Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Player Won-Lost Records and the Hall of Fame

The table below presents career Player won-lost records for players who have been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, for all games for which I have calculated Player won-lost records. The players are sorted here by pWins over replacement level (pWORL).

Hall of Fame Players

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Willie Mays
2,992
460.5328.652.8
86.9
436.7323.244.176.9
Mickey Mantle
2,400
366.8232.655.9
81.8
354.4233.749.374.7
Hank Aaron
3,298
493.0369.442.8
80.7
476.0360.339.376.1
Joe L. Morgan
2,648
367.2282.049.9
77.3
360.6283.945.672.8
Warren Spahn
762
363.2298.445.7
75.8
347.5292.940.169.3
Greg Maddux
759
339.8280.645.9
75.3
332.2270.746.675.2
Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson
619
287.3227.438.4
64.6
273.1224.532.557.8
Tom Seaver
677
315.3261.438.9
64.5
303.4267.529.755.1
Frank Robinson
2,807
400.6303.432.3
64.0
389.4291.533.263.7
Reggie Jackson
2,820
376.2292.131.9
62.3
356.4284.026.455.5
Mike Schmidt
2,403
339.2249.937.6
61.4
334.2241.339.662.8
Stan Musial
2,672
365.6273.732.8
60.9
360.9270.932.059.8
Steve Carlton
745
345.2310.132.1
60.9
328.8318.119.748.1
Ted Williams
1,843
299.3200.737.4
59.8
301.1194.641.463.6
Rickey Henderson
3,080
428.2355.928.1
59.7
423.1350.228.559.7
Pee Wee Reese
2,163
283.5221.136.2
59.1
282.8245.124.048.0
Eddie Mathews
2,389
313.8232.734.8
58.3
304.0232.630.153.2
Bob Gibson
597
271.6222.635.7
58.0
258.6225.127.749.6
Tom Glavine
709
288.8257.429.9
56.0
288.8267.725.051.6
Joe DiMaggio
1,541
258.2174.835.4
55.8
237.8177.624.043.5
Cal Ripken
3,001
373.7345.626.8
55.1
366.6339.726.053.8
Gaylord Perry
787
327.8294.925.7
55.0
327.6287.029.458.3
Jim Palmer
573
244.9187.433.7
54.3
236.2202.521.942.8
Al Kaline
2,833
379.8303.024.2
54.3
377.3302.523.353.3
Carl Yastrzemski
3,308
426.4359.118.5
53.5
447.5363.326.362.4
Don Sutton
785
326.1299.325.0
53.3
321.5300.422.150.2
Yogi Berra
2,110
247.2181.234.4
53.2
219.2184.718.636.2
Nolan Ryan
807
358.4337.120.5
52.9
328.1318.314.044.2
Robin Roberts
688
307.8278.625.7
52.7
308.9285.023.250.6
Juan Marichal
475
237.8192.032.6
52.0
227.8200.223.442.7
John Smoltz
735
245.3205.729.5
51.8
225.0193.525.345.7
Harmon Killebrew
2,435
310.9231.227.2
51.4
301.7222.227.550.8
Pedro J. Martinez
476
197.2141.533.6
51.3
185.1135.830.247.0
Bert Blyleven
699
297.8263.523.5
50.2
301.4271.321.548.8
Whitey Ford
500
217.1169.031.9
49.8
208.0184.419.838.0
Willie McCovey
2,584
304.8220.626.6
49.4
278.6206.521.742.8
Fergie Jenkins
665
288.4257.823.9
49.2
275.3268.112.137.2
Phil Niekro
866
339.0326.718.8
49.1
331.0343.36.737.3
George Brett
2,706
326.1273.322.4
48.0
324.1277.219.545.2
Duke Snider
2,138
272.2202.226.8
47.5
280.2212.925.146.7
Frank E. Thomas
2,322
253.6190.123.6
46.7
248.1184.823.746.3
Eddie Murray
3,026
348.8285.419.4
46.7
320.0274.411.336.9
Barry Larkin
2,180
282.6241.225.9
46.5
272.3238.422.142.2
Paul Molitor
2,683
312.7270.818.5
46.3
305.3272.614.041.5
Early Wynn
688
271.3247.222.2
46.0
258.1243.517.140.2
Johnny Bench
2,158
249.6195.626.9
45.7
237.4190.523.541.6
Robin Yount
2,856
361.0345.516.9
45.4
357.0338.118.646.6
Dave Winfield
2,971
393.3343.214.4
45.4
375.8333.311.140.9
Ozzie Smith
2,573
324.4304.019.6
44.3
318.8311.713.037.8
Willie Stargell
2,356
298.9230.921.2
44.0
288.5220.521.843.7
Craig Biggio
2,850
346.0312.217.7
43.5
340.6312.115.140.7
Roberto Alomar
2,377
300.8267.920.7
43.2
289.9266.116.138.1
Dennis Eckersley
1,073
218.9176.522.0
42.5
185.2170.69.027.0
Bob Lemon
585
200.7163.825.4
42.5
190.0167.118.235.0
Carlton Fisk
2,498
252.6219.122.6
42.2
248.4212.123.842.9
Bob Feller
510
226.4199.119.9
41.3
213.0202.311.532.4
Jackie Robinson
1,382
188.2132.126.4
40.3
187.5142.021.135.4
Jim Bunning
600
242.2222.918.8
40.2
240.7234.412.534.3
Billy Williams
2,485
333.4282.011.7
39.1
342.2279.317.344.9
Larry Doby
1,530
221.8166.121.6
38.4
206.1166.014.030.2
Tony Perez
2,773
305.3254.113.7
37.9
292.6249.710.033.5
Wade Boggs
2,439
282.3248.616.5
37.7
291.5253.218.940.5
Mel Ott
1,103
174.5118.223.3
37.5
165.8113.321.635.2
Roberto Clemente
2,433
342.4294.69.8
37.3
333.2290.17.734.7
Joe Gordon
1,338
186.0145.021.4
37.1
176.1147.315.330.6
Brooks Robinson
2,895
340.2311.79.2
37.1
314.2302.71.027.4
Luis Aparicio
2,601
314.3317.29.6
36.8
313.8326.24.932.5
Ron Santo
2,243
287.0251.513.1
36.4
290.6236.722.445.3
Don Drysdale
547
226.4213.116.2
36.2
230.9219.615.436.0
Ernie Banks
2,525
302.4272.311.2
36.0
300.6256.318.542.6
Lou Gehrig
1,033
155.389.324.6
36.0
143.889.319.330.1
Jim Rice
2,089
281.3245.212.5
35.8
277.0243.811.134.2
Ryne Sandberg
2,164
274.1245.415.1
35.3
283.7245.220.040.5
Rod Carew
2,468
284.3259.112.1
35.2
290.9260.914.538.0
Andre Dawson
2,627
350.9317.57.3
34.4
342.4306.28.935.3
Gary Carter
2,293
243.3214.315.5
33.9
237.6205.217.235.0
Sandy Koufax
397
161.5132.420.0
33.9
150.4145.08.122.1
Catfish Hunter
515
212.3195.714.5
33.5
209.8205.48.527.7
