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 (1930 - 2016). 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 Trammell180.2155.419.9
32.7
1Rickey Henderson212.7167.019.0
33.6
2Rickey Henderson212.7167.019.0
33.6
2Robin Yount199.7168.318.7
33.0
3Robin Yount199.7168.318.7
33.0
3Alan Trammell180.2155.419.9
32.7
4Lou Whitaker179.7150.918.3
30.9
4Lou Whitaker179.7150.918.3
30.9
5Cal Ripken176.8156.816.8
29.3
5Ozzie Smith194.8171.816.5
30.4
6Mike Schmidt187.1145.716.7
29.4
6Mike Schmidt187.1145.716.7
29.4
7Ozzie Smith194.8171.816.5
30.4
7Cal Ripken176.8156.816.8
29.3
8Dwight Gooden90.266.016.4
23.1
8Dwight Evans200.8164.214.5
28.7
9Darryl Strawberry146.1106.315.3
24.8
9George Brett162.5128.714.9
26.2
10George Brett162.5128.714.9
26.2
10Eddie Murray181.3144.013.2
25.8
11Dwight Evans200.8164.214.5
28.7
11Darryl Strawberry146.1106.315.3
24.8
12Roger Clemens81.756.613.7
20.4
12Dave Stieb139.6119.312.4
24.7
13Wade Boggs152.4125.213.3
23.8
13Dale Murphy215.9186.78.9
24.1
14Gary Carter149.5126.013.3
23.8
14Fernando Valenzuela139.9129.512.3
23.9
15Eddie Murray181.3144.013.2
25.8
15Gary Carter149.5126.013.3
23.8
16Bob Welch132.5118.012.5
23.5
16Wade Boggs152.4125.213.3
23.8
17Dave Stieb139.6119.312.4
24.7
17Jack Morris149.4133.910.2
23.7
18Fernando Valenzuela139.9129.512.3
23.9
18Andre Dawson205.0174.69.3
23.7
19Dan Quisenberry70.841.712.3
19.4
19Bob Welch132.5118.012.5
23.5
20Orel Hershiser93.678.112.1
19.7
20Dwight Gooden90.266.016.4
23.1
21Kirk Gibson143.5114.011.8
22.0
21Willie Randolph159.5144.610.8
22.3
22Bret Saberhagen81.060.111.5
18.5
22Kirk Gibson143.5114.011.8
22.0
23Teddy Higuera70.850.611.1
17.1
23Paul Molitor150.2128.610.7
21.9
24Willie Randolph159.5144.610.8
22.3
24Nolan Ryan137.8129.510.1
21.7
25Paul Molitor150.2128.610.7
21.9
25Jack Clark157.2124.310.5
21.6


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 Henderson211.2164.219.7
34.1
1Rickey Henderson211.2164.219.7
34.1
2Mike Schmidt184.0137.819.3
31.6
2Robin Yount195.1165.817.7
31.7
3Robin Yount195.1165.817.7
31.7
3Mike Schmidt184.0137.819.3
31.6
4Cal Ripken176.2155.417.1
29.6
4Dale Murphy218.8176.615.5
30.5
5Alan Trammell174.6155.716.8
29.4
5Cal Ripken176.2155.417.1
29.6
6Wade Boggs160.7127.516.3
27.2
6Alan Trammell174.6155.716.8
29.4
7Dale Murphy218.8176.615.5
30.5
7Dwight Evans200.0164.114.1
28.4
8Dwight Evans200.0164.114.1
28.4
8Wade Boggs160.7127.516.3
27.2
9George Brett158.0127.513.3
24.4
9Lou Whitaker171.8154.012.8
25.2
10Roger Clemens80.957.512.9
19.6
10Ozzie Smith190.8178.911.0
25.0
11Lou Whitaker171.8154.012.8
25.2
11George Brett158.0127.513.3
24.4
12Orel Hershiser91.575.012.4
19.8
12Dave Stieb137.7118.211.9
24.1
13Dave Stieb137.7118.211.9
24.1
13Tim Raines Sr.185.7152.610.6
23.4
14Fernando Valenzuela136.4126.611.8
23.1
14Andre Dawson198.1168.09.3
23.2
15Gary Carter140.6121.311.2
21.1
15Fernando Valenzuela136.4126.611.8
23.1
16Darryl Strawberry136.3105.411.1
20.2
16Eddie Murray169.8138.010.7
22.6
17Ozzie Smith190.8178.911.0
25.0
17Ryne Sandberg167.1146.710.5
22.3
18Dwight Gooden82.168.411.0
17.4
18Jack Clark152.5120.210.5
21.2
19Bret Saberhagen79.359.410.9
17.8
19Gary Carter140.6121.311.2
21.1
20Eddie Murray169.8138.010.7
22.6
20Bob Welch126.9118.29.5
20.3
21Tim Raines Sr.185.7152.610.6
23.4
21Darryl Strawberry136.3105.411.1
20.2
22Ryne Sandberg167.1146.710.5
22.3
22Orel Hershiser91.575.012.4
19.8
23Jack Clark152.5120.210.5
21.2
23Paul Molitor147.6130.38.5
19.7
24Bob Welch126.9118.29.5
20.3
24Roger Clemens80.957.512.9
19.6
25Andre Dawson198.1168.09.3
23.2
25Pedro Guerrero152.4125.08.9
19.4


