Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Chuck Klein

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Chuck Klein

Chuck Klein was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee in 1980.

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

Chuck Klein
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1928PHI23
35
4.24.50.484-0.3
0.1
5.34.50.5420.20.6
1929PHI24
90
13.212.00.5230.0
1.1
15.012.30.5500.81.9
1930PHI25
113
18.615.80.5410.5
2.1
20.115.50.5641.43.0
1931PHI26
121
18.415.20.5470.9
2.4
19.315.10.5611.42.9
1932PHI27
121
22.916.40.5822.2
3.8
21.015.50.5751.73.3
1933PHI28
121
20.516.60.5521.1
2.6
22.015.40.5872.54.0
1934CHN29
88
13.110.40.5591.0
2.1
13.010.10.5611.12.1
1935CHN30
85
12.710.00.5591.0
2.0
12.510.40.5460.81.7
31
100
13.514.20.488-0.8
0.4
14.713.00.5310.41.6
1937PHI32
81
7.59.10.451-1.1
-0.4
9.58.90.515-0.10.7
1938PHI33
78
8.511.50.426-1.6
-0.8
8.59.40.475-0.60.1
34
110
12.312.10.506-0.2
0.9
12.811.60.5250.31.4
1940PHI35
115
11.214.20.440-1.9
-0.9
11.012.00.479-0.90.1
1941PHI36
50
1.53.40.311-0.9
-0.7
1.92.60.422-0.4-0.1
1942PHI37
14
0.00.90.011-0.4
-0.4
0.10.40.183-0.1-0.1
1943PHI38
12
0.11.10.108-0.5
-0.4
0.30.70.312-0.2-0.1
1944PHI39
4
0.10.40.134-0.2
-0.1
0.10.30.261-0.1-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,338
178.4167.80.515-1.1
13.7
187.1157.80.5438.222.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
5
0.40.40.553 0.10.40.30.559 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,343
178.8168.10.515
13.7
187.5158.10.543 23.0


Player won-lost records are calculated based on Retrosheet play-by-play data. Retrosheet has released play-by-play data for every season of Chuck Klein's career. Retrosheet only has complete play-by-play data, however, since 1939.

The next table presents Chuck Klein's career, as measured by Player won-lost records, but extrapolating the missing games from his career, based on the games for which I do have play-by-play data.

Chuck Klein
Basic Player Won-Lost Records (missing games extrapolated)
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1928PHI23
64
7.78.20.484-0.5
0.1
9.78.20.5420.41.2
1929PHI24
149
21.819.90.5230.0
1.8
24.820.30.5501.33.2
1930PHI25
156
25.721.80.5410.7
2.9
27.721.40.5641.94.1
1931PHI26
148
22.518.60.5471.2
2.9
23.618.40.5611.83.6
1932PHI27
154
29.220.90.5822.8
4.8
26.819.80.5752.24.2
1933PHI28
152
25.720.90.5521.4
3.3
27.619.40.5873.15.0
1934CHN29
115
17.213.50.5591.4
2.7
17.013.20.5611.42.8
1935CHN30
119
17.714.00.5591.5
2.8
17.614.60.5461.12.4
31
146
19.820.70.488-1.2
0.6
21.418.90.5310.52.3
1937PHI32
115
10.612.90.451-1.6
-0.6
13.512.70.515-0.11.0
1938PHI33
129
14.119.10.426-2.7
-1.4
14.115.60.475-1.00.2
34
110
12.312.10.506-0.2
0.9
12.811.60.5250.31.4
1940PHI35
115
11.214.20.440-1.9
-0.9
11.012.00.479-0.90.1
1941PHI36
50
1.53.40.311-0.9
-0.7
1.92.60.422-0.4-0.1
1942PHI37
14
0.00.90.011-0.4
-0.4
0.10.40.183-0.1-0.1
1943PHI38
12
0.11.10.108-0.5
-0.4
0.30.70.312-0.2-0.1
1944PHI39
4
0.10.40.134-0.2
-0.1
0.10.30.261-0.1-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,752
237.2222.60.516-1.3
18.4
249.9210.20.54311.230.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
5
0.40.40.553 0.10.40.30.559 0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,757
237.7222.90.516
18.4
250.3210.50.543 30.9


