Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1984 Detroit Tigers

The 1984 Detroit Tigers are one of five teams in major-league history to spend every day of the regular season in first place and go on to win the World Series.

The first table below presents the 1984 Detroit Tigers, as measured by Player won-lost records. The players are sorted in this table by pWins over replacement level.

1984 Detroit Tigers
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Alan Trammell
138
20.015.13.3
4.8
18.115.91.93.3
Kirk Gibson
149
21.614.72.9
4.3
18.814.81.42.7
Lou Whitaker
143
19.515.22.6
3.9
17.816.11.32.6
Willie Hernandez
80
9.93.13.1
3.9
6.33.81.01.7
Dan Petry
35
14.311.01.9
3.0
12.711.60.81.8
Chet Lemon
141
18.214.91.4
2.7
17.415.30.82.0
Jack Morris
35
15.613.31.4
2.7
13.212.60.61.7
Lance Parrish
147
16.014.41.3
2.5
14.013.00.92.0
Milt Wilcox
33
11.510.01.0
1.9
10.99.70.81.7
Dave Bergman
120
9.06.41.1
1.8
7.76.80.30.9
Ruppert Jones
78
8.96.61.0
1.7
7.96.00.81.4
Tom Brookens
109
7.45.90.9
1.4
7.77.20.51.1
Juan Berenguer
31
9.99.20.5
1.4
9.39.40.10.9
Darrell Evans
131
10.99.90.3
1.3
10.59.40.41.3
Aurelio Lopez
71
6.04.50.5
1.2
6.05.5-0.00.7
Rusty Kuntz
79
5.74.20.6
1.0
4.94.9-0.10.3
Larry Herndon
125
11.911.20.1
1.0
12.212.3-0.30.7
Johnny Grubb
86
5.94.80.4
1.0
5.54.60.30.8
Howard Johnson
116
10.610.9-0.1
0.8
10.011.0-0.40.4
Barbaro Garbey
110
8.17.70.1
0.8
8.38.4-0.20.5
Dave Rozema
29
5.45.20.1
0.6
5.35.30.10.6
Doug Bair
47
3.63.20.0
0.4
4.04.0-0.20.3
Randy O'Neal
4
1.41.20.1
0.2
1.00.80.10.2
Nelson Simmons
9
0.80.50.1
0.2
0.90.70.10.1
Rod Allen
15
0.70.40.1
0.2
0.60.60.00.1
Bill Scherrer
18
0.70.60.0
0.1
0.80.60.10.1
Sid Monge
19
0.50.40.0
0.1
1.51.8-0.3-0.0
Roger Mason
5
1.01.1-0.1
0.0
1.01.1-0.00.1
Mike Laga
9
0.20.20.0
0.0
0.30.20.10.1
Doug Baker
43
3.13.8-0.2
0.0
2.83.8-0.4-0.1
Dwight Lowry
32
0.70.9-0.1
-0.0
1.11.10.00.1
Glenn Abbott
13
2.73.4-0.3
-0.1
2.33.4-0.5-0.2
Scott Earl
14
0.71.1-0.2
-0.1
0.71.2-0.2-0.1
Carl Willis
10
0.61.0-0.2
-0.1
0.70.8-0.10.0
Marty Castillo
70
3.03.9-0.4
-0.1
3.43.8-0.10.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
TOTAL (reg. season)
162
266.0220.023.6
44.5
245.7227.69.529.9


The greatness of the 1984 Detroit Tigers is, I believe, most evident in three ways: their lack of any obvious weakness, their historical start to the season, and the equally impressive end to their season.

1984 Detroit Tigers: Above Average at Everything
The next table shows the 1984 Detroit Tigers' (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) wins over positional average by position.