Nellie Fox
2,366
277.1271.19.8
33.4
265.5282.8-1.821.7
Joe Torre
2,209
242.7210.911.5
31.0
235.0202.012.231.1
Orlando Cepeda
2,124
250.0206.39.7
30.4
239.1200.47.727.6
Enos Slaughter
1,890
230.0196.19.7
29.0
220.9191.67.626.4
Lefty Grove
253
112.880.118.6
28.7
99.382.510.520.1
Red Ruffing
423
149.7132.413.7
28.1
147.9130.913.527.7
Roy Campanella
1,215
127.093.618.3
27.9
128.1102.014.724.7
Tony Gwynn Sr.
2,440
319.3289.53.8
27.7
316.1284.25.128.6
Lou Boudreau
1,187
160.5138.613.3
27.5
156.2137.211.825.7
Hoyt Wilhelm
1,070
142.1119.310.6
27.1
112.4101.94.718.1
Billy Herman
1,132
152.7127.913.1
27.0
150.3137.77.121.3
Bill Dickey
1,046
113.584.217.0
26.7
107.186.012.822.2
Babe Ruth
556
102.958.818.8
26.0
95.556.616.423.2
Bobby Doerr
1,146
152.1128.713.0
25.9
147.4131.19.422.2
Rich Gossage
1,003
131.4103.011.4
25.9
87.780.71.611.9
Phil Rizzuto
1,576
181.2167.49.8
25.6
178.0181.21.417.7
Jimmie Foxx
1,065
136.893.714.3
25.5
131.789.714.024.8
Johnny Mize
1,232
139.1101.213.6
24.8
133.095.913.524.1
Red Schoendienst
2,088
225.1223.54.7
24.5
223.8227.02.322.2
Luke Appling
1,277
165.6152.18.9
23.8
167.5152.59.724.7
Rollie Fingers
945
122.899.39.8
23.7
84.772.84.714.5
Kirby Puckett
1,783
234.5219.75.1
23.0
232.1214.86.424.0
Hal Newhouser
290
120.3104.611.4
22.5
113.3101.69.319.9
Lefty Gomez
229
108.790.711.9
22.4
101.192.96.917.2
Bill Mazeroski
2,163
227.9237.02.3
22.4
223.6239.2-0.919.0
Ralph Kiner
1,417
202.3175.95.0
21.5
206.0163.013.529.6
Arky Vaughan
925
121.7104.110.0
21.1
121.5103.010.421.4
Bruce Sutter
661
90.865.010.9
20.9
52.148.50.57.0
Ted Lyons
249
104.788.111.1
20.9
101.990.98.318.1
Lou Brock
2,614
339.2326.2-7.8
20.6
343.4322.2-3.824.7
Earl Averill Sr.
895
130.0108.78.1
19.5
127.4103.59.520.5
Rogers Hornsby
445
70.746.412.3
17.4
70.247.811.316.5
Charlie Gehringer
694
90.973.69.5
17.4
94.977.09.818.1
Gabby Hartnett
770
77.058.210.7
17.0
78.061.89.516.0
Joe Medwick
1,125
152.7138.42.1
16.7
145.6132.01.915.9
Hank Greenberg
662
91.062.09.5
16.7
88.761.28.815.9
Carl Hubbell
200
85.573.58.3
16.6
81.570.77.615.6
Richie Ashburn
2,188
279.0276.6-7.7
16.2
285.5275.0-3.720.4
Tony Lazzeri
752
93.179.17.9
16.1
91.781.36.214.4
George Kell
1,531
178.8170.60.5
16.0
175.0163.32.417.4
Joe Cronin
759
99.789.56.8
16.0
101.286.88.818.0
Al Simmons
799
113.395.75.7
15.3
110.393.35.514.9
Dazzy Vance
148
66.151.58.5
14.1
59.051.74.810.1
Mickey Cochrane
512
58.241.69.4
14.0
53.943.56.310.8
Waite Hoyt
216
72.362.86.2
13.0
71.164.74.711.5
Paul Waner
996
127.1116.20.8
12.5
129.8115.12.714.5
Frankie Frisch
593
78.968.45.9
12.5
78.071.14.110.8
Monte Irvin
764
95.379.34.6
12.2
90.576.63.611.0
Bill Terry
619
75.555.95.7
11.7
69.856.92.58.3
Travis Jackson
560
73.966.35.0
11.5
68.766.12.58.7
Dizzy Dean
89
38.124.38.0
11.2
33.525.65.08.1
Goose Goslin
645
90.878.63.4
11.2
88.076.43.210.8
Kiki Cuyler
680
92.581.13.2
11.1
95.382.43.911.9
Pie Traynor
665
83.277.14.0
11.1
78.976.12.49.2
Herb Pennock
124
47.237.65.7
9.7
47.037.25.89.8
Jesse Haines
131
48.439.75.3
9.6
44.242.81.65.9
Ernie Lombardi
808
66.764.12.9
9.5
66.262.53.59.9
Joe Sewell
549
71.670.32.5
8.6
71.768.63.49.5
Pete Alexander
89
42.834.55.0
8.5
39.633.04.17.5
Jim Bottomley
558
63.052.81.8
7.1
59.350.81.16.1
Rick Ferrell
737
60.361.50.6
6.6
63.860.92.78.8
Eppa Rixey
100
40.336.22.9
6.4
40.534.63.77.2
Red Faber
115
43.840.92.3
6.3
44.140.12.86.8
Chuck Klein
589
73.069.8-0.6
6.3
76.966.92.79.7
Burleigh Grimes
136
56.457.00.9
6.2
55.859.7-0.74.7
Tris Speaker
329
46.338.72.4
6.0
47.438.62.96.6
Hack Wilson
346
45.139.01.8
5.7
46.538.52.86.7
Dave Bancroft
311
41.038.52.4
5.7
44.138.54.07.4
Max Carey
392
57.251.11.1
5.6
59.549.72.97.4
Stan Coveleski
51
25.619.63.5
5.5
23.421.01.63.6
Walter Johnson
58
24.618.63.6
5.5
22.120.81.23.1
Eddie Collins Sr.
309
37.032.02.6
5.5
38.034.12.05.0
Lloyd Waner
819
93.197.3-4.1
5.0
95.799.8-4.05.3
Ty Cobb
222
33.526.52.4
4.9
32.626.91.74.3
Chick Hafey
363
45.741.40.8
4.8
46.640.51.75.7
Harry Heilmann
215
32.726.32.1
4.6
30.726.11.23.6
Earle Combs
505
64.162.9-1.3
4.4
66.862.50.36.1
Freddie Lindstrom
386
46.344.60.1
4.3
45.646.0-0.93.3
George Kelly
296
36.131.91.3
4.1
35.230.61.54.2
Satchel Paige
179
29.829.30.5
4.0
23.322.60.63.3
Ross Youngs
246
33.929.01.4
3.9
32.929.70.53.1
Rabbit Maranville
338
42.043.90.0
3.7
42.743.70.54.2
Heinie Manush
551
65.065.7-2.6
3.6
63.464.0-2.53.5
Zack Wheat
345
44.241.1-0.1
3.4
42.739.20.23.6
Sam Rice
401
48.247.7-1.4
2.8
46.447.4-2.22.0
Ray Schalk
238
20.618.91.0
2.6
19.519.40.21.8
George Sisler
314
35.433.4-0.4
2.6
36.733.30.33.2
Edd Roush
340
42.843.3-1.6
2.1
42.443.1-1.72.0
Harry Hooper
239
29.628.7-0.5
1.9
30.628.7-0.12.4
Frank 'Home Run' Baker
59
6.56.10.3
0.9
6.25.90.30.8
Willard Brown
11
1.11.1-0.0
0.1
0.91.3-0.2-0.1
Johnny Evers
1
0.20.10.0
0.0
0.10.10.00.0
Chief Bender
1
0.00.3-0.1
-0.1
0.00.1-0.1-0.0
Rube Marquard
42
8.912.1-1.4
-0.3
8.311.0-1.2-0.2
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Average*
1,834.3
289.1245.621.2
44.9
280.2242.918.241.3

