Baseball Player Won-Loss Records
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The 1980s as seen through the Prism of Player Won-Lost Records


I have now written articles on every season of the 1980s. This article looks at the decade of the 1980s.

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 - 2018). For example, the top 25 players in pWOPA and pWORL from 1964 through 1985 can be found here. But for now, back to the 1980s.

The Best of the 1980s

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
1Alan Trammell185.2158.220.6
33.7
1Alan Trammell185.2158.220.6
33.7
2Robin Yount201.9170.018.7
33.1
2Robin Yount201.9170.018.7
33.1
3Rickey Henderson212.0167.218.3
32.7
3Rickey Henderson212.0167.218.3
32.7
4Lou Whitaker184.9156.617.8
30.7
4Ozzie Smith200.1175.217.6
31.7
5Ozzie Smith200.1175.217.6
31.7
5Lou Whitaker184.9156.617.8
30.7
6Cal Ripken180.2158.417.3
29.9
6Cal Ripken180.2158.417.3
29.9
7Mike Schmidt187.1145.917.0
29.6
7Mike Schmidt187.1145.917.0
29.6
8Dwight Gooden89.765.716.2
22.9
8Dwight Evans199.2163.513.8
27.9
9Darryl Strawberry145.2106.415.1
24.5
9George Brett162.2128.114.7
26.0
10George Brett162.2128.114.7
26.0
10Eddie Murray179.9143.012.9
25.4
11Dwight Evans199.2163.513.8
27.9
11Dave Stieb138.6117.213.0
25.2
12Roger Clemens81.456.613.7
20.4
12Darryl Strawberry145.2106.415.1
24.5
13Wade Boggs152.7124.513.6
24.0
13Wade Boggs152.7124.513.6
24.0
14Gary Carter149.5126.813.3
23.7
14Bob Welch132.1116.812.9
23.9
15Dave Stieb138.6117.213.0
25.2
15Fernando Valenzuela138.6128.112.2
23.7
16Bob Welch132.1116.812.9
23.9
16Gary Carter149.5126.813.3
23.7
17Eddie Murray179.9143.012.9
25.4
17Dale Murphy214.2186.48.6
23.7
18Fernando Valenzuela138.6128.112.2
23.7
18Andre Dawson204.1174.39.3
23.7
19Orel Hershiser92.176.811.9
19.4
19Jack Morris147.3131.710.3
23.6
20Kirk Gibson143.7114.511.6
21.8
20Willie Randolph164.3147.511.5
23.3
21Willie Randolph164.3147.511.5
23.3
21Dwight Gooden89.765.716.2
22.9
22Dan Quisenberry68.841.211.5
18.5
22Nolan Ryan136.8127.810.4
22.0
23Bret Saberhagen80.359.711.4
18.3
23Paul Molitor150.7128.910.6
21.8
24Teddy Higuera70.350.311.1
17.1
24Kirk Gibson143.7114.511.6
21.8
25Jack Clark156.3123.610.7
21.7
25Jack Clark156.3123.610.7
21.7


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
1Rickey Henderson213.4165.220.0
34.4
1Rickey Henderson213.4165.220.0
34.4
2Mike Schmidt183.6137.019.8
31.9
2Robin Yount197.0166.118.2
32.2
3Robin Yount197.0166.118.2
32.2
3Mike Schmidt183.6137.019.8
31.9
4Cal Ripken177.4155.817.1
29.5
4Dale Murphy216.2175.315.3
30.0
5Alan Trammell177.8157.916.9
29.7
5Alan Trammell177.8157.916.9
29.7
6Wade Boggs157.0125.015.5
26.1
6Cal Ripken177.4155.817.1
29.5
7Dale Murphy216.2175.315.3
30.0
7Dwight Evans195.8161.813.0
26.9
8Roger Clemens80.355.913.4
20.1
8Ozzie Smith197.2183.612.0
26.3
9Dwight Evans195.8161.813.0
26.9
9Wade Boggs157.0125.015.5
26.1
10George Brett159.0128.712.9
24.1
10Lou Whitaker175.0156.612.7
25.3
11Dave Stieb136.3115.212.7
24.8
11Dave Stieb136.3115.212.7
24.8
12Lou Whitaker175.0156.612.7
25.3
12George Brett159.0128.712.9
24.1
13Gary Carter142.4121.612.2
22.2
13Andre Dawson197.7166.910.0
23.8
14Ozzie Smith197.2183.612.0
26.3
14Tim Raines Sr.186.0153.710.6
23.4
15Darryl Strawberry136.8105.111.7
20.8
15Gary Carter142.4121.612.2
22.2
16Jack Clark152.4118.511.5
22.2
16Eddie Murray168.8137.610.3
22.2
17Orel Hershiser89.775.411.3
18.6
17Jack Clark152.4118.511.5
22.2
18Bret Saberhagen79.659.311.2
18.1
18Fernando Valenzuela135.3127.510.8
22.1
19Fernando Valenzuela135.3127.510.8
22.1
19Pedro Guerrero156.0125.810.5
21.2
20Tim Raines Sr.186.0153.710.6
23.4
20Ryne Sandberg166.2149.39.0
20.8
21Pedro Guerrero156.0125.810.5
21.2
21Darryl Strawberry136.8105.111.7
20.8
22Dwight Gooden80.167.410.4
16.7
22Willie Randolph160.6149.78.5
20.2
23Eddie Murray168.8137.610.3
22.2
23Roger Clemens80.355.913.4
20.1
24Andre Dawson197.7166.910.0
23.8
24Paul Molitor147.9129.88.7
19.9
25Eric Davis85.463.69.1
14.7
25Dave Winfield180.9159.06.9
19.8