1984 Detroit Tigers
Player Won-Lost Records by Position
Position eWins eLosses eWOPA
Catcher15.014.70.7
First Base15.714.90.0
Second Base20.819.71.1
Third Base16.717.2-0.1
Shortstop21.220.21.7
Left Field19.018.1-0.0
Center Field21.418.91.0
Right Field21.817.91.3
Designated Hitter13.311.50.5
Starting Pitcher50.149.01.6
Relief Pitcher26.321.41.3
Pinch Hitter5.24.20.7
Pinch Runner0.10.00.0


The Tigers were essentially (but very slightly better than) average at first base: Dave Bergman (87 games) and Darrell Evans (44 games) were somewhat above average, but Barbaro Garbey was somewhat below average in his 60 games there. They were below average in pinch running (something they only did 34 times). They were above average at every other position.

In fact, if you add pinch hitting (at which the Tigers were very good: .306/.381/.477 in 224 PAs) and pinch running into a single category (call it "Pinch", I suppose), they were above average at everything.

And they were very good - at least 1 eWin above average - at 4 defensive positions: 2B (Lou Whitaker), SS (Alan Trammell), CF (Chet Lemon), and RF (Kirk Gibson), and both starting (Jack Morris, Dan Petry, and Milt Wilcox) and relief (Cy Young and MVP winner Willie Hernandez) pitching.

In an earlier article, I presented a table that shows every major-league team since 1939 which amassed non-negative (context-neutral) wins over positional average at all 8 non-pitcher fielding positions, DH, starting pitcher, and relief pitcher. That list is repeated here.

Team Season pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
St. Louis Cardinals263.5207.528.347.6
Baltimore Orioles271.0215.028.050.2
Cincinnati Reds270.0216.027.147.6
Cincinnati Reds264.0222.020.940.5
New York Yankees252.5212.520.139.7
New York Yankees259.0227.016.238.1
Los Angeles Dodgers257.0229.014.234.1
New York Yankees257.0229.014.336.4


It's a surprisingly short list and one that, of course, includes these Tigers.

Fast Start: 35-5
The 1984 Detroit Tigers are probably best remembered for the amazing record-setting start to their season. They won their first 9 games, lost one, won their next 7, lost one, won their next 3, lost two straight for the first time, but won their next 7, lost one, and then followed that with their fourth winning streak of at least 7 games, this one lasting 9 games, to run their season record through 40 games to an incredible 35-5.

The next table presents Player won-lost records for the 1984 Tigers through their first 40 games. The players are sorted in this table by pWins over replacement level.

1984 Detroit Tigers
First 40 Games
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Alan Trammell7.83.92.3
2.7
6.35.10.91.4
Jack Morris6.13.61.4
1.8
4.83.60.71.1
Kirk Gibson5.82.91.3
1.6
4.73.50.40.8
Lou Whitaker5.93.71.2
1.6
5.24.60.50.8
Chet Lemon6.03.51.2
1.5
5.74.40.61.0
Lance Parrish4.92.71.2
1.5
3.53.10.30.6
Milt Wilcox3.71.91.0
1.2
2.92.50.30.5
Darrell Evans3.92.30.8
1.1
3.22.70.20.5
Dan Petry4.22.80.7
1.0
3.43.00.30.5
Aurelio Lopez2.71.00.8
1.0
2.01.40.20.5
Willie Hernandez1.80.50.6
0.8
1.91.40.20.4
Larry Herndon4.03.10.4
0.6
3.74.2-0.30.0
Barbaro Garbey2.51.80.4
0.5
2.52.20.10.3
Rusty Kuntz1.70.80.4
0.5
1.31.10.10.2
Dave Bergman2.21.40.4
0.5
1.91.70.10.2
Doug Bair1.20.40.3
0.4
1.00.70.10.2
Johnny Grubb1.40.80.3
0.4
1.60.80.40.5
Howard Johnson1.71.40.2
0.3
1.51.50.00.2
Tom Brookens1.61.30.2
0.3
1.82.2-0.2-0.0
Juan Berenguer2.12.10.1
0.2
2.12.20.00.2
Dave Rozema1.10.80.1
0.2
0.91.1-0.1-0.0
Rod Allen0.70.40.1
0.2
0.60.6-0.00.1
Glenn Abbott0.90.70.1
0.2
1.01.00.00.1
Marty Castillo0.70.60.1
0.1
0.60.6-0.00.0
Dwight Lowry0.40.7-0.1
-0.1
0.60.7-0.00.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
TOTAL (first 40 games)75.045.015.2
20.4
64.855.44.910.1