Chuck Klein's raw batting statistics were among the best in baseball in the early 1930s. Klein led the National League in home runs and total bases four times apiece; in runs scored and slugging percentage three times each; in hits, doubles, RBI, and OPS twice each; and in batting average, on-base percentage, and stolen bases once each. He won a Triple Crown in 1933, in which he also led the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS (obviously), hits, doubles, and total bases.

Given this record, it is, perhaps, somewhat surprising that Chuck Klein was not elected to the Hall of Fame until 36 years after he played his final game. There are, I believe, three reasons for this.

First, Chuck Klein had a relatively short career. Everything mentioned two paragraph ago occurred within a five-year period, from 1929 - 1933. After 1933, Klein's age-28 season, his season highs in the Triple Crown stats were .325 (in 449 plate appearances in 1937), 25 home runs (in 1936), and 104 RBI (also in 1936). His second-best Triple Crown stats after age 28 were .306, 21, and 80, in three separate seasons.

Second, Chuck Klein's prime was spent playing for mostly very bad Phillies teams. This shows up in the previous tables where Klein looks considerably better in eWins, which control for context including team quality, than in pWins, which are tied to team wins (of which the Phillies of the early 1930s had very few). Third, Chuck Klein's peak came while playing in a home ballpark that might have been the most hitter-friendly ballpark in major-league history prior to the birth of the Colorado Rockies, the Baker Bowl. Klein was a left-handed hitter meaning that he presumably hit mostly to right field. It was only 279 feet from home plate to the right-field foul line at the Baker Bowl and a mere 300 feet to right-center. This was compensated by having a wall that stood 40 feet high. But even with that, the Baker Bowl was consistently the best ballpark for offense in the National League through Chuck Klein's peak.

It's true, of course, that nobody had calculated ballpark factors in the 1940s and 1950s when Chuck Klein was struggling to get Hall-of-Fame votes from the BBWAA (he received votes in 12 BBWAA elections; he didn't get over 10.0% until his 8th election; he broke 20% only twice). But people have always understood the impact of especially extreme ballparks. If anything, in fact, some people through history have tended to overstate the impact of extremely good hitting ballparks on the hitters in those parks.

So, how good was Chuck Klein? To try to avoid too much cherry-picking and to recognize that Klein's peak was pretty short for a Hall-of-Famer, the next table shows the top batters of the decade of the 1930s, as measured by (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) Player won-lost records. This excludes the first season of Chuck Klein's five-year prime, 1929, when he batted .356/.407/.657 (OPS of 1.065) with 219 hits, 45 doubles, 43 home runs (which led the league), 145 RBI, 126 runs scored, and 405 total bases. And it also includes six full seasons after his peak over which Klein batted .293/.355/.475 with seasonal averages of 17 home runs and 72 RBI.

Top Hitters of the 1930s
Ranked by Batting eWins over Non-Pitcher Average
eWins eLosses eWOPA
1Lou Gehrig157.790.631.2
2Jimmie Foxx159.496.529.0
3Mel Ott155.596.827.1
4Babe Ruth79.040.718.1
5Chuck Klein126.893.614.6
6Earl Averill Sr.133.6102.313.4
7Wally Berger125.194.513.3
8Hank Greenberg90.461.213.1
9Charlie Gehringer137.3107.212.8
10Arky Vaughan109.181.112.3


The numbers in the above table include extrapolations for missing games (for everybody, not just Klein), so they should perhaps be taken with a grain or two of salt. But even recognizing this, and even excluding one season from Chuck Klein's prime and including six seasons past his prime, Klein still rates as one of the top 10 hitters of the 1930s.



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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