Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Jim Bunning

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Jim Bunning

Jim Bunning was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans' Committee in 1996 after peaking in BBWAA voting in 1988 (Bunning's 12th year on the ballot) with 74.2% of the vote (4 votes short of election).

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

Jim Bunning
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1955DET23
15
3.15.60.358-1.1
-0.8
2.94.50.387-0.8-0.4
1956DET24
15
3.32.30.5950.6
0.9
2.93.10.484-0.00.3
1957DET25
45
18.114.10.5612.7
4.0
17.316.00.5191.42.8
1958DET26
36
14.714.70.5010.7
1.8
14.414.80.4940.51.6
1959DET27
40
16.116.30.4960.5
1.9
15.616.30.4900.31.6
1960DET28
37
15.113.50.5271.4
2.6
16.813.30.5582.43.7
1961DET29
38
18.514.30.5642.7
4.1
16.815.30.5241.42.8
1962DET30
42
18.214.30.5602.7
4.1
17.015.90.5171.42.8
1963DET31
40
15.116.10.4830.2
1.6
15.617.80.467-0.41.2
1964PHI32
41
18.213.50.5733.0
4.7
18.116.00.5311.83.6
1965PHI33
39
19.314.10.5773.4
4.8
20.016.50.5482.64.2
1966PHI34
43
20.316.70.5492.5
4.0
19.516.70.5392.03.6
1967PHI35
40
19.315.10.5602.8
4.3
19.115.90.5442.33.8
1968PIT36
27
8.212.00.407-1.5
-0.7
8.912.40.418-1.4-0.5
37
34
12.612.60.4990.5
1.7
12.813.30.4910.31.5
1970PHI38
35
11.913.10.477-0.1
1.0
13.413.40.5000.51.7
1971PHI39
31
7.49.10.447-0.7
0.1
7.37.50.4930.10.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
598
239.2217.50.52420.2
40.3
238.4228.70.51014.535.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.0 0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
598
239.2217.50.524
40.3
238.4228.70.510 35.0


Jim Bunning was, I think, somewhat underappreciated. This is evident, for example, in his failure to get elected to the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA (although he came damn close). He also received only a single Cy Young vote in his career, in 1967. This was largely due to the fact that Cy Young ballots were only one player long during Bunning's career (i.e., it was impossible to receive a 2nd-place vote in Cy Young balloting prior to 1970).

Jim Bunning's Prime: 1957 - 1967
In fact, however, Jim Bunning was one of the best players in Major League Baseball through his prime. The next table shows the top 10 players from 1957 through 1967 as measured by pWins over either positional average or replacement level.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Willie Mays275.5194.533.1
51.8
1Willie Mays275.5194.533.1
51.8
2Mickey Mantle208.8138.628.7
42.7
2Hank Aaron272.0201.425.3
44.2
3Hank Aaron272.0201.425.3
44.2
3Mickey Mantle208.8138.628.7
42.7
4Eddie Mathews216.5163.722.9
38.1
4Eddie Mathews216.5163.722.9
38.1
5Jim Bunning192.7162.922.6
38.0
5Jim Bunning192.7162.922.6
38.0
6Juan Marichal134.6100.822.5
32.9
6Frank Robinson243.8186.318.5
35.7
7Sandy Koufax151.7119.521.4
33.6
7Sandy Koufax151.7119.521.4
33.6
8Whitey Ford141.9112.620.4
31.5
8Don Drysdale195.5178.916.8
33.1
9Frank Robinson243.8186.318.5
35.7
9Juan Marichal134.6100.822.5
32.9
10Don Drysdale195.5178.916.8
33.1
10Whitey Ford141.9112.620.4
31.5


A case could be made (using pWORL) that Jim Bunning was the best pitcher in baseball over this 11-year period. Every player in the above table is in the Hall of Fame (all deservedly so, in my opinion).

Best Players to Never Make the Postseason
One reason why Jim Bunning is, I think, somewhat underrated, is that Jim Bunning never played for a playoff team. He came closest in 1964 when his team, the Philadelphia Phillies blew a 6-1/2 game lead with 12 to play as they lost 10 straight, due in large part to Manager Gene Mauch seriously overworking Bunning (who started 10 of the Phillies final 33 games from September 1st onward, completing 5 of them). The final table shows the top 10 players who never appeared in a postseason game, ranked by regular-season pWORL.

Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Fergie Jenkins286.8250.926.8
50.7
2Jim Bunning239.2217.520.2
40.3
3Luke Appling294.7273.813.8
37.1
4Ted Lyons219.7196.318.0
36.2
5Ernie Banks310.4279.211.8
35.7
6Ron Santo293.6258.812.7
35.2
7Minnie Minoso262.9213.915.1
34.5
8Toby Harrah254.1233.514.7
33.6
9Larry Jackson205.6190.915.4
32.9
10Mel Harder201.9183.414.7
32.5


As a resident of the North Side of Chicago, I feel compelled to note that Jim Bunning is the only one of the top 5 players on this list who is not most closely associated with a Chicago baseball team.



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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