*Average only includes players for whom their entire career is covered by Retrosheet play-by-play data.

Most of the players at the bottom of this list played the bulk of their careers before Retrosheet has play-by-play data. Retrosheet has complete play-by-play data (including some deduced games) since 1948, and data for most games since 1934. The average figures shown above only include players whose major-league career began in 1948 or later and appeared in at least 100 major-league games.

Excluding players for whom I only have partial Player won-lost records and Monte Irvin and Satchel Paige, whose careers in the white major leagues didn't begin until fairly late (ages 30 and 42, respectively), and who made the Hall of Fame in large part because of their earlier Negro League careers, the Hall of Famer with the lowest career pWORL is Lou Brock. Brock looks somewhat better when evaluated using (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins, although he still ranks quite low even there.

Looking only at Hall of Famers for whom Retrosheet play-by-play data covers their entire career, the average Hall of Famer has an average Player won-lost record of 289.1 - 245.6, with 21.2 pWOPA (pWins over Positional Average), and 44.9 pWORL (pWins over Replacement Level). Looking at the above table, the closest player to the average Hall-of-Famer is perhaps Willie Stargell.

Of course, Hall of Famers are not elected based on Player won-lost records, and even if they were, one would certainly want to consider more than simply career pWORL. For example, in the above table, ranking Hall of Famers by career pWORL, Jim Rice ranks a few places above Sandy Koufax.

Sandy Koufax is sometimes put into the conversation for the greatest pitcher ever. Jim Rice is sometimes put into the conversation for the biggest mistake in the Hall of Fame.

Of course, Sandy Koufax is not in the Hall of Fame because of his career counting statistics. He's in the Hall of Fame because of an incredible four-year peak from 1963 - 1966. And Sandy Koufax's Player won-lost record reflects this. His pWORLs in 1963 and 1965 both led the major leagues and, in fact, rank among the 10 highest single-season pWORLs of any seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records. Sandy Koufax also has one of the best World Series records in major-league history.

In contrast, Jim Rice has just one season that is (barely) among the top 50 in pWORL. Beyond that season, Rice was mostly a good, but not really great, player who stuck around long enough to accumulate a respectable career level of pWORL.

Even considering only the regular season, the short but brilliant nature of Koufax's career is apparent in the above table of Hall of Famers, in his pWins over Positional Average (pWOPA) of 20.0 which is close to the average value for all Hall of Famers (21.2). In contrast to Koufax, Jim Rice's career pWOPA, 12.5, is well below average for a Hall of Famer.

Hall of Merit

At Baseball Think Factory, they have created an alternative to the Hall of Fame, called the Hall of Merit. The idea behind the Hall of Merit was to enshrine the same number of players as are enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but to attempt to do so more systematically, eliminating the mistakes (of both omission and commission) in the Hall of Fame.

The inductees of the Hall of Merit are listed in the Hall of Merit's Plaque Room.

The table below presents career Player won-lost records for players who have been elected to the Hall of Merit who played at least part of their career during the Retrosheet Era. As in the table of Hall-of-Famers above, the players are sorted here by pWORL.



