Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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1988 Season

The 1988 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records

This article takes a look at the 1988 season as measured by Player won-lost records.

The Best of 1988

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
1Darryl Strawberry26.716.29.1
11.2
1Darryl Strawberry26.716.29.1
11.2
2Jose Canseco25.716.87.9
10.0
2Jose Canseco25.716.87.9
10.0
3Orel Hershiser20.213.47.8
9.7
3Orel Hershiser20.213.47.8
9.7
4Alan Trammell20.914.96.9
8.6
4Mike Greenwell26.619.36.4
8.7
5Mike Greenwell26.619.36.4
8.7
5Alan Trammell20.914.96.9
8.6
6Eric Davis20.813.76.4
8.1
6Roger Clemens17.911.86.2
8.1
7Roger Clemens17.911.86.2
8.1
7Eric Davis20.813.76.4
8.1
8Dave Henderson20.814.56.0
7.7
8Frank Viola17.411.75.9
7.8
9Frank Viola17.411.75.9
7.8
9Dave Henderson20.814.56.0
7.7
10Danny Jackson18.213.45.8
7.6
10Danny Jackson18.213.45.8
7.6


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
1Roger Clemens18.311.47.0
8.8
1Roger Clemens18.311.47.0
8.8
2Darryl Strawberry25.217.76.1
8.2
2Darryl Strawberry25.217.76.1
8.2
3Kevin McReynolds23.617.15.4
7.4
3Mike Greenwell25.920.05.2
7.5
4Jose Canseco24.418.05.3
7.4
4Kevin McReynolds23.617.15.4
7.4
5Mike Greenwell25.920.05.2
7.5
5Jose Canseco24.418.05.3
7.4
6Mark Gubicza16.111.34.9
6.6
6Andy Van Slyke23.517.94.8
6.8
7Wade Boggs20.215.34.8
6.6
7Cal Ripken21.717.94.7
6.7
8Andy Van Slyke23.517.94.8
6.8
8Mark Gubicza16.111.34.9
6.6
9Cal Ripken21.717.94.7
6.7
9Wade Boggs20.215.34.8
6.6
10Will Clark20.914.84.7
6.5
10Orel Hershiser18.315.24.6
6.6


I take a look at some of the most interesting players of 1988 at the end of this article.

1988 Postseason

The 1988 postseason had a chance to produce a repeat of the classic 1986 postseason, but both the Boston Red Sox and New York Mets lost in their respective League Championship Series. The result was a World Series matchup between the 104-win Bash Brothers, in their first of three straight World Series appearances, and the 94-win Los Angeles Dodgers.

It was expected to be an A's rout. But then this happened and the Dodgers went on to win in five games.

The top performers of the 1988 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown in the next table.

1988 Postseason: Total
Player Team pWins pLosses pWORL
Kirk GibsonLAN1.80.71.2
Mickey HatcherLAN1.70.71.1
Orel HershiserLAN2.41.71.1
Steve SaxLAN1.81.10.8
Mike A. MarshallLAN1.71.00.7
Mike DavisLAN0.70.10.6
Ron HasseyOAK0.70.20.5
Gene NelsonOAK0.60.20.5
Dave HendersonOAK1.20.80.5
Dave StewartOAK1.61.40.5


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1988 World Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Kirk GibsonLAN0.80.00.8
Orel HershiserLAN1.30.50.8
Mickey HatcherLAN1.00.30.6
Mike DavisLAN0.70.10.6
Mike A. MarshallLAN0.60.20.4

1988 Postseason: League Championship Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Dave StewartOAK1.10.50.6
Dennis EckersleyOAK0.70.10.6
Dave HendersonOAK0.70.20.5
Steve SaxLAN1.10.60.5
Carney LansfordOAK0.70.30.4


Best of 1988 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 1988 in wins over positional average (WOPA) by factor were as follows.

