryne Sandberg23.719.22.4
4.1
4Gary Carter19.414.62.5
3.8
4Gary Carter19.414.62.5
3.8
5Ryne Sandberg23.719.22.4
4.1
5Robin Yount21.519.21.9
3.7
6Eddie Murray19.614.22.2
3.5
6Bert Blyleven15.010.52.5
3.6
7Rick Rhoden15.312.62.2
3.3
7Rickey Henderson21.916.72.1
3.6
8Dwight Gooden13.410.42.2
3.1
8Eddie Murray19.614.22.2
3.5
9Rickey Henderson21.916.72.1
3.6
9Dale Murphy23.618.61.9
3.5
10Doyle Alexander15.011.52.0
3.2
10Tim Raines Sr.24.119.21.8
3.4


The Detroit Tigers began the 1984 season 35-5. They ended the 1984 season with 104 regular-season victories and a 7-1 postseason. How good were the 1984 Detroit Tigers? They only had 4 of the top 10 players in pWins over positional average in the major leagues that season.

Orioles teammates Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray finished 1-2 in AL MVP voting in 1983 as the 1983 Orioles won 98 regular-season games and the World Series. Amazingly, both Ripken and Murray played better in 1984 than they had in 1983, as measured by either pWins or eWins over either positional average or replacement level. Unfortunately for Orioles fans (of which I was one at the time), virtually nobody else on the Orioles played as well in 1984 as in 1983 (with the exception of Mike Boddicker), the Orioles only won 85 games and Murray and Ripken finished 4th and 27th in AL MVP voting, respectively in 1984 (Boddicker edged out Ripken, placing 25th).

The National League, meanwhile, featured two breakout seasons in 1984 by young stars who led teams that improved by 25 and 22 games, respectively: Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs and Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets. The next table compares the careers of Ryne Sandberg, who would go on to be elected to the Hall of Fame 21 years later, and Dwight Gooden, whose career is widely viewed as having been a disappointment after his exceptional start.

Player won-lost records really, really like Dwight Gooden (so much so that I wrote an article about him), and, in fact, think that his career ended up matching up extremely well with that of (deserving) Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg.

Ryne Sandberg Dwight Gooden
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1981110.00.00.5240.0
0.0
198215618.219.10.487-0.9
0.6
198315819.520.70.485-0.5
1.0
198415625.319.10.5703.3
5.0
3116.411.60.5873.24.3
198515324.019.20.5562.3
3.9
3521.311.00.6596.17.6
198615419.518.50.5140.8
2.2
3316.312.40.5692.73.9
198713216.815.90.5130.6
1.9
2512.710.30.5531.93.0
198815520.418.60.5231.0
2.5
3414.912.90.5371.82.9
198915621.618.10.5451.6
3.0
198.07.70.5120.51.2
199015522.018.70.5401.6
3.1
3415.412.10.5602.53.7
199115823.117.10.5752.8
4.3
2712.910.90.5431.62.7
199215824.818.80.5682.8
4.5
3313.013.00.5020.92.1
199311713.213.70.491-0.2
0.9
3013.914.10.4950.51.7
1994576.97.10.493-0.1
0.5
73.03.70.446-0.20.1
1995
 
199615019.616.70.5391.7
3.2
2910.09.40.5130.51.6
199713512.713.70.480-0.4
0.6
207.17.00.5040.21.0
1998
 
237.36.90.5170.41.1
1999
 
265.86.30.479-0.10.5
2000
 
275.96.90.462-0.50.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,161287.6255.10.53016.6
37.2
433184.1156.00.54122.037.8


1984 Postseason

The 1984 National League Championship Series matched up a team making its first postseason appearance in its history against a team making its first postseason appearance in 39 years. Neither of them, nor the Kansas City Royals, making their sixth playoff appearance in nine years, could stop the juggernaut that was the 1984 Detroit Tigers.

The top players in the 1984 postseason, as measured by pWins over replacement level, are presented in the next table.