Top Postseason Performers of the 1980s

1980s Postseason Record: eWins
(sorted by eWORL)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWORL
1Orel Hershiser3.82.60.5921.0
2Dave Henderson4.43.00.5961.0
3Rickey Henderson3.21.60.6580.9
4Kirk Gibson3.52.20.6210.8
5Fernando Valenzuela4.03.50.5360.8
6Charlie Leibrandt2.51.50.6250.8
7Steve Carlton4.13.70.5240.7
8George Brett4.13.20.5580.7
9Nolan Ryan2.61.80.5830.7
10Steve Garvey3.22.20.5950.6


1980s Postseason Record: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Dave Henderson4.82.40.6611.4
2Fernando Valenzuela4.63.20.5881.2
3Kirk Gibson4.12.30.6441.1
4Rickey Henderson3.01.40.6840.9
5Gary Carter4.12.90.5820.9
6Orel Hershiser3.32.40.5810.9
7Steve Carlton4.13.60.5390.8
8Mike Moore1.90.60.7690.8
9Steve Garvey3.62.30.6150.8
10Mike Scott1.90.70.7220.8


World Series Performance
1980s World Series Performance: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Kirk Gibson1.90.50.8070.8
2Mike Moore1.30.30.7920.6
3Dave Henderson2.51.60.6050.6
4Bruce Hurst1.70.90.6540.5
5Orel Hershiser1.30.50.7250.5
6Alan Trammell1.20.40.7500.5
7Willie Aikens1.20.30.8090.5
8Pedro Guerrero1.40.50.7300.5
9Jack Morris1.40.60.6860.5
10Mike Caldwell1.10.40.7170.4


League Championship Series Performance
1980s LCS Performance: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Dave Henderson2.30.80.7350.8
2Will Clark2.71.00.7220.8
3Dave Stewart2.31.10.6720.8
4Mike Scott1.90.70.7220.8
5Ozzie Smith2.71.80.6070.7
6Fernando Valenzuela2.71.90.5850.7
7Steve Carlton2.01.20.6240.6
8Lenny Dykstra1.90.90.6890.6
9Gary Matthews Sr.2.11.00.6660.6
10George Brett2.31.50.5980.5


Best of the 1980s 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 1980s in eWOPA by factor were as follows.

Batting
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mike Schmidt132.289.50.59619.3
2Dwight Evans134.1103.20.56515.5
3Dale Murphy141.8107.50.56914.8
4Jack Clark111.278.80.58514.6
5Eddie Murray137.1107.60.56014.5
6Pedro Guerrero111.479.90.58214.0
7George Brett118.190.60.56613.8
8Rickey Henderson124.997.90.56113.5
9Wade Boggs111.786.70.56312.5
10Darryl Strawberry90.063.10.58812.0

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson30.218.80.6175.7
2Tim Raines Sr.23.212.90.6424.8
3Willie Wilson19.510.30.6544.6
4Vince Coleman16.99.80.6333.3
5Mookie Wilson16.210.50.6072.6
6Paul Molitor15.010.60.5852.2
7Robin Yount12.88.60.5982.1
8Eric Davis8.94.60.6582.0
9Gary Redus11.57.30.6112.0
10Alan Wiggins11.67.60.6041.9

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Roger Clemens71.353.90.57017.4
2Bret Saberhagen71.556.60.55814.9
3Dave Stieb122.0108.10.53013.9
4Orel Hershiser75.061.20.55113.8
5Dwight Gooden66.754.70.55012.0
6Dan Quisenberry52.040.50.56211.5
7Teddy Higuera58.848.30.54910.4
8Nolan Ryan112.8102.60.52410.3
9Mark Gubicza70.460.80.5369.6
10Dennis Eckersley84.275.00.5299.3


Next, we look at the major-league leaders in net fielding wins for the 1980s by fielding position.

Fielding, P
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Jimmy Key2.31.20.6621.1
2Dave Stieb3.32.30.5911.0
3Fernando Valenzuela4.63.60.5611.0
4Zane Smith2.01.10.6370.9
5Larry Gura1.80.90.6490.8
6Dan Petry2.51.80.5900.8
7Charlie Leibrandt3.32.50.5640.8
8John Candelaria2.01.20.6140.7
9Joaquin Andujar2.51.80.5790.7
10Dennis Martinez2.61.90.5750.7


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gary Carter21.418.00.5433.4
2Tony Pena Sr.20.917.70.5413.1
3Bob Boone18.215.80.5362.4
4Lance Parrish16.514.90.5261.6
5Terry Kennedy17.916.40.5221.5
6Jim Sundberg13.512.10.5281.4
7Bruce Benedict13.512.20.5261.4
8Jody Davis17.416.10.5191.3
9Steve Yeager7.05.70.5501.3
10Rick Dempsey12.411.20.5251.2


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Pete M. O'Brien18.715.80.5422.9
2Keith Hernandez22.921.00.5221.9
3Will Clark10.18.50.5441.6
4Chris Chambliss12.210.60.5351.6
5Sid Bream9.37.70.5461.6
6Wally Joyner11.410.20.5281.2
7Greg Brock12.211.00.5261.2
8Don Mattingly14.313.20.5191.1
9Dave L. Stapleton4.94.00.5510.9
10Kent Hrbek15.814.90.5140.9


