Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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1989 Season

The 1989 Season as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records

This article takes a look at the 1989 season as measured by Player won-lost records.

The Best of 1989

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
1Kevin Mitchell27.117.18.6
10.7
1Kevin Mitchell27.117.18.6
10.7
2Bret Saberhagen16.69.37.6
9.3
2Bret Saberhagen16.69.37.6
9.3
3Will Clark23.113.97.2
8.9
3Will Clark23.113.97.2
8.9
4Howard Johnson20.414.85.3
7.0
4Howard Johnson20.414.85.3
7.0
5Mark W. Davis10.75.15.1
6.5
5Nolan Ryan16.111.64.9
6.7
6Nolan Ryan16.111.64.9
6.7
6Mark W. Davis10.75.15.1
6.5
7Tony Fernandez20.517.04.7
6.4
7Rickey Henderson22.717.24.6
6.4
8Bert Blyleven13.79.44.6
6.1
8Ruben Sierra25.320.34.3
6.4
9Fred McGriff19.413.44.6
6.1
9Tony Fernandez20.517.04.7
6.4
10Rickey Henderson22.717.24.6
6.4
10Cal Ripken22.419.64.3
6.2


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
1Kevin Mitchell26.417.97.3
9.4
1Kevin Mitchell26.417.97.3
9.4
2Will Clark22.614.36.3
7.9
2Will Clark22.614.36.3
7.9
3Bret Saberhagen15.810.25.9
7.6
3Bret Saberhagen15.810.25.9
7.6
4Howard Johnson20.614.65.9
7.5
4Howard Johnson20.614.65.9
7.5
5Lonnie Smith21.515.54.6
6.3
5Robin Yount22.518.04.5
6.4
6Robin Yount22.518.04.5
6.4
6Ruben Sierra25.320.44.3
6.4
7Orel Hershiser16.012.84.4
6.1
7Lonnie Smith21.515.54.6
6.3
8Ruben Sierra25.320.44.3
6.4
8Orel Hershiser16.012.84.4
6.1
9Mark Gubicza15.211.54.0
5.8
9Mark Gubicza15.211.54.0
5.8
10Lou Whitaker19.615.94.0
5.6
10Rickey Henderson22.317.63.9
5.7


I take a look at some of the most interesting players of 1989 at the end of this article.

1989 Postseason

The 1989 postseason featured a relatively fresh batch of teams in Toronto, San Francisco and Chicago. But, at the end of it all, the repeat playoff team from 1988 won it all, the Oakland A's, who defeated their cross-bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants in four games after a 10-day delay because of a major earthquake.

The best players of the 1989 postseason, as measured by Player won-lost records, are presented below.

1989 Postseason: Total
Player Team pWins pLosses pWORL
Rickey HendersonNYA2.30.61.7
Mike MooreOAK1.90.51.6
Dave StewartOAK2.31.31.3
Dave HendersonOAK1.80.71.2
Will ClarkSFN1.80.81.1
Matt D. WilliamsSFN1.40.80.7
Dennis EckersleyOAK0.70.20.5
Kevin MitchellSFN1.40.90.5
Terry SteinbachOAK0.90.50.5
Mark GraceCHN0.80.40.5


Top postseason players by round were as follows.

1989 World Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Mike MooreOAK1.40.31.0
Dave HendersonOAK1.00.20.8
Rickey HendersonNYA1.00.20.7
Terry SteinbachOAK0.70.20.5
Dave StewartOAK1.10.70.4

1989 Postseason: League Championship Series
Player Team pWins pLosses Net Wins
Will ClarkSFN1.70.21.5
Rickey HendersonNYA1.30.40.9
Matt D. WilliamsSFN1.10.30.8
Dave StewartOAK1.10.60.6
Kevin MitchellSFN1.00.50.5


Best of 1989 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 1989 in wins over positional average (WOPA) by factor were as follows.