Batting
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Darryl Strawberry17.110.9
5.8
1Darryl Strawberry18.19.97.8
2Jose Canseco16.411.0
5.3
2Mike Greenwell19.112.07.0
3Mike Greenwell17.913.1
4.8
3Jose Canseco17.210.26.9
4Will Clark16.711.6
4.7
4Eric Davis15.39.06.0
5Kevin McReynolds15.511.0
4.1
5Mark McGwire16.410.85.6
6George Brett15.611.6
4.0
6Will Clark17.111.15.6
7Dave Winfield14.510.5
4.0
7Dave Winfield15.010.05.0
8Andres Galarraga16.111.8
3.8
8Alan Trammell14.59.94.6
9Danny Tartabull14.510.7
3.8
9Rickey Henderson13.18.54.5
10Wade Boggs14.711.0
3.7
10Kevin McReynolds15.610.94.2
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Baserunning
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Rickey Henderson4.31.9
2.4
1Rickey Henderson4.12.02.1
2Vince Coleman3.12.0
1.0
2Kirk Gibson2.40.91.5
3Carney Lansford2.01.0
1.0
3Barry Larkin2.31.01.2
4Brett Butler3.12.0
1.0
4Steve Sax2.61.51.1
5Barry Larkin2.11.2
0.9
5Willie Wilson1.90.81.0
6Rex Hudler1.50.6
0.9
6Eric Davis1.70.71.0
7Willie Wilson1.80.9
0.9
7Carney Lansford1.91.00.9
8Paul Molitor2.41.6
0.8
8Rex Hudler1.50.60.9
9Gary Pettis2.01.2
0.8
9Paul Molitor2.41.60.8
10Ozzie Smith2.21.4
0.8
10Roberto Alomar1.91.00.8
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Pitching
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss Net eWins Player pWins pLoss Net pWins
1Roger Clemens17.212.1
5.2
1Orel Hershiser18.611.07.6
2Orel Hershiser16.712.9
3.8
2Roger Clemens17.711.76.0
3Mark Gubicza15.211.6
3.6
3Doug Jones9.43.55.9
4Teddy Higuera13.510.0
3.5
4Frank Viola17.211.55.7
5Doug Jones8.24.7
3.4
5Greg Maddux15.210.34.9
6Greg Swindell14.911.8
3.1
6Danny Jackson16.011.34.7
7Frank Viola15.812.9
2.9
7Mark Gubicza15.711.14.7
8Danny Jackson15.012.3
2.7
8Teddy Higuera14.09.54.4
9Tim Belcher9.97.3
2.6
9David Cone13.08.94.1
10Jose Rijo8.66.4
2.1
10Bruce Hurst13.19.43.7


Fielding by Position


Fielding, P
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Atlee Hammaker0.50.1
0.3
1Bert Blyleven0.70.20.4
2Pascual Perez0.60.2
0.3
2Pascual Perez0.60.20.4
3Jesse Orosco0.40.1
0.3
3Kevin Gross0.60.20.4
4Roger McDowell0.40.1
0.2
4Mike Maddux0.50.20.3
5Frank Tanana0.40.2
0.2
5Frank Tanana0.50.20.3


Fielding, C
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Tony Pena Sr.2.82.3
0.5
1Tony Pena Sr.2.92.20.8
2Damon Berryhill1.81.4
0.5
2Benito Santiago2.21.50.7
3Bob Boone1.71.3
0.4
3Damon Berryhill1.91.30.6
4Jeff Reed1.61.2
0.4
4Mike Scioscia2.31.70.6
5Bruce Benedict1.61.2
0.4
5Jeff Reed1.61.20.4


Fielding, 1B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Greg Brock2.11.4
0.7
1Sid Bream2.61.70.9
2Sid Bream2.51.8
0.7
2Mark McGwire2.31.60.7
3Fred McGriff2.62.1
0.5
3Greg Brock2.01.50.6
4Pete M. O'Brien3.02.6
0.4
4Pete M. O'Brien3.12.50.6
5Glenn Davis2.62.2
0.4
5Don Mattingly2.41.80.5


