Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records

Darrell Evans has come up twice in articles that I've written in the past week. First, I briefly profiled him in my article on the 1973 season, which was arguably Evans's finest season. Then, my most recent game story was a game in 1982 in which Evans was the star.

Two years ago, I self-published a book, BASEBALL PLAYER WON-LOST RECORDS: 150 Players, 50 Years, which is available as a free PDF on my website (here). As the name suggests, the book looks at 150 players over a 50-year period (1961 - 2010). Darrell Evans made the book at number 133. This article tries to take a somewhat different look at Evans than in the book. Five highlights of Darrell Evans's career: The first two tables below present Darrell Evans's career as measured by Player won-lost records, in and out of context.

Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWORL pWOPA
1969ATL22
12
0.40.9-0.4-0.5
1970ATL23
12
1.21.6-0.4-0.5
1971ATL24
88
9.37.52.41.6
1972ATL25
125
16.213.93.41.9
1973ATL26
161
22.016.66.44.5
1974ATL27
160
22.917.07.25.3
1975ATL28
156
21.018.53.81.9
29
135
12.111.30.9-0.2
1977SFN30
144
16.714.72.71.1
1978SFN31
159
20.717.64.22.4
1979SFN32
160
18.918.21.90.1
1980SFN33
154
20.219.12.30.4
1981SFN34
101
11.79.82.51.4
1982SFN35
141
15.413.33.01.6
1983SFN36
142
18.114.44.12.6
1984DET37
131
10.99.72.00.8
1985DET38
151
15.912.73.92.5
1986DET39
151
16.111.94.93.5
1987DET40
150
15.511.15.03.6
1988DET41
144
11.010.61.1-0.1
1989ATL42
106
7.38.9-1.3-2.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,683
303.4259.359.631.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
1.11.3-0.2-0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,696
304.5260.659.431.4


Expected Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games eWins eLosses eWORL eWOPA
1969ATL22
12
0.40.8-0.4-0.4
1970ATL23
12
1.51.30.20.1
1971ATL24
88
8.97.91.60.7
1972ATL25
125
16.213.93.31.8
1973ATL26
161
22.615.97.85.9
1974ATL27
160
22.117.95.63.6
1975ATL28
156
20.818.83.41.5
29
135
12.111.40.8-0.3
1977SFN30
144
16.614.82.50.9
1978SFN31
159
20.517.83.92.1
1979SFN32
160
19.217.92.40.6
1980SFN33
154
20.918.33.81.9
1981SFN34
101
11.79.82.51.5
1982SFN35
141
15.313.42.81.4
1983SFN36
142
18.414.14.63.1
1984DET37
131
11.09.72.00.8
1985DET38
151
15.712.93.41.9
1986DET39
151
15.312.73.31.8
1987DET40
150
14.512.03.11.7
1988DET41
144
11.010.51.1-0.1
1989ATL42
106
8.08.3-0.0-0.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,683
302.6260.157.829.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
1.11.3-0.2-0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,696
303.7261.457.629.6


Somewhat ironically, Darrell Evans is probably most famous for Bill James description of him in the New Historical Baseball Abstract:

"Darrell Evans is, in my opinion, the most underrated player in baseball history, absolutely number one on the list."
James went on to list "ten characteristics of an underrated player" and show how seven of these applied to Evans. For this article, I decided to use the last of these as my jumping-off point.

"There are at least ten characteristics of an underrated player....

10. Anything which 'breaks up' a player's career tends to cause him to be underrated....

7. Evans career is broken up into three almost equal phases (Atlanta, San Francisco, and Detroit) and split between two defensive positions."
Darrell Evans played for the Atlanta Braves for 7+ seasons, for the San Francisco Giants for 7+ seasons, and for the Detroit Tigers for five seasons, before ending his career with one final season back in Atlanta. Evans was a third baseman for most of the first 14 seasons of his career, although he mixed in one season at first base (1976) and one season in left field (1977) during that stretch. Evans moved to first base in his final season in San Francisco (1982) and was primarily a first baseman for his final seven seasons, although he also played a fair bit of DH in his time in the AL.

Evans's time at first base works against him in a table of the top third basemen for whom I've calculated Player won-lost records and his time at third base hurts him in a table of the top first basemen.

