Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Bucky Walters

2016 Veterans' Committee HOF Ballot: Bucky Walters

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2016 Veterans' ballot for the Pre-Integration Era. The ballot includes 10 names, including "three executives and one of the game's earliest organizers". Player won-lost records don't really have anything to say about non-players. Player won-lost records also don't really have anything to say about players who played before 1921 (and relatively little to say about players who played before 1921). So, I don't really have anything to say about the non-players on the ballot or about 19th-century major-league players Bill Dahlen and Harry Stovey.

But I have calculated Player won-lost records for at least part of the careers of four of the candidates on the Pre-Integration ballot. This article looks at one of these players: former major-league pitcher Bucky Walters. The first table below presents Bucky Walters's career as measured by Player won-lost records. The records here have been extrapolated based on the games for which I have play-by-play data to estimate results for those games for which I do not have play-by-play data. The number of games actually played by Bucky Walters are identified as "Total"; the number of games for which Player won-lost records are calculated are identified as "Known".

Bucky Walters
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Games
Season Team Age Total Known pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1931BSN229
7
0.71.20.373-0.2
-0.2
0.81.10.411-0.2
-0.1
1932BSN2322
11
1.52.60.365-0.5
-0.3
1.62.30.412-0.3
-0.1
1933BOS2452
37
5.76.50.467-0.4
0.1
5.76.00.488-0.1
0.4
25106
66
10.211.40.472-0.5
0.4
10.111.10.476-0.5
0.5
1935PHI2649
30
9.29.60.4890.1
1.0
8.910.00.470-0.3
0.6
1936PHI2764
40
14.622.50.394-3.5
-1.7
16.517.50.485-0.1
1.6
1937PHI2856
44
16.613.90.5441.8
3.2
16.115.90.5040.6
2.0
2951
45
14.213.70.5090.8
2.1
14.815.30.4910.3
1.7
1939CIN3040
40
22.514.80.6044.6
6.3
20.515.70.5663.1
4.8
1940CIN3137
37
19.816.40.5462.3
3.9
18.517.00.5211.4
2.9
1941CIN3239
39
19.216.80.5331.8
3.4
18.317.20.5161.2
2.7
1942CIN3339
39
16.713.70.5492.1
3.3
16.614.30.5371.8
3.0
1943CIN3437
37
16.715.50.5181.1
2.5
15.516.40.4850.0
1.4
1944CIN3537
37
19.313.00.5983.7
5.1
18.215.40.5412.0
3.4
1945CIN3624
24
11.39.50.5441.3
2.2
11.110.20.5190.8
1.8
1946CIN3724
24
9.58.80.5180.7
1.5
9.710.40.4830.0
1.0
1947CIN3820
20
8.49.50.468-0.3
0.5
7.38.60.457-0.4
0.2
1948CIN397
7
1.72.40.404-0.3
-0.1
2.13.20.395-0.5
-0.2
1950BSN411
1
0.00.10.375-0.0
-0.0
0.10.20.363-0.0
-0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season) 714
585
217.6201.80.51914.6
33.2
212.4208.10.5058.927.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career) 4
4
2.01.70.537 0.42.11.50.585 0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED 718
589
219.6203.50.519
33.5
214.5209.60.505 28.1


Overall, I am missing 129 games from Bucky Walters's career.

Bucky Walters was the ace of back-to-back National League pennant winners in 1939 and 1940. In those two seasons, he went a combined 49-21 with a 2.38 ERA in 624 IP, finishing first and third in MVP voting (there was no Cy Young award back then). Outside of those seasons, Walters ranged from pretty good to mediocre, with only one other 20-win season (23-8, 2.40 ERA, 285 IP), but that one probably deserves an asterisk, as it came in 1944, in the heart of World War II.

But overall, Bucky Walters had a very solid career. The next table shows the 10 players whose career value was most similar to Bucky Walters's, as measured by Player won-lost records. For this comparison, I extrapolated missing player games (for both Walters and everybody else) and based the comparison only on total pWins, total eWins, and pitching wins.

Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Pitching Fielding
Bucky Walters
585
197.0177.416.0
32.5
-3.00.24.11.4
Burleigh Grimes
426
182.6164.813.6
28.2
-3.2-0.03.11.0
Tommy Bridges
293
129.4112.811.7
22.7
-3.30.04.50.3
George Uhle
570
167.2148.414.2
27.6
-1.1-0.03.50.5
Bob Welch
509
194.9178.814.4
31.6
-3.4-0.15.70.6
Lew Burdette
636
184.5173.412.3
28.5
-4.00.15.51.0
Freddie Fitzsimmons
450
169.9156.211.7
26.0
-3.9-0.34.41.3
Fernando Valenzuela
474
188.5182.212.4
29.0
-4.0-0.25.71.4
Larry French
481
165.4151.511.3
25.9
-4.4-0.15.50.5
Vida Blue
508
201.0184.014.1
31.4
-2.8-0.15.40.6
Milt Pappas
525
200.3192.112.2
29.6
-6.1-0.26.10.7


The second player on the list is in the Hall of Fame. Although I think most sabermetric observers view Hunter's election as something of a mistake; he is not, for example, in the Hall of Merit. On the other hand, one pitcher in the above table is in the Hall of Merit, Rick Reuschel.

Only 8 of the 10 players in the above table (other than Walters) pitched since the Cy Young award was first given (in 1956). Five of those 8 pitchers won a Cy Young award (although at least a couple of them were probably questionable from a pure statistical standpoint).

Overall, I think the table above does a nice job of placing Bucky Walters's career in perspective. A very solid career, perhaps on the borderline of the Hall of Fame with legitimate periods of greatness. That's a fine, fine career.



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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