Batting
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Kevin Mitchell19.111.3
7.4
1Kevin Mitchell19.810.68.9
2Will Clark17.511.1
6.0
2Will Clark18.310.37.6
3Howard Johnson15.19.7
5.0
3Fred McGriff16.09.76.3
4Lonnie Smith13.78.7
4.7
4Howard Johnson15.19.75.0
5Fred McGriff15.110.6
4.5
5Robin Yount15.911.04.9
6Jack Clark14.49.9
4.2
6Eric Davis14.89.64.8
7Robin Yount15.511.3
4.2
7Pedro Guerrero16.611.64.6
8Ruben Sierra17.413.3
4.1
8Ruben Sierra17.613.14.5
9Eric Davis14.310.1
3.9
9Glenn Davis15.210.44.4
10Pedro Guerrero16.212.0
3.8
10Jack Clark14.59.84.3
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Baserunning
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss eWOPA Player pWins pLoss pWOPA
1Vince Coleman2.81.7
1.0
1Devon White2.11.01.0
2Devon White2.11.1
1.0
2Mookie Wilson1.60.61.0
3Mookie Wilson1.50.7
0.8
3Roberto Alomar2.61.70.9
4Howard Johnson1.91.1
0.7
4Willie Wilson1.50.60.8
5Willie Wilson1.40.7
0.7
5Bip Roberts1.71.00.7
6Juan Samuel1.91.2
0.7
6Howard Johnson1.91.10.7
7Bip Roberts1.71.0
0.6
7Rickey Henderson2.82.10.7
8Robby Thompson1.40.8
0.5
8Steve Finley0.90.20.7
9Bill D. Doran1.40.8
0.5
9Juan Samuel1.91.20.7
10Robin Yount1.51.0
0.5
10Vince Coleman2.61.90.7
Positional Average excludes pitcher offense
Pitching
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLoss Net eWins Player pWins pLoss Net pWins
1Bret Saberhagen14.910.2
4.6
1Bret Saberhagen16.28.97.3
2Mark Gubicza14.411.3
3.0
2Mark W. Davis10.34.85.4
3Orel Hershiser14.011.2
2.9
3Nolan Ryan16.011.44.6
4Nolan Ryan15.012.4
2.6
4Bert Blyleven13.49.24.2
5Bruce Hurst13.310.7
2.6
5Mike Bielecki13.29.43.9
6Roger Clemens14.612.2
2.4
6Mark Gubicza14.711.03.7
7Doug Jones8.15.7
2.4
7Joe Magrane13.910.23.7
8Mike Moore15.312.9
2.3
8Jay Howell6.93.23.7
9Tom Henke6.34.2
2.2
9Jim Deshaies14.310.83.6
10Jeff Montgomery5.83.7
2.1
10Dennis Eckersley5.31.93.3


Fielding by Position


Fielding, P
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Kirk McCaskill0.50.3
0.3
1Kirk McCaskill0.60.20.4
2Zane Smith0.50.3
0.2
2Bill Landrum0.30.00.2
3Bill Landrum0.30.0
0.2
3Jimmy Key0.40.20.2
4Jeff Russell0.30.0
0.2
4Dennis Martinez0.40.10.2
5Jimmy Key0.40.2
0.2
5Tom Browning0.40.10.2


Fielding, C
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Bob Boone2.11.4
0.6
1Bob Boone2.21.30.8
2Mike Heath1.61.1
0.5
2Mike Heath1.71.10.6
3Bruce Benedict1.20.8
0.5
3Nelson Santovenia1.91.40.6
4Nelson Santovenia1.91.4
0.4
4Bruce Benedict1.30.70.5
5Terry Kennedy1.51.2
0.3
5Terry Kennedy1.61.10.5


Fielding, 1B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Will Clark3.32.3
1.0
1Mark Grace3.52.60.8
2Mark McGwire2.41.9
0.5
2Will Clark3.22.40.8
3Wally Joyner2.72.3
0.4
3Mark McGwire2.42.00.4
4Pete M. O'Brien2.82.4
0.4
4Wally Joyner2.72.30.4
5Rafael Palmeiro2.72.3
0.4
5Rafael Palmeiro2.72.40.4


Fielding, 2B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Robby Thompson5.54.5
1.0
1Robby Thompson5.64.31.3
2Willie Randolph5.24.4
0.8
2Jose Oquendo6.35.21.0
3Johnny Ray5.44.7
0.7
3Johnny Ray5.64.61.0
4Billy Ripken4.03.5
0.5
4Billy Ripken4.23.30.9
5Tony Phillips3.02.6
0.4
5Tony Phillips3.22.30.9


Fielding, 3B
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Terry Pendleton6.35.2
1.2
1Jack Howell5.54.01.5
2Jack Howell5.24.3
0.9
2Terry Pendleton6.55.01.5
3Gary Gaetti4.33.6
0.7
3Ken Caminiti5.54.21.3
4Ken Caminiti5.24.5
0.7
4Kelly Gruber4.83.61.2
5Wade Boggs3.83.2
0.6
5Tim Wallach4.83.91.0


