Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1950s as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records


I have now written articles on every season of the 1950s for which I have complete play-by-play data (i.e., 1951 through 1959). This article looks at the decade of the 1950s (including 1950, for which several games are missing).

Unlike in the seasonal articles, where I intersperse tables with writing, here I'm going to present a set of tables first with no commentary (beyond simple explanation of what I'm showing), and then I will conclude the article with some commentary on some of the players who show up in one or more of the preceding tables and seem interesting to me.

Incidentally, almost all of the tables here can be reproduced on my leaders page, where you can look at leaders over any set of (consecutive) seasons for which I have calculated Player won-lost records (1921 - 2017). For example, the top 25 players in pWOPA and pWORL from 1964 through 1975 can be found here. But for now, back to the 1950s.

The Best of the 1950s

I calculate Player won-lost records two ways: pWins, which tie to team wins and eWins, which control for context and the ability of one's teammates. For players with more pWins than eWins, their Player wins contributed to more team wins than one might expect; for players with more eWins than pWins, just the opposite is true: their Player wins translated into fewer team wins than expected. Or more briefly: a player with more pWins than eWins was better in context, a player with more eWins than pWins was worse in context.

The top 25 players in pWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 25 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 25 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Mickey Mantle196.8125.030.6
43.6
1Mickey Mantle196.8125.030.6
43.6
2Yogi Berra169.3121.025.6
37.3
2Warren Spahn190.4154.025.4
40.2
3Warren Spahn190.4154.025.4
40.2
3Yogi Berra169.3121.025.6
37.3
4Duke Snider198.5143.921.6
35.5
4Robin Roberts197.8169.521.4
37.2
5Robin Roberts197.8169.521.4
37.2
5Duke Snider198.5143.921.6
35.5
6Eddie Mathews168.3121.620.4
32.1
6Early Wynn180.9154.620.0
34.4
7Early Wynn180.9154.620.0
34.4
7Eddie Mathews168.3121.620.4
32.1
8Billy Pierce162.6136.119.1
32.0
8Billy Pierce162.6136.119.1
32.0
9Willie Mays170.3122.918.7
30.5
9Willie Mays170.3122.918.7
30.5
10Jackie Robinson130.491.818.3
27.3
10Minnie Minoso206.1160.515.4
30.2
11Pee Wee Reese157.7126.718.2
29.7
11Pee Wee Reese157.7126.718.2
29.7
12Gil Hodges176.4129.617.3
29.6
12Gil Hodges176.4129.617.3
29.6
13Gil McDougald157.2125.416.7
28.1
13Stan Musial194.6152.015.0
29.0
14Al Rosen143.5104.016.4
26.4
14Larry Doby175.4133.416.2
28.7
15Larry Doby175.4133.416.2
28.7
15Nellie Fox200.2179.113.4
28.6
16E. Mike Garcia132.3109.015.9
26.7
16Gil McDougald157.2125.416.7
28.1
17Roy Campanella108.879.415.7
23.4
17Jackie Robinson130.491.818.3
27.3
18Whitey Ford105.982.015.7
23.8
18Bob Lemon141.7120.815.6
27.3
19Bob Lemon141.7120.815.6
27.3
19E. Mike Garcia132.3109.015.9
26.7
20Minnie Minoso206.1160.515.4
30.2
20Al Rosen143.5104.016.4
26.4
21Stan Musial194.6152.015.0
29.0
21Ted Williams147.4108.114.3
24.7
22Ted Williams147.4108.114.3
24.7
22Bobby Avila160.2139.712.3
24.5
23Hank Aaron139.0103.513.4
23.2
23Whitey Ford105.982.015.7
23.8
24Nellie Fox200.2179.113.4
28.6
24Roy Campanella108.879.415.7
23.4
25Ernie Banks134.2113.713.0
23.0
25Carl Furillo166.2136.411.0
23.3


The top 25 players in eWins above Positional Average and Replacement Level were as follows.

eWins over Positional Average
Top 25 Players
          eWins over Replacement Level
Top 25 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA eWORL
1Mickey Mantle190.8126.127.2
40.0
1Mickey Mantle190.8126.127.2
40.0
2Warren Spahn183.4153.222.1
36.5
2Warren Spahn183.4153.222.1
36.5
3Duke Snider202.1150.420.0
34.3
3Duke Snider202.1150.420.0
34.3
4Eddie Mathews166.5124.318.1
29.9
4Robin Roberts194.6174.417.4
33.3
5Robin Roberts194.6174.417.4
33.3
5Eddie Mathews166.5124.318.1
29.9
6Willie Mays166.0122.117.0
28.6
6Stan Musial197.1153.115.6
29.7
7Ernie Banks137.8109.816.8
26.7
7Willie Mays166.0122.117.0
28.6
8Ted Williams147.0103.716.3
26.5
8Early Wynn168.1154.313.5
27.3
9Yogi Berra150.4121.815.6
26.6
9Billy Pierce155.4138.014.5
27.2
10Stan Musial197.1153.115.6
29.7
10Ernie Banks137.8109.816.8
26.7
11Billy Pierce155.4138.014.5
27.2
11Yogi Berra150.4121.815.6
26.6
12Jackie Robinson125.096.213.5
22.4
12Ted Williams147.0103.716.3
26.5
13Early Wynn168.1154.313.5
27.3
13Gil Hodges174.3135.913.0
25.5
14Gil Hodges174.3135.913.0
25.5
14Minnie Minoso197.8161.610.9
25.4
15Bob Rush132.4117.012.2
23.3
15Larry Doby164.7131.811.9
23.9
16Larry Doby164.7131.811.9
23.9
16Bob Rush132.4117.012.2
23.3
17Minnie Minoso197.8161.610.9
25.4
17Jackie Robinson125.096.213.5
22.4
18Roy Campanella103.684.310.6
18.3
18Pee Wee Reese153.3138.310.3
22.1
19Hank Aaron133.1103.810.5
20.0
19Nellie Fox194.2187.46.3
21.6
20Pee Wee Reese153.3138.310.3
22.1
20Eddie Yost178.5155.67.7
21.1
21Al Rosen130.0103.310.2
19.6
21Hank Aaron133.1103.810.5
20.0
22E. Mike Garcia119.8108.79.6
19.8
22Bob Lemon130.2122.78.7
20.0
23Harvey Haddix105.095.19.2
17.7
23E. Mike Garcia119.8108.79.6
19.8
24Curt Simmons104.194.09.1
17.8
24Gil McDougald147.4132.38.3
19.6
25Whitey Ford97.987.29.0
17.0
25Al Rosen130.0103.310.2
19.6


