Win Shares

Win Shares is a book about baseball written by Bill James and Jim Henzler, published by STATS, Inc. in 2002. The book explains how to apply the concept of sabermetrics to assess the impact of player performance in a combination of several areas, including offensive, defensive, and pitching, to the overall performance of their team. The resulting "Win Share" also takes into account factors such as the era in which the player was active to allow easy comparisons between players from different eras.[1] The book focuses primarily on the many formulae involved in computing the final number of win shares accumulated, as well as presenting lists of players ranked in various ways using the rating.

Win Shares Digital Update, a companion volume of tables and statistics through the 2001 season, was subsequently published in PDF form by STATS, Inc.

Win Shares
Win Shares book cover
AuthorBill James and
Jim Henzler
SubjectBaseball statistics
PublisherSTATS, Inc.
Publication date


Win shares is the name of the metric developed by James in his book. It considers statistics for baseball players, in the context of their team and in a sabermetric way, and assigns a single number to each player for his contributions for the year. A win share represents one-third of a team win, by definition.[2] If a team wins 80 games in a season, then its players will share 240 win shares. The formula for calculating win shares is complicated; it takes up pages 16–100 in the book. The general approach is to take the team's win shares (i.e., 3 times its number of wins), then divide them between offense and defense.

In baseball, all pitching, hitting and defensive contributions by the player are taken into account. Statistics are adjusted for park, league and era. On a team with equal offensive and defensive prowess, hitters receive 48% of the win shares and those win shares are allocated among the hitters based on runs created. An estimation is then made to decide what amount of the defensive credit goes to pitchers and what amount goes to fielders. Pitching contributions typically receive 35% (or 36%) of the win shares, defensive contributions receive 17% (or 16%) of the win shares. The pitching contributions are allocated among the pitchers based on runs prevented, the pitchers' analogue to runs created. Fielding contributions are allocated among the fielders based on a number of assumptions and a selection of traditional defensive statistics.[3]

In Major League Baseball, based on a 162-game schedule, a typical All-Star might amass 20 win shares in a season. More than 30 win shares (i.e. the player is directly responsible for 10 wins by his team) is indicative of MVP-level performance, and 40+ win shares represents an exceptional, historic season. For pitchers, Win Shares levels are typically lower—in fact, they often come close to mirroring actual wins.

Win shares differs from other sabermetric player rating metrics such as Total player rating and VORP in that it is based on total team wins, not runs above replacement.

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 2001 edition, also written by James, uses win shares to evaluate the careers of many players, and to place them in contexts where they can be compared. The two books are effectively companions to one another.

Criticism of win shares

  • Players cannot be awarded "loss shares", or negative win shares, by definition. Some critics of the system argue that negative win shares are necessary. In defense of the system, proponents argue that very few players in a season would amass a negative total, if it were possible. However, critics argue, when one player does amass a negative total, he is zeroed out, thus diminishing other players' win-share totals. In an attempt to fix this error, some have developed a modified system in which negative win shares are indeed possible.
  • The allocation of win shares 48% offense and 52% defense is justified by James in that pitchers typically receive less credit than hitters in win shares and would receive far too few win shares if they were divided evenly.
  • One criticism of this metric is that players who play for teams that win more games than expected, based on the Pythagorean expectation, receive more win shares than players whose team wins fewer games than expected. Since a team exceeding or falling short of its Pythagorean expectation is generally acknowledged as chance, some believe that credit should not be assigned purely based on team wins. However, team wins are the bedrock of the system, whose purpose is to assign credit for what happened. Win shares are intended to represent player value (what they were responsible for) rather than player ability (what the player's true skill level is).

Within the sabermetric community there is ongoing debate as to the details of the system. The Hardball Times has developed its own Win Shares, as well as a number of derivative statistics, such as Win Shares Above Bench, Win Shares Percentage, Win Shares Above Average, and All Star Win Shares.


Writing for ESPN, baseball author and columnist Rob Neyer called the book "groundbreaking".[4] Glenn Guzzo echoed him in The New Ballgame: Baseball Statistics for the Casual Fan, calling it a "groundbreaking volume".[5] Dave Studeman of Hardball Times observed that the book was well received by readers.[6] Bill Felber, in The Book on the Book: An Inquiry Into Which Strategies in the Modern Game Actually Work, compares James' philosophy as to use of relievers in the book with those he endorsed as a Boston Red Sox executive.[7]