Hall of Merit Players

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Barry Bonds
2,985
462.8317.659.2
90.0
452.8309.658.588.6
Willie Mays
2,992
460.5328.652.8
86.9
436.7323.244.176.9
Mickey Mantle
2,400
366.8232.655.9
81.8
354.4233.749.374.7
Hank Aaron
3,298
493.0369.442.8
80.7
476.0360.339.376.1
Roger Clemens
709
325.7234.651.7
80.5
318.4234.648.076.5
Joe L. Morgan
2,648
367.2282.049.9
77.3
360.6283.945.672.8
Warren Spahn
762
363.2298.445.7
75.8
347.5292.940.169.3
Greg Maddux
759
339.8280.645.9
75.3
332.2270.746.675.2
Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson
619
287.3227.438.4
64.6
273.1224.532.557.8
Tom Seaver
677
315.3261.438.9
64.5
303.4267.529.755.1
Frank Robinson
2,807
400.6303.432.3
64.0
389.4291.533.263.7
Reggie Jackson
2,820
376.2292.131.9
62.3
356.4284.026.455.5
Mike Schmidt
2,403
339.2249.937.6
61.4
334.2241.339.662.8
Stan Musial
2,672
365.6273.732.8
60.9
360.9270.932.059.8
Steve Carlton
745
345.2310.132.1
60.9
328.8318.119.748.1
Ted Williams
1,843
299.3200.737.4
59.8
301.1194.641.463.6
Rickey Henderson
3,080
428.2355.928.1
59.7
423.1350.228.559.7
Pee Wee Reese
2,163
283.5221.136.2
59.1
282.8245.124.048.0
Eddie Mathews
2,389
313.8232.734.8
58.3
304.0232.630.153.2
Bob Gibson
597
271.6222.635.7
58.0
258.6225.127.749.6
Tom Glavine
709
288.8257.429.9
56.0
288.8267.725.051.6
Joe DiMaggio
1,541
258.2174.835.4
55.8
237.8177.624.043.5
Cal Ripken
3,001
373.7345.626.8
55.1
366.6339.726.053.8
Gaylord Perry
787
327.8294.925.7
55.0
327.6287.029.458.3
Jim Palmer
573
244.9187.433.7
54.3
236.2202.521.942.8
Al Kaline
2,833
379.8303.024.2
54.3
377.3302.523.353.3
Carl Yastrzemski
3,308
426.4359.118.5
53.5
447.5363.326.362.4
Don Sutton
785
326.1299.325.0
53.3
321.5300.422.150.2
Yogi Berra
2,110
247.2181.234.4
53.2
219.2184.718.636.2
Nolan Ryan
807
358.4337.120.5
52.9
328.1318.314.044.2
Robin Roberts
688
307.8278.625.7
52.7
308.9285.023.250.6
Juan Marichal
475
237.8192.032.6
52.0
227.8200.223.442.7
Harmon Killebrew
2,435
310.9231.227.2
51.4
301.7222.227.550.8
Pedro J. Martinez
476
197.2141.533.6
51.3
185.1135.830.247.0
Bert Blyleven
699
297.8263.523.5
50.2
301.4271.321.548.8
Whitey Ford
500
217.1169.031.9
49.8
208.0184.419.838.0
Willie McCovey
2,584
304.8220.626.6
49.4
278.6206.521.742.8
Lou Whitaker
2,387
292.8250.927.8
49.3
283.4252.722.143.4
Fergie Jenkins
665
288.4257.823.9
49.2
275.3268.112.137.2
Phil Niekro
866
339.0326.718.8
49.1
331.0343.36.737.3
George Brett
2,706
326.1273.322.4
48.0
324.1277.219.545.2
Duke Snider
2,138
272.2202.226.8
47.5
280.2212.925.146.7
Frank E. Thomas
2,322
253.6190.123.6
46.7
248.1184.823.746.3
Eddie Murray
3,026
348.8285.419.4
46.7
320.0274.411.336.9
Barry Larkin
2,180
282.6241.225.9
46.5
272.3238.422.142.2
Paul Molitor
2,683
312.7270.818.5
46.3
305.3272.614.041.5
Early Wynn
688
271.3247.222.2
46.0
258.1243.517.140.2
J. Kevin Brown
490
211.8171.826.4
45.8
212.9165.130.249.3
Dwight Evans
2,602
329.9275.120.5
45.7
334.7277.321.747.2
Johnny Bench
2,158
249.6195.626.9
45.7
237.4190.523.541.6
Robin Yount
2,856
361.0345.516.9
45.4
357.0338.118.646.6
Dave Winfield
2,971
393.3343.214.4
45.4
375.8333.311.140.9
Curt Schilling
571
211.1176.125.5
45.2
209.2177.024.143.6
Alan Trammell
2,292
274.4252.023.3
44.3
273.3254.921.442.5
Ozzie Smith
2,573
324.4304.019.6
44.3
318.8311.713.037.8
Willie Stargell
2,356
298.9230.921.2
44.0
288.5220.521.843.7
Bobby Grich
2,006
248.9213.224.9
43.8
249.3210.726.245.1
Craig Biggio
2,850
346.0312.217.7
43.5
340.6312.115.140.7
Roberto Alomar
2,377
300.8267.920.7
43.2
289.9266.116.138.1
Dennis Eckersley
1,073
218.9176.522.0
42.5
185.2170.69.027.0
Bob Lemon
585
200.7163.825.4
42.5
190.0167.118.235.0
Pete Rose Sr.
3,562
427.6389.48.0
42.4
440.4407.44.940.6
Billy Pierce
611
222.7191.923.1
42.3
208.9193.815.033.6
Carlton Fisk
2,498
252.6219.122.6
42.2
248.4212.123.842.9
Darrell Evans
2,683
303.6252.018.1
41.7
303.0249.918.942.3
Bob Feller
510
226.4199.119.9
41.3
213.0202.311.532.4
Graig Nettles
2,691
305.4263.917.4
41.1
294.5260.313.736.9
Jeff Bagwell
2,150
273.6200.522.0
41.0
266.3198.719.538.1
Jackie Robinson
1,382
188.2132.126.4
40.3
187.5142.021.135.4
Jim Bunning
600
242.2222.918.8
40.2
240.7234.412.534.3
Edgar Martinez
2,055
210.5167.318.0
39.2
208.6164.318.739.5
Billy Williams
2,485
333.4282.011.7
39.1
342.2279.317.344.9
Dick Allen
1,748
237.8177.521.1
38.9
230.9174.019.737.0
Mike Piazza
1,911
213.6174.022.7
38.7
199.5164.220.335.4
Larry Doby
1,530
221.8166.121.6
38.4
206.1166.014.030.2
David Cone
451
188.7158.020.7
38.0
186.0166.115.332.9
Wade Boggs
2,439
282.3248.616.5
37.7
291.5253.218.940.5
Mel Ott
1,103
174.5118.223.3
37.5
165.8113.321.635.2
Roberto Clemente
2,433
342.4294.69.8
37.3
333.2290.17.734.7
Mark McGwire
1,874
218.7155.822.5
37.3
212.6152.321.435.7
Joe Gordon
1,338
