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winner's circle

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quick update on the tournament: the top vote-getters in the balloting to determine at-large bids were schoendienst and mcgee. bottomley and flood were right behind them, followed by torre, hernandez, tip o'neill, and chick hafey. so those are your 8 at-large entries into the bracket. pepper martin fell just short; vince coleman was 10th; after them, the only candidates with more than 1 vote were bill white and silent george hendrick.

i'll put up preliminary seedings tomorrow and let ev'ybody comment on'm.

in the meantime --- during the course of this exercise i came across another of david pinto's nifty tools. it's attached to the indispensable day by day database; the new gadget lets you sort team won-loss records by individual player. just to cite a random example: the cardinals' record in games where willie mcgee appeared was 829-829 --- an even .500. that includes games where willie merely pinch-hit or pinch-ran, or came in as a defensive replacement; if a player appears the box score, the w or l shows up next to his name. here's another way you can use this thing: during the 1980s, ozzie smith appeared in more wins (642) than any other cardinal player; mcgee is second (547), tommy herr 3d (539). and here's yet another angle: among position players with 324 or more "decisions" (that's two full season's worth), guess which cardinal had the highest winning percentage in the 1980s? answer: tito landrum; st louis played .570 ball (294-222) in games where he appeared.

i'd better issue the obligatory disclaimer here: it does not follow from these examples that tito landrum was the best cardinal player of the 1980s, or that willie mcgee was merely a .500 player. please don't take the trouble to point this out in the comments; it's understood. this particular tool in pinto's kit is mostly for fun; it doesn't really tell us anything about a player's ability. . . . . the database goes back as far as 1957 --- 50 full seasons, a nice round number. in that half-century, here are the franchise's winningest players (minimum 324 decisions):

wins losses pct
so taguchi 284 164 .634
orlando cepeda 253 176 .590
jim edmonds 578 410 .585
albert pujols 541 392 .580
scott rolen 316 233 .576
mike matheny 357 265 .574
placido polanco 279 210 .571
tito landrum 294 222 .570
edgar renteria 513 390 .568
mike shannon 499 380 .568

two guys from El Birdos, one of whitey's role players --- and all the rest from the la russa-era cardinals. it has been a pretty good run. yadi molina will probably bump shannon from the list this season; in 294 games (30 shy of eligibility for this list) molina has a 173-121 record (.588). and if the cardinals are any good in 2007, eckstein may well bump his predecessor at shortstop; eck is currently at .569 (160-121) in 281 games.

if we order the list by raw win totals, here are the leaders going back to 1957:

wins losses pct
lou brock 1177 1107 .515
ozzie smith 1036 951 .521
curt flood 962 770 .555
julian javier 874 697 .556
willie mcgee 829 829 .500
ray lankford 793 785 .503
ted simmons 758 803 .486
ken boyer 721 645 .521
dal maxvill 667 534 .556
tim mccarver 623 556 .528
jim edmonds 578 410 .585
keith hernandez 578 585 .497
bill white 568 541 .512
tom herr 545 483 .530
ken reitz 545 553 .496
albert pujols 541 392 .580
edgar renteria 513 390 .568

that's everybody with 500 or more wins; stan the man, in case you're curious, went 431-448 (.490) during this period, which only covers the last 7 years of his career. it's kind of poignant to me that 3 of the top 4 guys on the list (brock flood and javier) are players acquired via trade by the late bing devine; that helps put devine's mark on the franchise into perspective. for that matter: of the 17 players on this list, 11 were brought to the cardinals (via trade or farm) by bing devine.

if the cardinals win 90 games this year, edmonds will likely vault into 10th place on the list, and pujols will rise to 11th. if the cards average (speaking conservatively) 85 wins a year for the life of albert's current contract (which runs through 2011), he'll likely be 4th on this list at that point.

at the bottom end of the table:

  • the lowest winning percentage among players with at least 50 games played belongs to jim otten, who had the bad luck to serve as a mop-up man on a lousy cardinal team (1980). his mark is 8-46 (.148).
  • the worst overall record belongs to tony cloninger: 0-17. cloninger happens to be the answer to a pretty good trivia question; anybody know it? . . . . some other notably futile won-losts: greg terlecky, 1-19 (i bet i attended half of those losses); bob chlupsa, 1-14 (i have his autograph); eddie solomon, 2-24; and don ferrarese, 4-34. chris narveson's still waiting for his first win, by the way; he's sitting on 0-5.
  • no more pitchers named sosa, please: the team went 3-16 in jorge's appearances last year, and 2-12 in games pitched by elias sosa in 1975. that's a combined 5-28 for the sosas; thanks for your contribution to local baseball lore.
  • using the same cutoff from the lists above (ie, 324 appearances), the worst winning percentage of the last 50 years belongs to steve braun --- 120-210, .364. the obvious reason is that steve usually appeared as a pinch-hitter, so if he got into the game at all, the cards were probably already presidposed to lose. . . . the next-worst records belong to phil gagliano (202-265, .433), gerald perry (182-234, .438), dane iorg (220-278, .442), and joe hague (157-184, .460). among players with 250 or more wins, the biggest losers are luis alicea (264-301, .467) and jose oquendo (466-521, .472).
  • the cards' record in games played by ed spiezio was 46-85 (.351); with scott spiezio, they're 54-65 (.454). that's 100 wins for the family, but only a .400 overall winning percentage. the pinch-hitter effect drives down both players' records . . . .
  • in games played by chris carpenter, the cardinals are 66-27 (.710) --- the best record of any non-closer who spent more than 1 season with st louis. in games played by former 1st-round draft pick cris carpenter, the cardinals went 72-107 (.402), giving the carpenters a combined 138-134 record (.507). . . .
here's the link to the complete franchise list. i didn't even mess around with the figures for the 2006 season, but if anybody does so and finds anything interesting, put it up. thanks to Bleed Cubbie Blue for the idea; click that link if anybody wants to peruse the last 50 years' worth of winners and losers on the cubs.