In A Mathematician at the Ballpark: Odds and Probabilities for Baseball Fans, Professor Ken Ross describes the book as "erudite and interesting".[8] The Oakland Tribune notes that it takes James more than 100 pages in the book to explain his formula.[9] Leigh Grossman, in The Red Sox Fan Handbook: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Red Sox Fan Or to Marry One, called it "a book that statheads had been anticipating for years."[10] The Concord Monitor noted that at a game "a few ultradedicated fans even sit in the back row with their Bill James books and calculators tabulating Mainers win shares".[11] In Practicing Sabermetrics: Putting the Science of Baseball Statistics to Work, by Gabriel B. Costa, Michael R. Huber, and John T. Saccoman, the authors discuss how James provides both a short form method and a long form method for calculation in his book, and that the easier short form method appears to work well for years after 1920.[12]


Justin Kubatko has also applied the win shares concept to basketball players.[13]


  1. ^ Baker, Jim (February 6, 2004). "Statistics sometimes tell the story – MLB – ESPN". ESPN. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  2. ^ James, Bill and Henzler, Jim. Win Shares, p. 2
  3. ^ James, Bill and Henzler, Jim. Win Shares, p. 10
  4. ^ " MLB – Red Sox hire Bill James as advisor". July 16, 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  5. ^ The New Ballgame: Baseball ... – Google Books. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  6. ^ "Win Share Notes". Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  7. ^ The Book on the Book: An Inquiry ... – Google Books. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  8. ^ A Mathematician at the Ballpark ... – Google Books. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "A's three aces a rare hand Other teams envious of top starters – Oakland Tribune | HighBeam Research – FREE trial". April 5, 2004. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  10. ^ The Red Sox Fan Handbook: Everything ... – Google Books. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  11. ^ "Archive search | Concord Monitor". July 13, 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  12. ^ Practicing Sabermetrics: Putting the Science of Baseball Statistics to Work. Retrieved May 9, 2010.
  13. ^ "NBA Win Shares -". Retrieved 2016-03-25.
1967–68 Indiana Pacers season

The 1967–68 Indiana Pacers season was Indiana's 1st season in the ABA and its 1st as a team.

1995–96 Chicago Bulls season

The 1995–96 NBA season was the Bulls' 30th season in the National Basketball Association. During the offseason, the Bulls acquired rebound-specialist Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs, and signed free agent Randy Brown. Midway through the season, the team signed John Salley, who was released by the expansion Toronto Raptors. Salley won championships with the Detroit Pistons along with Rodman in 1989 and 1990. This season saw the Bulls set the record for most wins in an NBA regular season in which they won the championship, finishing with 72 wins and 10 losses. The regular season record was broken by the 2015–16 Golden State Warriors, who finished 73–9. Those Warriors have a connection to this Bulls team, as Steve Kerr, the current Golden State coach, was a reserve point guard with the Bulls. This team is regarded by many to be the greatest basketball team ever assembled in NBA history.

The Bulls' started 37–0 at home, part of a then-NBA-record 44-game winning streak that included games from the 1994–95 regular-season. Their 33 road wins were the most in NBA history until the 2015–16 Warriors won 34 road games. The season was the best 3-loss start in NBA history at 41–3 (.932), which included an 18-game winning streak for the team. The Bulls became the first NBA team to ever win 70 regular season games, finishing first overall in their division, conference, and the entire NBA. They are also the only team in NBA history to win more than 70 games and an NBA title in the same season. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen were both selected for the 1996 NBA All-Star Game, as Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, while Phil Jackson was named Coach of The Year, and was selected to coach the Eastern Conference in the All-Star Game.

The Bulls swept the Miami Heat 3–0 in the first round of the playoffs, defeated the New York Knicks 4–1 in five games of the semifinals, then swept the Orlando Magic 4–0 in the Conference Finals. They then defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2 in the 1996 NBA Finals, winning their fourth NBA title in six seasons. The Bulls have the best combined regular and postseason record in NBA history at 87–13 (.870). For the season, the Bulls added black pinstripe alternate road uniforms. Eventually, they would remove the pinstripes from the jerseys the following season.

Arky Vaughan

Joseph Floyd "Arky" Vaughan (March 9, 1912 – August 30, 1952) was an American professional baseball player. He played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball between 1932 and 1948 for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers, primarily as a shortstop. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Baseball statistics

Baseball statistics play an important role in evaluating the progress of a player or team.

Since the flow of a baseball game has natural breaks to it, and normally players act individually rather than performing in clusters, the sport lends itself to easy record-keeping and statistics. Statistics have been kept for professional baseball since the creation of the National League and American League, now part of Major League Baseball.

Many statistics are also available from outside Major League Baseball, from leagues such as the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players and the Negro Leagues, although the consistency of whether these records were kept, of the standards with respect to which they were calculated, and of their accuracy has varied.

Bill James

George William James (born October 5, 1949) is an American baseball writer, historian, and statistician whose work has been widely influential. Since 1977, James has written more than two dozen books devoted to baseball history and statistics. His approach, which he termed sabermetrics in reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through the use of statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose.