Fielding, SS
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Tony Fernandez6.85.6
1.2
1Tony Fernandez7.35.02.3
2Jose Uribe6.04.9
1.1
2Cal Ripken7.65.61.9
3Felix Fermin7.36.2
1.1
3Jose Uribe6.44.61.8
4Alan Trammell5.04.2
0.8
4Ozzie Smith6.55.31.2
5Ozzie Smith6.35.5
0.8
5Dick Schofield Jr.3.72.90.9


Fielding, LF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Rickey Henderson6.25.1
1.1
1Rickey Henderson6.45.01.4
2Kevin McReynolds6.85.9
0.9
2Kevin McReynolds6.95.71.2
3Barry Bonds7.46.7
0.7
3Barry Bonds7.66.51.1
4Mike Felder1.20.7
0.5
4Kevin Mitchell6.35.21.0
5Mike Greenwell4.84.3
0.5
5Vince Coleman6.55.60.9


Fielding, CF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Devon White6.04.9
1.0
1Dave Henderson5.93.82.0
2Milt Thompson4.83.9
0.9
2Milt Thompson5.03.61.5
3Dave Henderson5.34.4
0.9
3Devon White6.14.81.3
4Gerald Young6.55.7
0.8
4Mike Devereaux3.42.50.9
5Jose Gonzalez1.71.4
0.3
5Darrin Jackson1.70.80.9


Fielding, RF
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses Net eWins Player pWins pLosses Net pWins
1Jesse Barfield7.15.5
1.6
1Darryl Strawberry5.84.21.6
2Darryl Strawberry5.54.5
1.0
2Jesse Barfield7.15.51.6
3Tom Brunansky7.76.7
0.9
3Andre Dawson4.83.81.0
4Mike Felder1.30.9
0.5
4Joe Orsulak4.53.60.9
5Andre Dawson4.54.1
0.4
5Tom Brunansky7.66.80.9


Best by Position
Next, we look at 1989 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
1Mickey Tettleton8.87.0
2.4
1Mickey Tettleton8.96.92.6
2Craig Biggio12.711.4
2.0
2Craig Biggio12.711.42.0
3Carlton Fisk9.28.4
1.6
3Carlton Fisk9.48.21.9
4Brian Harper8.27.6
1.3
4Charlie O'Brien5.94.61.7
5Mike Heath9.38.9
1.2
5Ernie Whitt9.88.91.6


First Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Will Clark22.414.4
6.0
1Will Clark23.013.87.3
2Jack Clark16.812.2
3.0
2Fred McGriff19.213.34.6
3Fred McGriff18.414.1
2.9
3Jack Clark17.012.03.4
4Kent Hrbek11.07.9
2.2
4Glenn Davis19.214.33.0
5Glenn Davis18.714.8
1.8
5Nick Esasky18.514.12.8


Second Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Lou Whitaker18.915.5
3.6
1Robby Thompson19.615.44.0
2Robby Thompson19.115.9
3.1
2Julio Franco19.817.03.0
3Ryne Sandberg21.318.2
2.9
3Ryne Sandberg21.218.32.7
4Julio Franco19.717.2
2.7
4Tony Phillips10.07.52.6
5Willie Randolph18.517.2
1.1
5Willie Randolph19.016.82.0


Third Base
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Wade Boggs18.315.1
3.2
1Matt D. Williams9.15.53.4
2Howard Johnson16.212.8
3.1
2Howard Johnson16.312.73.2
3Bobby Bonilla20.918.4
2.0
3Bobby Bonilla21.218.12.6
4Paul Molitor14.512.9
1.6
4Ken Caminiti19.916.92.6
5Ken Caminiti19.317.5
1.4
5Kelly Gruber15.913.42.5


Shortstop
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Barry Larkin12.110.0
2.5
1Tony Fernandez20.517.04.7
2Cal Ripken21.520.5
2.5
2Cal Ripken22.419.64.3
3Howard Johnson4.12.1
2.1
3Barry Larkin12.69.63.4
4Ozzie Smith20.019.3
1.7
4Shawon Dunston16.814.72.8
5Tony Fernandez18.918.6
1.6
5Ozzie Smith20.518.82.6


