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Graphical Go-Go Sox

2010/04/07

The ’59 White Sox are one of the most distinguished teams in franchise history. The “Go-Go” Sox were a weak hitting bunch but were famous for their baserunning, pitching and fielding. In other words, they were a team after Ozzie’s own heart. I thought it would be at least a bit interesting to look back at the ’59 team with some help from Sean Smith’ Historical WAR database. Here’s a pretty little graph I threw together, breaking down the team’s runs above average by hitting, baserunning, fielding and pitching.

Quick hits:

  • I’m including pitcher’s batting, but if you take the pitchers out of the equation and the hitting rises to -21 runs; still pretty rough. They weren’t the worst hitting team in the league, but their OPS+ of 91 was good for 6th in the league out of 8 teams.
  • The team had an ERA+ of 117, and their team ERA was 27 points higher than the second-best pitching staff, the Orioles. Their 85 fielding runs were far and away the best, and they stole 118 bases. League average was 52. Fox had 21 runs saved above average, Lollar, 5, Aparicio, 8.
  • Aparicio and Jim Landis accounted for 20 of the team’s 22 baserunning runs above average. As famous as the team was for their baserunning, the impact is small compared to their pitching and defense. For all the hem-hawing we have heard about running this spring, a two win gain is probably something that is abnormal for most teams. Running is great, but it takes a backseat to every thing else.
  • Landis should have won the Gold Glove to make it 4 Gold Glove winners on one team. Aparicio, Lollar and Fox all won, while Landis’ 25 runs saved above average made Al Kaline’s +8 pale in comparison. Of course, Kaline was a star and had a strong and well-deserved defensive reputation.
  • Early Wynn won the Cy Young on the back of 22 wins. While he had a good-looking ERA, so did the league. Wynn had 2.7 WAR, Shaw, 4.6.
  • Billy Goodman and Bubba Phillips formed a pretty nifty platoon at 3B, defensively speaking, with +17 runs.
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