In 2006, Time named him in the Time 100 as one of the most influential people in the world. He is a senior advisor on Baseball Operations for the Boston Red Sox.

Dale Murphy

Dale Bryan Murphy (born March 12, 1956), is an American former professional baseball player. During an 18-year career in Major League Baseball (MLB) (1976–1993), he played as an outfielder, catcher, and first baseman for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Colorado Rockies; Murphy is best noted for his many years with the Braves. His entire big league career was spent in the National League (NL), during which time he won consecutive Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards (1982–1983), the Silver Slugger Award for four straight years (1982–1985), and the Gold Glove Award for five straight years (1982–1986). Murphy is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

Dwight Evans (baseball)

Dwight Michael "Dewey" Evans (born November 3, 1951) is an American former professional baseball right fielder and right-handed batter who played with the Boston Red Sox (1972–90) and Baltimore Orioles (1991) in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was a three-time All-Star, won eight Gold Glove Awards, and won two Silver Slugger Awards. Evans played the second-most career games for the Red Sox of any player, surpassed only by Carl Yastrzemski.

Eddie Collins

Edward Trowbridge Collins Sr. (May 2, 1887 – March 25, 1951), nicknamed "Cocky", was an American professional baseball player, manager and executive. He played as a second baseman in Major League Baseball from 1906 to 1930 for the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox. A graduate of Columbia University, Collins holds major league career records in several categories and is among the top few players in several other categories. In 1925, Collins became just the sixth person to join the 3,000 hit club – and the last for the next 17 seasons. His 47 career home runs mark the lowest home run total for a member of the aforementioned 3,000 hit club.

Collins coached and managed in the major leagues after retiring as a player. He also served as general manager of the Boston Red Sox. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.

GOAT Index

The GOAT Index ("Greatest of All Time") is a system used in sports to rank the best performers in any given role. The concept/name was created by author and analyst Ben Hinson and first used in a 2016 study Hinson created to rank the best NBA players from the mid 1970s - early 2000s. Hinson's system is the first player scoring methodology to assign different weights (value) to preseason and playoff performance in the scoring calculation. In 2017, ESPN published their first GOAT Index, ranking the best quarterbacks in the NFL from 1978 to 2017. The ESPN rankings were based on voting panels, not a scoring methodology.

Lauren Jackson

Lauren Elizabeth Jackson (born May 11, 1981) is an Australian former professional basketball player. The daughter of two national basketball team players, Jackson was awarded a scholarship to the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in 1997, when she was 16. In 1998, she led the AIS team that won the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) championship. Jackson joined the Canberra Capitals for the 1999 season when she turned 18 and played with the team off and on until 2006, winning four more WNBL championships. From 2010 to 2016, Jackson played with the Canberra Capitals, which she did during the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) offseason during the time she continued WNBA play.

Jackson made the Australian under-20 team when she was only 14 years old and was first called up to the Australian Women's National Basketball Team (nicknamed The Opals) when she was 16 years old. She was a member the 2000 Summer Olympics and 2004 Summer Olympics teams and captain of the 2008 Summer Olympics team, winning three silver medals. She was also part of the Australian team that won the bronze at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Jackson was a member of the Australian Senior Women's Team that won a silver medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship for Women in China, co-captain of the team that won a gold medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, and captain of the team that won a gold medal at the 2006 FIBA World Championship for Women in Brazil.

In 2001, Jackson entered the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) draft and was selected by the Seattle Storm, which viewed Jackson as a franchise player. She won two WNBA titles with the Storm, in 2004 and 2011, the latter also earning Jackson the WNBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Jackson ranks among the top WNBA players in played games, minutes played, field goals, three-point shots, and turnover percentage.

Jackson played club basketball in Europe with WBC Spartak Moscow in Russia and Ros Casares Valencia in Spain. She also played in the Women's Korean Basketball League, where she was named the league's Most Valuable Player and set a league record scoring 56 points, and in the Women's Chinese Basketball Association. Jackson announced her retirement from basketball on 31 March 2016, citing a persistent knee injury as the reason for her decision. Besides her basketball career, Jackson is in the process of attaining her university degree at the Macquarie University, majoring in gender studies.

Neil Johnston

Donald Neil Johnston (February 4, 1929 – September 28, 1978) was an American basketball player at the center position who played eight years in the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1951 to 1959. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1990.

Run batted in

A run batted in (RBI), plural runs batted in (RBI or RBIs), is a statistic in baseball and softball that credits a batter for making a play that allows a run to be scored (except in certain situations such as when an error is made on the play). For example, if the batter bats a base hit, then another player on a higher base can head home to score a run, and the batter gets credited with batting in that run.