Top Postseason Performers of the 1980s

1980s Postseason Record: eWins
(sorted by eWORL)
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWORL
1Orel Hershiser3.92.70.5921.1
2Fernando Valenzuela4.23.50.5420.9
3Dave Henderson4.23.00.5870.9
4Rickey Henderson2.91.50.6580.8
5Kirk Gibson3.52.20.6150.8
6Nolan Ryan2.71.90.5900.7
7George Brett3.93.10.5620.7
8Charlie Leibrandt2.41.50.6130.7
9Gary Matthews Sr.3.32.20.5970.6
10Steve Carlton4.03.80.5150.6


1980s Postseason Record: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Dave Henderson4.82.40.6621.4
2Fernando Valenzuela4.73.30.5931.3
3Kirk Gibson4.12.30.6401.0
4Rickey Henderson3.11.20.7101.0
5Gary Carter4.13.00.5750.8
6Orel Hershiser3.42.60.5700.8
7Steve Carlton4.23.60.5380.8
8Steve Garvey3.62.30.6160.8
9Mike Moore1.90.60.7450.8
10Burt Hooton2.71.90.5920.8


World Series Performance
1980s World Series Performance: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Kirk Gibson1.90.50.7990.8
2Dave Henderson2.51.60.6110.6
3Bruce Hurst1.81.00.6450.6
4Mike Moore1.30.40.7550.5
5Alan Trammell1.20.40.7540.5
6Willie Aikens1.20.30.8150.5
7Orel Hershiser1.30.60.6940.5
8Pedro Guerrero1.40.50.7400.5
9Jack Morris1.30.60.6800.5
10Mike Caldwell1.10.50.7150.4


League Championship Series Performance
1980s LCS Performance: pWins
(sorted by pWORL)
pWins pLosses pWinPct pWORL
1Dave Henderson2.30.80.7320.8
2Will Clark2.51.00.7130.8
3Mike Scott1.90.70.7180.8
4Fernando Valenzuela2.71.90.5890.8
5Ozzie Smith2.71.70.6110.7
6Dave Stewart2.11.10.6600.7
7Steve Carlton2.11.20.6290.6
8Lenny Dykstra1.90.90.6880.6
9George Brett2.31.40.6160.6
10Gary Matthews Sr.2.11.00.6670.6


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 Schmidt132.889.90.59619.3
2Dwight Evans137.3103.90.56916.7
3Dale Murphy143.2107.40.57115.5
4Eddie Murray137.0107.10.56114.7
5Jack Clark110.679.50.58213.9
6George Brett117.089.80.56613.6
7Wade Boggs114.087.10.56713.5
8Rickey Henderson123.696.80.56113.4
9Pedro Guerrero109.279.20.57913.2
10Darryl Strawberry89.063.10.58511.5

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Baserunning
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson30.419.20.6135.6
2Willie Wilson20.510.50.6635.0
3Tim Raines Sr.23.813.30.6424.9
4Vince Coleman17.510.00.6373.5
5Mookie Wilson16.211.10.5942.3
6Paul Molitor15.511.10.5832.2
7Robin Yount13.39.10.5942.1
8Gary Redus11.87.40.6162.1
9Eric Davis9.04.80.6532.0
10Lonnie Smith16.612.40.5731.9

Positional Average excludes pitcher offense



Pitching
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Roger Clemens71.855.20.56516.6
2Orel Hershiser76.760.70.55816.0
3Bret Saberhagen71.356.50.55814.8
4Dwight Gooden68.555.40.55313.0
5Dave Stieb123.4110.40.52813.0
6Dan Quisenberry52.739.90.56912.8
7Nolan Ryan113.3101.50.52811.8
8Teddy Higuera59.648.70.55010.9
9Fernando Valenzuela113.9103.10.52510.8
10Bob Welch110.399.90.52510.4


