Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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Roger Maris
Roger Maris as Seen Through Player Won-Lost Records

Roger Maris holds an interesting place in baseball history. He held the single-season home run record for 37 years (3 years longer than Babe Ruth held it before him) and won back-to-back MVP awards in 1960 and 1961.

That's a pretty strong start to a Hall-of-Fame case and Roger Maris did get as high as 43.1% of the Hall-of-Fame vote one year. But that was the most he ever got and it came in his 15th and final year on the ballot, because while the previous paragraph is a "strong start to a Hall-of-Fame case" it's also pretty much the entirety of Roger Maris's Hall-of-Fame case. The first table below presents Roger Maris's career as measured by Player won-lost records.

Roger Maris
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1957CLE22
116
13.513.40.502-0.4
0.7
13.711.80.5370.51.6
23
149
18.918.60.504-0.5
0.9
19.118.30.512-0.21.2
1959KC124
122
15.714.70.517-0.2
1.0
15.713.20.5420.61.7
1960NYA25
136
22.513.80.6213.8
5.2
21.414.30.5993.04.4
1961NYA26
161
26.915.50.6354.4
6.3
24.216.50.5942.64.4
1962NYA27
157
20.016.10.5541.2
2.6
20.117.20.5390.72.1
1963NYA28
90
12.38.90.5811.2
2.0
13.09.00.5931.42.3
1964NYA29
141
18.813.30.5872.1
3.4
19.715.70.5561.22.6
1965NYA30
46
5.64.90.5360.1
0.6
5.74.60.5510.30.7
1966NYA31
119
11.212.10.480-1.0
-0.0
11.310.50.519-0.00.8
1967SLN32
125
14.411.50.5550.9
2.0
14.312.30.5360.41.6
1968SLN33
99
13.210.10.5681.2
2.2
10.99.50.5340.41.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,461
193.1152.70.55812.8
26.8
189.0153.00.55310.724.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
41
5.55.20.516 0.45.14.90.514 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,502
198.6157.90.558
27.2
194.1157.80.553 24.9


Roger Maris's Two-Year Peak
Roger Maris won back-to-back MVP awards in 1960 and 1961. Sabermetric conventional wisdom is that Maris's teammate, Mickey Mantle, actually deserved both of these awards. A fair number of AL MVP voters those years agreed: Maris beat Mantle by a combined 7 votes in those two years and Mantle actually beat Maris in combined first-place votes over the two seasons, 16-15 (with 13 more first-place votes given to other players).

I have written articles about both the 1960 and 1961 seasons. Looking at those seasons via Player won-lost records, Mantle was probably slightly more valuable than Maris, but Roger Maris's two-year peak was nevertheless an excellent one.

The next table compares Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle in 1960 and 1961.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1960
Roger Maris
136
22.513.80.6213.8
5.2
21.414.30.5993.04.4
Mickey Mantle
153
23.313.50.6334.2
5.6
22.115.30.5902.64.1
-
1961
Roger Maris
161
26.915.50.6354.4
6.3
24.216.50.5942.64.4
Mickey Mantle
153
25.814.90.6354.8
6.6
24.914.90.6254.36.0
-
Combined
Roger Maris
297
49.529.30.6288.2
11.5
45.630.80.5965.68.8
Mickey Mantle
306
49.228.40.6348.9
12.2
46.930.30.6086.910.1


To be clear, being not quite as good as Mickey Mantle in Mickey Mantle's prime is not a criticism: Mickey Mantle is one of the top 5 players in major-league baseball over the past 70 years.

In fact, the next table shows every player who has had back-to-back seasons with at least 5.5 pWORL apiece with at least 12.0 pWORL over the two seasons combined since 1939 (the first season for which I have full play-by-play data), sorted by total pWORL over the two seasons.

