Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Phil Niekro

Hall-of-Famers as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records: Phil Niekro

Phil Niekro was elected to the Hall of Fame in his 5th year of eligibility, 1997, with 80.3% of the vote.

Five highlights of Phil Niekro's career: The first two tables below present Phil Niekro'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
1964MLN25
10
0.20.3-0.0-0.1
1965MLN26
42
3.43.20.80.2
1966ATL27
28
2.11.90.50.2
1967ATL28
46
13.512.43.41.7
1968ATL29
37
15.314.33.71.9
1969ATL30
40
20.415.97.85.6
1970ATL31
34
14.217.7-0.6-2.5
1971ATL32
42
15.716.02.60.7
1972ATL33
38
17.814.56.54.5
1973ATL34
42
13.413.42.50.9
1974ATL35
41
18.316.84.72.7
1975ATL36
39
16.917.72.40.3
1976ATL37
38
17.215.54.62.8
1977ATL38
44
21.521.44.21.6
1978ATL39
45
21.919.06.74.3
1979ATL40
44
20.221.52.80.4
1980ATL41
40
17.218.81.7-0.5
1981ATL42
22
8.79.31.1-0.0
1982ATL43
35
12.511.13.62.2
1983ATL44
34
11.614.3-0.2-1.7
1984NYA45
32
13.49.85.33.8
1985NYA46
33
13.914.41.6-0.2
1986CLE47
34
11.713.20.3-1.4
48
26
8.410.9-1.0-2.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
866
329.4323.064.925.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
0.61.1-0.4-0.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
868
329.9324.264.424.7


Expected Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games eWins eLosses eWORL eWOPA
1964MLN25
10
0.30.3-0.0-0.1
1965MLN26
42
3.23.30.5-0.1
1966ATL27
28
1.92.10.2-0.2
1967ATL28
46
13.112.72.91.2
1968ATL29
37
14.115.41.7-0.1
1969ATL30
40
20.016.37.35.0
1970ATL31
34
14.217.7-0.5-2.4
1971ATL32
42
16.015.73.31.4
1972ATL33
38
17.115.35.03.1
1973ATL34
42
13.413.32.81.1
1974ATL35
41
19.016.06.24.2
1975ATL36
39
16.318.41.2-0.8
1976ATL37
38
16.216.42.81.0
1977ATL38
44
21.821.14.72.2
1978ATL39
45
22.018.97.14.7
1979ATL40
44
20.021.72.2-0.1
1980ATL41
40
17.118.91.6-0.5
1981ATL42
22
8.69.31.30.2
1982ATL43
35
11.612.01.90.5
1983ATL44
34
11.814.00.3-1.2
1984NYA45
32
12.111.12.71.2
1985NYA46
33
12.915.4-0.4-2.2
1986CLE47
34
11.613.30.1-1.5
48
26
8.710.5-0.4-1.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
866
323.1329.354.514.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
0.80.90.0-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
868
323.9330.254.514.8


Phil Niekro had 20 traditional pitcher wins in a season twice (1974, 1979) in his career. He also had two seasons with 20 traditional pitcher losses (1977, 1979) (he's the last player to win and lose 20 in the same season). Overall, he had 318 traditional wins in his 24-year major-league career. Broadly speaking, pitcher wins and pWins tend to be on the same scale - 20 pwins is usually a very good season; 300 pWins is a very good career.

As shown in the table above, Phil Niekro actually earned more pWins than pitcher wins in his career (329 to 318). He also had more 20-pWin seasons than 20-win seasons (4 to 2), although he had as many 20-pLoss seasons as 20-loss seasons. In fact, his two 20-pLoss seasons (a) were the same as his two 20-loss seasons (1977 and 1979), and (b) were both 20-pWin/20-pLoss seasons (which is somewhat more common for pWins than for traditional pitcher wins).

Best Players in Atlanta Braves History
Phil Niekro made his major-league debut in 1964 with the Milwaukee Braves. Phil Niekro was the last active major-league player to have played for the Milwaukee Braves. Niekro's time in Milwaukee saw him only pitch 89.2 innings over two seasons.

Niekro's breakthrough season in the major leagues came in his (and the Braves') second season in Atlanta in 1967 when he led the National League in ERA (1.87) in 207 IP split between starting (20 starts, 10 complete games) and relieving (26 relief appearances, 20 games finished, 9 saves).

Hence, Phil Niekro was the first player to make his Hall-of-Fame case in Atlanta. Hank Aaron obviously stamped his final ticket to Cooperstown in Atlanta, but Aaron won his only MVP award and his only World Series title in Milwaukee (both in 1957) and Aaron hit more home runs as a Milwaukee Brave (398) than as an Atlanta Brave (335). While Niekro earned his 300th pitching win as a New York Yankee, the overwhelming majority of his value was earned as an Atlanta Brave.

Phil Niekro remains one of the top ten players in Atlanta Braves history, as measured by pWins over replacement level (pWORL) earned as an Atlanta Brave.

Top 10 Players in Atlanta Braves History,
1966 - 1996 (ranked by pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Chipper Jones336.2257.669.698.6
2John Smoltz233.9195.351.078.9
3Greg Maddux171.9122.860.478.9
4Tom Glavine217.4189.341.967.1
5Andruw Jones247.3198.941.663.4
6Hank Aaron193.8139.542.258.7
7Phil Niekro278.5271.725.057.8
8Dale Murphy256.5224.919.342.3
9Freddie Freeman154.3124.218.131.5
10Tim Hudson101.489.419.431.2


Best Fielding Pitchers
Phil Niekro won 5 Gold Gloves in his major-league career: the first in his age-39 season (1978), the last in his age-44 season (1983). This ties Niekro for the 8th-most Gold Gloves for a pitcher since they began to be awarded (in 1957). Player won-lost records agree that Phil Niekro was a very good fielder. In fact, Player won-lost records place Niekro even higher among all pitchers over a longer time period.

The next table shows the top 10 fielding pitchers, ranked by net fielding wins, for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top Ten Fielding Pitchers
(net career fielding wins)
eWins eLosses Net Wins
1Livan Hernandez6.33.92.4
2Tom Glavine7.45.02.4
3Zack Greinke4.52.22.3
4Dennis Martinez6.74.72.0
5Phil Niekro7.85.82.0
6Mike Mussina4.83.01.9
7Lon Warneke5.84.01.9
8Tom Seaver7.25.41.9
9Bret Saberhagen4.62.81.8
10Bobby Shantz4.62.91.8


Article last updated: May 11, 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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