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Glenn Hubbard49.044.90.5214.0
2Frank White52.649.20.5163.4
3Tom Herr44.240.80.5203.3
4Willie Randolph47.444.20.5183.2
5Lou Whitaker48.746.00.5142.7
6Julio Cruz29.927.80.5182.1
7Bill D. Doran38.136.30.5121.8
8Johnny Ray44.742.90.5101.8
9Robby Thompson19.818.00.5241.8
10John Castino8.26.90.5401.2


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Terry Pendleton30.325.30.5444.9
2Tim Wallach38.835.30.5243.5
3Wade Boggs33.530.20.5263.3
4Buddy Bell38.435.60.5192.9
5Mike Schmidt39.336.60.5182.7
6Kelly Gruber13.711.90.5341.7
7Doug DeCinces30.929.20.5141.7
8Ken Oberkfell29.928.50.5121.4
9Gary Gaetti34.833.40.5101.4
10Art Howe6.85.50.5521.3


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ozzie Smith70.960.30.54010.6
2Alan Trammell52.547.10.5275.4
3Ozzie Guillen32.427.60.5404.8
4Tony Fernandez35.931.20.5354.7
5Jose Uribe29.425.30.5374.0
6Garry Templeton54.650.60.5194.0
7Cal Ripken52.248.70.5183.6
8Scott Fletcher28.826.20.5232.6
9Rick Burleson15.313.60.5301.7
10Dick Schofield Jr.33.031.50.5121.5


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson46.240.40.5345.9
2Gary Ward35.931.80.5314.2
3Willie Wilson21.717.80.5493.8
4Kevin McReynolds22.019.00.5362.9
5Barry Bonds17.515.20.5352.3
6Dan Gladden15.313.10.5392.2
7Vince Coleman30.928.90.5162.0
8Paul Hodgson2.10.30.8591.7
9Larry Herndon31.930.20.5131.7
10Tim Raines Sr.43.642.30.5081.3


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gary Pettis32.228.20.5334.0
2Dave Henderson31.127.60.5303.5
3Dwayne Murphy42.839.70.5193.1
4Eddie Milner23.020.70.5272.4
5Andy Van Slyke19.216.90.5322.3
6John Shelby22.620.30.5262.2
7Devon White14.512.40.5392.1
8Andre Dawson24.422.50.5201.9
9Amos Otis14.613.00.5291.6
10Willie McGee39.438.00.5091.4


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Jesse Barfield48.439.90.5488.5
2Glenn Wilson35.332.00.5253.3
3Tony Gwynn Sr.35.532.40.5233.2
4Tony Armas Sr.21.818.60.5393.1
5Dale Murphy18.616.50.5302.1
6Ellis Valentine14.212.30.5351.9
7Lee Lacy21.019.20.5221.8
8Ruben Sierra21.119.40.5211.7
9Von Hayes13.912.20.5331.7
10Darryl Strawberry35.333.80.5101.4


Best by Position
Next, we look at Major-League leaders in eWOPA by position for the 1980s. 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
1Gary Carter135.5117.50.53611.0
2Carlton Fisk101.690.50.5298.7
3Lance Parrish114.3106.90.5177.0
4Ernie Whitt86.484.10.5074.1
5Bob Brenly63.158.10.5203.6
6Ted Simmons44.941.60.5192.5
7Gene Tenace17.413.30.5672.2
8Darrell Porter55.452.90.5122.1
9Tony Pena Sr.110.9110.90.5002.0
10Matt Nokes25.523.70.5182.0


First Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Eddie Murray160.1133.10.5468.3
2Keith Hernandez151.2124.90.5486.6
3Kent Hrbek114.894.80.5486.4
4Will Clark68.550.30.5765.6
5Jack Clark54.939.70.5804.8
6Don Mattingly110.292.80.5434.8
7Cecil Cooper100.888.70.5323.4
8Glenn Davis82.768.20.5483.1
9Alvin Davis88.175.90.5372.9
10Darrell Evans68.257.50.5422.8


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Lou Whitaker173.1156.90.52511.6
2Ryne Sandberg149.9134.50.5278.6
3Willie Randolph160.4150.60.5168.0
4Bobby Grich98.987.80.5307.5
5Bill D. Doran130.6120.10.5216.1
6Joe L. Morgan71.262.90.5315.1
7Glenn Hubbard135.5130.90.5093.7
8Tom Herr146.5142.00.5083.5
9Robby Thompson65.661.20.5182.7
10Paul Molitor19.014.90.5602.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mike Schmidt163.1125.60.56516.0
2Wade Boggs149.5121.80.55113.4
3George Brett109.588.80.5529.8
4Doug DeCinces119.2108.10.5244.9
5Paul Molitor102.292.10.5264.5
6Bob Horner64.753.40.5484.4
7Buddy Bell144.6133.10.5214.3
8Toby Harrah74.465.20.5334.1
9Tim Wallach146.2134.10.5223.7
10Ron Cey107.396.80.5263.4


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Alan Trammell174.5157.40.52615.6
2Cal Ripken168.7150.40.52915.5
3Robin Yount95.579.90.54411.6
4Ozzie Smith196.4185.00.51510.9
5Tony Fernandez107.4104.50.5075.6
6Dickie Thon83.979.90.5124.0
7Roy Smalley III48.645.40.5173.6
8Scott Fletcher86.787.30.4983.2
9Barry Larkin50.646.70.5203.0
10Howard Johnson16.512.70.5652.3


