Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Lee Smith

2016 Hall of Fame Ballot Series: Lee Smith

The first table below presents Lee Smith's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Lee Smith
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1980CHN22
18
0.60.70.462-0.1
0.0
1.10.80.5640.10.2
1981CHN23
40
3.14.20.424-0.7
-0.2
3.33.60.485-0.20.2
1982CHN24
72
6.15.60.5240.2
0.8
5.95.20.5300.30.9
1983CHN25
66
8.75.10.6281.5
2.4
5.23.70.5840.61.1
1984CHN26
69
9.65.50.6391.8
2.7
4.74.40.516-0.00.5
1985CHN27
65
10.26.00.6291.8
2.9
5.14.40.5360.20.8
1986CHN28
66
8.76.90.5590.7
1.6
4.64.10.5320.10.7
1987CHN29
62
7.55.70.5680.6
1.4
4.33.60.5480.20.7
1988BOS30
64
7.75.30.5931.0
1.7
4.13.60.5340.10.6
1989BOS31
64
5.13.70.5830.6
1.1
3.42.80.5420.10.5
32
64
8.74.20.6772.0
2.8
4.03.20.5560.30.7
1991SLN33
67
8.55.30.6181.4
2.4
3.63.20.5330.10.6
1992SLN34
70
7.14.70.6041.0
1.7
3.73.40.522-0.00.5
35
62
6.04.60.5660.6
1.3
2.82.80.499-0.10.3
1994BAL36
41
4.73.20.5920.7
1.2
2.01.70.5350.10.3
1995CAL37
52
5.53.80.5890.6
1.2
2.42.00.5480.10.4
38
54
2.42.50.493-0.1
0.2
2.62.50.513-0.00.3
1997MON39
25
0.81.20.394-0.3
-0.1
1.01.20.464-0.10.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,021
111.378.20.58713.3
25.1
63.756.00.5321.99.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
4
0.30.90.262 -0.20.30.40.398 -0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,025
111.679.20.587
24.9
64.056.40.532 9.2


This is Lee Smith's fourteenth year on the Hall-of-Fame ballot. In my 2013 Hall-of-Fame ballot series, I looked at how Smith ranked among all relief pitchers in career pWins over positional average and replacement level. In my 2014 Hall-of-Fame ballot series, I compared Lee Smith to the last relief pitcher elected to the Hall of Fame, Goose Gossage.

In my 2015 Hall-of-Fame ballot series, I compared Lee Smith to the starting pitcher most similar to Smith in player value, Jim Maloney. This year's article builds off of last year's. For this year, I am going to compare Lee Smith to the non-pitcher most similar to Smith in player value.

The first table below shows the 10 players most similar to Lee Smith in pWins, pWOPA, and pWORL, with no consideration of how the player accumulated that value.

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Lee Smith
1,021
111.378.213.3
25.1
Don Newcombe
449
142.5126.713.5
24.9
Eddie Stanky
1,259
159.2134.913.6
25.2
Ed Lopat
356
150.8135.712.8
25.3
Evan Longoria
1,435
179.9153.512.9
25.5
Andy Messersmith
348
143.1129.112.8
24.6
Thurman Munson
1,423
154.1133.212.8
24.5
Curt Davis
375
119.1107.29.5
20.0
Joey Votto
1,430
172.9129.314.2
25.3
David Price
269
107.484.513.8
24.1
Frankie Rodriguez
948
90.056.913.6
23.9


Justin Verlander has played an additional season since I wrote about Lee Smith last year. Mort Cooper played from 1938 - 1949, a time period for which Retrosheet released several new games in the past year. Based on these new games, Verlander and Cooper have moved ahead of Jim Maloney in the above table. Maloney remains the most similar player to Lee Smith who is retired and whose entire career is covered by Retrosheet play-by-play data.

What I find interesting about the above table is that, even taking no explicit consideration for how the players accumulated their value, 9 of the 10 players most similar in value to Lee Smith were nevertheless pitchers. The one exception is Gene Tenace. Lee Smith and Gene Tenace are compared in the next table.

Lee Smith Gene Tenace
Age Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
22
180.60.70.462-0.1
0.0
160.61.00.366-0.2-0.1
23
403.14.20.424-0.7
-0.2
383.93.00.5620.50.8
24
726.15.60.5240.2
0.8
655.74.30.5720.81.2
25
668.75.10.6281.5
2.4
797.86.90.5300.51.1
26
699.65.50.6391.8
2.7
16016.913.20.5621.52.7
27
6510.26.00.6291.8
2.9
15814.813.30.5260.61.7
28
668.76.90.5590.7
1.6
15817.112.80.5712.23.3
29
627.55.70.5680.6
1.4
12813.610.50.5641.52.4
30
647.75.30.5931.0
1.7
14712.313.10.483-0.70.3
31
645.13.70.5830.6
1.1
14213.110.50.5561.12.0
32
648.74.20.6772.0
2.8
15115.611.70.5721.72.8
33
678.55.30.6181.4
2.4
13310.510.00.5130.21.0
34
707.14.70.6041.0
1.7
564.93.10.6100.91.2
35
626.04.60.5660.6
1.3
594.93.90.5560.50.9
36
414.73.20.5920.7
1.2
521.12.00.358-0.5-0.3
37
525.53.80.5890.6
1.2
38
542.42.50.493-0.1
0.2
39
250.81.20.394-0.3
-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,021111.378.20.58713.3
25.1
1,542142.8119.40.54510.520.9


Gene Tenace had a somewhat interesting career. He played 15 seasons, over which time he played for 6 playoff teams and four World Series winners (the 1972-74 Oakland A's and the 1982 St. Louis Cardinals). He played more games at a catcher (892) than at any other single position, but he also played 625 games at first base and Tenace played over 100 games at first base for both the 1973 and 1974 A's.

Tenace was voted 1972 World Series MVP. He also made one All-Star team (in 1975) and received a handful of MVP votes twice.

Tenace is also a player whose reputation was enhanced by sabermetrics. Tenace had a career batting average of only .241, but he hit 201 home runs in 5,527 career plate appearances. Tenace was also extremely proficient at drawing walks. Tenace led his league in walks twice and drew over 100 walks six times. While Tenace had a career batting average of .241, he had a career on-base percentage of .388 and a career slugging percentage of .429. Baseball-Reference calculates that as an OPS+ of 136. That's the same as Hall-of-Famers Bill Terry and Larry Doby and soon-to-be Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey, Jr..

Having career value similar to that of Gene Tenace is certainly something to be proud of, even if Gene Tenace (and Lee Smith) did not quite amass a Hall-of-Fame worthy career.

2016 Hall of Fame Ballot Series




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