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 missing induction by four votes in his 12th time on the BBWAA ballot (in 1988).

Five highlights of Jim Bunning's career: The first two tables below present Jim Bunning'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
1955DET23
15
3.15.6-1.8-2.3
1956DET24
15
3.32.31.51.1
1957DET25
45
17.914.16.64.7
1958DET26
36
14.714.72.50.7
1959DET27
40
16.016.42.60.6
1960DET28
38
15.013.64.12.4
1961DET29
38
18.414.46.94.9
1962DET30
43
18.114.36.74.7
1963DET31
40
14.916.21.7-0.2
1964PHI32
41
18.013.67.45.4
1965PHI33
39
19.414.28.26.2
1966PHI34
43
20.116.86.64.3
1967PHI35
40
19.215.17.25.1
1968PIT36
27
8.212.1-2.1-3.3
37
34
12.512.82.20.6
1970PHI38
35
11.813.20.9-0.6
1971PHI39
31
7.49.1-0.3-1.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
600
237.9218.561.033.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.00.00.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
600
237.9218.561.033.1


Expected Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games eWins eLosses eWORL eWOPA
1955DET23
15
3.35.3-1.2-1.8
1956DET24
15
2.72.90.4-0.0
1957DET25
45
16.615.54.12.2
1958DET26
36
14.514.92.20.5
1959DET27
40
15.816.52.40.5
1960DET28
38
15.812.75.84.1
1961DET29
38
17.115.65.03.0
1962DET30
43
16.715.74.12.1
1963DET31
40
14.516.70.9-1.1
1964PHI32
41
16.714.95.13.1
1965PHI33
39
18.315.26.44.3
1966PHI34
43
19.917.06.44.1
1967PHI35
40
18.615.76.24.2
1968PIT36
27
8.411.8-1.6-2.8
37
34
12.412.92.10.6
1970PHI38
35
12.412.52.30.8
1971PHI39
31
8.18.31.20.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
600
232.1224.351.823.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.00.00.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
600
232.1224.351.823.9


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 Mays278.1191.775.7
99.3
1Willie Mays278.1191.775.7
99.3
2Mickey Mantle209.9136.664.5
81.9
2Hank Aaron274.6199.159.4
83.0
3Hank Aaron274.6199.159.4
83.0
3Mickey Mantle209.9136.664.5
81.9
4Eddie Mathews216.9163.747.1
66.2
4Eddie Mathews216.9163.747.1
66.2
5Frank Robinson246.0185.244.3
65.9
5Frank Robinson246.0185.244.3
65.9
6Juan Marichal134.0101.240.1
54.3
6Jim Bunning191.7163.538.9
60.5
7Jim Bunning191.7163.538.9
60.5
7Al Kaline221.1170.437.0
56.6
8Sandy Koufax150.9119.938.8
55.8
8Sandy Koufax150.9119.938.8
55.8
9Al Kaline221.1170.437.0
56.6
9Juan Marichal134.0101.240.1
54.3
10Whitey Ford141.1112.935.6
51.3
10Whitey Ford141.1112.935.6
51.3


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 Jenkins285.2252.644.4
77.4
2Minnie Minoso265.7211.538.0
62.5
3Wes Ferrell185.1152.541.9
61.9
4Jim Bunning237.9218.533.1
61.0
5Ted Lyons236.5218.730.6
58.5
6Luke Appling322.7305.525.0
57.7
7Mel Harder210.2192.428.0
53.6
8Ron Santo293.1259.025.4
52.9
9Emil 'Dutch' Leonard192.2173.328.6
52.4
10Ernie Banks310.4279.421.4
51.2


Article last updated: May 14, 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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