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

Fielding, P
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ken Dayley2.50.50.8252.0
2Dan Petry2.71.70.6050.9
3Dave Stieb3.42.50.5770.9
4Jimmy Key2.21.30.6320.9
5Atlee Hammaker2.31.50.6130.9
6John Candelaria2.11.30.6140.8
7Zane Smith2.01.20.6170.8
8Larry Gura1.71.00.6270.7
9Larry McWilliams2.82.10.5700.7
10Bob McClure1.81.20.6120.7


Fielding, C
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gary Carter20.517.00.5473.5
2Tony Pena Sr.20.216.90.5453.3
3Bob Boone17.315.10.5342.2
4Lance Parrish15.814.10.5281.7
5Jody Davis17.015.60.5221.4
6Terry Kennedy16.915.60.5211.4
7Rick Dempsey11.910.60.5291.3
8Steve Yeager6.75.40.5531.3
9Bruce Benedict13.011.80.5261.3
10Jim Sundberg12.811.50.5251.2


Fielding, 1B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Keith Hernandez22.920.80.5242.1
2Pete M. O'Brien17.815.80.5302.0
3Will Clark10.48.60.5471.8
4Greg Brock12.110.80.5301.4
5Sid Bream9.17.70.5411.4
6Don Mattingly14.413.30.5201.1
7Kent Hrbek16.615.60.5161.1
8Chris Chambliss11.610.60.5231.0
9Glenn Davis12.111.20.5190.9
10Wally Joyner10.89.90.5210.9


Fielding, 2B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Glenn Hubbard44.941.20.5213.7
2Lou Whitaker45.242.00.5183.2
3Tom Herr40.237.20.5193.0
4Frank White47.545.10.5132.4
5Willie Randolph43.040.80.5132.2
6Johnny Ray40.438.60.5111.7
7Ryne Sandberg41.139.50.5101.6
8Julio Cruz27.425.90.5141.5
9Bill D. Doran34.433.20.5091.2
10Robby Thompson18.117.00.5151.0


Fielding, 3B
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Terry Pendleton30.325.40.5444.9
2Tim Wallach39.635.00.5314.6
3Wade Boggs34.331.50.5212.8
4Buddy Bell38.335.70.5172.5
5Doug DeCinces30.728.50.5182.2
6Gary Gaetti36.434.20.5152.2
7Mike Schmidt38.536.40.5142.1
8Kelly Gruber13.412.00.5261.3
9John Castino8.97.70.5371.2
10Paul Molitor24.723.40.5131.2


Fielding, SS
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ozzie Smith65.356.40.5368.9
2Ozzie Guillen30.426.00.5404.5
3Alan Trammell48.644.30.5234.3
4Tony Fernandez33.729.50.5334.2
5Jose Uribe27.823.70.5404.1
6Garry Templeton51.448.40.5153.0
7Cal Ripken50.447.70.5142.7
8Dick Schofield Jr.30.628.80.5151.8
9Robin Yount26.825.30.5151.6
10Scott Fletcher26.725.20.5141.5


Fielding, LF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson44.839.50.5315.3
2Gary Ward36.032.20.5283.8
3Willie Wilson21.818.00.5483.8
4Kevin McReynolds21.718.90.5342.7
5Barry Bonds17.315.00.5362.3
6Dan Gladden15.313.00.5412.3
7Larry Herndon31.930.00.5151.9
8Vince Coleman30.028.20.5151.8
9Luis Polonia9.88.10.5481.7
10Mickey Hatcher14.613.00.5291.6


Fielding, CF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Gary Pettis32.228.40.5323.9
2Dave Henderson31.528.00.5293.4
3Dwayne Murphy41.739.30.5142.3
4Andre Dawson25.022.80.5232.2
5Eddie Milner23.121.10.5222.0
6Andy Van Slyke19.017.10.5271.9
7Devon White14.212.20.5361.9
8Amos Otis14.812.90.5341.9
9Willie McGee40.038.40.5101.6
10John Shelby22.120.60.5191.6


Fielding, RF
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Jesse Barfield48.940.90.5448.0
2Glenn Wilson36.433.00.5253.4
3Tony Armas Sr.21.518.40.5393.1
4Tony Gwynn Sr.35.632.50.5223.1
5Lee Lacy21.019.00.5252.0
6Ellis Valentine14.412.50.5351.9
7Dale Murphy18.616.80.5251.7
8Von Hayes14.212.40.5321.7
9Ruben Sierra21.119.40.5211.7
10Darryl Strawberry35.533.90.5121.7