The key to their strong start was essentially the general story that I just discussed: everybody was above average. And as I have explained elsewhere, if everybody on a team is a little bit above average, that team is likely to win a lot of games.

Even controlling for context, the only significant Tigers contributors in their first 40 games who were below positional average were LF Larry Herndon (.254/.320/.326 in 36 G, 154 PA), 3B Tom Brookens (.171/.224/.229 in 36 G, 80 PA), and pitcher Dave Rozema.

And even they helped contribute to the Tigers' early success. Herndon, for example, put the ball in play that scored the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning April 18th against KC (it was scored an error and Herndon didn't get credited with an RBI), and drove in the tying run in the bottom of the 7th on April 20th against Chicago in a game the Tigers subsequently won in the bottom of the ninth inning. Rozema pitched 6 shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the White Sox on April 21st and 2 perfect innings in relief against the Cleveland Indians on May 6th in a game the Tigers came back to tie at 5 with a 4-run 8th inning and win 6-5 in 12 innings (thanks, in part, to a successful sacrifice bunt by Tom Brookens).

The star of the Tigers' 35-5 start was shortstop Alan Trammell, who batted .340/.429/.528 over those 40 games while playing an excellent defensive shortstop. He had plenty of help, of course. Other key Tigers' contributors over these forty games included SP Jack Morris, RF Kirk Gibson, 2B Lou Whitaker, CF Chet Lemon, C Lance Parrish, and SP Milt Wilcox.

It was simply an awesome team-wide performance.

Fast Finish: 7-1 Postseason
After their 35-5 start, the Tigers understandably coasted through much of the season. From May 25th through September 14th, the Tigers went 58-49. That's a fine record, but it only works out to an 88-win pace over a 162-game schedule. Of course, when you have an 8.5-game lead before the season in one-quarter over, you can afford to coast a little bit.

The Tigers turned it back on, however, as the games began to matter again. They ended the season on an 11-4 run, extending their AL East lead from 10 games on September 14th to 15 games at season's end. Combining that 11-4 ending kick with their 35-5 opening, that was a combined 46-9 which works out to a 135.5-win pace over a 162-game season.

Then, just in case there was still some skepticism about the .875 winning percentage they opened the season with, they exactly matched it in the postseason, 7-1.

The next table shows the postseason performance of the members of the 1984 Detroit Tigers, as measured by Player won-lost records, sorted by pWins over replacement level.