Left Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Kevin Mitchell25.717.7
6.6
1Kevin Mitchell26.617.78.5
2Lonnie Smith21.215.7
4.3
2Rickey Henderson22.117.44.2
3Rickey Henderson21.717.4
3.3
3Lonnie Smith20.815.73.5
4Kevin McReynolds21.418.3
1.7
4Kevin McReynolds21.918.32.6
5Mike Greenwell19.517.1
1.4
5Bo Jackson16.615.01.9


Center Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Robin Yount21.016.9
4.2
1Dave Henderson19.715.24.5
2Eric Davis17.914.2
3.5
2Robin Yount20.917.04.0
3Kirby Puckett21.919.9
2.1
3Eric Davis17.914.23.4
4Dave Henderson18.216.7
1.6
4Milt Thompson16.513.42.8
5Roberto Kelly16.014.7
1.3
5Kirby Puckett21.919.92.1


Right Field
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Ruben Sierra25.120.3
4.2
1Ruben Sierra25.320.04.6
2Darryl Strawberry18.714.9
2.9
2Jose Canseco10.06.13.7
3Jesse Barfield17.614.9
2.2
3Darryl Strawberry18.814.83.1
4Paul O'Neill16.113.6
1.8
4Andre Dawson15.412.71.9
5Jose Canseco9.07.1
1.7
5Tony Gwynn Sr.10.18.01.6


Starting Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Bret Saberhagen15.010.3
5.0
1Bret Saberhagen16.58.98.0
2Mark Gubicza14.811.9
3.3
2Nolan Ryan16.111.64.9
3Orel Hershiser14.311.6
3.0
3Bert Blyleven13.79.44.6
4Bruce Hurst13.711.0
3.0
4Joe Magrane14.110.34.1
5Nolan Ryan15.212.6
2.9
5Jim Deshaies14.610.84.1
6Roger Clemens14.912.5
2.8
6Mark Gubicza15.211.54.1
7Mike Moore15.613.2
2.7
7Mike Bielecki13.49.74.0
8Chris Bosio13.010.9
2.3
8Dennis Martinez13.19.73.7
9Frank Viola16.014.2
2.1
9Bruce Hurst13.910.73.4
10Bert Blyleven12.510.7
2.1
10Dave Stewart16.113.03.4


Relief Pitcher
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Doug Jones8.45.9
2.1
1Mark W. Davis10.75.15.1
2Tom Henke6.44.2
1.8
2Jay Howell7.03.33.3
3Jeff Russell6.84.7
1.7
3Dennis Eckersley5.32.03.1
4Mark W. Davis8.96.9
1.6
4Doug Jones8.95.43.0
5Larry Andersen4.62.8
1.5
5Jeff Montgomery6.53.52.7
6Dennis Eckersley4.52.8
1.4
6Gregg Olson7.04.12.5
7Jeff Montgomery5.94.2
1.4
7Les Lancaster4.72.12.3
8Rob Dibble7.45.7
1.3
8Mitch Williams8.76.02.3
9Jay Howell5.94.3
1.3
9Tim Burke6.94.42.2
10Bill Landrum5.33.8
1.2
10Mike Schooler8.05.42.2


Designated Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Harold Baines10.88.5
2.3
1Dwight Evans8.15.42.7
2Dwight Evans7.65.9
1.7
2Brian Downing13.611.62.0
3Bo Jackson3.21.8
1.4
3Harold Baines10.29.11.2


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
1Bob Knepper1.00.9
0.5
1John Smoltz1.71.31.0
2David Cone1.21.6
0.4
2Mike Scott1.81.51.0
3Don Robinson1.21.5
0.4
3Bob Walk1.31.00.8


Pinch Hitter
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Eric Davis0.90.2
0.8
1Eric Davis1.00.10.9
2Jim Dwyer1.60.9
0.7
2Jim Dwyer1.60.90.9
3Ken Phelps1.71.1
0.7
3Lee Mazzilli1.60.90.8


Pinch Runner
Context-Neutral Context-Dependent
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA Player pWins pLosses pWOPA
1Tom Lawless0.50.1
0.4
1Tom Lawless0.60.10.5
2Rex Hudler0.50.1
0.4
2Otis Nixon0.60.30.2
3Otis Nixon0.70.3
0.3
3Rex Hudler0.40.20.2


Noteworthy Players of 1989

The first four tables of this article - showing the top players in 1989 measured by pWOPA, pWORL, eWOPA, and eWORL - all show the same top four players. These four players make for an interesting set of pairs: two borderline greats and two decent players having career years.
The Two Borderline Greats
Two of the top players in the above tables are in Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit, but are not in the Hall of Fame (and are unlikely to be so any time soon): Bret Saberhagen and Will Clark. Both of them fall within the range perhaps a notch below "deserving" Hall-of-Famers but at the level that fills the gap if one removes all of the "mistakes" from the Hall of Fame and replaces them with the best available players.