Player Seasons pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
Barry Bonds
2001 - 2002
53.328.810.614.1
Sandy Koufax
1965 - 1966
48.030.610.513.8
Joe L. Morgan
1972 - 1973
52.733.110.313.8
Mickey Mantle
1956 - 1957
49.727.99.512.7
Jackie Robinson
1951 - 1952
48.730.09.612.7
Juan Marichal
1965 - 1966
44.929.49.512.7
Hal Newhouser
1945 - 1946
44.629.09.112.6
Bob Feller
1940 - 1941
48.934.08.912.5
Denny McLain
1968 - 1969
45.931.29.112.4
Pedro J. Martinez
1999 - 2000
32.713.69.912.4
Joe L. Morgan
1975 - 1976
47.729.69.412.3
Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson
2001 - 2002
38.222.99.212.3
Mickey Mantle
1960 - 1961
49.228.48.912.2
Derek Jeter
1998 - 1999
49.434.58.912.2
Hal Newhouser
1944 - 1945
43.628.48.812.1
Bob Gibson
1969 - 1970
43.930.38.912.1


Overall, back-to-back seasons comparable to (or better than) Maris's 1960-61 season have been done 16 times since 1939 by 13 different players. That's pretty elite company to keep.

Roger Maris's Five-Year Peak
While 1960 and 1961 were easily the two best seasons of Roger Maris's career, he was able to follow them up with three very good years.

The next table shows the top 10 players most similar to Roger Maris from age 25 through 29 (1960 - 1964), Roger Maris's five best seasons.

Most Similar Players to Roger Maris in Value
Wins over Baseline
Player Games pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL Batting Baserunning Fielding
Roger Maris
685
100.767.512.6
19.4
8.40.23.0
Scott Rolen
730
102.277.611.2
18.5
7.20.13.5
Ken Griffey Jr.
690
96.776.310.2
17.1
8.70.52.9
Al Rosen
635
95.066.112.3
18.7
7.80.21.8
Whitey Kurowski
709
99.374.412.0
18.9
6.30.21.9
Larry Doby
712
105.978.211.6
19.0
9.40.62.3
Darryl Strawberry
732
109.080.210.9
18.0
8.90.41.9
Mel Ott
561
95.162.913.9
20.6
10.50.22.9
George Foster
696
99.375.29.2
16.0
7.80.31.9
Rico Petrocelli
739
95.979.79.2
16.5
4.80.02.8
Andruw Jones
780
113.391.39.6
17.3
5.9-0.32.9


Maris's top 10 sims for ages 25-29 include four Hall-of-Famers - Doby, Ott, Jackson, and Murray, one player who will almost certainly be elected to the Hall of Fame the moment he becomes eligible (later this year) - Ken Griffey, Jr - and one player who has an excellent chance of making at least the Hall of Merit (Rolen). Obviously, that's pretty nice company.

On the other hand, Maris's comp list also includes George Foster, whose last good season came at age 32, Al Rosen, whose last good season was at age 30, and Darryl Strawberry, whose last good season was at age 29.

Roger Maris's Fielding
Roger Maris is most famous for his hitting. But he was also an excellent defensive right fielder. He only won one Gold Glove (in 1960), but as measured by Player won-lost records, Roger Maris is among the top 20 defensive right fielder of the past 70+ years (measured by net fielding wins).

Career Net Fielding Wins, Right Field
(Context-Neutral, Teammate-Adjusted)
Player eWins eLosses eWin Pct. Net Wins
Mel Ott85.475.40.53110.0
Ichiro Suzuki78.868.90.5339.8
Jesse Barfield58.548.80.5459.7
Carl Furillo60.150.40.5449.7
Al Kaline77.668.20.5329.5
Roberto Clemente103.795.00.5228.8
Tony Oliva47.240.10.5417.1
Ellis Valentine35.429.10.5496.3
Roger Maris41.935.90.5386.0
Brian Jordan37.331.40.5435.8
Alexis Rios51.445.60.5305.8
Reggie L. Sanders44.138.80.5325.3
Johnny Callison68.163.10.5195.0
Jay Bruce56.651.80.5224.7
Tony Armas Sr.27.823.10.5464.7
Paul O'Neill64.660.00.5184.6
Jason Heyward40.235.90.5294.4
Josh Reddick31.127.30.5323.8
Glenn Wilson39.736.10.5243.6
Paul Waner93.990.30.5103.6


And that's Roger Maris's career, as measured by Player won-lost records.



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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