Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Gil McDougald
Gil McDougald as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records

The 1950s are about two decades before my time, in terms of major-league baseball fandom. Obviously, I knew about the big names of the 1950s: Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, etc. But I didn't really know much about players below that level. Gil McDougald earned his fair share of accolades when he was active. He was elected AL Rookie-of-the-Year in 1951, he was an All-Star in five seasons, and also received MVP votes in five seasons, with three top 10 finishes, finishing as high as 5th in 1957. But beyond being vaguely familiar with the name, I didn't really have a strong idea of exactly how good a baseball player Gil McDougald was.

So, I decided to take a closer look at Gil McDougald as his career appears via Player won-lost records.

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

Gil McDougald
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1951NYA23
131
14.210.90.5671.5
2.5
14.612.00.5491.12.2
1952NYA24
152
19.916.80.5421.4
2.9
18.317.10.5170.51.9
1953NYA25
141
20.215.30.5702.0
3.5
17.915.90.5290.51.9
1954NYA26
126
15.311.20.5772.1
3.2
13.911.70.5431.12.2
1955NYA27
141
17.814.20.5562.1
3.4
17.415.40.5311.32.6
1956NYA28
119
18.312.10.6023.5
4.7
15.913.00.5511.83.0
1957NYA29
141
20.615.90.5652.7
4.2
19.316.90.5331.53.0
1958NYA30
138
18.115.00.5472.0
3.3
16.215.70.5070.71.9
1959NYA31
127
12.714.00.475-0.6
0.5
13.914.50.489-0.20.9
1960NYA32
119
11.09.70.5300.6
1.5
11.510.60.5210.51.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,335
168.2135.10.55517.3
29.6
159.0142.90.5278.821.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
53
6.75.80.535 1.06.46.20.509 0.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,388
174.9140.90.555
30.5
165.4149.10.527 21.6


Gil McDougald: Basic Bio
Most of what I know about Gil McDougald's career, I read in Bill James's New Historical Baseball Abstract.

James cites McDougald as one of the "three men who made Casey Stengel a genius" along with Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle. Berra and Mantle's contribution to Stengel's "genius" are pretty obvious. McDougald's contribution was that he, in James's words, "could do anything", playing wherever Stengel put him and playing at a "Gold Glove" level.

McDougald retired at the relatively young age of 32 after being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the first expansion draft.

The other event for which Gil McDougald is somewhat remembered today is that he hit the line drive that derailed the career of Cleveland Indians pitching phenom Herb Score on May 7, 1957. According to Wikipedia's article on Herb Score, "McDougald ... ran to the pitching mound instead of first base to help Score.... [and] reportedly vowed to retire if Score permanently lost his sight in one eye as a result of the accident."

Baseball-Reference has a nice write-up of the basics of Gil McDougald's biography.

Utility Infielder Extraordinaire
Casey Stengel played Gil McDougald all over the infield. In his career, McDougald played 2,373.1 innings at shortstop, 3,885.0 innings at third base, and 4,701.0 innings at second base.

As a rookie in 1951, McDougald ranked 1st in second-base wins over positional average while playing only 55 games there. In 82 games at third base, he was good enough to rank 5th in wins over positional average there, too. In 1952, he again placed in the top 5 in wins over positional average at both second and third base.

In 1954 and 1955, he played 92 and 126 regular-season games at second base and finished 2nd and 1st in wins over positional average at the position.

In 1956, Gil McDougald made his first major-league appearance at shortstop in his age 28 season. In 1956 and 1957, he played 92 and 121 games at shortstop and led the American League in shortstop WOPA in both seasons. In 1958, he played only 19 games (160 innings) at shortstop and still managed to finish 4th in shortstop WOPA in the American League that year.

Wherever Stengel played him, McDougald was one of the best in the American League at his position. McDougald's Fielding won-lost record by position is shown in the next table.