Fielding, 2B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Bill D. Doran4.93.9
1.0
1Willie Randolph4.93.41.5
2Willie Randolph4.63.7
0.8
2Bill D. Doran5.03.81.2
3Jose Lind6.25.4
0.8
3Jeff Treadway3.52.41.1
4Frank White5.44.7
0.7
4Jose Lind6.35.30.9
5Tim Teufel2.72.2
0.5
5Tim Teufel2.92.00.9


Fielding, 3B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Tim Wallach5.03.6
1.4
1Chris Sabo5.53.91.6
2Chris Sabo5.34.2
1.1
2Tim Wallach4.93.61.3
3Kelly Gruber5.44.7
0.7
3Terry Pendleton3.83.00.9
4Rene Gonzales2.51.9
0.6
4Kelly Gruber5.44.70.7
5Terry Pendleton3.73.1
0.6
5Paul Molitor3.42.70.7


Fielding, SS
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Ozzie Smith7.15.6
1.5
1Ozzie Smith7.35.42.0
2Ozzie Guillen7.36.5
0.8
2Walt Weiss5.94.51.4
3Alan Trammell5.04.3
0.7
3Alan Trammell5.24.11.0
4Scott Fletcher5.14.5
0.6
4Dick Schofield Jr.6.35.31.0
5Rey Quinones5.14.5
0.6
5Tony Fernandez6.75.90.8


Fielding, LF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Dan Gladden5.84.5
1.4
1Dan Gladden6.33.92.4
2Kevin McReynolds6.55.4
1.1
2Barry Bonds6.95.01.9
3Vince Coleman6.15.4
0.7
3Luis Polonia3.62.11.5
4Stan Javier2.01.3
0.7
4Kevin McReynolds6.55.41.1
5Luis Polonia3.12.6
0.6
5Stan Javier2.11.21.0


Fielding, CF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Dave Henderson5.84.5
1.3
1Dave Henderson6.63.82.8
2Andy Van Slyke7.05.8
1.2
2Kirby Puckett7.75.62.1
3Robin Yount6.65.6
0.9
3Andy Van Slyke7.55.32.1
4Devon White5.14.3
0.8
4Robin Yount7.15.12.0
5Kirby Puckett7.06.4
0.7
5Herm Winningham2.30.91.4


Fielding, RF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Dale Murphy7.86.1
1.7
1Jose Canseco7.05.12.0
2Jesse Barfield5.84.8
1.0
2Darryl Strawberry7.05.02.0
3Ruben Sierra7.26.4
0.8
3Kevin Bass6.05.01.0
4Paul O'Neill4.13.4
0.7
4Jesse Barfield5.74.80.9
5Cory Snyder7.06.3
0.7
5Paul O'Neill4.23.30.9


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1988 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
1Carlton Fisk8.06.2
2.2
1Ron Hassey8.66.22.8
2Ernie Whitt10.89.8
1.7
2Ernie Whitt11.49.22.8
3Tony Pena Sr.14.013.2
1.3
3Mike LaValliere10.28.61.9
4Matt Nokes9.48.9
1.1
4Terry Steinbach7.56.41.6
5Bob Boone8.88.5
0.9
5Matt Nokes9.68.81.4


First Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Will Clark20.814.7
4.6
1Will Clark21.414.15.9
2Fred McGriff16.312.5
3.0
2Mark McGwire18.813.24.8
3Andres Galarraga20.216.1
2.5
3Andres Galarraga20.615.63.4
4Glenn Davis18.814.8
2.5
4Fred McGriff16.112.72.5
5George Brett15.012.1
2.1
5Keith Hernandez11.48.42.2


Second Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Lou Whitaker13.111.6
2.0
1Roberto Alomar20.117.13.3
2Bill D. Doran16.414.7
1.9
2Bill D. Doran16.914.23.0
3Ryne Sandberg20.018.6
1.7
3Lou Whitaker13.211.52.2
4Roberto Alomar19.218.0
1.5
4Wally Backman10.58.52.1
5Jose Lind18.817.8
1.3
5Jose Oquendo7.96.21.8