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 Carter133.9117.20.53310.1
2Carlton Fisk101.189.80.5309.0
3Lance Parrish113.6107.00.5156.8
4Ernie Whitt86.883.50.5104.8
5Bob Brenly61.857.50.5183.1
6Jody Davis93.491.00.5072.6
7Ted Simmons45.542.30.5182.5
8Darrell Porter56.052.50.5162.4
9Matt Nokes25.623.60.5192.1
10Tony Pena Sr.109.2108.40.5022.1


First Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Eddie Murray161.0133.70.5468.6
2Kent Hrbek118.396.50.5517.3
3Keith Hernandez153.4126.10.5496.5
4Will Clark69.051.10.5755.3
5Don Mattingly110.793.40.5424.7
6Jack Clark54.640.40.5754.2
7Alvin Davis89.776.50.5403.4
8Cecil Cooper100.488.90.5303.2
9Darrell Evans69.558.40.5432.9
10Fred McGriff36.928.40.5652.9


Second Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Lou Whitaker170.0154.10.52511.8
2Ryne Sandberg150.7132.20.53310.0
3Bobby Grich94.584.80.5277.0
4Willie Randolph155.0147.80.5127.0
5Joe L. Morgan69.361.00.5325.1
6Bill D. Doran124.7118.10.5144.0
7Glenn Hubbard132.4127.30.5103.8
8Tom Herr144.1139.60.5083.3
9Juan Samuel104.3101.00.5082.5
10Paul Molitor18.414.50.5602.5


Third Base
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Mike Schmidt163.4126.30.56415.5
2Wade Boggs153.1124.30.55214.2
3George Brett109.187.80.55410.3
4Doug DeCinces117.5106.90.5244.9
5Bob Horner66.053.90.5504.7
6Paul Molitor101.992.60.5244.3
7Buddy Bell144.6133.50.5204.2
8Toby Harrah73.964.90.5334.2
9Tim Wallach146.9134.00.5233.8
10Ron Cey108.297.10.5273.5


Shortstop
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Cal Ripken167.8150.20.52815.6
2Alan Trammell171.2155.20.52415.5
3Robin Yount92.978.20.54311.3
4Ozzie Smith190.2180.10.51410.1
5Tony Fernandez104.4101.90.5065.6
6Roy Smalley III47.744.10.5203.9
7Barry Larkin51.146.50.5243.3
8Dickie Thon80.277.50.5093.2
9Scott Fletcher84.886.00.4963.0
10Greg Gagne68.369.20.4972.2


Left Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Rickey Henderson154.3123.60.55512.1
2Tim Raines Sr.154.4129.10.5457.3
3Brian Downing95.484.00.5323.8
4Mike Greenwell52.442.80.5513.8
5George Bell116.6104.70.5273.6
6Willie Wilson58.749.80.5413.2
7Kirk Gibson49.940.80.5503.2
8Kal Daniels47.538.10.5553.1
9Kevin McReynolds69.758.80.5423.0
10Phil Bradley99.088.80.5272.8


Center Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dale Murphy147.1120.30.55010.2
2Andre Dawson88.270.70.5557.0
3Eric Davis71.554.60.5676.9
4Rickey Henderson51.339.20.5665.5
5Robin Yount83.272.00.5365.0
6Dwayne Murphy133.2121.00.5245.0
7Fred Lynn111.6100.00.5274.9
8Chet Lemon113.7102.80.5254.4
9Andy Van Slyke61.851.00.5484.1
10Kirby Puckett122.8114.30.5183.3


Right Field
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dwight Evans172.4143.20.54611.5
2Darryl Strawberry129.0100.90.5619.8
3Jesse Barfield136.4117.60.5377.1
4Jack Clark86.471.30.5484.9
5Dave Winfield117.3103.50.5314.2
6Tony Gwynn Sr.122.6106.10.5363.9
7Jose Canseco37.929.90.5583.2
8Dale Murphy59.549.10.5483.1
9Kirk Gibson54.947.00.5392.7
10Reggie Jackson58.551.80.5302.4


Starting Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Roger Clemens72.756.60.5629.2
2Dave Stieb125.7112.00.5299.0
3Orel Hershiser75.260.50.5548.5
4Bret Saberhagen69.255.80.5547.8
5Dwight Gooden70.157.00.5517.6
6Bob Welch113.0101.80.5267.5
7Fernando Valenzuela116.9106.30.5247.4
8Nolan Ryan115.0104.40.5247.2
9Mike Scott94.685.10.5266.4
10Mark Gubicza70.860.90.5386.1


