Monday, November 4, 2013

1980 World Series Win Probability Added

I don't know why I do these things, but here is a look at the game-by-game accumulation of win probability added for all the Royals to have a PA or throw a pitch in the 1980 World Serious. Willie Aikens had one of the greatest World Series performances ever seen. (Compare David Ortiz's 0.94 WPA in this year's series.) Amos Otis was fantastic for KC too, but the rest of the team either stayed right around zero or struggled. The highest WPA in the series for Philadelphia was Del Unser's 0.59, well behind Aikens and Otis. But Aikens and Otis couldn't do it alone, and Bob Boone, Mike Schmidt, Bake McBride, and Tug McGraw all joined Unser in having pretty good series for the Phillies. Dan Quisenberry appeared in all six games, and was very up and down throughout, but ended up with the second worst WPA on the team thanks to rough outings in games two and five.


  1. The other Willie, Willie Wilson, had one of the worst World Series performances ever, and that made all the difference. He hits, we win.

    1. Thanks for checking in, Steve.

      I was barely one year old during the '80 Series, and have only been able to go back and watch game six (thanks to, so I really just have the numbers and play-by-play to go by. Wilson's line of .154/.267/.192 in the series is definitely bad, but win probability added suggests Wilson's bad hitting didn't actually hurt the team's chances too badly.

      Frank White's line was a little worse (.080/.115/.080), and his timing was much worse. His -0.63 WPA was the lowest among all players in the series. No Royals pitcher seems to have stepped up to have a big series either. Just going by the numbers, it doesn't look like you can pin the loss on Willie Wilson not hitting.

  2. Since I watched every pitch of the 1980 World Series and have since re-watched the games a few times. I am grateful for this assessment.
    AO and Aikens were indeed outstanding.
    However, it clearly displays the weakness of stats-only approach. Aikens was a disaster at 1B, letting key balls get past him time and time again.
    Otis played perfectly in CF and set a record for put-outs in a World Series game in Game 3.
    AO was the true star of the series, contributing on offense and defense in every game. Aikens had two huge games and some other key hits.

    1. Great insight, Tom, thanks. I wish I could see the whole Series. So far I've only found game six.

      Having watched the '85 Series in its entirety, I certainly have an appreciation for Biancalana's defensive contributions there that aren't reflected in his offensive WPA.