Top Postseason Performers of the 1950s

1950s World Series Record: eWins
(sorted by eWORL)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWORL
1Yogi Berra6.25.10.5491.1
2Duke Snider4.83.50.5810.9
3Whitey Ford5.04.50.5290.9
4Mickey Mantle5.24.20.5530.7
5Ed Lopat2.92.10.5810.7
6Billy Martin3.63.00.5500.6
7Gil McDougald5.95.60.5110.6
8Hank Aaron2.51.50.6320.6
9Vic Raschi3.12.80.5320.6
10Gil Hodges3.52.70.5620.5


1950s World Series Performance: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Yogi Berra6.54.90.5711.3
2Whitey Ford5.54.30.5581.2
3Duke Snider5.13.20.6171.2
4Gil McDougald6.25.10.5481.0
5Ed Lopat2.91.70.6360.9
6Lew Burdette3.62.70.5760.9
7Mickey Mantle5.13.90.5680.8
8Allie Reynolds4.03.40.5440.8
9Vic Raschi3.42.70.5620.8
10Hank Bauer6.35.40.5390.8


Best of the 1950s by Factor and Position

Next, let's look at the top players in (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over Positional Average in various aspects of the game.
Best by Factor: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, Fielding
There are four basic factors for which players earn Player won-lost records: Batting, Baserunning, Pitching, and Fielding. The top players of the 1950s in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mickey Mantle130.180.70.61722.8
2Ted Williams103.859.70.63520.6
3Duke Snider143.9100.60.58819.3
4Stan Musial146.4103.60.58619.0
5Eddie Mathews120.782.20.59517.3
6Willie Mays108.674.50.59315.4
7Gil Hodges138.5105.70.56714.1
8Larry Doby113.883.10.57813.6
9Minnie Minoso127.699.60.56211.9
10Hank Aaron90.766.40.57710.7

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mickey Mantle11.46.70.6312.2
2Luis Aparicio7.64.10.6521.7
3Willie Mays11.98.80.5761.4
4Bill Bruton8.76.00.5911.2
5Red Schoendienst10.57.80.5741.2
6Billy Goodman9.67.10.5761.1
7Jackie Robinson9.67.10.5761.1
8Bobby Avila11.38.80.5611.0
9Pee Wee Reese11.18.70.5601.0
10Hank Bauer9.16.80.5711.0

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Warren Spahn146.7123.40.54323.3
2Robin Roberts159.3140.00.53219.4
3Billy Pierce128.2111.10.53617.1
4Bob Rush110.194.30.53915.8
5E. Mike Garcia101.687.90.53613.7
6Early Wynn136.5124.40.52312.1
7Curt Simmons85.474.80.53310.6
8Johnny Antonelli90.280.40.5299.8
9Whitey Ford80.171.10.5309.0
10Harvey Haddix85.176.10.5288.9


Next, we look at the major-league leaders in net fielding wins for the 1950s by fielding position.

Fielding, P
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Bobby Shantz3.32.10.6141.2
2Ned Garver3.73.00.5490.7
3Turk Lown2.11.50.5830.6
4Stu Miller1.61.00.6130.6
5Warren Hacker1.81.20.6000.6
6Bob Purkey1.81.30.5890.6
7Camilo Pascual1.81.30.5900.6
8Billy Pierce3.53.00.5410.5
9Art Houtteman1.81.30.5850.5
10Johnny Kucks1.51.00.6020.5


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Del Crandall10.68.30.5602.3
2Yogi Berra14.312.50.5331.8
3Roy Campanella10.58.80.5431.6
4Wes Westrum7.96.90.5351.0
5Hal R. Smith4.13.40.5490.7
6Elston Howard2.21.60.5720.6
7Earl Battey1.40.90.6110.5
8Ed Bailey4.74.20.5290.5
9Hobie Landrith4.43.90.5300.5
10Joe Astroth4.94.40.5240.5


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gil Hodges22.719.40.5393.3
2Vic Power9.67.40.5652.2
3Walt Dropo14.112.70.5271.4
4Bill Skowron7.97.10.5280.8
5Joe Adcock11.110.20.5190.8
6Bob Boyd5.95.20.5310.7
7Johnny Mize2.62.00.5580.5
8Earl Torgeson16.015.60.5070.4
9Bill Glynn3.02.50.5370.4
10Nippy Jones1.81.40.5610.4