Relief Pitcher
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Dan Quisenberry55.441.90.5704.8
2Tom Henke26.119.20.5762.5
3Rich Gossage40.933.00.5532.4
4Kent Tekulve49.141.40.5432.0
5Dave S. Smith37.430.90.5481.9
6Dennis Eckersley13.68.90.6041.9
7Willie Hernandez42.936.20.5421.7
8Doug Jones16.311.90.5781.6
9Jesse Orosco39.433.10.5441.6
10Rollie Fingers21.116.40.5621.6


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 Quisenberry70.841.70.62912.319.4
Dave Righetti81.760.10.5769.617.5
Rich Gossage64.243.00.5998.815.4
Lee Smith68.049.30.5807.414.5
Jeff Reardon71.055.00.5635.713.4
Bob Stanley74.261.90.5454.212.3
Steve Bedrosian67.857.30.5424.411.5
Greg Minton60.448.50.5554.310.9
Bruce Sutter55.642.80.5654.710.8
Jesse Orosco49.637.60.5694.79.9


Designated Hitter
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Ken Phelps35.025.90.5753.9
2Brian Downing45.939.40.5382.6
3Cliff Johnson46.539.60.5402.4
4Greg Luzinski46.639.40.5422.3
5Andre Thornton63.957.10.5281.8
6Harold Baines34.229.80.5351.8
7Don Baylor88.180.40.5231.7
8Darrell Evans19.716.10.5511.4
9Paul Molitor18.715.70.5451.2
10Eddie Murray8.65.90.5921.2


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 Robinson6.86.90.4962.2
2Bob Forsch8.711.20.4392.1
3Rick Rhoden8.812.10.4221.8
4Tim Lollar4.84.70.5031.6
5Fernando Valenzuela10.016.90.3731.2
6Rick Sutcliffe6.59.90.3961.1
7Orel Hershiser6.510.60.3790.9
8Dwight Gooden6.110.40.3700.7
9Mike Krukow7.613.10.3660.7
10Dan Schatzeder2.32.50.4800.7


Pinch Hitter
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Steve Braun6.85.20.5661.0
2Johnny Grubb4.83.80.5610.7
3Thad Bosley6.86.00.5320.7
4Kurt Bevacqua5.24.40.5430.6
5Jim Dwyer6.76.10.5240.6
6Rusty Staub7.06.40.5240.6
7Jeff Burroughs4.03.30.5510.5
8Ken Griffey Sr.4.23.60.5390.5
9Ken Phelps4.43.80.5350.5
10Mookie Wilson3.73.00.5490.5


Pinch Runner
eWins eLosses eWinPct eWOPA
1Miguel Dilone1.20.60.6780.3
2Mike Felder0.80.30.7410.3
3Eric Davis0.70.20.7760.2
4Bob Dernier1.30.80.6130.2
5Otis Nixon2.11.50.5740.2
6Rex Hudler0.80.30.7180.2
7John Moses0.90.50.6430.2
8Matt Alexander1.30.90.5950.2
9Tony Phillips0.50.20.7560.2
10(Rogers) Bobby Brown0.90.60.6270.2


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
24.717.30.5884.6
6.2
23.818.00.5693.85.4
Cal Ripken, 1983
162
24.218.90.5613.4
5.0
23.519.60.5462.74.3
Alan Trammell, 1987
151
22.915.60.5944.5
6.0
21.716.70.5653.44.9


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
199.7168.30.54318.7
33.0
195.1165.80.54117.731.7
Cal Ripken
1,315
176.8156.80.53016.8
29.3
176.2155.40.53117.129.6
Alan Trammell
1,389
180.2155.40.53719.9
32.7
174.6155.70.52816.829.4
Ozzie Smith
1,468
194.8171.80.53116.5
30.4
190.8178.90.51611.025.0


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
360.0337.90.51618.8
45.9
354.3332.10.51618.845.5
Cal Ripken
3,001
380.3350.10.52127.1
55.2
372.8344.20.52026.153.7
Alan Trammell
2,292
277.2251.80.52423.7
44.2
274.7254.40.51921.241.7
Ozzie Smith
2,573
329.8305.30.51920.4
44.7
322.9313.10.50813.137.4