Third Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Wade Boggs19.515.5
4.1
1Wade Boggs19.515.44.2
2Bobby Bonilla22.418.3
3.7
2Paul Molitor15.511.63.9
3Gary Gaetti15.011.9
3.1
3Gary Gaetti15.211.73.6
4Paul Molitor14.812.4
2.5
4Bobby Bonilla22.018.82.8
5Kelly Gruber17.816.3
1.5
5Carney Lansford16.814.42.5


Shortstop
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Cal Ripken21.518.2
4.3
1Alan Trammell20.314.96.4
2Alan Trammell19.116.1
3.9
2Ozzie Smith22.317.55.3
3Ozzie Smith21.518.2
3.9
3Barry Larkin22.719.14.2
4Barry Larkin21.919.9
2.6
4Kevin Elster14.112.12.4
5Tony Fernandez21.120.7
1.6
5Tony Fernandez21.420.32.3


Left Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Kevin McReynolds23.117.2
4.8
1Mike Greenwell24.218.26.4
2Mike Greenwell23.018.2
4.1
2Barry Bonds21.416.25.2
3Rickey Henderson21.116.8
3.7
3Rickey Henderson21.816.85.1
4Barry Bonds20.516.2
3.3
4Kevin McReynolds23.117.24.9
5Kirk Gibson21.217.0
3.1
5Kirk Gibson21.917.04.6


Center Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Andy Van Slyke23.418.0
4.6
1Eric Davis19.812.86.4
2Kirby Puckett23.919.5
4.0
2Dave Henderson20.414.35.7
3Dave Henderson19.415.3
3.8
3Andy Van Slyke23.817.55.5
4Eric Davis18.314.2
3.4
4Kirby Puckett24.618.85.4
5Brett Butler22.518.3
3.4
5Robin Yount23.319.33.6


Right Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Darryl Strawberry24.817.9
5.3
1Darryl Strawberry26.616.09.2
2Jose Canseco23.217.2
4.9
2Jose Canseco24.416.07.5
3Dave Winfield20.617.3
2.3
3Dave Winfield21.216.73.5
4Danny Tartabull19.916.6
2.3
4Chet Lemon19.616.12.4
5Cory Snyder19.617.0
1.7
5Andre Dawson22.018.32.2


Starting Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Roger Clemens17.512.2
5.5
1Orel Hershiser19.011.67.6
2Mark Gubicza15.511.8
3.8
2Roger Clemens17.911.86.2
3Orel Hershiser17.213.5
3.8
3Frank Viola17.411.75.9
4Teddy Higuera13.810.2
3.7
4Danny Jackson16.611.75.1
5Greg Swindell15.212.1
3.2
5Greg Maddux15.810.85.1
6Frank Viola16.013.1
3.1
6Mark Gubicza16.111.34.9
7Danny Jackson15.612.7
2.9
7Teddy Higuera14.39.74.7
8Tim Belcher9.36.8
2.6
8David Cone12.78.74.1
9Mike Moore13.611.3
2.4
9Bruce Hurst13.49.73.8
10Scott Bankhead8.46.3
2.2
10Tim Leary14.410.93.6


Relief Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Doug Jones8.55.2
3.1
1Doug Jones9.64.15.4
2John Franco6.94.9
1.9
2Dennis Eckersley6.83.53.2
3Mark W. Davis8.66.5
1.9
3Mark W. Davis9.15.93.0
4Dennis Eckersley6.14.2
1.8
4Bryan Harvey6.63.62.8
5Jay Howell5.23.5
1.6
5Steve Bedrosian7.34.42.8
6Dan Plesac5.03.5
1.4
6Jay Howell5.83.02.7
7Alejandro Pena5.84.4
1.3
7John Franco7.24.52.5
8Mike R. Jackson6.04.9
1.0
8Duane Ward7.34.82.3
9Bryan Harvey5.64.5
1.0
9Mike Henneman7.45.12.2
10Greg Minton4.13.0
1.0
10Alejandro Pena6.34.02.2