In terms of seasons, he played longest in Atlanta, but that includes his first three seasons where he played a total of 113 games and his final season, at age 42, when he played on 107 games. He played the most games of his career as a San Francisco Giant (1,094 games vs. 866 as a Brave and 727 as a Tiger). But his performances with the three teams were remarkably similar. His home run totals were 142-141-131 (Giants-Tigers-Braves), his batting line for the Braves was .246/.368/.426; for the Giants, .255/.358/.422; for the Tigers, .238/.357/.450.

Darrell Evans was elected to Baseball Think Factory's Hall of Merit in "1995" (his first year of eligibility). They give him a Giants cap, which I guess I would agree with - most games, most home runs - but to be honest, the Giants are probably the last team I associate Evans with, probably because they're the only one of his three teams for whom he never hit 40 home runs in a season.

The bottom line is to get Darrell Evans onto best-of tables, you either have to extend your table out pretty far (e.g., as I mentioned above, Darrell Evans was #133 in my book Baseball Player Won-Lost Records: 150 Players, 50 Years) or narrow the focus.

Here, then, are three tables that "narrow the focus".

First, the top third basemen in Atlanta Braves history.

Top Third Basemen in Atlanta Braves History
(sorted by eWOPA)
pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA
1Chipper Jones274.4207.10.57061.2
2Darrell Evans92.976.60.54813.5
3Terry Pendleton81.367.80.54511.6
4Bob Horner88.677.50.5338.1
5Josh Donaldson19.815.70.5573.3
6Charlie Culberson2.91.20.7111.7
7Johan Camargo18.015.80.5321.5
8Eddie Mathews14.412.50.5351.4
9Brooks Conrad4.43.40.5600.9
10Wes Helms2.51.70.6050.8


Darrell Evans was no Chipper Jones. And if I'd included the Milwaukee (and Boston) Braves, you'd also see that Evans was no Eddie Mathews. But Evans was, nevertheless, a damn fine third baseman in his time in Atlanta.

Evans transitioned from third base to first base at his next stop, San Francisco. So, the next table looks at corner infielders in San Francisco Giants history.

Top Corner Infielders in San Francisco Giants History
(sorted by eWOPA)
pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA
1Willie McCovey221.1156.50.58646.1
2Will Clark143.6105.00.57826.6
3Matt D. Williams136.5111.40.55121.7
4Orlando Cepeda103.779.70.56515.5
5Jim Ray Hart87.572.90.54511.7
6Darrell Evans115.9100.80.53510.1
7Pablo Sandoval118.9107.90.5246.9
8Brandon Belt100.986.90.5375.6
9Kevin Mitchell23.218.30.5594.3
10Jim Davenport99.992.80.5184.0


The Giants have a longer history in San Francisco than the Braves have in Atlanta. And adding first base to the mix essentially doubles the candidate pool. So, Evans is not quite as high on this list. But he is still one of the best corner infielders in San Francisco Giants history.

Finally, Evans was almost exclusively a first baseman with the Tigers, for whom he only played five full seasons. The Detroit Tigers have a much longer history in their current city than do the Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants. And that history includes two players who won multiple MVP awards who were primarily first basemen (although Hank Greenberg played mostly left field when he won the award in 1940).

Top First Basemen / Designated Hitters in Detroit Tigers History
(sorted by pWOPA)
pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA
1Hank Greenberg141.895.30.59834.9
2Norm Cash208.9162.70.56226.8
3Miguel Cabrera154.4125.80.55119.7
4Rudy York116.393.30.55513.1
5Darrell Evans65.051.10.56010.5
6Prince Fielder40.231.10.5646.9
7Lu Blue56.146.90.5455.0
8Jason D. Thompson65.357.20.5334.2
9Roy Cullenbine18.913.90.5763.6
10Cecil Fielder105.094.70.5263.1


Given the caveats above, Evans's ranking in this last table may be the most impressive of the three. Although each of the last two tables highlight the issue with evaluating and appreciating Evans's career: not everybody ahead of him in these tables is a Hall-of-Famer, and everybody below him is not one.

So there you have him: Darrell Evans, subtle superstar.

Article last updated: May 22, 2020



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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