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Nellie Fox57.552.00.5255.5
2Red Schoendienst46.643.40.5183.2
3Jackie Robinson17.014.80.5352.2
4Don Blasingame21.119.60.5181.4
5Charlie Neal11.810.50.5291.3
6Billy Gardner20.619.40.5151.2
7Danny O'Connell23.422.20.5131.2
8Jim Gilliam23.422.20.5131.2
9Frank Bolling22.421.30.5131.1
10Gil McDougald18.717.60.5151.1


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ken Boyer20.117.50.5352.6
2George Kell25.723.10.5262.6
3Al Rosen26.224.20.5202.0
4Bobby Adams20.719.00.5211.7
5Jackie Robinson7.86.50.5451.3
6Andy Carey20.319.10.5151.2
7Billy Cox15.414.20.5201.2
8Brooks Robinson9.17.90.5341.2
9Jim Davenport6.45.20.5501.2
10Don Hoak20.319.20.5141.1


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Pee Wee Reese40.934.90.5406.0
2Roy McMillan51.648.60.5153.0
3Chico Carrasquel52.149.90.5112.2
4George Strickland26.925.30.5161.7
5Willy Miranda27.325.80.5141.4
6Luis Aparicio26.024.60.5141.4
7Don Zimmer10.89.40.5351.4
8Ernie Banks37.035.80.5091.2
9Gil McDougald11.810.60.5271.2
10Phil Rizzuto31.130.00.5091.1


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Minnie Minoso48.843.90.5264.8
2Hoot Evers18.015.00.5473.1
3Sandy Amoros12.610.10.5562.5
4Monte Irvin20.217.70.5322.4
5Charlie Maxwell25.423.20.5232.2
6Jim Gilliam7.35.50.5711.8
7Gene Stephens11.610.00.5381.6
8Jackie Brandt7.05.50.5581.5
9Irv Noren11.09.60.5341.4
10George Shuba6.75.50.5511.2


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Duke Snider44.638.40.5376.2
2Mickey Mantle43.437.50.5365.9
3Jim Piersall29.024.30.5444.7
4Willie Mays44.641.00.5213.6
5Gino Cimoli7.45.60.5701.8
6Bill Tuttle32.630.70.5141.8
7Hal Jeffcoat8.87.10.5531.7
8Bill Bruton33.532.30.5101.3
9Curt Flood7.46.20.5451.2
10Jim Busby42.641.70.5050.9


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Carl Furillo53.044.80.5428.2
2Al Kaline30.225.10.5465.1
3Hank Bauer36.332.80.5263.5
4Jim Piersall12.59.70.5642.9
5Roberto Clemente25.022.30.5292.7
6Hank Aaron24.222.10.5232.2
7Bob Kennedy12.811.10.5351.7
8Rocky Colavito19.417.90.5201.5
9Al Pilarcik9.48.10.5351.2
10Jim Rivera16.115.00.5181.1


Best by Position
Next, we look at Major-League leaders in eWOPA by position for the 1950s. The figures shown here only include Player decisions earned while playing this particular position, and include no contextual adjustments (expected or actual).

Catcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Yogi Berra142.9117.00.55014.4
2Roy Campanella102.084.10.5489.9
3Sherm Lollar102.293.40.5225.5
4Stan Lopata57.551.20.5293.7
5Smoky Burgess67.362.10.5203.4
6Gus Triandos47.642.10.5313.4
7Del Crandall79.875.70.5133.1
8Andy Seminick57.552.90.5212.8
9Wes Westrum54.449.70.5232.8
10Ed Bailey45.241.70.5202.3


First Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gil Hodges160.7126.00.56011.5
2Ted Kluszewski128.3107.00.5455.9
3Stan Musial85.667.10.5615.9
4Joe Adcock78.466.00.5433.3
5Earl Torgeson116.0101.30.5343.0
6Bill Skowron60.249.50.5492.9
7Ferris Fain76.165.60.5372.5
8Mickey Vernon123.1109.00.5302.4
9Vic Wertz50.542.10.5452.1
10Luke Easter46.939.70.5421.9


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Jackie Robinson69.853.10.5688.8
2Nellie Fox194.2188.40.5085.8
3Bobby Avila141.0134.50.5125.2
4Gil McDougald64.657.90.5274.4
5Red Schoendienst154.8150.20.5074.4
6Eddie Stanky41.534.80.5443.6
7Pete Runnels59.955.40.5203.5
8Charlie Neal41.036.30.5303.1
9Billy Goodman74.971.70.5112.7
10Jim Gilliam85.182.60.5082.6


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Eddie Mathews164.6124.70.56917.1
2Al Rosen118.694.70.5569.1
3Eddie Yost176.4153.70.5347.6
4Ken Boyer79.567.70.5404.6
5Ray Boone66.955.00.5494.3
6Hank Thompson78.367.60.5363.3
7George Kell107.295.80.5283.2
8Bobby Thomson23.118.60.5541.9
9Jackie Robinson29.625.50.5371.4
10Bob Elliott47.242.10.5281.2


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ernie Banks129.2105.80.55014.5
2Pee Wee Reese141.3125.90.52910.6
3Eddie Joost69.661.60.5305.1
4Alvin Dark147.7145.80.5033.9
5Johnny Logan149.9149.50.5013.2
6Solly Hemus58.754.70.5183.0
7Gil McDougald36.332.20.5302.8
8Phil Rizzuto90.288.30.5052.5
9Chico Carrasquel145.7148.30.4961.6
10Vern Stephens26.824.60.5221.5