1984 Detroit Tigers
Postseason
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Alan Trammell
8
1.90.70.7
0.8
1.61.00.40.5
Jack Morris
3
2.00.90.6
0.7
1.41.00.30.4
Kirk Gibson
8
1.70.70.5
0.6
1.60.80.30.4
Milt Wilcox
2
1.20.40.5
0.5
0.80.40.20.3
Larry Herndon
7
1.20.40.4
0.4
1.00.50.20.3
Marty Castillo
6
0.80.40.2
0.3
0.70.50.10.1
Aurelio Lopez
3
0.50.20.2
0.2
0.30.20.00.1
Willie Hernandez
6
0.60.20.2
0.2
0.40.30.00.1
Lou Whitaker
8
1.00.90.1
0.2
1.21.20.10.1
Chet Lemon
8
0.90.80.1
0.1
0.71.0-0.2-0.1
Johnny Grubb
4
0.30.10.1
0.1
0.20.20.00.0
Lance Parrish
8
0.70.7-0.0
0.0
1.00.80.10.2
Bill Scherrer
3
0.20.10.0
0.0
0.10.1-0.00.0
Darrell Evans
8
0.60.6-0.0
0.0
0.70.8-0.00.0
Doug Bair
1
0.00.00.0
0.0
0.00.00.00.0
Ruppert Jones
4
0.30.3-0.0
0.0
0.20.4-0.1-0.1
Tom Brookens
5
0.10.1-0.0
0.0
0.10.2-0.1-0.0
Doug Baker
1
0.00.00.0
0.0
0.00.00.00.0
Howard Johnson
1
0.00.0-0.0
-0.0
0.00.00.00.0
Dan Petry
3
0.81.0-0.1
-0.0
0.91.1-0.00.1
Dave Bergman
7
0.10.1-0.0
-0.0
0.10.1-0.0-0.0
Rusty Kuntz
3
0.10.1-0.0
-0.0
0.00.1-0.0-0.0
Barbaro Garbey
7
0.10.4-0.1
-0.1
0.10.5-0.2-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
TOTAL (postseason)
8
15.09.03.1
4.1
13.411.21.12.2


The top three postseason performers for the 1984 Tigers, as measured by pWins over replacement level, were also the top three Tigers in pWORL through the first 40 games of the regular season: Alan Trammell, Jack Morris, and Kirk Gibson, respectively.

Trammell and Gibson were the top two Tigers in total regular-season pWORL, so their position at the tops of these two lists makes sense. Jack Morris, on the other hand, is interesting.

Through the Tigers' first 40 games, Jack Morris was second on the team in pWins, pWOPA, and pWORL. He was also second on the Tigers in eWOPA and third in eWORL over this time period. Morris's postseason performance was also clearly the second best for the Tigers in context and one of, at worst, the top 5 Tigers' performances even controlling for context. But from regular-season game 41 through regular-season game 162, Jack Morris actually accumulated a slightly negative pWOPA - he was, very slightly, a below-average pitcher for three-quarters of 1984.

This is not some weird quirk of Player won-lost records, either. During the Tigers 35-5 start, Jack Morris started 11 games, pitched 91.1 innings, and had a traditional record of 9-1, 1.97 ERA (and pitched a no-hitter). During the Tigers' 11-4 finish to the regular season, Morris went 2-0, 1.42 ERA in 19 IP (3 starts). In the postseason, Jack Morris went 3-0, 1.80 in 25 innings.

In between, Jack Morris started 21 games, pitched 130 innings, and had a traditional record of 8-10, 5.05 ERA. In recent years, Jack Morris's Hall-of-Fame supporters frequently praised Morris's ability to win and to come up big when it mattered most. Setting aside the question of whether coasting through large sections of games or seasons is a praiseworthy accomplishment, this would seem to be evidence that this was, in fact, the case, at least in 1984.

Since pWins are tied directly to team wins, a ranking of teams by pWins would just amount to a ranking of teams by regular wins. And, for the postseason, this would be particularly unenlightening, since the number of possible postseason wins is set in advance.

Controlling for context, however, can perhaps provide some way of comparing playoff teams across seasons. The final table below shows the top 5 teams in postseason (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average during the divisional (pre-wild card) era, 1969 - 1993.

Top Postseason Performances
(1969 - 1993, ranked by eWOPA)
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Oakland Athletics
1989
17.010.03.5
4.6
15.112.01.52.6
Los Angeles Dodgers
1981
26.022.02.1
4.2
24.721.91.53.5
Kansas City Royals
1985
22.020.01.0
2.9
22.219.61.43.2
Baltimore Orioles
1970
15.09.03.0
4.1
13.911.51.22.3
Detroit Tigers
1984
15.09.03.1
4.1
13.411.21.12.2


Between the fantastic start, the impressive finish, and the lack of any obvious weakness, the 1984 Detroit Tigers were one of the greatest teams in major-league history.

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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