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
0.81.20.393-0.2
-0.1
0.91.50.384-0.2-0.1
1978DET1978
139
14.212.90.5231.2
2.3
14.814.50.5060.82.0
1979DET1979
142
13.213.50.4950.6
1.6
13.914.80.4840.31.4
1980DET1980
146
18.816.20.5372.2
3.5
18.816.80.5281.93.3
1981DET1981
105
13.011.80.5231.2
2.2
12.411.90.5110.91.9
1982DET1982
157
16.414.50.5321.6
2.8
16.215.30.5141.12.3
1983DET1983
142
17.915.70.5331.7
2.9
17.615.10.5391.93.1
1984DET1984
139
19.715.20.5643.1
4.6
18.416.00.5342.03.5
1985DET1985
149
17.519.50.473-0.1
1.3
17.718.30.4920.62.0
1986DET1986
151
19.017.60.5191.6
2.9
20.417.60.5372.33.7
1987DET1987
151
22.915.60.5944.5
6.0
21.716.70.5653.44.9
1988DET1988
128
20.614.50.5873.6
5.0
16.814.10.5431.83.0
1989DET1989
121
14.514.80.4950.4
1.4
14.614.00.5120.81.9
1990DET1990
146
20.016.60.5472.4
3.8
19.917.00.5392.23.5
1991DET1991
100
13.612.40.5221.0
2.0
12.912.00.5180.81.8
1992DET1992
29
4.03.80.5150.3
0.6
3.93.90.4990.20.4
1993DET1993
112
13.411.40.5411.3
2.3
14.012.60.5251.02.0
1994DET1994
76
7.09.70.419-1.1
-0.4
8.38.90.483-0.00.7
1995DET1995
74
6.77.40.473-0.1
0.4
6.87.20.4880.10.7
1996DET1996
66
4.27.50.358-1.5
-1.0
4.76.30.427-0.6-0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,292
277.2251.80.52423.7
44.2
274.7254.40.51921.241.7
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
2.21.50.599 0.62.01.60.555 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,305
279.4253.30.524
44.8
276.7256.00.519 42.1


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 Ripken301.3273.90.52425.4
2Alex Rodriguez180.5144.80.55523.3
3Alan Trammell262.1244.40.51720.0
4Pee Wee Reese271.4240.30.53019.9
5Barry Larkin274.1244.00.52919.9
6Derek Jeter347.6328.00.51519.8
7Ernie Banks158.5129.20.55118.2
8Vern Stephens160.6135.80.54214.8
9Lou Boudreau179.0155.80.53514.5
10Arky Vaughan151.0127.70.54213.9


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
1Joe L. Morgan348.0284.70.55037.2
2Willie Mays421.6323.60.56636.8
3Mickey Mantle269.2183.50.59535.1
4Cal Ripken301.3273.90.52425.4
5Joe DiMaggio239.5181.40.56923.4
6Alex Rodriguez180.5144.80.55523.3
7Carlton Fisk224.1191.10.54022.6
8Duke Snider229.8172.30.57222.0
9Ken Griffey Jr.294.2248.80.54221.0
10Lou Whitaker280.8251.60.52720.5
11Bobby Grich232.4203.60.53320.4
12Johnny Bench187.0149.50.55620.3
13Barry Larkin274.3244.20.52919.9
14Pee Wee Reese271.4240.30.53019.9
15Derek Jeter347.6328.00.51519.8
16Alan Trammell262.9246.00.51719.7
17Ryne Sandberg274.3237.30.53619.3
18Mike Piazza179.4147.50.54919.1
19Ernie Banks158.5129.20.55118.2
20Jim Edmonds229.2190.00.54717.8
21Robin Yount332.8314.40.51417.5
22Yogi Berra180.0150.70.54416.9
23Gary Carter211.6184.80.53415.5
24Chase Utley214.9182.90.54015.2
25Vern Stephens160.6135.80.54214.8


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
10.012.40.448-0.7
0.2
10.411.20.4810.10.9
1975MIL1975
147
15.319.00.447-0.8
0.5
16.418.30.4730.11.4
1976MIL1976
161
18.021.70.453-0.9
0.6
17.520.90.455-0.80.6
1977MIL1977
154
17.019.80.462-0.2
1.3
17.718.30.4930.92.4
1978MIL1978
127
17.615.70.5301.7
3.0
16.816.10.5111.12.4
1979MIL1979
149
17.816.60.5171.5
2.9
16.918.10.4820.31.7
1980MIL1980
143
20.717.40.5442.6
4.1
20.417.00.5452.64.0
1981MIL1981
96
13.910.20.5782.5
3.4
12.711.00.5351.42.4
1982MIL1982
156
24.717.30.5884.6
6.2
23.818.00.5693.85.4
1983MIL1983
149
21.015.50.5753.3
4.7
20.616.80.5512.53.9
1984MIL1984
160
20.019.40.5071.1
2.8
21.319.20.5271.93.7
1985MIL1985
122
15.715.60.501-0.2
1.0
15.814.40.5230.41.6
1986MIL1986
140
16.916.30.5090.1
1.4
17.615.90.5260.71.9
1987MIL1987
158
21.118.00.5391.3
2.8
19.817.80.5260.72.3
1988MIL1988
162
23.819.90.5441.7
3.4
21.318.10.5411.42.9
1989MIL1989
160
22.018.70.5401.7
3.2
21.717.60.5532.13.6
1990MIL1990
158
18.819.10.497-0.4
1.0
19.819.10.5090.11.5
1991MIL1991
130
15.414.10.5220.6
1.7
14.214.40.496-0.20.9
1992MIL1992
150
18.016.40.5220.6
1.9
16.316.20.501-0.11.1
1993MIL1993
127
12.214.80.452-1.4
-0.3
13.213.70.491-0.30.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,856
360.0337.90.51618.8
45.9
354.3332.10.51618.845.5
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
17
2.42.80.468 0.22.52.20.531 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,873
362.4340.70.516
46.1
356.8334.40.516 46.0