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ted Williams141.7103.50.57813.7
2Minnie Minoso163.6133.40.5518.7
3Charlie Maxwell78.465.20.5463.4
4Stan Musial48.438.30.5583.2
5Gene Woodling120.2104.40.5353.1
6Ralph Kiner108.995.30.5332.9
7Sid Gordon71.160.60.5402.5
8Sandy Amoros40.833.10.5522.4
9Roy Sievers89.978.10.5352.3
10Jackie Robinson21.316.30.5671.8


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mickey Mantle173.1115.50.60023.8
2Duke Snider189.9143.40.57017.8
3Willie Mays164.8124.00.57115.5
4Larry Doby158.9126.70.55611.6
5Stan Musial18.714.40.5651.8
6Al Kaline23.018.20.5581.7
7Joe DiMaggio33.629.60.5321.3
8Frank Robinson13.610.30.5681.2
9Andy Pafko30.426.70.5321.1
10Sam Jethroe57.453.20.5190.9


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Hank Aaron93.670.80.5698.2
2Al Kaline101.483.20.5496.1
3Carl Furillo165.2145.00.5336.0
4Rocky Colavito71.156.30.5584.9
5Hank Bauer131.2114.00.5354.9
6Jackie Jensen148.1129.40.5344.7
7Stan Musial43.134.00.5593.7
8Vic Wertz75.866.40.5333.2
9Wally Post98.989.70.5241.5
10Hank Sauer28.624.90.5351.4


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Warren Spahn147.4123.80.54413.3
2Robin Roberts159.8141.20.53111.0
3Billy Pierce127.6110.70.5359.8
4Bob Rush107.893.70.5358.2
5E. Mike Garcia96.882.90.5397.9
6Early Wynn136.4124.80.5227.3
7Curt Simmons85.874.60.5356.6
8Whitey Ford78.667.90.5366.2
9Johnny Antonelli87.678.70.5275.5
10Harvey Haddix84.176.70.5234.7


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ellis Kinder28.022.60.5532.0
2Don Mossi18.113.90.5661.6
3Sandy Consuegra18.815.00.5551.4
4Roy Face27.223.10.5411.3
5Larry Jackson11.48.50.5711.1
6Bobby Shantz17.114.50.5420.9
7Gerry Staley25.922.60.5340.8
8Joe Nuxhall14.111.70.5470.8
9Bob Friend9.98.00.5550.7
10Fred Hutchinson6.54.80.5750.7


For relief pitchers, context-neutral records may not be the best measure of how good they are, as context can matter a great deal, depending on how a pitcher is used. Here are the top relief pitchers of the 1950s in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of the 1950s, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Ellis Kinder52.239.60.5686.612.0
Hoyt Wilhelm58.553.10.5242.89.4
Clem Labine56.353.10.5141.38.0
Ray Narleski46.041.90.5242.67.3
Marv Grissom45.441.00.5252.37.3
Jim Konstanty38.633.80.5332.46.9
Al Brazle37.734.10.5252.06.2
Tom Morgan42.742.80.4990.65.2
Bill R. Henry29.728.20.5131.34.4
Hersh Freeman20.115.70.5612.04.3


Finally, here are the best at three oft-forgotten positions that can nevertheless matter: pitcher offense, pinch hitting, and pinch running.

Pitcher Offense
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Don Newcombe14.613.60.5174.2
2Warren Spahn17.121.90.4382.8
3Bob Lemon13.215.10.4652.7
4Early Wynn15.720.30.4372.5
5Don Larsen8.68.40.5072.4
6Tommy Byrne8.47.70.5222.4
7Jack Harshman8.38.10.5052.3
8Mickey McDermott9.29.70.4892.2
9Ned Garver10.914.20.4341.6
10Joe Nuxhall7.99.80.4471.5


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Earl Torgeson4.12.80.5900.8
2Ted Williams3.11.70.6390.8
3George Crowe5.24.30.5450.7
4Smoky Burgess5.65.00.5280.6
5Bob Cerv3.52.70.5610.6
6Joe Cunningham2.11.20.6340.5
7Duke Snider2.01.10.6480.5
8Jim Delsing2.82.00.5800.5
9Mickey Vernon3.62.90.5530.5
10Enos Slaughter7.06.70.5100.5


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dick Schofield Sr.0.80.60.5750.1
2Jim Pendleton0.20.10.8230.1
3Jim Rivera0.30.10.6580.1
4Al Pilarcik0.20.00.9330.1
5Putsy Caballero0.40.30.6270.1
6Eddie O'Brien0.20.10.6490.1
7Felix Mantilla0.20.10.7060.1
8Joe Collins0.30.10.6810.1
9Frank Campos0.10.00.9760.1
10Neil Berry0.30.10.6520.0


Interesting or Noteworthy Players of the 1950s

I have written several articles about players whose careers overlapped at least partly with the 1950s. These players include Luis Aparicio, Rocky Colavito, Gil McDougald, and Camilo Pascual.

In addition, I previously wrote an article that looked at perhaps the most significant feature of major-league baseball in the 1950s, the integration of the white major leagues.

Next, I take a look at six players who figure prominently in several of the tables above and were, in my opinion, among the most noteworthy players of the 1950s.