Designated Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Eddie Murray6.64.3
2.1
1Rance Mulliniks8.75.43.1
2Rance Mulliniks8.15.9
1.9
2Jack Clark10.78.02.4
3Brian Downing12.810.5
1.9
3Brian Downing12.910.42.1


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
1David Palmer1.11.0
0.6
1Danny Jackson1.51.70.7
2Dennis Rasmussen1.21.5
0.5
2Scott Terry1.00.80.6
3Sid Fernandez1.21.4
0.5
3Greg Maddux1.41.70.6


Pinch Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Wallace Johnson2.41.8
0.9
1Larry Sheets1.40.31.2
2Larry Sheets1.10.6
0.6
2Ernest Riles1.10.40.7
3John Kruk0.90.4
0.6
3John Kruk1.00.30.7


Pinch Runner
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Mark Davidson0.40.1
0.3
1Mark Davidson0.40.20.3
2Daryl Boston0.30.0
0.2
2Daryl Boston0.20.10.2
3Donell Nixon0.40.2
0.2
3Bob Brower0.30.10.2


Noteworthy Players of 1988

Measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level, the top three players in major-league baseball in 1988 were AL MVP Award winner Jose Canseco, NL Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser, and Darryl Strawberry.

I take a closer look at these three players next.

Orel Hershiser
Orel Hershiser closed the 1988 regular season with 59 consecutive scoreless innings, breaking the record for consecutive scoreless innings that had been set by Don Drysdale in "The Year of the Pitcher", 1968.

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

Orel Hershiser
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1983LAN24
8
0.50.30.2
0.2
0.40.4-0.1-0.0
1984LAN25
45
10.88.13.3
4.4
10.18.81.93.0
1985LAN26
37
13.710.54.0
5.4
13.610.54.15.5
1986LAN27
37
15.515.31.2
2.9
16.114.82.34.0
1987LAN28
40
16.515.32.6
4.3
17.014.73.75.4
1988LAN29
36
20.213.47.8
9.7
18.315.24.66.6
1989LAN30
35
14.614.31.3
3.0
16.012.84.46.1
1990LAN31
4
1.41.7-0.2
-0.0
1.51.50.10.3
1991LAN32
21
7.04.33.0
3.6
6.54.82.12.8
1992LAN33
35
12.012.9-0.1
1.4
12.312.60.62.2
1993LAN34
33
13.613.71.0
2.5
14.412.92.53.9
1994LAN35
21
7.79.0-0.9
0.2
7.29.4-1.7-0.7
1995CLE36
26
9.88.31.5
2.8
9.88.41.42.7
1996CLE37
33
14.010.43.7
5.3
13.211.22.23.9
1997CLE38
32
10.810.80.2
1.6
10.511.1-0.51.0
1998SFN39
34
12.612.50.9
2.5
11.913.3-0.51.1
1999NYN40
32
11.512.6-0.1
1.3
11.512.60.11.4
2000LAN41
10
1.43.7-2.3
-1.9
1.63.5-1.7-1.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
519
193.4177.227.0
49.3
192.1178.525.647.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
22
7.66.3 2.57.76.1 2.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
541
201.0183.4
51.8
199.8184.6 50.6


Orel Hershiser's career numbers end up probably just a tick below Hall-of-Fame caliber, perhaps more inner-circle "Hall of Very Good". The top 10 players most similar to Orel Hershiser in career value, as measured by Player won-lost records, are shown in the next table.

