Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Joe Torre
2014 Veterans' Committee HOF Ballot: Joe Torre

The Baseball Hall of Fame recently announced their 2014 Veterans' ballot. I have recently written articles on each of the six players on the ballot. Since my statistic is Player won-lost records, I don't necessarily have a lot to say about the managers on the ballot (and absolutely nothing to say about the owner and labor leader on the ballot).

One manager on the ballot has perhaps an equally strong case as a player, however. This article takes a look at former Braves and Cardinals catcher and corner infielder, Joe Torre.

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

Joe Torre
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1960MLN19
2
0.10.00.8930.0
0.0
0.10.00.6750.00.0
1961MLN20
113
10.09.90.5010.1
1.0
10.610.30.5070.31.2
1962MLN21
80
5.96.40.481-0.2
0.3
5.65.40.5090.20.6
1963MLN22
142
15.413.80.5280.7
1.8
15.412.80.5451.12.2
1964MLN23
154
18.115.10.5461.4
2.7
17.214.20.5481.42.6
1965MLN24
148
16.613.40.5531.6
2.8
15.512.80.5471.42.5
1966ATL25
148
18.114.10.5622.0
3.2
17.613.70.5632.03.2
1967ATL26
135
14.813.20.5281.1
2.3
14.311.90.5471.52.6
1968ATL27
115
13.411.60.5370.9
1.9
12.110.50.5360.81.7
1969SLN28
159
18.514.50.5611.0
2.4
17.814.90.5440.51.9
1970SLN29
161
18.617.30.5170.4
1.9
20.817.00.5491.63.2
1971SLN30
161
26.316.90.6084.1
5.8
23.216.70.5812.74.3
1972SLN31
149
17.916.30.5230.4
1.8
16.715.50.5180.31.6
1973SLN32
141
15.413.30.5350.4
1.6
16.313.70.5440.61.9
1974SLN33
147
15.413.10.5390.5
1.6
15.113.40.5290.21.3
1975NYN34
114
10.810.70.502-0.2
0.7
9.810.30.488-0.40.4
1976NYN35
114
8.38.00.509-0.2
0.4
8.87.60.5390.30.9
1977NYN36
26
1.02.00.330-0.5
-0.4
1.01.40.412-0.2-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,209
244.4209.70.53813.6
32.0
237.9202.20.54114.132.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
0
0.00.0 0.00.00.0 0.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,209
244.4209.70.538
32.0
237.9202.20.541 32.0


Joe Torre was elected to the Hall of Merit in his second year of eligibility. How does Player won-lost record view his candidacy, purely as a player?

In an article on Bill Freehan, I identified Torre as the best catcher of the 1960s. Torre did most of his catching in the 1960s, but even during that decade, he never caught more than 114 games in a single season and by 1969 he was a regular first baseman (144 games, 142 starts) who only occasionally caught (17 games, 16 starts). Frequently, when I do lists of players by position, I use a standard of having earned 50% of their player wins at the position. By that standard, Joe Torre doesn't show up on any lists, because he's not eligible for any lists. He earned more player wins as a catcher than at any other position, but not a majority anywhere. The next table presents a breakdown of Joe Torre's (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) career player wins by position.

Joe Torre's Career Record by Position
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
Catcher94.879.00.5469.3
First Base76.368.00.5290.2
Third Base62.753.60.5393.3
Left Field0.20.10.6290.0
Pinch Hitter3.42.70.5570.5


Because Joe Torre doesn't really have a position, one is forced to compare him to all baseball players in trying to figure out how good he was. We begin by cherry picking Joe Torre's own prime. The next table shows the top 25 players between 1963 and 1974, as ranked by pWins over replacement level.

Top Players, 1963 - 1974
(ranked by pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Bob Gibson216.4170.932.349.0
2Juan Marichal196.1155.828.443.8
3Hank Aaron261.0196.121.840.4
4Frank Robinson237.1179.620.238.1
5Joe L. Morgan195.5157.022.536.8
6Fergie Jenkins177.1146.022.436.4
7Willie McCovey204.4140.622.236.3
8Willie Mays209.6156.520.935.7
9Brooks Robinson244.8202.916.935.0
10Ron Santo248.9208.216.234.8
11Dick Allen210.8157.019.834.6
12Carl Yastrzemski259.4209.515.534.5
13Gaylord Perry199.7179.716.733.9
14Tom Seaver147.4114.222.733.8
15Harmon Killebrew209.0158.217.132.3
16Billy Williams269.5223.411.931.8
17Jim Kaat178.8159.816.631.6
18Jim Fregosi210.5192.513.830.1
19Joe Torre208.4172.614.529.9
20Willie Stargell221.5176.613.629.8
21Roberto Clemente210.2165.614.329.5
22Dick McAuliffe190.7168.314.729.3
23Jimmy Wynn227.2189.412.229.1
24Pete Rose Sr.254.9226.59.629.1
25Al Kaline194.7151.914.429.0


Pretty impressive to be among the top 25 players in baseball over a 12-season period. Of course, as I noted above, it was cherry-picked in Torre's favor.

The next table, then, expands the time period somewhat in both directions, and shows the top 40 players of the 1960s and 1970s (i.e., 1960 - 1979).

Top Players of the 1960s and 1970s
(ranked by pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Joe L. Morgan297.7228.838.859.9
2Bob Gibson258.9212.734.254.8
3Hank Aaron353.5269.428.854.7
4Tom Seaver231.6180.335.152.4
5Frank Robinson312.8233.428.251.6
6Willie Mays289.8212.330.951.3
7Juan Marichal232.2187.132.350.6
8Gaylord Perry277.9245.324.848.4
9Jim Palmer204.6151.731.247.4
10Carl Yastrzemski389.0326.618.347.3
11Fergie Jenkins244.9206.626.746.8
12Brooks Robinson326.6280.118.543.0
13Willie McCovey285.4214.122.142.5
14Steve Carlton231.0204.223.341.7
15Reggie Jackson261.0201.722.741.6
16Harmon Killebrew272.7209.520.941.0
17Pete Rose Sr.353.3311.314.140.6
18Jim Kaat256.9240.318.140.2
19Luis Tiant213.7181.621.339.5
20Willie Stargell283.2222.718.739.1
21Johnny Bench207.0160.424.138.8
22Roberto Clemente275.0218.017.937.9
23Don Sutton220.5200.219.137.0
24Bert Campaneris275.4267.815.237.0
25Billy Williams329.3280.711.336.8
26Phil Niekro233.8219.916.436.1
27Dick Allen236.9181.819.136.0
28Al Kaline251.6199.116.835.7
29Ron Santo293.6258.812.735.2
30Tony Perez257.6209.115.033.9
31Tommy John187.1164.718.333.7
32Sal Bando237.9201.715.633.4
33Rod Carew222.5191.916.332.9
34Catfish Hunter210.1193.214.932.8
35Jim Bunning184.0164.516.932.5
36Jimmy Wynn266.8227.012.232.2
37Dick McAuliffe215.9192.615.632.2
38Joe Torre244.4209.713.632.0
39Jim Fregosi229.3210.813.931.8
40Sandy Koufax126.592.421.731.5


The longer a time period you can show where a player was one of the best in baseball, the stronger the player's Hall-of-Fame case. To be one of the 40 best players in baseball over a 20-year period seems, to me, to be strong Hall-of-Fame case all by itself. Managing the Yankees to four World Series wins moves it from strong to slam-dunk.



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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