Mickey Mantle
Player won-lost records leaves fairly little doubt about who it views as the best player of the 1950s. Mickey Mantle led the major leagues in batting wins over non-pitcher average, baserunning wins over non-pitcher average, and fielding wins in center field. The player with the second-highest (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) wins over positional average at a single position was Dodgers' center fielder Duke Snider. Mantle beat Snider in eWOPA - at the same position - by 6.1. Mantle's only "weakness" is that he is only seventh in World Series pWORL for the 1950s.

And Mickey Mantle's career didn't end in 1959. In fact, Mickey Mantle led the major leagues in pWins over replacement level (pWORL) in the first two seasons of the 1960s as well, and finished in the top 7 in pWOPA and pWORL for the overall decade of the 1960s.

The next two tables show Mickey Mantle's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, followed by the top 10 players in career pWOPA and pWORL among all players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Mickey Mantle
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1951NYA19
96
12.89.00.5871.7
2.6
11.79.50.5520.91.8
1952NYA20
142
22.314.80.6003.3
4.8
21.415.20.5852.74.2
1953NYA21
127
20.213.00.6093.1
4.5
18.913.30.5862.33.7
1954NYA22
145
24.015.20.6123.6
5.2
22.815.80.5902.74.3
1955NYA23
147
24.614.10.6364.5
6.1
22.614.10.6163.65.1
1956NYA24
150
24.915.10.6234.2
5.9
24.314.10.6334.46.0
1957NYA25
144
24.812.80.6605.3
6.9
23.613.10.6424.66.1
1958NYA26
150
23.016.00.5902.8
4.3
23.214.80.6103.54.9
1959NYA27
144
20.315.00.5752.1
3.5
22.416.10.5822.54.0
1960NYA28
153
23.313.50.6334.2
5.6
22.115.30.5902.64.1
1961NYA29
153
25.814.90.6354.8
6.6
24.914.90.6254.36.0
1962NYA30
123
19.911.30.6373.8
5.0
18.110.80.6253.24.3
1963NYA31
65
9.04.90.6461.9
2.4
7.95.20.6041.21.7
1964NYA32
143
21.013.80.6043.1
4.5
19.914.00.5872.43.8
1965NYA33
122
13.413.10.505-0.4
0.7
14.012.00.5370.51.5
1966NYA34
108
12.411.50.5210.1
1.0
13.710.60.5641.12.1
1967NYA35
144
15.711.90.5701.1
2.3
16.412.10.5761.32.6
1968NYA36
144
14.310.80.5701.0
2.1
14.611.30.5640.92.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,400
351.8230.70.60450.2
73.9
342.3232.20.59644.868.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
65
9.17.00.566 1.48.96.90.563 1.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,465
360.9237.60.604
75.3
351.2239.10.596 69.5


pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Barry Bonds462.1315.160.3
90.8
1Barry Bonds462.1315.160.3
90.8
2Babe Ruth306.4178.654.2
74.1
2Willie Mays460.1335.249.6
81.8
3Roger Clemens318.2228.251.1
79.6
3Roger Clemens318.2228.251.1
79.6
4Mickey Mantle351.8230.750.2
73.9
4Hank Aaron492.5372.942.2
77.9
5Willie Mays460.1335.249.6
81.8
5Babe Ruth306.4178.654.2
74.1
6Joe L. Morgan374.0292.346.2
72.7
6Mickey Mantle351.8230.750.2
73.9
7Lefty Grove248.3169.644.9
63.8
7Greg Maddux328.5271.444.8
73.5
8Greg Maddux328.5271.444.8
73.5
8Joe L. Morgan374.0292.346.2
72.7
9Ted Williams369.6253.644.5
69.9
9Warren Spahn354.2293.643.8
71.8
10Warren Spahn354.2293.643.8
71.8
10Ted Williams369.6253.644.5
69.9


Warren Spahn
The one possible argument that could be made against Mickey Mantle as the best player of the 1950s is that the National League is generally considered to have been stronger than the American League this decade. If you were to downgrade Mantle a bit for playing in the weaker league, the player who might conceivably then have a counter-claim as the best player in baseball in the 1950s, according to Player won-lost records, would be Braves pitcher Warren Spahn.

I discussed Warren Spahn a bit in my article on the 1958 season. Spahn was a double threat: he ranks among the top 10 pitchers (among those for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records) in both pitching and hitting wins over positional average for his career. The top 10 in both of these are shown in the table below.

Pitching Wins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          Batting Wins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
Player eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA           Player eWins eLosses eWOPA
1Roger Clemens273.4211.30.564
34.7
1Bob Lemon20.821.35.2
2Greg Maddux263.7209.50.557
32.7
2Wes Ferrell18.416.74.9
3Randy 'Big Unit' Johnson234.3190.00.552
24.6
3Bob Gibson23.129.64.7
4Pedro J. Martinez159.8117.00.577
24.0
4Red Ruffing26.330.54.6
5Lefty Grove186.1144.40.563
20.9
5Don Newcombe16.816.54.6
6J. Kevin Brown175.1139.10.557
20.7
6Warren Spahn30.340.64.5
7Gaylord Perry281.0245.70.534
20.7
7Early Wynn28.236.14.5
8Mike Mussina192.7159.50.547
20.5
8Earl Wilson14.614.74.5
9Tom Seaver251.2219.90.533
20.4
9Mike Hampton13.416.04.1
10Warren Spahn271.4238.50.532
20.2
10Red Lucas17.817.34.1


Warren Spahn's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown next.