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 Bonds462.0316.859.389.7
2Roger Clemens318.9228.451.379.9
3Alex Rodriguez374.0296.842.969.7
4Derek Jeter367.2318.234.360.7
5Chipper Jones337.7259.633.356.5
6Albert Pujols322.1230.534.256.5
7Mike Mussina224.2173.529.351.1
8David Ortiz250.8191.124.250.3
9Lou Whitaker298.5253.228.750.0
10Manny Ramirez318.4252.626.149.6


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
0.71.10.401-0.1
-0.1
0.91.10.455-0.00.0
1978DET1978
139
17.014.40.5411.8
3.0
15.615.10.5090.82.0
1979DET1979
127
16.112.60.5622.2
3.3
14.813.30.5261.12.2
1980DET1980
145
15.014.30.5120.8
2.0
14.415.50.482-0.11.1
1981DET1981
109
12.59.90.5591.6
2.5
11.610.10.5331.01.9
1982DET1982
152
19.215.40.5552.3
3.6
18.315.60.5391.73.0
1983DET1983
161
22.517.90.5572.8
4.3
21.017.80.5422.13.5
1984DET1984
143
19.115.20.5582.5
3.8
17.916.40.5221.32.6
1985DET1985
152
21.118.00.5391.7
3.2
20.017.30.5351.52.9
1986DET1986
144
19.215.50.5542.4
3.7
18.216.60.5231.32.6
1987DET1987
149
19.716.50.5432.1
3.6
18.517.90.5080.92.3
1988DET1988
115
13.211.40.5371.2
2.2
13.211.60.5321.12.1
1989DET1989
148
18.216.80.5190.8
2.0
18.815.20.5531.93.1
1990DET1990
132
15.014.20.5130.6
1.7
15.214.10.5200.81.9
1991DET1991
138
18.914.40.5682.3
3.6
18.014.00.5632.13.3
1992DET1992
130
16.514.70.5281.1
2.3
17.614.60.5461.72.9
1993DET1993
117
14.812.80.5361.3
2.4
14.612.30.5421.42.4
1994DET1994
92
10.910.10.5200.6
1.5
10.69.60.5230.71.5
1995DET1995
83
8.98.00.5280.6
1.4
8.07.00.5340.71.3
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,387
298.5253.20.54128.7
50.0
287.0255.00.53022.042.8
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
13
1.51.20.548 0.32.01.40.578 0.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,400
300.0254.40.541
50.2
289.0256.40.530 43.3


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 Schmidt308.8235.90.56730.9
2Eddie Mathews289.0226.80.56026.2
3Chipper Jones260.7211.70.55220.7
4Ron Santo281.5234.30.54618.8
5Wade Boggs281.4247.70.53216.9
6George Brett223.2188.30.54216.7
7Alex Rodriguez158.5129.80.55013.9
8Scott Rolen250.3216.50.53613.9
9Adrian Beltre316.9286.80.52513.2
10Ken Boyer225.7194.40.53712.0


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
162.5128.70.55814.9
26.2
158.0127.50.55313.324.4
Mike Schmidt
1,320
187.1145.70.56216.7
29.4
184.0137.80.57219.331.6
Wade Boggs
1,182
152.4125.20.54913.3
23.8
160.7127.50.55816.327.2