186.0145.021.4
37.1
176.1147.315.330.6
Brooks Robinson
2,895
340.2311.79.2
37.1
314.2302.71.027.4
Willie Randolph
2,202
263.4242.816.8
36.9
257.5248.711.031.0
Minnie Minoso
1,835
263.5211.416.1
36.6
247.7212.08.228.0
Ron Santo
2,243
287.0251.513.1
36.4
290.6236.722.445.3
Reggie Smith
1,986
265.3216.915.6
36.2
269.4216.717.738.5
Don Drysdale
547
226.4213.116.2
36.2
230.9219.615.436.0
Ernie Banks
2,525
302.4272.311.2
36.0
300.6256.318.542.6
Lou Gehrig
1,033
155.389.324.6
36.0
143.889.319.330.1
Larry Walker
1,984
268.5217.816.3
35.7
275.5213.721.841.4
Ryne Sandberg
2,164
274.1245.415.1
35.3
283.7245.220.040.5
Rod Carew
2,468
284.3259.112.1
35.2
290.9260.914.538.0
Rick Reuschel
579
226.6214.815.7
35.2
223.3223.110.029.6
Bret Saberhagen
403
159.6124.320.8
35.0
161.3125.521.235.5
Tim Raines Sr.
2,500
314.2276.510.8
34.6
316.4273.013.737.4
Jimmy Wynn
1,920
270.1228.213.1
34.6
268.8218.817.338.3
Andre Dawson
2,627
350.9317.57.3
34.4
342.4306.28.935.3
Gary Carter
2,293
243.3214.315.5
33.9
237.6205.217.235.0
Sandy Koufax
397
161.5132.420.0
33.9
150.4145.08.122.1
Rafael Palmeiro
2,829
305.9264.49.4
33.7
307.6258.313.437.5
Nellie Fox
2,366
277.1271.19.8
33.4
265.5282.8-1.821.7
Will Clark
1,976
230.4176.316.1
32.1
221.9176.512.027.6
Joe Torre
2,209
242.7210.911.5
31.0
235.0202.012.231.1
Dave Stieb
454
175.2151.914.3
30.3
171.5150.313.128.9
Ted Simmons
2,456
250.1231.79.0
30.2
236.5220.08.028.1
Enos Slaughter
1,890
230.0196.19.7
29.0
220.9191.67.626.4
Ken Boyer
2,034
247.1221.78.6
28.8
242.1211.811.230.7
Lefty Grove
253
112.880.118.6
28.7
99.382.510.520.1
Charlie Keller
916
133.189.317.4
28.6
123.987.513.924.5
Red Ruffing
423
149.7132.413.7
28.1
147.9130.913.527.7
Roy Campanella
1,215
127.093.618.3
27.9
128.1102.014.724.7
Tony Gwynn Sr.
2,440
319.3289.53.8
27.7
316.1284.25.128.6
Lou Boudreau
1,187
160.5138.613.3
27.5
156.2137.211.825.7
Hoyt Wilhelm
1,070
142.1119.310.6
27.1
112.4101.94.718.1
Keith Hernandez
2,088
228.2185.710.4
27.0
227.4189.08.325.1
Billy Herman
1,132
152.7127.913.1
27.0
150.3137.77.121.3
Bill Dickey
1,046
113.584.217.0
26.7
107.186.012.822.2
Babe Ruth
556
102.958.818.8
26.0
95.556.616.423.2
Bobby Doerr
1,146
152.1128.713.0
25.9
147.4131.19.422.2
Rich Gossage
1,003
131.4103.011.4
25.9
87.780.71.611.9
Jimmie Foxx
1,065
136.893.714.3
25.5
131.789.714.024.8
Johnny Mize
1,232
139.1101.213.6
24.8
133.095.913.524.1
Luke Appling
1,277
165.6152.18.9
23.8
167.5152.59.724.7
Rollie Fingers
945
122.899.39.8
23.7
84.772.84.714.5
Bill Freehan
1,770
167.7153.99.0
22.8
172.7152.712.126.1
Hal Newhouser
290
120.3104.611.4
22.5
113.3101.69.319.9
Ralph Kiner
1,417
202.3175.95.0
21.5
206.0163.013.529.6
Arky Vaughan
925
121.7104.110.0
21.1
121.5103.010.421.4
Ted Lyons
249
104.788.111.1
20.9
101.990.98.318.1
Earl Averill Sr.
895
130.0108.78.1
19.5
127.4103.59.520.5
Rogers Hornsby
445
70.746.412.3
17.4
70.247.811.316.5
Charlie Gehringer
694
90.973.69.5
17.4
94.977.09.818.1
Stan Hack
891
108.791.37.7
17.4
115.696.18.718.9
Gabby Hartnett
770
77.058.210.7
17.0
78.061.89.516.0
Joe Medwick
1,125
152.7138.42.1
16.7
145.6132.01.915.9
Hank Greenberg
662
91.062.09.5
16.7
88.761.28.815.9
Carl Hubbell
200
85.573.58.3
16.6
81.570.77.615.6
Wes Ferrell
216
77.563.59.3
16.3
72.766.75.412.3
Richie Ashburn
2,188
279.0276.6-7.7
16.2
285.5275.0-3.720.4
Joe Cronin
759
99.789.56.8
16.0
101.286.88.818.0
Al Simmons
799
113.395.75.7
15.3
110.393.35.514.9
Dazzy Vance
148
66.151.58.5
14.1
59.051.74.810.1
Mickey Cochrane
512
58.241.69.4
14.0
53.943.56.310.8
Paul Waner
996
127.1116.20.8
12.5
129.8115.12.714.5
Frankie Frisch
593
78.968.45.9
12.5
78.071.14.110.8
Monte Irvin
764
95.379.34.6
12.2
90.576.63.611.0
Bill Terry
619
75.555.95.7
11.7
69.856.92.58.3
Goose Goslin
645
90.878.63.4
11.2
88.076.43.210.8
Joe Sewell
549
71.670.32.5
8.6
71.768.63.49.5
Pete Alexander
89
42.834.55.0
8.5
39.633.04.17.5
Eppa Rixey
100
40.336.22.9
6.4
40.534.63.77.2
Red Faber
115
43.840.92.3
6.3
44.140.12.86.8
Tris Speaker
329
46.338.72.4
6.0
47.438.62.96.6
Max Carey
392
57.251.11.1
5.6
59.549.72.97.4
Stan Coveleski
51
25.619.63.5
5.5
23.421.01.63.6
Walter Johnson
58
24.618.63.6
5.5
22.120.81.23.1
Eddie Collins Sr.
309
37.032.02.6
5.5
38.034.12.05.0
Ty Cobb
222
33.526.52.4
4.9
32.626.91.74.3
Harry Heilmann
215
32.726.32.1
4.6
30.726.11.23.6
Satchel Paige
179
29.829.30.5
4.0
23.322.60.63.3
Zack Wheat
345
44.241.1-0.1
3.4
42.739.20.23.6
George Sisler
314
35.433.4-0.4
2.6
36.733.30.33.2
Edd Roush
340
42.843.3-1.6
2.1
42.443.1-1.72.0
Heinie Groh
141
15.114.70.5
1.8
13.714.4-0.11.1
Frank 'Home Run' Baker
59
6.56.10.3
0.9
6.25.90.30.8
Willard Brown
11
1.11.1-0.0
0.1
0.91.3-0.2-0.1
Quincy Trouppe
6
0.10.3-0.1
-0.1
0.10.3-0.1-0.1
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Average*
1,852.2
284.2238.221.9
44.8
277.2236.119.642.0