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson157.5125.40.55712.5
2Tim Raines Sr.154.1129.50.5437.3
3George Bell117.7105.20.5283.8
4Kevin McReynolds70.758.70.5463.8
5Brian Downing96.785.20.5323.7
6Kirk Gibson49.139.90.5513.3
7Willie Wilson58.649.60.5423.2
8Mike Greenwell50.141.70.5463.2
9Kal Daniels46.737.70.5533.0
10Pedro Guerrero30.522.70.5743.0


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dale Murphy145.1119.70.5489.8
2Andre Dawson87.970.30.5567.2
3Eric Davis70.454.00.5666.7
4Rickey Henderson50.438.70.5665.3
5Robin Yount82.470.80.5385.1
6Dwayne Murphy134.8122.40.5244.9
7Fred Lynn110.499.40.5264.5
8Andy Van Slyke61.650.80.5484.3
9Chet Lemon112.5102.00.5254.1
10Kirby Puckett121.0112.90.5172.9


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dwight Evans169.0141.40.54410.5
2Darryl Strawberry129.4100.80.56210.2
3Jesse Barfield135.2116.50.5376.9
4Jack Clark85.870.30.5505.3
5Dave Winfield119.6104.20.5354.8
6Tony Gwynn Sr.123.3106.10.5374.4
7Jose Canseco38.730.40.5603.3
8Dale Murphy59.048.80.5473.2
9Kirk Gibson54.446.30.5402.8
10Reggie Jackson59.252.20.5312.5


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Roger Clemens72.155.30.5669.6
2Dave Stieb124.2109.50.5319.5
3Bret Saberhagen69.555.80.5558.0
4Orel Hershiser73.560.60.5487.6
5Dwight Gooden68.256.20.5487.1
6Bob Welch113.1103.30.5236.9
7Fernando Valenzuela116.1107.00.5216.7
8Nolan Ryan114.6105.30.5216.6
9Bert Blyleven112.3104.20.5196.0
10Teddy Higuera59.449.60.5455.9


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dan Quisenberry54.742.30.5644.2
2Tom Henke26.619.10.5812.8
3Rich Gossage40.732.80.5542.4
4Kent Tekulve48.540.60.5442.1
5Dennis Eckersley13.58.90.6021.8
6Doug Jones16.711.90.5831.8
7Willie Hernandez42.235.60.5421.7
8Lee Smith45.238.40.5411.6
9Steve Howe20.916.30.5621.5
10Dave S. Smith37.531.60.5421.5


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 1980s in context, in terms of pWins and pWOPA.

Top Relief Pitchers of the 1980s, based on pWORL
Player pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL
Dan Quisenberry68.841.20.62511.518.5
Dave Righetti81.259.50.5779.517.5
Rich Gossage63.542.40.6008.715.3
Lee Smith67.548.70.5817.414.5
Jeff Reardon70.954.40.5666.013.7
Steve Bedrosian67.456.60.5444.611.7
Bob Stanley71.561.10.5393.311.2
Bruce Sutter54.542.00.5654.610.6
Greg Minton58.847.60.5523.910.4
Jesse Orosco49.437.20.5714.810.0


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ken Phelps34.125.70.5713.6
2Brian Downing47.039.80.5423.0
3Cliff Johnson46.039.20.5402.4
4Greg Luzinski46.039.20.5402.2
5Andre Thornton63.356.90.5271.7
6Don Baylor88.381.00.5221.7
7Harold Baines34.530.20.5331.7
8Darrell Evans19.215.60.5511.4
9Hal McRae66.260.70.5221.3
10Paul Molitor18.715.50.5461.3


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 Robinson6.96.90.5002.3
2Bob Forsch8.811.20.4402.1
3Rick Rhoden8.811.90.4261.8
4Tim Lollar4.95.20.4851.5
5Fernando Valenzuela10.116.70.3771.2
6Orel Hershiser6.710.40.3911.1
7Rick Sutcliffe6.29.70.3901.0
8Mike Krukow7.813.00.3740.8
9Dwight Gooden6.210.10.3780.8
10Dan Schatzeder2.42.50.4840.7


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Steve Braun6.85.10.5701.0
2Johnny Grubb4.73.70.5590.7
3Thad Bosley6.75.90.5330.7
4Jim Dwyer6.56.00.5210.6
5Jeff Burroughs4.13.20.5560.6
6Kurt Bevacqua5.44.50.5440.6
7Joel Youngblood6.76.10.5230.5
8Rusty Staub6.96.30.5250.5
9Terry Crowley4.84.10.5390.5
10Denny Walling6.25.60.5250.5


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Miguel Dilone1.20.60.6760.3
2Eric Davis0.70.20.7870.3
3Mike Felder0.80.30.7290.2
4John Moses0.90.50.6590.2
5Otis Nixon2.01.50.5780.2
6Bob Dernier1.30.80.6110.2
7Rex Hudler0.80.30.7180.2
8Matt Alexander1.20.80.5980.2
9Tony Phillips0.60.20.7520.2
10Tom Lawless1.10.60.6340.2


Interesting or Noteworthy Players of the 1980s

I have written several articles about players whose careers overlapped at least partly with the 1980s. These players include Jesse Barfield, Roger Clemens, Julio Franco, Dwight Gooden, Toby Harrah, Dennis Martinez, Don Mattingly, Mark McGwire, Joe Morgan, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Eddie Murray, Dan Quisenberry, Tim Raines, Jim Rice, Alan Trammell, and Ellis Valentine. I also wrote an article about perhaps the best team of the 1980s, the 1984 Tigers.