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
0.71.20.359-0.3-0.2
1974KCA1974
133
12.613.90.475-0.7
0.3
13.814.40.488-0.40.7
1975KCA1975
159
20.717.40.5431.6
3.2
19.918.10.5250.92.5
1976KCA1976
159
22.417.10.5682.6
4.1
22.417.70.5592.33.8
1977KCA1977
139
21.215.60.5762.7
4.2
19.616.40.5441.53.0
1978KCA1978
128
16.613.90.5431.2
2.4
16.514.10.5391.12.3
1979KCA1979
154
21.216.50.5622.3
3.7
22.518.30.5512.03.6
1980KCA1980
117
18.510.30.6424.1
5.2
18.111.70.6073.24.3
1981KCA1981
89
10.510.20.5070.0
0.8
11.110.20.5230.41.2
1982KCA1982
144
18.315.00.5491.5
2.8
18.715.50.5481.52.8
1983KCA1983
123
17.013.90.5501.4
2.5
16.613.50.5521.42.5
1984KCA1984
104
15.111.30.5722.0
3.0
11.811.20.5130.41.3
1985KCA1985
155
22.015.60.5863.3
4.7
21.916.70.5672.64.1
1986KCA1986
123
15.813.20.5451.2
2.3
15.412.20.5571.42.5
1987KCA1987
115
12.611.80.515-0.1
0.9
12.810.80.5420.51.5
1988KCA1988
157
18.315.10.5481.1
2.5
18.214.00.5661.73.0
1989KCA1989
124
14.612.30.5420.5
1.5
13.411.80.5320.21.2
1990KCA1990
142
15.613.70.5320.5
1.7
16.413.40.5501.02.2
1991KCA1991
131
11.111.10.500-0.4
0.9
11.111.20.498-0.50.9
1992KCA1992
152
11.412.20.484-0.7
0.6
12.512.40.503-0.31.1
1993KCA1993
145
12.112.40.495-0.3
1.2
12.112.40.494-0.31.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,706
328.1273.60.54523.5
48.5
325.4277.10.54020.445.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
43
5.75.50.512 0.66.14.80.557 1.0
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,749
333.8279.00.545
49.0
331.5281.90.540 46.5


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 Smith110.998.60.52912.3
2Mark Belanger67.357.40.5409.9
3Pee Wee Reese76.967.80.5329.1
4Lou Boudreau53.445.20.5428.2
5Cal Ripken90.683.30.5217.3
6Alan Trammell77.471.90.5185.5
7Luis Aparicio98.893.40.5145.4
8Tim Foli58.553.60.5224.9
9Omar Vizquel98.793.80.5134.9
10Eddie R. Miller50.245.40.5254.9


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 1930 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 Smith111.098.517.0
2Cal Ripken108.8100.815.6
3Luis Aparicio98.993.313.8
4Omar Vizquel104.299.113.2
5Mark Belanger67.857.713.1
6Pee Wee Reese80.170.612.3
7Dave Concepcion89.184.212.1
8Alan Trammell79.473.911.9
9Ichiro Suzuki93.481.211.3
10Brooks Robinson84.872.611.3


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
20.820.50.5040.8
2.4
19.220.50.4840.01.5
1979SDN1979
156
16.718.30.478-0.2
1.2
17.319.30.472-0.41.1
1980SDN1980
158
20.420.40.5000.7
2.2
20.721.10.4940.42.0
1981SDN1981
110
12.315.10.449-0.9
0.2
13.515.20.471-0.30.8
1982SLN1982
140
19.015.70.5482.1
3.4
17.816.40.5201.12.4
1983SLN1983
159
19.217.30.5261.2
2.6
19.017.80.5170.92.2
1984SLN1984
124
17.715.10.5391.9
3.2
16.916.40.5080.92.2
1985SLN1985
158
22.017.90.5522.7
4.2
20.519.10.5181.42.9
1986SLN1986
153
18.816.50.5321.7
3.0
17.816.50.5191.12.4
1987SLN1987
158
22.317.50.5613.0
4.5
22.218.60.5442.34.0
1988SLN1988
153
22.517.80.5572.6
4.1
21.918.50.5422.03.5
1989SLN1989
155
20.618.40.5281.5
2.9
20.519.20.5161.12.5
1990SLN1990
143
16.217.50.481-0.3
1.0
16.316.30.5000.41.5
1991SLN1991
150
20.917.80.5401.9
3.4
19.917.80.5281.42.8
1992SLN1992
132
18.817.00.5251.3
2.6
18.217.10.5161.02.3
1993SLN1993
141
18.617.80.5110.7
2.1
17.718.10.4940.11.5
1994SLN1994
98
10.812.10.472-0.4
0.5
11.612.40.484-0.10.9
1995SLN1995
44
4.65.60.455-0.4
0.1
4.35.30.448-0.4-0.0
1996SLN1996
82
7.46.90.5180.4
1.0
7.67.40.5040.20.9
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
CAREER (reg. season)
2,573
329.8305.30.51920.4
44.7
322.9313.10.50813.137.4
------ ------ ------ ------ ------
PostSeason (career)
42
4.64.90.485 0.44.55.10.467 0.2
------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------ ------
COMBINED
2,615
334.4310.20.519
45.1
327.4318.20.508 37.6




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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