Bret Saberhagen
The career record of Bret Saberhagen, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented next.

Bret Saberhagen
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1984KCA20
39
8.07.60.5
1.5
8.57.11.42.4
1985KCA21
32
15.88.57.5
9.1
14.59.84.96.5
1986KCA22
30
9.59.40.2
1.4
10.38.51.93.1
1987KCA23
33
15.510.65.2
6.8
15.111.14.35.9
1988KCA24
35
14.214.6-0.3
1.5
15.613.22.54.4
1989KCA25
39
16.69.37.6
9.3
15.810.25.97.6
1990KCA26
20
7.66.80.8
1.8
8.16.31.82.8
1991KCA27
28
13.08.05.2
6.5
12.68.44.45.7
1992NYN28
17
6.16.30.0
0.9
6.36.10.61.4
1993NYN29
19
7.46.81.2
2.0
7.96.32.23.0
1994NYN30
24
11.17.74.1
5.2
11.27.54.55.6
1995COL31
25
8.28.60.2
1.3
8.28.60.21.2
1997BOS33
6
0.91.9-1.0
-0.8
1.11.7-0.5-0.4
1998BOS34
31
10.88.82.2
3.5
10.49.21.42.8
1999BOS35
22
8.05.03.2
4.0
7.65.32.53.3
2001BOS37
3
0.91.3-0.3
-0.2
1.11.10.00.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
403
153.7121.036.3
53.7
154.4120.238.155.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
10
3.03.9 -0.33.23.7 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
413
156.6124.9
53.4
157.6124.0 55.6


One unusual aspect of Bret Saberhagen's career that got a fair amount of comment in the 1980s was that he tended to alternate good and less good seasons pretty consistently, especially in his twenties. For his career, in odd-numbered years, Bret Saberhagen started 200 games, pitching 1,388.1 innings with a 3.12 ERA, a traditional won-lost record of 98-50, 3 All-Star appearances and 2 Cy Young awards. In even-numbered years, Saberhagen started 168 games, pitched 1,159.1 innings with a 3.58 ERA, a traditional won-lost record of 68-65, 2 All-Star games and no Cy Young awards (his excellent 1994 season kind of broke the streak).

The next table presents the ten players whose career value was most similar to Bret Saberhagen's career, at odd ages between 21 and 39 (or between 20 and 40). The table shows total career records for these players at both odd and even ages.



Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Bret Saberhagen
403
153.7121.036.3
53.7
154.4120.238.155.5
Clayton Kershaw
354
155.9114.353.4
69.6
153.3117.049.365.5
Tim Hudson
489
197.9167.541.3
63.8
197.1168.340.963.4
Whitey Ford
500
209.4164.753.2
76.3
197.0177.130.954.0
Jim Palmer
573
241.6186.360.3
86.2
229.9198.037.863.6
Zack Greinke
499
188.4157.939.9
61.9
187.3159.138.060.0
Andy Pettitte
533
210.7175.240.9
66.3
206.4179.432.758.1
Juan Marichal
475
231.0188.255.0
79.5
222.2197.039.263.8
Curt Schilling
571
205.8172.844.6
68.7
204.5174.143.067.1
Mike Mussina
537
223.2174.052.1
78.6
222.1175.150.276.8
J. Kevin Brown
490
204.3164.647.9
71.2
206.2162.752.575.8


Seven of the ten players in the above table have appeared on at least one Hall-of-Fame ballot. Four of them are in the Hall of Fame, two are on the current (2020) Hall-of-Fame ballot (where Schilling is the highest returning vote-getter in 2020), and the seventh pitcher, Kevin Brown, is in the Hall of Merit (along with Schilling and the four Hall-of-Famers).

If Saberhagen's even-numbered years had matched his odd-numbered years (or if more of them had been like 1994), he likely would have joined Ford, Palmer, Marichal, and Mussina in the Hall of Fame.