*Average only includes players for whom their entire career is covered by Retrosheet play-by-play data. The six games shown here represents the entirety of Quincy Trouppe's career in the white major leagues. He was elected to the Hall of Merit, however, on the strength of his Negro and Mexican league records in the 1930s and 1940s. Trouppe's statistics are not included in the average shown above.

Somewhat surprisingly to me, the average Hall-of-Meriter ends up looking very similar to the average Hall-of-Famer. Of course, a large reason for this is because most of the players on these two lists are the same players. The next section focuses on those players who are in one of the two Halls but not the other.

Hall of Fame vs. Hall of Merit

The next two tables show players in the Hall of Fame, but not the Hall of Merit, and players in the Hall of Merit, but not the Hall of Fame. For these tables, I am only showing players whose career began in 1948 or later, so that their entire careers fall during the time period for which Player won-lost records are calculated for all games.

Players in the Hall of Fame, but not the Hall of Merit

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
John Smoltz
735
245.3205.729.5
51.8
225.0193.525.345.7
Tony Perez
2,773
305.3254.113.7
37.9
292.6249.710.033.5
Luis Aparicio
2,601
314.3317.29.6
36.8
313.8326.24.932.5
Jim Rice
2,089
281.3245.212.5
35.8
277.0243.811.134.2
Catfish Hunter
515
212.3195.714.5
33.5
209.8205.48.527.7
Orlando Cepeda
2,124
250.0206.39.7
30.4
239.1200.47.727.6
Kirby Puckett
1,783
234.5219.75.1
23.0
232.1214.86.424.0
Bill Mazeroski
2,163
227.9237.02.3
22.4
223.6239.2-0.919.0
Bruce Sutter
661
90.865.010.9
20.9
52.148.50.57.0
Lou Brock
2,614
339.2326.2-7.8
20.6
343.4322.2-3.824.7
 
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Average*
1,805.8
250.1227.210.0
31.3
240.8224.47.027.6


Players in the Hall of Merit, but not the Hall of Fame

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Barry Bonds
2,985
462.8317.659.2
90.0
452.8309.658.588.6
Roger Clemens
709
325.7234.651.7
80.5
318.4234.648.076.5
Lou Whitaker
2,387
292.8250.927.8
49.3
283.4252.722.143.4
J. Kevin Brown
490
211.8171.826.4
45.8
212.9165.130.249.3
Dwight Evans
2,602
329.9275.120.5
45.7
334.7277.321.747.2
Curt Schilling
571
211.1176.125.5
45.2
209.2177.024.143.6
Alan Trammell
2,292
274.4252.023.3
44.3
273.3254.921.442.5
Bobby Grich
2,006
248.9213.224.9
43.8
249.3210.726.245.1
Pete Rose Sr.
3,562
427.6389.48.0
42.4
440.4407.44.940.6
Darrell Evans
2,683
303.6252.018.1
41.7
303.0249.918.942.3
Graig Nettles
2,691
305.4263.917.4
41.1
294.5260.313.736.9
Jeff Bagwell
2,150
273.6200.522.0
41.0
266.3198.719.538.1
Edgar Martinez
2,055
210.5167.318.0
39.2
208.6164.318.739.5
Dick Allen
1,748
237.8177.521.1
38.9
230.9174.019.737.0
Mike Piazza
1,911
213.6174.022.7
38.7
199.5164.220.335.4
David Cone
451
188.7158.020.7
38.0
186.0166.115.332.9
Mark McGwire
1,874
218.7155.822.5
37.3
212.6152.321.435.7
Willie Randolph
2,202
263.4242.816.8
36.9
257.5248.711.031.0
Minnie Minoso
1,835
263.5211.416.1
36.6
247.7212.08.228.0
Reggie Smith
1,986
265.3216.915.6
36.2
269.4216.717.738.5
Larry Walker
1,984
268.5217.816.3
35.7
275.5213.721.841.4
Rick Reuschel
579
226.6214.815.7
35.2
223.3223.110.029.6
Bret Saberhagen
403
159.6124.320.8
35.0
161.3125.521.235.5
Tim Raines Sr.
2,500
314.2276.510.8
34.6
316.4273.013.737.4
Jimmy Wynn
1,920
270.1228.213.1
34.6
268.8218.817.338.3
Rafael Palmeiro
2,829
305.9264.49.4
33.7
307.6258.313.437.5
Will Clark
1,976
230.4176.316.1
32.1
221.9176.512.027.6
Dave Stieb
454
175.2151.914.3
30.3
171.5150.313.128.9
Ted Simmons
2,456
250.1231.79.0
30.2
236.5220.08.028.1
Ken Boyer
2,034
247.1221.78.6
28.8
242.1211.811.230.7
Keith Hernandez
2,088
228.2185.710.4
27.0
227.4189.08.325.1
Bill Freehan
1,770
167.7153.99.0
22.8
172.7152.712.126.1
Quincy Trouppe
6
0.10.3-0.1
-0.1
0.10.3-0.1-0.1
 
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Average*
1,880.7
261.6217.119.7
40.4
258.6215.918.939.3

*Average excludes Quincy Trouppe.

Hall of Fame
The first table finds ten players whose full career is covered by Retrosheet who are in the Hall of Fame, but not the Hall of Merit (although at least one of these, John Smoltz, will almost certainly be inducted into the Hall of Merit within the next two to three seasons).

Looking at the above table, the average "Hall of Fame, not Hall of Merit" player is probably Orlando Cepeda.

Hall of Merit
The list of players in the Hall of Merit but not the Hall of Fame is quite a bit longer than the reverse, 33 players in all. Most of the Hall of Fame's errors of commission - i.e., players in the Hall of Fame who don't really belong - were Veterans' Committee inductees who played in the 1920s and 1930s (or even earlier). Most of the Hall of Fame's errors of omission - i.e., players who are as good or better than most players in the Hall of Fame who have not been inducted - are players from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, who were overlooked by the BBWAA and have not had the opportunity to be inducted by more recent Veterans' Committees. The Hall of Merit has replaced the former group of players (players such as Sunny Jim Bottomley, George 'Highpockets' Kelly, and Lloyd Waner, et al.) with the latter group of players.

A couple of the players on this list were elected to the Hall of Merit based in part on games not included here. In addition to the aforementioned Quincy Trouppe, Minnie Minoso was given some Negro / Cuban league credit at the Hall of Merit.

The remaining 31 players fall into three possible categories.
1. Players not inducted into the Hall of Fame just yet
Five years ago, the two best players not in the Hall of Fame might have been Bert Blyleven and Ron Santo. Blyleven was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 while Santo finally made it (posthumously) in 2012. It is likely that some of the 33 players listed above will eventually be inducted into the Hall of Fame. For example, Mike Piazza receivednearly 70% of the vote in the most recent Hall-of-Fame election. It seems extremely likely that Mike Piazza will be elected into the Hall of Fame within the next year or two and thereby be removed from this list.

In theory, every player on this list still has a chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame. The most likely players to do so, however - especially within the next few years - are the 10 players listed here who are still on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Alan Trammell, Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Mark McGwire, Larry Walker, and Tim Raines. Realistically, some of these players are very unlikely to be elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA. Nevertheless, for now, I'm going to set these players aside in comparing the memberships of the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Merit.