I have also released two new articles concurrent with this one, looking at
Rickey Henderson and the best pitchers of the 1980s.

Next in this article, I take a look at five players who figure prominently in several of the tables above and were, in my opinion, among the most noteworthy players of the 1980s.

Alan Trammell
The best player in major-league baseball in the 1980s, as measured by pWins over positional average was Detroit Tigers' shortstop Alan Trammell.

If anything, one might have thought that comparing to positional averages would work against Trammell. He shared a position with two Hall-of-Fame players who won MVP awards while playing shortstop in the 1980s as well as a third first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

The first table below compares the MVP seasons of Robin Yount (1982) and Cal Ripken (1983) with the season in which Alan Trammell should have won an MVP award, 1987.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Robin Yount, 1982
156
25.317.70.5884.7
6.3
24.418.60.5673.85.4
Cal Ripken, 1983
162
25.019.30.5643.5
5.1
23.519.50.5472.64.2
Alan Trammell, 1987
151
23.215.90.5934.5
6.0
22.016.70.5673.44.9


The next table compares the records of Yount, Ripken, and Trammell during the 1980s. Hall-of-Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith is also shown here.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Robin Yount
1,446
201.9170.00.54318.7
33.1
197.0166.10.54318.232.2
Cal Ripken
1,315
180.2158.40.53217.3
29.9
177.4155.80.53217.129.5
Alan Trammell
1,389
185.2158.20.53920.6
33.7
177.8157.90.53016.929.7
Ozzie Smith
1,468
200.1175.20.53317.6
31.7
197.2183.60.51812.026.3


Finally, the next table compares the career records of the same four players, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
Robin Yount
2,856
367.5345.70.51518.1
45.7
361.1338.00.51618.745.8
Cal Ripken
3,001
383.5350.70.52227.5
55.9
375.2344.50.52126.254.0
Alan Trammell
2,292
283.4256.60.52524.0
44.8
277.9256.70.52021.141.7
Ozzie Smith
2,573
335.8310.40.52021.2
45.9
332.8320.90.50914.639.6


So why exactly is Alan Trammell not in the Hall of Fame?

The next table presents the career record of Alan Trammell, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Alan Trammell
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1977DET1977
19
0.81.30.370-0.2
-0.1
1.01.50.384-0.2-0.1
1978DET1978
139
14.814.00.5141.0
2.1
15.415.10.5050.82.0
1979DET1979
142
14.013.80.5030.8
1.8
14.615.40.4880.41.5
1980DET1980
146
19.116.70.5332.1
3.4
19.217.10.5281.93.3
1981DET1981
105
13.812.30.5301.4
2.5
13.013.00.5000.61.7
1982DET1982
157
17.115.00.5331.7
2.9
16.715.40.5201.32.5
1983DET1983
142
18.716.10.5371.8
3.1
18.615.80.5401.93.2
1984DET1984
139
20.015.10.5703.3
4.7
18.116.00.5311.93.3
1985DET1985
149
18.019.70.4780.0
1.4
18.418.80.4950.72.1
1986DET1986
151
19.617.70.5261.8
3.2
20.217.30.5392.33.7
1987DET1987
151
23.215.90.5934.5
6.0
22.016.70.5673.44.9
1988DET1988
128
21.014.80.5863.6
5.0
16.913.90.5502.03.2
1989DET1989
121
14.714.80.4980.5
1.5
14.713.90.5140.91.9
1990DET1990
146
20.017.10.5402.2
3.5
20.017.20.5382.13.5
1991DET1991
100
13.412.40.5200.9
1.9
12.611.70.5170.81.7
1992DET1992
29
3.83.70.5130.2
0.5
3.73.60.5030.20.4
1993DET1993
112
13.411.40.5391.2
2.2
13.412.10.5250.92.0
1994DET1994
76
7.19.90.417-1.2
-0.4
8.28.90.480-0.10.7
1995DET1995
74
6.87.50.474-0.1
0.5
6.77.20.484-0.00.6
1996DET1996
66
4.17.40.359-1.5
-1.0
4.66.10.429-0.6-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,292
283.4256.60.52524.0
44.8
277.9256.70.52021.141.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
2.21.50.601 0.62.01.60.551 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,305
285.7258.10.525
45.4
279.9258.30.520 42.2


Robin Yount
Robin Yount won two MVP awards in the 1980s, in 1982 and 1989. Robin Yount won his two MVP awards at different positions, shortstop and center field.

The next table shows the top 10 players in career (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average at shortstop, considering only games played at shortstop.

Top Ten Shortstops
(career eWOPA at Shortstop)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Cal Ripken302.4274.30.52425.1
2Alex Rodriguez182.5146.60.55523.0
3Alan Trammell265.7247.20.51819.8
4Pee Wee Reese279.9248.80.52919.8
5Barry Larkin272.2244.80.52619.0
6Arky Vaughan199.6167.80.54318.7
7Ernie Banks168.2138.00.54918.6
8Derek Jeter347.2330.30.51217.9
9Lou Boudreau215.0186.90.53517.2
10Vern Stephens191.6165.60.53615.6


Robin Yount shows up here in the top 10. Even so, this table very likely underrates Robin Yount's career, because he moved from shortstop to center field at age 29 and proceeded to put up nine solid seasons there.