Warren Spahn
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1942BSN21
4
0.51.10.308-0.3
-0.2
0.81.20.393-0.2-0.1
1946BSN25
24
7.96.30.5551.0
1.7
7.06.30.5270.61.2
1947BSN26
40
21.313.90.6054.3
5.7
18.914.00.5733.04.3
1948BSN27
36
17.313.50.5612.5
3.8
17.714.80.5442.13.4
1949BSN28
38
21.117.40.5482.5
4.0
19.618.10.5201.42.8
1950BSN29
41
19.519.30.5020.9
2.6
19.317.00.5321.93.5
1951BSN30
40
22.115.80.5843.7
5.4
19.916.00.5552.54.1
1952BSN31
51
17.917.10.5121.0
2.6
19.616.70.5402.13.8
1953MLN32
36
20.112.30.6204.6
6.0
18.112.90.5833.34.6
1954MLN33
40
19.915.10.5693.2
4.8
18.615.90.5392.13.7
1955MLN34
39
17.314.50.5432.0
3.2
15.413.90.5271.32.5
1956MLN35
39
18.514.50.5602.7
4.2
18.214.30.5602.64.1
1957MLN36
39
17.914.20.5572.6
3.8
16.715.10.5261.62.8
1958MLN37
41
18.515.50.5452.5
3.8
19.216.10.5442.63.9
1959MLN38
40
18.815.70.5462.3
3.8
18.315.40.5432.13.6
1960MLN39
40
19.015.00.5582.8
4.2
16.815.40.5231.52.9
1961MLN40
39
19.415.00.5643.0
4.4
18.015.00.5462.33.7
1962MLN41
36
17.216.00.5181.4
2.8
17.214.40.5442.23.5
1963MLN42
33
19.613.50.5923.9
5.4
16.915.20.5261.73.1
1964MLN43
39
9.013.00.409-1.6
-0.4
9.613.10.423-1.3-0.1
44
37
11.414.80.436-1.1
0.1
11.314.90.431-1.2-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
772
354.2293.60.54743.8
71.8
337.2295.60.53334.061.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
8
3.12.90.512 0.53.73.40.522 0.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
780
357.3296.50.547
72.2
340.9299.10.533 61.9


Yogi Berra
Finally, using Player won-lost records, one more player might have a case for best player of the 1950s: top 3 in pWins over either positional average or replacement level and at a position, catcher, where players typically earn fewer pWORL than at other positions. And he tops it off by leading all players in World Series wins over replacement level (eWORL and pWORL) for the decade.

The next table shows the top 10 catchers in (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) wins over positional average.

Top 10 Catchers
(ranked by career eWOPA)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Carlton Fisk224.1192.80.53821.7
2Mike Piazza185.8150.20.55321.1
3Johnny Bench185.0148.00.55520.0
4Yogi Berra180.1150.30.54517.0
5Gary Carter214.7186.70.53516.1
6Bill Dickey155.2130.00.54415.3
7Mickey Cochrane138.6113.90.54914.8
8Gabby Hartnett152.1128.20.54314.2
9Jorge Posada147.2131.20.52914.2
10Ivan Rodriguez229.7223.10.50712.0


The table above only includes player decisions earned while playing catcher. This under-rates Berra somewhat as he played 260 games in the outfield (mostly in the 1960s). Berra also looks considerably better in context. The next table shows the top 10 players in pWins over replacement level (pWORL) who earned at least half of their player wins at catcher.

Top 10 Catchers
(ranked by career pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1Yogi Berra245.4182.40.57432.650.1
2Johnny Bench246.3197.70.55524.442.1
3Carlton Fisk251.4220.80.53221.340.0
4Mike Piazza214.0174.90.55022.438.4
5Bill Dickey168.1126.10.57123.936.4
6Mickey Cochrane148.6109.10.57722.333.1
7Gabby Hartnett163.4129.30.55819.431.7
8Jorge Posada172.7147.50.53918.631.6
9Gary Carter241.8216.60.52714.131.6
10Ted Simmons248.6232.10.5178.528.5


Finally, Yogi Berra's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown next.

Yogi Berra
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1946NYA21
7
0.70.50.6190.2
0.2
0.70.50.5930.10.2
1947NYA22
83
9.17.30.5550.9
1.6
8.67.50.5340.61.2
1948NYA23
125
14.011.70.5431.1
2.1
13.412.50.5190.51.5
1949NYA24
115
12.18.80.5801.7
2.6
11.29.70.5370.81.7
1950NYA25
151
18.011.70.6063.2
4.4
16.513.00.5601.93.0
1951NYA26
141
16.413.10.5571.8
3.0
15.812.60.5571.72.8
1952NYA27
142
18.111.80.6053.2
4.4
16.512.10.5762.33.4
1953NYA28
137
17.311.20.6063.3
4.5
14.811.70.5581.82.9
1954NYA29
151
19.012.30.6073.4
4.7
16.712.40.5752.23.4
1955NYA30
147
18.212.80.5883.0
4.3
15.213.70.5261.02.2
1956NYA31
140
18.012.20.5983.0
4.2
15.711.60.5742.13.2
1957NYA32
134
15.312.60.5491.6
2.7
13.312.20.5220.81.8
1958NYA33
122
13.311.30.5390.9
1.9
11.910.80.5250.51.4
1959NYA34
131
15.612.00.5652.1
3.2
13.911.80.5421.42.4
1960NYA35
120
11.89.30.5591.2
2.1
10.89.90.5230.51.3
1961NYA36
119
14.412.00.5450.9
2.1
13.512.10.5280.41.6
1962NYA37
85
8.47.40.5320.4
1.0
7.17.40.487-0.30.3
1963NYA38
64
5.44.10.5670.7
1.1
4.23.80.5280.30.6
1965NYN40
4
0.10.40.270-0.1
-0.1
0.10.30.306-0.1-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,118
245.4182.40.57432.6
50.1
220.1185.40.54318.435.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
75
8.57.30.537 1.38.47.50.526 1.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,193
253.9189.80.574
51.4
228.5193.00.543 36.1


Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts was the second best pitcher of the 1950s. Roberts' career, as measured by Player won-lost records, is shown next.