2. Players hurt by character clause
There are some differences between the voting rules for the Hall of Fame and the Hall of Merit. This difference is probably most clear in one name from the above table: Pete Rose. Pete Rose was elected to the Hall of Merit in his second year of eligibility. To date, Pete Rose has not yet had a first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. He's outright banned because of betting on baseball.

Even for players who are technically eligible for the Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame ballot contains an explicit "character clause": "Voting shall be based upon the player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played (emphasis added). Most recently, the character clause has been invoked by a majority of BBWAA voters to exclude players who used (or are strongly suspected of having used) steroids or similar performance-enhancing drugs. Three players in the Hall of Merit who remain on the Hall-of-Fame ballot appear to have been most negatively affected by the character clause recently: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire.

Another player who was named in the Mitchell Report and subsequently dropped off the ballot in his first year of eligibility was Kevin Brown. Realistically, Kevin Brown would not have been elected to the Hall of Fame yet even if he had not been named in the Mitchell Report. He might well, however, have received the 18 additional votes he would have needed to reach the 5% threshold needed to stay on the ballot a second year. From there, it is possible (albeit very unlikely) that he could have gained some momentum and might have eventually been able to build support toward eventual Hall-of-Fame enshrinement. I therefore have chosen to set him aside as a possible "victim" of the character clause.

Finally, one more player from the above table whose Hall of Fame candidacy might have been adversely affected by the character clause is Dick Allen, who had several unfortunate incidents in his career. He might not have been elected even without the character issues, but he might have.

3. Players the Hall of Fame has missed (so far)
Excluding players who remain on the BBWAA Hall of Fame ballot and players whose Hall of Fame vote totals were negatively affected by character issues, I am left with 17 players for whom Retrosheet has full play-by-play records for their career who have been elected to the Hall of Merit, but not the Hall of Fame. Player won-lost records for these 17 players are repeated below.

Players in the Hall of Merit, but not the Hall of Fame
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Lou Whitaker
2,387
292.8250.927.8
49.3
283.4252.722.143.4
Dwight Evans
2,602
329.9275.120.5
45.7
334.7277.321.747.2
Bobby Grich
2,006
248.9213.224.9
43.8
249.3210.726.245.1
Darrell Evans
2,683
303.6252.018.1
41.7
303.0249.918.942.3
Graig Nettles
2,691
305.4263.917.4
41.1
294.5260.313.736.9
David Cone
451
188.7158.020.7
38.0
186.0166.115.332.9
Willie Randolph
2,202
263.4242.816.8
36.9
257.5248.711.031.0
Reggie Smith
1,986
265.3216.915.6
36.2
269.4216.717.738.5
Rick Reuschel
579
226.6214.815.7
35.2
223.3223.110.029.6
Bret Saberhagen
403
159.6124.320.8
35.0
161.3125.521.235.5
Jimmy Wynn
1,920
270.1228.213.1
34.6
268.8218.817.338.3
Will Clark
1,976
230.4176.316.1
32.1
221.9176.512.027.6
Dave Stieb
454
175.2151.914.3
30.3
171.5150.313.128.9
Ted Simmons
2,456
250.1231.79.0
30.2
236.5220.08.028.1
Ken Boyer
2,034
247.1221.78.6
28.8
242.1211.811.230.7
Keith Hernandez
2,088
228.2185.710.4
27.0
227.4189.08.325.1
Bill Freehan
1,770
167.7153.99.0
22.8
172.7152.712.126.1
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Average
1,805.2
244.3209.516.4
35.8
241.4208.815.334.5


A comparison of the average HOF, not HOM player and the average HOM, not HOF player are summarized below.

Players in the Hall of Merit, but not the Hall of Fame
Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Hall of Fame
1,805.8
250.1227.210.0
31.3
240.8224.47.027.6
Hall of Merit
1,805.2
244.3209.516.4
35.8
241.4208.815.334.5


I think that if one looks closely, there's a great deal to be gleaned from that comparison. On a strict statistical basis, players in the Hall of Merit, but not in the Hall of Fame, had better, more valuable careers than players in the Hall of Fame, but not in the Hall of Merit. This is not a big surprise: the entire point of the Hall of Merit was to remove the least valuable Hall-of-Famers and replace them with "better" players and while the Hall of Merit mostly pre-dates the development of Player won-lost records, the electorate of the Hall of Merit was certainly using the same general "sabermetric" approach to player valuation.

The largest difference between any of the numbers in the preceding table are for eWOPA - (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average. The average HOM-not-HOF player beats the average HOF-not-HOM player by 8.3 eWOPA. That number narrows to 7.0 when comparison shifts from average to replacement level. And the average HOF-not-HOM player and the average HOM-not-HOF player earned basically the same number of raw eWins, 240.8 vs. 241.4.

Lou Brock is the most extreme example of this. Brock played for 19 seasons, appearing in 2,616 games (35th all-time), and collecting over 3,000 career hits. His career length helped him to amass over 330 career pWins, but, in fact, he was actually slightly below average over his career as measured by Player won-lost record.
The other thing that emerges in the above table is that while both "average players" rate better in context - pWins - than context-neutral - eWins - the difference between pWins and eWins is fairly trivial for Hall-of-Merit-only players, while Hall-of-Fame-only players gain a more significant 3.7 WORL when player performance is put into the context of team performance. Of the 10 HOF-not-HOM players shown earlier, 8 of them had more career pWORL than career eWORL.

Tony Perez may be the best example of this. Tony Perez may be the only player in the Baseball Hall of Fame based primarily on his career RBI total (1,652, 28th all-time). The first sentence on Perez's page at the Hall of Fame's website reads: "One of the national pastime's great run producers, Atanasio 'Tony' Perez Rigal was among the best when it came to driving in big runs for Cincinnati's 'Big Red Machine' clubs of the 1970s." His Hall-of-Fame plaque reads, "A clutch performer throughout an illustrious 23-year career, he tormented the opposition with his ability to consistently drive in runs...."

Sabermetricians tend to disdain RBI's as a valid statistical measure of "value", arguing that RBI's are merely a function of (a) general hitting ability, which is better measured by other statistics (e.g., Perez's career batting line of .279/.341/.463), and (b) opportunity, which is outside of the control of a player. Perez, for example, batted 4th (and occasionally 5th) in his career, which tend to provide maximum RBI opportunities within a typical major-league lineup, and Perez tended to bat behind Pete Rose and Joe Morgan, who both finished in the top 5 in the major leagues in times on base every season from 1972 through 1977, which gave Tony Perez lots of baserunners to drive in.