Fielding Won-Lost Record
(Context-Neutral, Teammate-Adjusted)
Second Base Third Base Shortstop
Season Wins Losses Win Pct. Wins Losses Win Pct. Wins Losses Win Pct.
19511.61.7
0.490
1.72.1
0.456
19521.31.4
0.474
3.93.7
0.514
19530.40.6
0.429
4.54.3
0.514
19543.02.7
0.526
0.80.7
0.537
19554.63.9
0.542
0.50.6
0.472
19561.00.8
0.554
0.30.1
0.688
3.83.20.544
19570.70.6
0.524
0.20.1
0.721
5.34.90.520
19584.13.9
0.514
0.80.80.522
19591.92.0
0.494
0.80.7
0.537
1.91.80.514
19601.11.0
0.543
2.42.1
0.531
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
Career19.818.6
0.517
15.214.4
0.515
11.810.60.527


World Series Performance
Gil McDougald played 10 major-league seasons. In 8 of these seasons, his team, the New York Yankees, made the World Series. Overall, McDougald played in 53 World Series games in his career. Among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records, McDougald ranks in the top 5 in World Series player wins and in the top 25 in World Series pWORL.

The top 25 players in career World Series pWORL are shown next.

Top Career World Series Performers
(Measured by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWORL
Lou Gehrig6.42.32.2
Whitey Ford9.88.61.8
Red Ruffing6.34.41.7
Bob Gibson5.43.61.5
Mickey Mantle9.17.01.4
Allie Reynolds6.04.41.4
Madison Bumgarner3.21.11.4
Frankie Crosetti5.23.21.4
Mariano Rivera3.71.41.4
Yogi Berra8.57.31.3
Joe DiMaggio7.55.81.3
Herb Pennock3.51.61.2
Reggie Jackson4.32.31.2
Babe Ruth5.73.71.2
Sandy Koufax3.82.41.1
Lefty Gomez3.52.01.1
Andy Pettitte5.64.91.1
Tommy Bridges3.41.91.1
Monte Pearson2.81.11.1
Ed Lopat3.31.91.1
Harry Brecheen2.91.41.1
Derek Jeter5.54.51.0
Scott Brosius3.11.51.0
Tim McCarver3.01.41.0
Charlie Keller3.82.01.0


Gils of the 1950s
So, putting everything above together, how good was Gil McDougald? For his career, 1951 - 1960, including postseason games, McDougald ranked 16th in pWOPA and 13th in pWORL. On the pWORL list (linked in the previous sentence), he sits right between Stan Musial and Ted Williams: pretty nice company. Of course, Stan Musial won 3 MVP awards in the 1940s while Gil McDougald was a teenager, and Ted Williams won 2 MVP's and 2 Triple Crowns before McDougald debuted (and missed most of two seasons covered by the table linked above).

One other player who shows up very close to McDougald on the leaderboards of the 1950s shares a first name with McDougald, as well as a home city for most of this time period: Gil Hodges. I think they make for an interesting comparison, which is made in the table below (note: I am missing play-by-play data for Hodges's one-game appearance in 1943). The numbers below include World Series games.

Gil McDougald Gil Hodges
Season Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss Win Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1947
 
291.51.60.483-0.00.1
1948
 
13411.311.60.492-0.10.8
1949
 
16120.015.40.5662.13.5
1950
 
15317.813.20.5741.52.7
195113715.811.40.5822.1
3.1
15819.914.10.5852.53.8
195215920.617.80.5371.3
2.8
16018.612.70.5942.23.4
195314720.815.70.5712.1
3.6
14719.512.30.6143.24.5
195412615.311.20.5772.1
3.2
15421.214.30.5972.84.3
195514818.615.00.5542.1
3.4
15719.214.40.5701.73.0
195612618.912.90.5943.4
4.7
16019.314.70.5691.52.9
195714821.317.00.5572.5
4.1
15018.914.40.5681.52.9
195814519.415.60.5542.4
3.7
14111.012.10.477-1.0-0.1
195912712.714.00.475-0.6
0.5
12914.810.30.5911.82.8
196012511.510.40.5240.5
1.4
1026.05.60.515-0.10.4
1961
 
1096.15.20.5410.10.7
1962
 
543.33.90.460-0.5-0.2
1963
 
110.60.60.496-0.00.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS1,388174.9140.90.55417.8
30.5
2,109228.9176.20.56519.235.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS
(common rows)
1,388174.9140.90.55417.8
30.5
1,458168.4124.80.57416.127.9




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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