The next table shows the top 25 players in career (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average at up-the-middle defensive positions: C, 2B, SS, and CF.

Top 25 Up-the-Middle Players
(career eWOPA at C, 2B, SS, CF)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Willie Mays422.2322.30.56737.9
2Joe L. Morgan358.7295.10.54937.3
3Mickey Mantle269.0180.70.59836.5
4Cal Ripken302.4274.30.52425.1
5Joe DiMaggio247.5187.40.56925.0
6Alex Rodriguez182.5146.60.55523.0
7Rogers Hornsby175.2128.80.57622.9
8Mike Piazza185.1149.40.55321.5
9Bobby Grich245.0213.30.53521.4
10Carlton Fisk223.6192.30.53821.4
11Ken Griffey Jr.293.5247.50.54221.1
12Johnny Bench184.9147.90.55620.1
13Mike Trout137.796.10.58919.9
14Pee Wee Reese279.9248.80.52919.8
15Duke Snider224.5172.20.56619.7
16Alan Trammell266.5248.70.51719.5
17Lou Whitaker283.0255.30.52619.1
18Barry Larkin272.4245.00.52619.1
19Arky Vaughan199.7167.90.54318.7
20Ernie Banks168.2138.00.54918.6
21Ryne Sandberg274.6240.80.53318.1
22Derek Jeter347.2330.30.51217.9
23Charlie Gehringer219.4188.10.53817.4
24Jim Edmonds226.6188.60.54617.3
25Robin Yount339.7320.40.51517.3


The number of players eligible for this list is much larger than the population of players from the previous list, of course, because the number of positions has quadrupled. Even with this much larger population, however, Robin Yount ranks in the top 20, by getting credit for his above-average performances at both shortstop as well as in center field, and slides just ahead of Ernie Banks, who, like Yount, moved off of shortstop at around the age of 30. Yount passes Banks here because (a) Yount moved to a more valuable defensive position (CF) than Banks (1B), and (b) Yount played better at his new position than Banks did at his.

The next table presents the career record of Robin Yount, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Robin Yount
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1974MIL1974
107
10.613.30.445-0.8
0.1
11.612.30.4840.11.0
1975MIL1975
147
16.219.90.449-0.9
0.5
17.219.20.4730.01.4
1976MIL1976
161
18.922.20.460-0.8
0.8
18.821.90.461-0.70.8
1977MIL1977
154
17.620.70.460-0.4
1.2
18.119.00.4870.72.1
1978MIL1978
127
18.316.50.5271.7
3.0
16.616.10.5081.02.2
1979MIL1979
149
18.717.60.5151.4
2.8
17.819.40.4800.21.6
1980MIL1980
143
21.718.00.5472.8
4.3
21.017.20.5492.74.2
1981MIL1981
96
14.710.70.5792.6
3.6
13.010.90.5431.52.5
1982MIL1982
156
25.317.70.5884.7
6.3
24.418.60.5673.85.4
1983MIL1983
149
21.316.30.5663.0
4.4
21.817.50.5552.74.1
1984MIL1984
160
20.019.40.5091.1
2.7
21.519.30.5281.93.6
1985MIL1985
122
15.515.60.500-0.3
1.0
15.514.40.5200.31.5
1986MIL1986
140
16.816.10.5110.2
1.4
18.016.10.5280.82.0
1987MIL1987
158
20.818.00.5371.1
2.7
19.617.60.5260.72.2
1988MIL1988
162
23.719.60.5461.8
3.4
20.817.40.5451.53.0
1989MIL1989
160
22.018.60.5421.7
3.2
21.517.10.5562.23.6
1990MIL1990
158
18.619.00.495-0.5
0.9
19.518.60.5110.21.5
1991MIL1991
130
16.314.70.5260.7
2.0
14.614.90.494-0.30.9
1992MIL1992
150
18.217.10.5150.3
1.7
17.017.00.500-0.21.1
1993MIL1993
127
12.114.80.450-1.4
-0.3
13.013.50.490-0.40.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,856
367.5345.70.51518.1
45.7
361.1338.00.51618.745.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
17
2.53.10.447 0.02.62.50.510 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,873
370.0348.80.515
45.8
363.7340.60.516 46.2


Lou Whitaker
I like to include at least one Hall-of-Famer among the set of players that I write about in these decade writeups. For the 1980s, the choice of what non-Hall-of-Famer to write about was pretty easy. Lou Whitaker ranks among the top five players of the decade in pWins over either positional average or replacement level, in the top 10 in eWins over replacement level and just outside the top 10 in eWins over positional average.

The next table shows the top 10 players in career pWins over replacement level who are not (yet) in the Hall of Fame, among all players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top Players not in the Hall of Fame
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Barry Bonds462.0314.961.091.4
2Roger Clemens318.1228.151.179.6
3Alex Rodriguez374.0297.242.169.1
4Derek Jeter369.5322.432.959.6
5Albert Pujols346.2255.333.958.9
6David Ortiz250.9188.325.551.4
7Mike Mussina224.2173.129.651.3
8Manny Ramirez318.3250.526.650.1
9Lou Whitaker306.1260.828.250.0
10Tommy John277.6247.723.547.1


Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Randy Johnson, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, and Albert Pujols are not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. Pete Rose is permanently ineligible for the Hall of Fame (as of now). Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens have well-known issues (which Rodriguez and Ramirez are likely to share).