There is definitely something to this. And, as can be seen in the above tables, Player won-lost records think that both Morgan and Rose (as well as Reds' teammate Johnny Bench) were more valuable players over their careers than Tony Perez. But there is value in actually driving in runs, and Tony Perez did drive in a lot of runs. Perez also hit better over his career with runners in scoring position - .284/.364/.470 - than with the bases empty - .265/.322/.442. He also hit better in high-leverage situations for his career - .300/.359/.491 - than in either medium- or low-leverage situations (.277/.341/.456 and .269/.331/.456, respectively). In late and close situations, Perez batted .300/.370/.490 for his career. In extra innings, Tony Perez batted .352/.427/.552. Was Tony Perez's "clutch performance" a skill? Maybe. Was Tony Perez's "clutch performance" real? Of course. The runs Perez drove in really scored and those runs contributed to real wins for Perez's teams.
In addition to comparing hypothetical "averages", I thought it would be instructive to compare two actual players: a "typical" HOF-only player, Orlando Cepeda, and a "typical" HOM-only player, say, Reggie Smith. Cepeda and Smith are compared in the next table.

Orlando Cepeda Reggie Smith
Age Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL Games pWins pLoss pWOPA pWORL
20
14815.714.6-0.1
1.1
21
15118.816.30.6
2.1
60.40.9-0.3-0.2
22
15118.917.8-0.4
1.1
15818.317.5-0.11.6
23
15220.615.91.3
3.0
15520.619.8-0.21.5
24
16218.514.61.0
2.3
14318.715.71.02.6
25
15619.715.11.6
3.0
14720.716.11.83.4
26
14218.112.81.9
3.2
15923.719.01.73.4
27
330.81.0-0.1
0.0
13119.614.22.13.5
28
14215.613.10.4
1.6
11516.212.51.73.0
29
15123.214.33.1
4.8
14319.915.81.42.9
30
15717.815.00.3
1.7
13515.814.10.11.4
31
15418.815.50.4
2.0
11215.412.31.02.1
32
14816.115.2-0.6
0.8
14821.915.52.13.7
33
717.96.70.1
0.7
12818.813.71.83.1
34
312.22.2-0.2
0.0
687.77.9-0.40.2
35
14214.813.60.6
2.5
9212.910.30.81.8
36
332.52.7-0.1
0.2
411.42.0-0.2-0.0
37
 
10513.29.51.32.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER RECORDS
(in context)
2,124250.0206.39.7
30.4
1,986265.3216.915.636.2
(context-neutral)
2,124239.1200.47.7
27.6
1,986269.4216.717.738.5


The Cepeda-Smith comparison highlights the differences between Hall-of-Fame and Hall-of-Merit players discussed above. Smith beats Cepeda across the board - even moreso than perhaps the "average player" discussed above. But the gap between the two players is most striking in eWOPA (17.7 - 7.7) and least striking in pWORL (36.2 - 30.4).

Breaking the comparison down by seasons also reveals some potentially relevant distinctions between the two, I believe. While Smith has better career numbers across the board, Cepeda had the single best season of either of these two, in 1967 (Cepeda's age-29 season), when Cepeda won a (well-deserved) MVP award.

To some extent, the difference between Cepeda's and Smith's Hall-of-Fame case, I think, comes down to "narrative". Cepeda won a Rookie-of-the-Year award, challenged first-ballot Hall-of-Famer Willie McCovey for playing time at first base (and in left field) for several years, changed teams and won an MVP award for a pennant winner. For his career, Cepeda made All-Star teams in 7 seasons and appeared in the postseason in four seasons for three different teams, playing for one World Series winner.

The thing is, Reggie Smith's career comes pretty close to Cepeda's in terms of "narrative" markers. Smith only finished 2nd in Rookie-of-the-Year voting and never higher than 4th in MVP voting. But he was named an All-Star in 7 seasons, same as Cepeda, and matched Cepeda with four postseason appearances (although for only two teams) and one World Series win.

In fact, Cepeda and Smith met in the World Series once, in 1967. The results of that matchup are, perhaps, an appropriate summation of the two players. Cepeda's team won the World Series that year, 4 - 3, but Smith batted .250/.308/.542 with 2 home runs, 3 RBI and 3 runs scored, while Cepeda batted .103/.103/.172 (3-for-29 with 2 doubles) with 1 RBI and 1 run scored. Even tying their performances to team performance, Smith beat Cepeda in the 1967 World Series, as measured by pWins, 0.8 - 0.2.

Best Players in Neither the Hall of Fame nor the Hall of Merit

Finally, what players have the best Player won-lost records but are in neither the Hall of Fame nor the Hall of Merit? The table below shows all players whose career began between 1948 and 1985, who are in neither the Hall of Fame nor the Hall of Merit, and have more than 10 career WOPA (both pWOPA and eWOPA) and 30 career WORL (both pWORL and eWORL).

Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
Tommy John
761
291.0251.528.1
53.3
290.8257.325.250.7
Jim Kaat
1,003
279.0258.519.9
45.1
285.2271.716.742.8
Dwight Gooden
434
188.6159.822.4
38.5
179.3167.114.030.0
Orel Hershiser
519
203.2183.218.6
36.9
200.5180.518.536.6
Dennis Martinez
694
235.2219.613.9
36.2
238.2227.711.534.3
Bert Campaneris
2,326
277.6280.312.1
35.8
277.6281.211.535.4
Dick McAuliffe
1,763
213.1186.917.9
35.2
212.9189.016.734.1
Toby Harrah
2,155
252.6232.914.8
34.8
255.8227.419.239.0
Larry Jackson
599
215.3200.515.4
34.7
211.5200.513.432.6
Amos Otis
1,997
268.1234.813.4
34.4
265.7238.410.331.4
Jerry Reuss
630
228.6218.014.2
34.3
225.4218.212.432.4
Sal Bando
2,019
244.8210.014.4
34.0
235.5204.212.831.8
Jose Canseco
1,886
225.9187.914.3
33.9
218.8186.411.630.9
Ron Cey
2,070
253.6213.814.7
33.8
243.6207.812.931.4
Bobby Bonds
1,849
268.9227.212.3
33.7
266.5215.617.137.9
Jerry Koosman
612
235.7227.011.9
33.1
233.4223.812.333.1
Bob Friend
602
231.5225.511.1
32.7
231.5216.715.436.6
Lew Burdette
666
196.7181.814.2
32.2
195.2180.713.931.8
Claude Osteen
588
219.0212.612.3
32.1
219.8204.216.736.1
Fred Lynn
1,967
250.7220.812.9
32.0
255.1214.618.237.2
Norm Cash
2,087
222.4169.814.4
31.5
224.6169.515.632.8
Brian Downing
2,342
238.0212.910.3
31.3
238.6208.812.733.6
Rocky Colavito
1,841
256.3213.611.1
31.3
253.5204.614.534.1
Jack Clark
1,992
249.7205.711.7
31.0
247.4196.915.334.0
Jim Fregosi
1,901
223.1210.011.9
30.8
216.8203.412.030.2




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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