1984 Postseason: Total
pWins pLosses pWORL
Alan TrammellDET1.90.70.8
Jack MorrisDET2.00.90.7


Jack Morris took a lot of heat in the sabermetric community in recent years in Hall-of-Fame debates, but he was legitimately great in the 1984 postseason: 3-0, 25 IP, 2 CG, 1.80 ERA, 17 K, only 4 BB. Of course, his teammate, Alan Trammell was slightly better - in both the 1984 postseason and for his career.

Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1984 Postseason: World Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Alan TrammellDET1.20.40.5
Jack MorrisDET1.40.60.5
Kirk GibsonDET1.10.50.4

1984 Postseason: League Championship Series
pWins pLosses pWORL
Milt WilcoxDET0.80.10.4
Steve GarveySDN1.00.40.3
Garry TempletonSDN0.90.50.3
Alan TrammellDET0.70.20.3
Tony Gwynn Sr.SDN0.90.40.3
Steve TroutCHN0.70.40.2
Jack MorrisDET0.60.30.2
Tim FlannerySDN0.40.10.2
Kirk GibsonDET0.60.20.2
Ed WhitsonSDN0.60.30.2
Charlie LeibrandtKCA0.50.30.2
Darrell EvansDET0.40.10.2
Willie HernandezDET0.40.10.2


Best of 1984 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 1984 in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eddie Murray15.610.82.4
Mike Schmidt15.010.02.2
Dwight Evans16.812.42.2
Dale Murphy16.011.02.2

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Tim Raines Sr.2.91.60.6
Willie Wilson2.21.00.6
Rickey Henderson2.71.70.5
Mookie Wilson2.21.20.5
Bob Dernier2.51.50.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Bert Blyleven13.410.13.3
Dwight Gooden11.58.43.1
Willie Hernandez7.44.52.9
Doyle Alexander13.410.82.6
Dave Stieb14.111.62.5
Storm Davis11.28.82.3


Fielding, P
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Eric Show0.50.20.3
Craig McMurtry0.40.20.3


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tony Pena Sr.3.22.11.1


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Steve Garvey2.21.70.5
Keith Hernandez2.82.30.5


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Julio Cruz5.54.70.8


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gary Gaetti5.54.70.8
Mike Schmidt5.54.80.8


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Cal Ripken8.47.11.3


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Mickey Hatcher4.84.00.8


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Gary Pettis5.44.41.0


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses Net Wins
Tony Gwynn Sr.6.35.60.7
Jesse Barfield3.32.60.7
George Vukovich5.14.40.7


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1984 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
Gary Carter16.512.62.2


First Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Eddie Murray19.314.32.1


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Ryne Sandberg23.619.52.3


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Schmidt21.416.12.4


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Cal Ripken25.019.93.8


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Rickey Henderson21.416.52.0


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dale Murphy23.718.81.8


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Dwight Evans24.320.21.3


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Bert Blyleven13.510.21.9
Dwight Gooden11.78.51.8


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Willie Hernandez7.64.51.3


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 1984 in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of 1984, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Willie Hernandez9.93.10.7623.13.9
Dan Quisenberry9.94.70.6782.33.2
Lee Smith9.65.50.6391.82.7
Rich Gossage9.55.80.6201.72.5
Jesse Orosco9.15.40.6281.62.5


Based on Player won-lost records, Tigers relief pitcher Willie Hernandez probably didn't deserve the 1984 AL MVP award. Willie Hernandez did, however, have one of the top five seasons ever by a relief pitcher, as measured by Player wins over positional average, either in or out of context.

The next two tables show the top five seasons by relief pitchers in eWins and pWins over positional average, respectively, for all seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Player Season eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mark Eichhorn19869.35.61.5
Mariano Rivera19966.53.21.5
Eric Gagne20035.22.31.3
Rich Gossage19758.65.61.3
Willie Hernandez19847.64.51.3


Player Season Team pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
John Hiller1973DET12.25.20.7043.24.3
Willie Hernandez1984DET9.93.10.7623.13.9
Keith Foulke2000CHA9.12.80.7633.03.8
John Smoltz2002ATL10.03.90.7232.93.9
Dan Quisenberry1980KCA12.05.80.6742.84.0


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Mike Easler12.89.61.2
Cliff Johnson8.86.31.0


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
Rick Rhoden1.71.80.6
Tim Lollar1.61.50.6


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWOPA
Jerry Hairston Sr.1.71.20.3
Steve Braun1.71.20.3
Len Matuszek1.00.50.3
(Rogers) Bobby Brown1.00.50.3
Tito Landrum0.90.40.3


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWOPA
(Rogers) Bobby Brown0.20.00.1
Alan Wiggins0.20.00.1
Miguel Dilone0.10.00.1


Noteworthy Players of 1984

Finally, let's take a look at some players who had noteworthy 1984 seasons.

