Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Eddie Murray

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Eddie Murray

Eddie Murray is my all-time favorite major-league player.

Eddie Murray won the American League Rookie of the Year award playing for my favorite team, in the first season I followed passionately from start to finish.

He hit two home runs in the World Series clincher when I was 15 years old, and my brother and I spent hours debating who deserved to win the MVP award: Murray or teammate Cal Ripken. In retrospect, my brother was probably right, but Murray was, and still is, my favorite major-league player.

Eddie Murray became the third player in major-league history to collect 3,000 hits and 500 home runs in his career.

Finally, Eddie Murray was elected to the Hall of Fame in his 1st year of eligibility, 2003, with 85.3% of the vote.
The first table below presents Eddie Murray's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Eddie Murray
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1977BAL21
160
16.812.60.5711.8
3.4
14.813.70.5210.31.9
1978BAL22
161
20.115.20.5701.9
3.3
17.514.60.5451.02.2
1979BAL23
159
19.914.40.5812.3
3.6
17.413.90.5561.32.5
1980BAL24
158
18.814.50.5651.7
3.0
17.414.60.5441.02.2
1981BAL25
99
13.09.40.5821.6
2.5
12.18.60.5831.52.4
1982BAL26
151
19.213.00.5962.7
3.9
17.113.00.5691.72.8
1983BAL27
156
20.913.40.6093.4
4.6
18.813.90.5742.13.3
1984BAL28
162
22.614.90.6023.3
4.8
20.014.30.5842.43.7
1985BAL29
156
20.814.10.5962.7
4.0
19.414.90.5661.62.9
1986BAL30
137
13.113.80.487-0.7
0.3
14.412.50.5350.61.6
1987BAL31
160
17.717.40.505-0.7
0.7
16.915.90.516-0.31.0
1988BAL32
161
16.817.50.490-0.8
0.7
17.015.00.5320.62.0
1989LAN33
160
18.316.00.5330.0
1.2
16.715.50.519-0.40.7
1990LAN34
155
20.015.00.5711.4
2.7
18.213.90.5671.22.4
1991LAN35
153
19.016.00.5420.7
2.0
16.415.30.517-0.21.1
1992NYN36
156
18.716.30.5340.2
1.6
15.715.20.508-0.60.6
1993NYN37
154
15.217.80.462-2.2
-0.9
16.315.80.507-0.70.5
1994CLE38
108
10.19.40.5190.0
1.1
8.99.90.473-0.90.2
1995CLE39
113
11.48.90.5620.9
2.1
10.59.10.5360.31.5
40
152
11.811.50.508-0.2
1.2
11.212.20.477-0.90.5
41
55
2.84.20.402-0.7
-0.3
2.93.90.420-0.6-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
3,026
347.0285.20.54919.2
45.7
319.7275.80.53711.036.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
44
4.74.30.522 0.54.34.20.507 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
3,070
351.7289.50.549
46.1
324.0280.00.537 36.3


Eddie Murray: Switch-Hitter Extraordinaire
Eddie Murray batted left-handed for the first time as a professional baseball player late in the 1975 season. Two years later, he hit 27 home runs for the Baltimore Orioles, 20 left-handed and 7 right-handed, and he was on his way to a Hall-of-Fame career as a switch-hitter.

Eddie Murray finished his career with the second-most home runs by a switch-hitter in major-league history, 504, behind Mickey Mantle (536). He also finished his career with the second-most hits by a switch-hitter in major-league history, 3,255, behind Pete Rose (4,256). The table below compares Eddie Murray's Player batting won-lost record with a recently-retired switch hitter who should be joining Murray shortly in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Chipper Jones.

Eddie Murray Chipper Jones
Age Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. WOPA_b Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. WOPA_b
2116013.211.70.530
0.7
70.10.00.7660.0
2216114.611.60.557
1.5
2315914.011.50.550
1.3
14011.810.30.5330.5
2415814.611.80.553
1.4
15715.411.60.5721.7
25999.77.00.581
1.4
15714.211.80.5460.9
2615114.110.40.577
1.9
16016.211.70.5792.0
2715615.411.00.583
2.2
15716.410.80.6042.5
2816215.710.70.594
2.5
15615.011.50.5671.5
2915615.311.00.581
2.1
15916.110.70.6002.4
3013711.79.80.544
1.0
15814.610.50.5821.8
3116013.512.20.526
0.7
15313.910.80.5631.4
3216114.011.60.547
1.2
13711.79.60.5490.9
3316012.911.60.525
0.4
10910.27.10.5891.4
3415514.410.40.581
1.8
11011.17.90.5841.5
3515312.411.60.516
0.2
13414.59.80.5962.1
3615612.410.90.534
0.6
12812.48.20.6022.0
3715412.911.90.521
0.3
14311.49.80.5380.6
381088.08.80.477
-0.4
957.66.50.5400.4
391139.68.20.539
0.7
12610.98.90.5510.8
4015210.711.60.479
-0.5
1129.37.80.5460.7
41552.63.70.415
-0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS3,026261.8219.00.545
20.3
2,498233.1175.40.57125.3


Steady Eddie
Eddie Murray was nicknamed "Steady Eddie" because he was amazingly consistent throughout his career. My favorite measure of his consistency is his season-by-season OPS+ at Baseball-Reference.com. From 1981 through 1983, Eddie Murray had an OPS+ of exactly 156 for three consecutive seasons. He snapped his string of 156-OPS+ seasons in 1984 by leading the American League with an OPS+ of 157.