Will Clark
Will Clark had four top-5 MVP finishes in his career, including finishing second in 1989 to teammate Kevin Mitchell. He finished his career with a career batting line of .303/.384/.497 and batted .319/.418/.546 in his final season. The main knock on Will Clark's Hall-of-Fame case is that his final season came at age 36 and he only amassed 8,283 career plate appearances.

The next table shows the ten players most similar to Will Clark through age 36.

Most Similar Players to Will Clark in Value
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Will Clark
1976
232.5179.134.2
53.8
39.00.57.1
Tony Perez
2027
242.9195.431.8
53.4
30.61.25.8
Bill Terry
1531
185.3137.632.3
49.7
28.92.04.7
Gil Hodges
1897
216.6163.441.7
61.9
29.0-0.16.8
Jose Canseco
1886
225.6185.331.5
54.0
32.30.52.9
Darryl Strawberry
1559
218.6162.145.8
64.0
34.00.76.3
Rafael Palmeiro
2256
254.1214.720.8
44.2
37.3-0.85.6
Larry Doby
1530
215.7163.542.1
62.5
32.91.06.8
Wade Boggs
1864
237.0200.935.3
55.8
30.40.88.0
Jack Clark
1992
250.3203.929.7
52.0
45.9-1.05.2
Lance Berkman
1806
234.4181.338.9
58.9
44.4-1.03.6


There are four Hall-of-Famers on the list here (and a fifth player - who was a college teammate of Clark's - who would likely be in the Hall of Fame had he not failed a drug test), including the two players most similar to Clark. But even stopping at age 36, the players most similar to Clark end up being right on the Hall-of-Fame/Merit borderline.

The career record of Will Clark, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented next.

Will Clark
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1986SFN22
111
11.010.2-0.1
0.9
11.310.00.41.4
1987SFN23
150
17.112.33.0
4.4
16.712.72.23.5
1988SFN24
162
21.414.35.7
7.5
20.914.84.76.5
1989SFN25
159
23.113.97.2
8.9
22.614.36.37.9
1990SFN26
154
18.715.61.2
2.7
18.615.61.12.6
1991SFN27
148
19.313.94.1
5.6
19.513.64.76.2
1992SFN28
144
17.813.13.3
4.7
17.513.42.74.1
1993SFN29
132
16.712.72.5
4.0
15.613.80.11.5
1994TEX30
110
11.49.21.3
2.4
11.68.91.92.9
1995TEX31
123
14.912.31.4
2.7
14.612.60.92.2
1996TEX32
117
12.511.00.6
1.7
12.311.20.11.2
1997TEX33
110
11.79.80.7
1.7
11.99.61.02.1
1998TEX34
149
15.814.5-0.1
1.4
16.214.10.72.2
1999BAL35
77
7.46.70.2
0.9
7.66.50.71.4
2000BAL36
130
13.99.63.2
4.3
13.410.12.23.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,976
232.5179.134.2
53.8
230.3181.329.549.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
31
4.33.3 0.94.33.2 1.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,007
236.7182.3
54.7
234.6184.5 50.2


Two Guys Having Career Years
The two players who join Saberhagen and Clark in the top four on all four of the above tables were teammates on the team which won the most regular-season games in the 1980's, the 108-win 1986 New York Mets, Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson. In addition to being teammates on the '86 Mets, both Mitchell and Johnson played for a second pennant winner this decade, Mitchell with the 1989 Giants and Johnson with the 1984 Tigers.

The career records of Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Kevin Mitchell Howard Johnson
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
1982
 
544.44.20.10.5
1983
 
271.62.8-1.2-1.0
198470.10.3-0.1
-0.1
11610.710.9-0.10.9
1985
 
12612.711.41.22.3
198610712.09.02.7
3.7
887.86.61.21.9
198713116.513.32.6
4.0
15720.615.25.16.7
198814716.716.7-0.5
1.1
14816.814.02.74.2
198915427.117.18.6
10.7
15320.414.85.37.0
199014021.518.31.8
3.6
15419.918.31.93.5
199111312.312.6-0.9
0.2
15621.320.10.72.6
19929910.210.8-1.0
0.1
10011.112.3-1.8-0.7
19939312.011.10.2
1.3
727.78.5-1.1-0.2
19949513.310.52.3
3.5
936.58.3-2.1-1.3
1995
 
864.65.8-1.3-0.7
1996646.96.5-0.1
0.6
1997201.01.1-0.1
-0.0
1998513.63.10.4
0.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,221153.2130.515.9
29.5
1,530166.0153.110.725.6


Historic Teammate Hitting Tandems
The top two players in batting wins over non-pitcher average in the major leagues in 1989 were teammates on the San Francisco Giants, Kevin Mitchell (.291/.388/.635, 47 HR, 125 RBI, 100 R) and Will Clark (.333/.407/.546, 23 HR, 111 RBI, 104 R).