Most Similar Players to Orel Hershiser in Value
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Pitching Fielding
Orel Hershiser
519
193.4177.227.0
49.3
-6.1-0.517.00.1
Cole Hamels
429
171.7153.829.3
49.4
-7.2-0.417.21.0
Rick Reuschel
579
218.4206.724.9
49.0
-11.3-0.318.00.6
Mark Buehrle
518
195.0175.923.7
48.0
-2.0-0.017.71.2
Curt Simmons
609
205.9198.517.3
42.5
-11.0-0.115.90.6
David Wells
660
206.7179.830.8
56.9
-2.1-0.317.40.3
Dwight Gooden
434
183.1156.336.6
56.7
-5.8-0.215.30.7
Steve Rogers
406
170.1160.620.2
38.7
-10.6-0.419.30.3
David Cone
451
183.6154.035.6
56.9
-4.1-0.218.40.8
Felix Hernandez
419
166.0146.822.9
43.3
-0.3-0.017.00.5
Dave Stieb
454
170.6150.022.8
42.9
-0.0-0.019.82.2


No Hall-of-Famers on the list, but three players in Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit (Reuschel, Cone, and Stieb).
Jose Canseco
Jose Canseco burst onto the scene in 1986, winning the American League Rookie-of-the-Year award. In 1988, at the age of 23, he became the first player in major-league history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in the same season. He led the American League in home runs, RBI, and slugging percentage and was unanimously elected American League Most Valuable Player.

The future looked unlimited. Instead, he never had another season as good as 1988.

Darryl Strawberry
Darryl Strawberry's career trajectory to that point was similar. He was the first player taken in the 1980 draft. He burst onto the scene in 1983, when he was elected National League Rookie-of-the-Year. By 1986, at age 24, Strawberry was the best player on a World Championship team. And in 1988, Strawberry, like Canseco, had his best season, leading his league in home runs and slugging percentage.

Unfortunately, the rest of Strawberry's career also played out much like Canseco's, and both players ended up being remembered more for the unfulfilled potential than for the genuine greatness they flashed early.

Jose Canseco's and Darryl Strawberry's career records, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Jose Canseco Darryl Strawberry
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
1983
 
12217.114.61.93.4
1984
 
14721.316.43.45.1
1985293.22.80.3
0.5
11118.211.95.77.1
198615720.519.30.4
2.3
13620.614.15.57.2
198715921.918.72.5
4.4
15424.217.05.97.8
198815825.716.87.9
10.0
15326.716.29.111.2
19896510.56.93.4
4.2
13419.215.13.24.8
199013119.612.76.6
8.1
15221.116.63.55.2
199115421.415.74.9
6.7
13919.014.63.24.7
199211914.611.72.6
3.9
435.45.10.10.6
1993606.77.4-0.9
-0.2
323.33.5-0.4-0.0
199411111.98.82.5
4.0
293.12.30.60.9
199510210.47.22.5
3.8
323.42.01.21.5
1996968.48.7-0.9
0.2
636.45.50.51.2
199710710.011.3-1.8
-0.6
110.30.9-0.6-0.5
199815117.714.32.6
4.5
1019.56.13.04.1
19991139.79.6-0.6
0.7
241.31.10.20.4
2000987.67.3-0.0
1.0
2001765.96.1-0.4
0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,886225.6185.331.5
54.0
1,583219.9163.146.064.3


Notable Debuts
The 1988 season saw the major-league debut of four players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: two second basemen and two pitchers.

The next table compares the career records of Roberto Alomar and Craig Biggio, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Roberto Alomar Craig Biggio
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
198814320.117.13.3
5.1
502.83.3-0.4-0.1
198915821.820.01.6
3.5
13413.712.12.33.5
199014719.219.20.0
1.7
15016.616.7-0.21.3
199116123.421.22.2
4.2
14914.314.11.02.3
199215223.017.75.6
7.5
16221.420.40.82.7
199315323.317.56.3
8.3
15521.319.02.54.5
199410712.812.90.3
1.6
11416.912.84.35.8
199513015.116.4-0.5
1.0
14122.417.05.77.7
199615321.616.36.2
8.0
16222.419.63.55.5
199711015.313.12.8
4.1
16223.918.65.77.7
199814717.419.2-1.2
0.7
16025.018.07.29.4
199915922.716.46.7
8.6
16022.820.72.14.2
200015519.318.11.9
3.7
10111.311.7-0.20.8
200115721.516.55.5
7.5
15521.016.64.46.4
200214916.618.3-1.2
0.6
14517.117.40.11.9
200314014.817.4-2.3
-0.7
15318.317.90.11.9
2004564.35.7-1.3
-0.7
15617.819.2-2.4-0.6
2005
 
15520.317.52.74.3
2006
 
14515.416.8-1.10.4
2007
 
14112.816.1-3.4-2.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,377312.1282.936.0
64.8
2,850357.6325.534.567.4


The next table compares the career records of Randy Johnson and John Smoltz.