Robin Roberts
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1948PHI21
21
9.79.80.4970.3
1.1
9.59.30.5040.41.2
1949PHI22
43
14.113.50.5110.7
1.8
14.314.00.5060.51.7
1950PHI23
40
19.814.40.5793.3
4.9
19.316.90.5341.93.6
1951PHI24
44
20.916.80.5552.6
4.3
20.216.00.5582.64.2
1952PHI25
39
20.713.50.6064.4
5.9
20.417.00.5462.54.2
1953PHI26
44
24.818.00.5804.3
6.1
24.417.50.5824.36.1
1954PHI27
45
20.717.50.5412.4
4.2
21.518.10.5422.54.4
1955PHI28
51
21.817.70.5522.8
4.3
20.718.70.5251.73.2
1956PHI29
43
19.019.10.4990.7
2.4
19.220.60.4820.01.9
1957PHI30
39
14.220.10.414-2.3
-0.8
14.916.90.469-0.31.0
1958PHI31
36
18.115.00.5472.4
3.6
17.716.20.5221.62.9
1959PHI32
35
17.817.40.5050.8
2.3
16.316.40.4990.51.9
1960PHI33
35
14.014.90.4840.2
1.4
14.815.00.4950.51.8
1961PHI34
26
5.18.10.385-1.3
-0.7
6.68.80.431-0.8-0.1
1962BAL35
27
10.38.80.5391.2
2.0
11.910.60.5291.12.1
1963BAL36
35
14.615.90.4800.1
1.5
15.816.10.4950.62.1
1964BAL37
31
13.611.20.5471.7
3.0
12.212.50.4920.41.6
38
30
11.010.80.5050.6
1.6
11.910.60.5301.22.2
39
24
6.87.20.483-0.0
0.6
6.68.50.437-0.7-0.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
688
297.0269.80.52424.8
49.5
298.2279.80.51620.645.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
2
0.40.70.406 -0.00.90.80.541 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
690
297.5270.40.524
49.5
299.1280.60.516 46.0


Roberts had his last really good season in 1955 (although he had three more pretty good seasons peppered over the last decade of his career). The top 10 players in pWins over positional average and replacement level from 1950 - 1955 are shown in the next tables.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Robin Roberts128.797.919.8
29.6
1Robin Roberts128.797.919.8
29.6
2Yogi Berra107.072.918.0
25.2
2Duke Snider131.891.516.7
25.7
3Jackie Robinson116.381.116.8
24.7
3Yogi Berra107.072.918.0
25.2
4Duke Snider131.891.516.7
25.7
4Pee Wee Reese122.493.816.4
25.2
5Pee Wee Reese122.493.816.4
25.2
5Al Rosen129.590.916.2
25.1
6Mickey Mantle103.966.216.3
23.2
6Jackie Robinson116.381.116.8
24.7
7Al Rosen129.590.916.2
25.1
7Warren Spahn116.794.015.4
24.7
8Larry Doby128.590.515.7
24.6
8Larry Doby128.590.515.7
24.6
9Warren Spahn116.794.015.4
24.7
9Bob Lemon114.494.614.1
23.3
10E. Mike Garcia102.679.115.0
23.1
10Mickey Mantle103.966.216.3
23.2


Eddie Mathews
I was born in 1968 and became a big baseball fan in the late 1970s. At that time, the best third baseman in major-league history was generally considered to be Pie Traynor; although, since I lived in Maryland, a case was sometimes made for Brooks Robinson. A few years later, Mike Schmidt won three MVP awards and hit 548 career home runs and became the consensus "best third baseman in major-league history".

Meanwhile, all poor Eddie Mathews did was hit 512 career home runs, be named an All-Star in 9 seasons, and finish as MVP runner-up twice and not only didn't people recognize that he was a better player than Pie Traynor, but it took five ballots for him to even be elected to the Hall of Fame. I've always been fascinated and confused by the perception of Eddie Mathews: how did people not realize that he was an obvious slam-dunk Hall-of-Famer and probably the best third baseman in major-league history when he retired? I honestly don't know.

The top 10 players in career (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) wins over positional average as third basemen, among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records, are shown next..

Top 10 Third Basemen
(ranked by career eWOPA)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mike Schmidt307.1234.20.56731.0
2Eddie Mathews294.4229.40.56227.6
3Chipper Jones259.6209.30.55421.3
4Wade Boggs276.6244.20.53116.2
5George Brett223.4189.50.54116.1
6Ron Santo277.7236.40.54016.1
7Scott Rolen248.9213.60.53814.6
8Adrian Beltre319.0287.30.52614.0
9Alex Rodriguez153.0125.70.54913.2
10Evan Longoria166.2141.60.54012.1


The next table shows the top 10 players in pWins over replacement level among players who earned at least 50% of their career wins at third base.