Eddie Murray's consistency can also be seen in traditional statistics. He got over 3,000 base hits in his career without ever getting more than 186 hits in a single season. He hit over 500 home runs without ever hitting more than 33 in a single season.

In 1978, at age 22, Murray put up a Triple Crown line of .285/27/95. In 1993, at age 37, Murray put up a Triple Crown line of .285/27/100. For his career, his 162-game average Triple Crown line was .287/27/103.

His consistency is fairly obvious in Player won-lost records as well, as can be seen in the first table in this article. But just to highlight his consistency, the next table shows his context-neutral, teammate-adjusted Player won-lost record for the first 20 years of his career, 1977 - 1996, with the season lengths all normalized to 162 games (to adjust for the 1981, 1994-95 strikes).

Eddie Murray
Season-Adjusted Player Won-Lost Records
Season Age Games eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
197721
161
14.913.80.5210.31.9
197822
162
17.614.70.5451.02.2
197923
162
17.814.20.5561.32.6
198024
158
17.414.60.5441.02.2
198125
153
18.613.30.5832.43.6
198226
150
17.012.90.5691.72.8
198327
156
18.813.90.5742.13.3
198428
162
20.014.30.5842.43.7
198529
157
19.615.00.5661.62.9
198630
137
14.412.50.5350.61.6
198731
160
16.915.90.516-0.31.0
198832
162
17.115.10.5320.62.0
198933
162
16.915.70.519-0.40.7
199034
155
18.213.90.5671.22.4
199135
153
16.415.30.517-0.21.1
199236
156
15.715.20.508-0.60.6
199337
154
16.315.80.507-0.70.5
199438
155
12.814.20.473-1.20.3
199539
127
11.810.20.5360.41.7
199640
76
5.66.10.477-0.50.3
Eddie Murray: Clutch God
Perhaps my favorite statistic from Eddie Murray's career is his career batting record with the bases loaded.

In 302 career plate appearances with the bases loaded, Murray batted .399/.387/.739, an OPS of 1.127, with 19 home runs (2nd alltime when he retired) and 299 RBIs.

Breaking his career down by leverage, Murray's OPS was .872 in high-leverage situations with a home run every 21 at-bats. In low-leverage situations, Murray's OPS was only .809 and he hit a home run once every 27 at-bats.

For his career, Eddie Murray is 10th all-time in RBIs (although much of that is because he's 7th all-time in plate appearances and 6th in career at bats). Two more statistics that may or may not be "clutch" but for which Eddie Murray ranks highly: he is the American League's all-time leader in Game-Winning RBIs (for the seasons for which it was an official statistic) and he holds the major-league record for career sacrifice flies (again, for the seasons for which it was an official statistic).

In a separate article, I looked at whether clutch hitting (and baserunning, pitching, and fielding) was a persistent skill. My conclusion (which is pretty much the consensus of sabermetric analysis, I think) was that the persistence of clutch hitting was statistically significant, but that the level of persistence was so small as to be practically insignificant. Eddie Murray is, perhaps, a good example of this.

My measure of "clutch" hitting is what I call my "inter-game win adjustment", which measures the extent to which a player's Player winning percentage changes because of the timing of his performance with respect to in-game context (i.e., leverage). For his career, Eddie Murray's inter-game win adjustment is 0.009, which translates into an extra 5.7 pWins for Murray's career: not exactly trivial, but fairly small. The vast majority of what made Eddie Murray a great clutch hitter was the simple fact that he was a great hitter; the extra performance in the clutch was just icing on the cake.

Earl Weaver had an interesting take on "clutch hitting" generally and Eddie Murray specifically in his excellent book, Weaver on Strategy.

Eddie Murray is like Reggie Jackson in that his individual statistics might be a little better if the game were always on the line when he batted.... In the late innings with an important runner on second base, Reggie and Eddie become better hitters. If the Orioles are winning 9-2, Eddie isn't the same hitter as when the score is 3-2....

No one can totally concentrate for all six hundred at bats, although Frank Robinson came as close to doing so as anyone who has ever played.... Frank realized a 9-2 lead in the seventh inning isn't always safe. Frank's concentration surpassed Eddie's, but Eddie is young enough that he may change. He's improving every year. (p. 156, originally published in 1984)
Weaver seems to be suggesting that what made Murray a great "clutch hitter" is that he relaxed and became a lesser hitter when the game wasn't on the line and, contrary to conventional baseball wisdom, that being a "clutch hitter" in this way was a bad thing, or at least, not a good thing. Here's a career OPS comparison of the three players cited here by Weaver in what Baseball-Reference characterizes as "high-leverage" versus "low-leverage" situations.

High-Leverage Low-Leverage
Eddie Murray 0.872 0.809
Reggie Jackson 0.855 0.848
Frank Robinson 0.920 0.952


Weaver's take on Murray vs. Robinson is pretty accurate (although Reggie Jackson doesn't show much split here). In high-leverage situations, Robinson was better than Murray, but not by a lot, with an OPS about 5.5% higher. But in low-leverage situations, Robinson's OPS was 17.7% (and 143 points) higher than Murray's.

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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