And then there's Lou Whitaker.

To repeat the question I asked above about his longtime double-play partner, why exactly is Lou Whitaker not in the Hall of Fame?

The next table presents the career record of Lou Whitaker, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Lou Whitaker
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1977DET1977
11
0.71.00.425-0.1
-0.0
0.81.10.439-0.1-0.0
1978DET1978
139
17.714.80.5451.9
3.2
16.015.50.5080.71.9
1979DET1979
127
16.813.10.5622.2
3.4
15.513.60.5331.32.5
1980DET1980
145
15.614.90.5120.8
2.0
14.916.20.480-0.21.0
1981DET1981
109
13.010.40.5561.6
2.5
12.110.80.5301.01.9
1982DET1982
152
20.216.60.5482.2
3.6
18.416.30.5291.42.7
1983DET1983
161
23.518.50.5593.0
4.5
22.118.00.5522.54.0
1984DET1984
143
19.515.20.5612.6
3.9
17.816.10.5251.32.6
1985DET1985
152
21.218.70.5321.4
2.9
20.518.20.5301.32.7
1986DET1986
144
19.616.10.5492.3
3.6
18.116.20.5271.42.7
1987DET1987
149
20.317.30.5402.1
3.5
18.717.80.5131.02.4
1988DET1988
115
13.511.80.5341.1
2.1
13.311.60.5331.12.1
1989DET1989
148
18.517.10.5190.8
2.1
19.115.50.5511.93.1
1990DET1990
132
15.314.70.5110.6
1.7
15.614.50.5190.81.9
1991DET1991
138
18.914.20.5702.4
3.7
17.613.90.5601.93.2
1992DET1992
130
16.515.10.5220.8
2.0
16.114.20.5321.12.3
1993DET1993
117
15.213.20.5351.3
2.4
14.211.90.5441.42.4
1994DET1994
92
11.110.10.5240.7
1.6
10.59.70.5210.61.5
1995DET1995
83
9.08.00.5290.7
1.4
8.17.20.5290.61.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,387
306.1260.80.54028.2
50.0
289.5258.10.52921.142.1
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
1.51.40.507 0.21.91.60.534 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,400
307.6262.30.540
50.2
291.4259.80.529 42.4


George Brett
The 1980s were a golden era for two positions: shortstop, which has already been discussed, and third base.

The next table shows the top ten players in career (context-neutral, teammate-adjusted) eWins over positional average at third base, among players for whom I have calculated Player won-lost records.

Top Ten Third Basemen
(career eWOPA at Third Base)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mike Schmidt307.0234.30.56731.2
2Eddie Mathews294.8229.80.56227.7
3Chipper Jones259.7209.30.55421.7
4Ron Santo278.4237.00.54016.1
5George Brett223.4189.70.54115.8
6Wade Boggs276.7244.30.53115.8
7Scott Rolen249.3213.90.53814.9
8Adrian Beltre327.1295.50.52513.7
9Alex Rodriguez153.0125.70.54912.9
10Ron Cey243.1210.50.53612.0


The careers of three of the top 6 third baseman of the past 70+ years overlapped for most of the 1980s. The performances of George Brett, Mike Schmidt, and Wade Boggs for the decade of the 1980s, as measured by Player won-lost records, are compared in the next table.

Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
George Brett
1,251
162.2128.10.55914.7
26.0
159.0128.70.55312.924.1
Mike Schmidt
1,320
187.1145.90.56217.0
29.6
183.6137.00.57319.831.9
Wade Boggs
1,182
152.7124.50.55113.6
24.0
157.0125.00.55715.526.1


How great a decade was it for third basemen? A case can be made that George Brett was merely the third-best third baseman of the best decade of his career.

The next table presents the career record of George Brett, as measured by Player won-lost records.

George Brett
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1973KCA1973
13
0.61.00.383-0.2
-0.1
0.71.20.361-0.3-0.2
1974KCA1974
133
13.114.50.474-0.8
0.3
14.415.00.489-0.40.7
1975KCA1975
159
20.917.70.5411.6
3.1
20.218.70.5200.82.3
1976KCA1976
159
22.417.30.5652.5
4.0
21.917.30.5582.23.7
1977KCA1977
139
21.315.70.5762.7
4.1
19.716.40.5461.53.0
1978KCA1978
128
16.614.20.5401.1
2.3
15.914.00.5320.92.0
1979KCA1979
154
21.116.70.5592.1
3.6
22.318.10.5511.93.5
1980KCA1980
117
18.610.20.6454.1
5.2
18.211.80.6063.14.3
1981KCA1981
89
10.610.40.505-0.0
0.8
11.710.50.5260.41.3
1982KCA1982
144
18.515.00.5531.6
2.9
18.715.50.5461.42.7
1983KCA1983
123
16.613.80.5461.2
2.3
16.213.30.5491.32.3
1984KCA1984
104
14.910.90.5762.0
3.0
11.911.00.5180.51.3
1985KCA1985
155
22.115.40.5903.4
4.8
22.517.50.5622.54.0
1986KCA1986
123
15.513.10.5421.0
2.1
15.012.00.5561.32.3
1987KCA1987
115
12.611.80.517-0.1
0.9
12.910.90.5420.51.5
1988KCA1988
157
18.215.10.5471.1
2.5
18.214.20.5621.52.9
1989KCA1989
124
14.512.40.5390.4
1.4
13.911.90.5380.41.3
1990KCA1990
142
15.313.90.5250.2
1.4
16.313.40.5491.02.2
1991KCA1991
131
11.011.30.495-0.5
0.8
11.211.70.488-0.70.7
1992KCA1992
152
11.512.30.484-0.7
0.6
12.712.50.504-0.21.2
1993KCA1993
145
12.012.40.493-0.3
1.2
12.512.90.492-0.41.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,706
328.1274.90.54422.4
47.3
326.8280.00.53919.344.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
43
5.85.60.510 0.56.25.00.556 1.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,749
333.9280.50.544
47.8
333.0285.00.539 45.3


Ozzie Smith
Finally, staying with the theme of infielders on the left side, we look at the best defensive shortstop of the 1980s. The next table shows the top 10 defensive shortstops for their career, ranked by net fielding wins.