Top 10 Third Basemen
(ranked by career pWORL)
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
1Eddie Mathews320.6240.50.57134.356.9
2Chipper Jones336.7258.50.56633.356.5
3Mike Schmidt337.4257.40.56733.656.4
4George Brett328.0274.90.54422.847.6
5Adrian Beltre345.6304.20.53218.743.6
6Brooks Robinson354.2310.50.53316.743.4
7Wade Boggs291.9254.30.53418.539.8
8Graig Nettles308.7270.30.53316.339.2
9Scott Rolen265.5220.80.54619.237.9
10Darrell Evans302.8259.20.53914.937.6


Eddie Mathews's career record, as measured by Player won-lost record, is presented next.

Eddie Mathews
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1952BSN20
145
16.516.20.504-0.0
1.3
18.116.00.5320.92.3
1953MLN21
157
24.615.90.6073.7
5.4
23.316.00.5923.04.6
1954MLN22
138
20.713.90.5992.8
4.2
20.513.60.6012.84.2
1955MLN23
141
20.714.20.5932.8
4.3
20.614.40.5892.74.1
1956MLN24
151
20.215.40.5692.2
3.6
20.416.40.5541.73.2
1957MLN25
147
20.814.70.5873.0
4.5
21.816.20.5742.74.3
1958MLN26
149
21.915.60.5843.0
4.4
19.615.70.5561.83.2
1959MLN27
148
22.815.80.5912.9
4.5
22.216.10.5802.54.0
1960MLN28
153
22.514.80.6033.4
4.9
22.016.10.5782.54.0
1961MLN29
152
19.414.70.5692.2
3.7
21.815.30.5873.04.7
1962MLN30
151
20.115.40.5662.2
3.6
19.714.80.5702.33.6
1963MLN31
158
22.616.80.5732.5
4.0
21.716.10.5742.43.9
1964MLN32
141
17.613.50.5651.7
3.0
16.613.50.5521.32.5
1965MLN33
156
19.715.60.5581.6
3.0
18.114.80.5491.22.5
1966ATL34
134
14.712.80.5340.6
1.7
14.613.40.5200.21.3
35
137
14.513.90.509-0.4
0.9
13.712.60.5220.01.2
1968DET36
30
1.31.30.491-0.0
0.1
1.51.30.5290.10.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,388
320.6240.50.57134.3
56.9
316.1242.20.56631.353.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
16
2.41.50.616 0.62.01.50.566 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,404
323.0242.00.571
57.5
318.1243.70.566 54.2


Jackie Robinson
Finally, Jackie Robinson retired following the 1956 season. Despite missing the last three seasons of the 1950s, Robinson just misses the top 10 players of the decade in pWins over positional average and ranks as the best second baseman of the decade.

The next table shows the top 10 players in pWOPA and pWORL from 1939 (the first season for which I have complete play-by-play data) through 1956.

pWins over Positional Average
Top 10 Players
          pWins over Replacement Level
Top 10 Players
Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL           Player pWins pLosses pWOPA pWORL
1Ted Williams306.3203.640.7
61.4
1Ted Williams306.3203.640.7
61.4
2Stan Musial325.3232.035.7
58.1
2Stan Musial325.3232.035.7
58.1
3Pee Wee Reese285.4223.335.1
55.7
3Pee Wee Reese285.4223.335.1
55.7
4Warren Spahn203.3160.828.1
43.9
4Warren Spahn203.3160.828.1
43.9
5Joe DiMaggio210.5146.227.6
42.0
5Bobby Doerr242.6195.025.9
43.4
6Jackie Robinson195.9140.126.1
39.7
6Bob Feller222.9188.324.0
42.5
7Bobby Doerr242.6195.025.9
43.4
7Joe DiMaggio210.5146.227.6
42.0
8Yogi Berra161.1113.424.8
36.0
8Jackie Robinson195.9140.126.1
39.7
9Bob Lemon190.2154.824.4
39.6
9Bob Lemon190.2154.824.4
39.6
10Bob Feller222.9188.324.0
42.5
10Vern Stephens247.0207.621.4
39.5


Jackie Robinson's career record, as measured by Player won-lost records, is presented next.

Jackie Robinson
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1947BRO28
151
18.516.10.5350.3
1.7
19.417.30.5280.11.5
1948BRO29
147
21.615.60.5813.1
4.6
21.918.20.5451.93.5
1949BRO30
156
25.416.60.6044.4
6.1
24.317.50.5813.45.1
1950BRO31
143
19.915.60.5612.3
3.7
19.816.60.5441.83.2
1951BRO32
153
25.715.20.6275.3
6.9
23.215.90.5933.75.2
1952BRO33
149
23.014.80.6094.3
5.8
23.515.60.6014.25.7
1953BRO34
136
21.614.10.6043.1
4.6
19.814.80.5721.93.3
1954BRO35
124
14.612.20.5450.8
1.9
14.511.50.5571.12.2
1955BRO36
105
11.69.20.5581.0
1.8
10.910.40.5120.00.9
1956BRO37
117
14.110.70.5681.6
2.6
13.311.40.5400.91.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
1,381
195.9140.10.58326.1
39.7
190.6149.30.56118.932.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
38
4.14.70.468 -0.04.44.20.512 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
1,419
200.1144.90.583
39.7
195.0153.50.561 32.9




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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