The next table shows all sets of teammates who were 1-2 in the league in batting since 1932 (the earliest season for which I have complete play-by-play data).

Teammates Finishing 1-2 in Batting Wins above Average
Player 1 Player 2
Team Season Player 1 eWins eLosses eWOPA Player 2 eWins eLosses eWOPA
MLNHank Aaron18.312.0
5.7
Eddie Mathews17.010.8
5.7
SFNWillie Mays18.411.0
6.9
Willie McCovey16.610.8
5.3
SFNKevin Mitchell19.111.3
7.4
Will Clark17.511.1
6.0


That's some pretty rare and elite company.

Notable Debuts
As I write this (in early January 2020), one player who debuted in 1989 has been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Ken Griffey, Jr.. A second player who debuted in 1989 has been elected to Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit and will probably be elected to the Hall of Fame eventually (perhaps as soon as two weeks from now), Larry Walker.

The next table compares the career records of Ken Griffey, Jr. and Larry Walker, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Ken Griffey Jr. Larry Walker
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
198912715.515.10.5
1.9
201.61.40.10.2
199015520.218.80.9
2.7
13214.913.60.61.8
199115420.516.73.7
5.4
13616.315.3-0.21.3
199214217.916.41.2
2.8
14320.614.75.26.8
199315620.416.43.8
5.7
13822.714.87.19.0
199411115.212.22.8
4.2
10316.011.43.54.9
1995729.68.11.7
2.6
13119.218.1-0.41.5
199614019.414.74.7
6.3
839.08.50.21.0
199715722.815.96.9
8.7
15324.818.15.17.1
199816123.418.74.6
6.7
13016.014.20.72.2
199916023.817.95.7
7.8
12716.613.22.33.8
200014520.116.92.6
4.3
8611.310.50.11.2
200111112.812.7-0.1
1.3
14219.514.53.75.6
2002706.06.9-0.9
-0.3
13619.414.43.95.7
2003535.35.3-0.1
0.5
14317.715.01.63.2
20048311.88.92.7
3.8
8210.08.21.42.4
200512817.717.30.0
1.6
9914.08.94.65.6
200610914.113.20.7
2.0
200714417.317.7-1.3
0.2
200814316.715.50.6
2.1
20091179.89.40.2
1.4
2010331.72.8-1.1
-0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,671342.2297.239.9
70.9
1,984269.5214.739.663.3


Last Hurrahs
Finally, 1989 was the final season for two players who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame: one in his first year of eligibility, the other in his 15th, and last, year of eligibility.

The last table of this article compares the career records of Mike Schmidt and Jim Rice, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Mike Schmidt Jim Rice
Season Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
1972131.31.20.1
0.2
197313114.312.01.6
2.9
197416223.816.76.5
8.4
242.11.40.70.9
197515821.417.23.9
5.7
14420.115.44.26.0
197616023.716.26.9
8.9
15317.517.5-0.71.1
197715421.615.05.9
7.7
16018.413.93.95.9
197814520.216.33.3
5.0
16326.516.98.911.0
197916024.317.26.5
8.5
15821.418.42.34.3
198015023.717.06.2
8.1
12417.215.41.02.5
198110217.110.75.9
7.4
10815.514.20.62.2
198214822.616.35.6
7.4
14522.219.81.53.4
198315422.517.04.6
6.4
15526.521.64.06.2
198415122.517.64.7
6.6
15923.622.00.32.4
198515819.016.21.5
3.2
14019.919.7-0.61.3
198616021.015.44.7
6.4
15724.919.34.86.9
198714722.316.84.7
6.5
10812.914.3-2.0-0.7
198810812.513.2-0.9
0.4
13511.812.3-0.90.5
1989424.65.8-1.3
-0.8
564.54.7-0.20.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS2,403338.3257.670.5
98.7
2,089284.7246.927.854.3


Article last updated: January 8, 2020

Wins over positional average and replacement level are calculated using data only for the 1989 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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