Notable Debuts
The 1984 season saw the major-league debut of one player who was subsequently elected to the Hall of Fame, Kirby Puckett, and one player who was subsequently elected to the Hall of Merit, Bret Saberhagen.

The next table compares the careers of Puckett and Saberhagen, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Bret Saberhagen Kirby Puckett
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1984388.17.50.5210.3
1.1
12814.916.80.471-1.10.1
19853215.98.50.6533.9
5.3
16121.822.30.494-0.51.1
1986309.69.30.5080.3
1.2
16121.219.70.5180.62.1
19873315.610.60.5962.8
4.2
15721.018.60.5311.02.6
19883514.314.50.4960.1
1.5
15824.819.00.5672.74.4
19893616.79.30.6413.9
5.1
15921.820.30.5170.82.3
1990207.66.80.5280.5
1.3
14619.017.80.5170.41.7
19912813.28.00.6232.7
3.8
15219.817.60.5291.02.5
1992176.26.20.4990.3
0.9
16021.518.80.5341.22.7
1993197.46.70.5270.7
1.3
15619.320.10.490-0.51.1
19942411.47.80.5942.3
3.2
10815.712.70.5541.22.4
1995258.28.50.4900.3
1.1
13715.715.60.503-0.31.0
1996
 
199760.91.90.323-0.5
-0.3
19983110.98.80.5521.3
2.3
1999227.94.90.6151.6
2.3
2000
 
200130.91.30.415-0.2
-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS399154.9120.60.56220.4
34.2
1,783236.7219.20.5196.424.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS
(common rows)
337134.3103.70.56418.1
29.9
1,783236.7219.20.5196.424.1


Puckett and Saberhagen make a nice statistical comparison and, I think, show the difference in the statistical rigor of the Hall of Merit as compared to the Hall of Fame.

Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1984 was the final season for two of the best players of the 1970s: Joe Morgan and Jim Palmer. Morgan's and Palmer's careers, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the final table of this article.

Joe L. Morgan Jim Palmer
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
196381.10.60.6710.3
0.4
1964101.11.50.420-0.2
-0.1
196515721.120.40.5080.7
2.3
284.04.60.466-0.30.2
196612216.314.10.5361.6
2.8
3014.313.60.5120.82.0
196713317.015.80.5180.8
2.2
92.53.10.447-0.20.0
1968101.00.70.5920.2
0.2
196914719.117.50.5221.0
2.6
2612.88.00.6132.93.8
197014420.217.80.5312.0
3.6
4020.615.30.5743.55.0
197116022.118.60.5432.0
3.6
3720.014.40.5823.75.1
197214925.816.00.6175.3
7.0
3619.013.60.5833.54.9
197315726.917.10.6125.0
6.9
3817.911.10.6173.65.0
197414823.816.80.5863.8
5.4
269.210.10.478-0.30.6
197514624.515.40.6144.6
6.2
3920.312.10.6274.35.8
197613923.314.30.6204.7
6.2
4019.313.40.5923.24.6
197715322.414.70.6034.2
5.7
3918.513.20.5832.94.5
197813216.913.40.5572.0
3.2
3817.613.20.5712.33.7
197912615.214.00.5200.7
1.9
238.66.00.5861.42.0
198014117.615.40.5341.4
2.7
3411.711.00.5170.51.5
19819012.09.30.5611.4
2.3
226.77.90.459-0.40.3
198213418.213.70.5702.4
3.6
3614.810.00.5982.73.8
198312316.612.90.5632.0
3.0
144.13.90.5100.10.5
198411612.012.20.4960.2
1.2
50.81.60.325-0.4-0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,645374.0292.30.56146.2
72.7
560242.7186.00.56633.653.3




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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