Top 10 Defensive Shortstops
(ranked by career Net Fielding Wins at SS)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ozzie Smith118.5103.60.53314.8
2Lou Boudreau72.460.60.54411.7
3Pee Wee Reese88.777.00.53511.7
4Mark Belanger76.566.50.53510.1
5Cal Ripken92.884.70.5238.1
6Tim Foli67.360.70.5266.7
7Alan Trammell82.476.00.5206.4
8Omar Vizquel102.496.70.5145.7
9Dave Concepcion90.384.60.5165.7
10Eddie R. Miller72.066.30.5205.7


Ozzie Smith was the best defensive shortstop of at least the past 70-some years, as measured by Player won-lost records, by a fairly comfortable margin.

Fielding player won-lost records, as with all fielding measures of which I am aware, are calculated relative to position. Because of that, the numbers in the above table are not directly comparable to fielding won-lost records amassed at other positions.

The next table attempts to answer the question: "Was Ozzie Smith the greatest fielding in major-league history?" (or at least, since 1921 or so). To do this, instead of comparing to average, I calculate Player fielding wins over replacement level. In my work, I set replacement level one standard deviation below positional average. Positional average tends to be lower for more important defensive positions (such as shortstop) than for more offense-first positions (e.g., first base), so that shortstops are being measured against a lower replacement level than first basemen. By measuring against replacement level, players are also given credit for playing below average for their position so long as they are not too bad defensively (where, again, the standard for what is "too bad" is lower for more difficult defensive positions).

I like this as a conceptual way to compare defensive value across positions and I find that the results tend to produce very reasonable results, albeit not necessarily perfect ones.

Anyway, with the explanation and caveats out of the way, the next table ranks the top 10 players in career fielding wins over replacement level.

Career Fielding Wins over Replacement Level (all positions)
eWins eLosses eWORL
1Ozzie Smith118.5103.618.9
2Cal Ripken111.4101.916.3
3Pee Wee Reese92.480.214.4
4Luis Aparicio111.7107.114.3
5Mark Belanger77.066.814.0
6Omar Vizquel107.8101.913.8
7Dave Concepcion96.991.313.2
8Alan Trammell84.177.812.6
9Lou Boudreau74.162.512.3
10Brooks Robinson91.277.912.2


So there you have it: Ozzie Smith was the greatest fielder in major-league history.

The next table presents the career record of Ozzie Smith, as measured by Player won-lost records.

Ozzie Smith
Basic Player Won-Lost Records
Value Decomposition
Season Team Age Games pWins pLosses pWin Pct. pWOPA pWORL eWins eLosses eWin Pct. eWOPA eWORL
1978SDN1978
159
21.221.60.4950.5
2.1
20.321.90.481-0.11.5
1979SDN1979
156
17.418.90.479-0.1
1.3
18.420.60.472-0.41.1
1980SDN1980
158
21.421.00.5040.9
2.5
22.522.70.4980.62.4
1981SDN1981
110
13.115.50.459-0.7
0.4
14.215.50.477-0.21.0
1982SLN1982
140
19.616.80.5381.9
3.3
19.118.00.5151.12.5
1983SLN1983
159
20.217.80.5311.5
2.9
18.918.00.5110.72.0
1984SLN1984
124
18.015.50.5381.9
3.2
16.916.20.5111.02.3
1985SLN1985
158
22.518.20.5542.8
4.3
20.118.50.5211.42.9
1986SLN1986
153
18.916.70.5311.6
3.0
17.816.90.5131.02.2
1987SLN1987
158
23.017.40.5703.4
4.9
23.418.50.5593.04.7
1988SLN1988
153
22.617.80.5602.8
4.3
23.419.40.5472.34.0
1989SLN1989
155
20.718.60.5271.6
3.0
21.020.00.5121.02.5
1990SLN1990
143
16.317.30.485-0.1
1.1
16.316.10.5030.51.7
1991SLN1991
150
20.717.70.5391.9
3.4
20.618.00.5341.73.2
1992SLN1992
132
18.516.80.5241.3
2.6
18.917.60.5181.12.5
1993SLN1993
141
18.618.20.5060.6
2.1
17.517.90.4940.11.6
1994SLN1994
98
10.912.30.469-0.4
0.5
11.512.40.482-0.10.9
1995SLN1995
44
4.75.60.453-0.4
0.0
4.45.50.448-0.4-0.0
1996SLN1996
82
7.56.80.5240.5
1.1
7.67.30.5120.31.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,573
335.8310.40.52021.2
45.9
332.8320.90.50914.639.6
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
42
4.74.80.494 0.44.75.20.475 0.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,615
340.5315.30.520
46.4
337.5326.00.509 39.9




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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