Randy Johnson John Smoltz
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
198841.71.30.5
0.7
124.46.4-1.8-1.2
1989299.210.3-0.8
0.4
3314.312.72.54.1
19903313.912.51.5
3.2
3814.615.60.11.9
19913314.013.40.8
2.5
3814.513.51.93.6
19923114.315.6-1.3
0.7
3617.016.11.83.9
19933617.011.35.7
7.5
3515.314.61.63.3
19942311.28.42.8
4.2
218.99.6-0.30.9
19953016.47.49.1
10.7
2911.710.81.53.0
1996143.92.61.4
1.9
3518.111.87.39.1
19973016.18.47.8
9.4
3616.414.92.54.4
19983418.014.93.6
5.8
2613.17.76.17.3
19993518.413.36.5
8.3
2913.410.83.34.7
20003518.513.46.2
8.1
20013519.012.57.8
9.8
364.32.41.92.5
20023519.010.59.6
11.5
7510.34.06.07.6
2003187.57.60.4
1.3
625.62.43.13.9
20043515.212.64.0
5.6
737.83.54.05.2
20053413.111.02.4
4.0
3313.511.82.64.2
20063311.611.40.5
2.0
3515.313.63.04.7
2007103.53.50.4
0.8
3212.910.93.14.6
20083011.511.50.9
2.3
62.42.00.60.9
2009226.87.5-0.2
0.7
154.96.5-1.4-0.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS619279.9221.069.5
101.4
735238.9201.849.777.9


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1988 was the final season for two 300-game winners who have subsequently been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The career records of Steve Carlton and Don Sutton, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the final table of this article.

Steve Carlton Don Sutton
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
1965150.90.9-0.0
0.1
196693.23.20.2
0.6
3814.212.02.94.5
19673013.111.02.6
4.0
4313.114.4-0.61.0
19683514.314.10.8
2.3
3611.912.10.51.8
19693216.115.11.8
3.7
4117.818.60.22.4
19703416.017.7-1.0
0.9
4015.617.4-0.90.9
19713718.616.13.2
5.2
3917.213.14.86.5
19724125.014.911.0
13.4
3317.913.55.17.0
19734018.521.6-2.0
0.3
3319.914.36.68.5
19743918.116.12.9
4.7
4017.515.33.14.8
19753716.316.21.0
2.8
3516.114.82.54.2
19763517.012.65.3
6.9
3517.514.73.75.4
19773620.315.65.7
7.8
3314.613.22.23.9
19783415.515.40.9
2.6
3413.514.10.31.8
19793616.815.03.0
4.7
3312.214.1-0.90.6
19803819.813.27.8
9.6
3213.010.73.24.5
19812411.48.33.7
4.9
239.58.12.23.3
19823821.515.57.5
9.5
3415.214.02.13.7
19833717.516.92.0
3.9
3111.011.6-0.40.9
19843412.912.02.0
3.3
3311.511.60.01.4
1985164.76.9-1.7
-1.1
3412.611.11.73.2
19863210.313.9-3.1
-1.7
3411.811.20.72.2
1987327.612.3-4.7
-3.4
3510.111.3-1.00.3
198840.51.5-1.0
-0.9
164.96.3-1.1-0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS745335.8305.947.8
83.8
785318.8297.536.872.3


Article last updated: January 12, 2020

Wins over positional average and replacement level are calculated using data only for the 1988 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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