Before the 1920 Major League Baseball season, runs batted in were not an official baseball statistic. Nevertheless, the RBI statistic was tabulated—unofficially—from 1907 through 1919 by baseball writer Ernie Lanigan, according to the Society for American Baseball Research.Common nicknames for an RBI include "ribby" (or "ribbie"), "rib", and "ribeye". The plural of RBI is generally "RBIs", although some commentators use "RBI" as both singular and plural, as it can also stand for "runs batted in".

Runs created

Runs created (RC) is a baseball statistic invented by Bill James to estimate the number of runs a hitter contributes to his team.


Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity.

Sabermetricians collect and summarize the relevant data from this in-game activity to answer specific questions. The term is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research, founded in 1971. The term "sabermetrics" was coined by Bill James, who is one of its pioneers and is often considered its most prominent advocate and public face.

Shoeless Joe Jackson

Joseph Jefferson Jackson (July 16, 1887 – December 5, 1951), nicknamed "Shoeless Joe", was an American star outfielder who played Major League Baseball (MLB) in the early 1900s. He is remembered for his performance on the field and for his alleged association with the Black Sox Scandal, in which members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox participated in a conspiracy to fix the World Series. As a result of Jackson's association with the scandal, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Major League Baseball's first commissioner, banned Jackson from playing after the 1920 season despite exceptional play in the 1919 World Series, leading both teams in several statistical categories and setting a World Series record with 12 base hits. Since then, Jackson's guilt has been fiercely debated with new accounts claiming his innocence, urging Major League Baseball to reconsider his banishment. As a result of the scandal, Jackson's career was abruptly halted in his prime, ensuring him a place in baseball lore.

Jackson played for three Major League teams during his 12-year career. He spent 1908–1909 as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics and 1910 with the minor league New Orleans Pelicans before joining the Cleveland Naps at the end of the 1910 season. He remained in Cleveland through the first part of 1915; he played the remainder of the 1915 season through 1920 with the Chicago White Sox. Later in life, Jackson played ball under assumed names throughout the south, including the 71st Service squadron in 1934 and winning the league title.

Jackson, who played left field for most of his career, currently has the third-highest career batting average in major league history. In 1911, Jackson hit for a .408 average. It is still the sixth-highest single-season total since 1901, which marked the beginning of the modern era for the sport. His average that year also set the record for batting average in a single season by a rookie. Babe Ruth said that he modeled his hitting technique after Jackson's.Jackson still holds the Indians and White Sox franchise records for both triples in a season and career batting average. In 1999, he ranked number 35 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. The fans voted him as the 12th-best outfielder of all-time. He also ranks 33rd on the all-time list for non-pitchers according to the win shares formula developed by Bill James.

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is a reference-type book written by Bill James featuring an overview of professional baseball decade by decade, along with rankings of the top 100 players at each position. The original edition was published in 1985 by Villard Books, updated in paperback in 1988, then followed by The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract in 2001. In the 2001 edition, James introduced his win shares system, an attempt to quantify a player's overall contributions to his team, which he used as part of his player ranking system. A revised edition was published in paperback in 2003.

Win probability added

Win probability added (WPA) is a sport statistic which attempts to measure a player's contribution to a win by figuring the factor by which each specific play made by that player has altered the outcome of a game. It is used for baseball and American football.

Woody Sauldsberry

Woodrow Sauldsberry Jr. (July 11, 1934 – September 3, 2007) was an American National Basketball Association (NBA) player.

Sauldsberry was born in Winnsboro, Louisiana and graduated from Compton Union High School, where he was the star of his basketball team, and then went on to attend Texas Southern University. In 1957 he was drafted in Round 8 by the Philadelphia Warriors (now the Golden State Warriors). The following year in 1958, he was named the league's Rookie of the Year — the second African American ever to win the award and becoming the lowest overall draft pick ever to win the award, a record he still holds. In 1959 he played in the NBA All-Star Game. Later in his career he played for the St. Louis Hawks, Chicago Zephyrs and Boston Celtics.

Statistically, Woody Sauldsberry was an extremely poor shooter, having a field goal percentage of just 34.8% for his career. As a result, he has the lowest number of win shares of any player in NBA history, -7.9.During the 1950s Sauldsberry was part of the Harlem Globetrotters.

After becoming bitter over discrimination and shunning the basketball world, he died in poverty in Baltimore, Maryland after having a foot amputated due to diabetes.

Zoilo Versalles

Zoilo Casanova Versalles Rodriguez (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsoilo βeɾˈsaʝes]; December 18, 1939 – June 9, 1995), nicknamed "Zorro", was a Cuban professional baseball player. He played as a shortstop in Major League Baseball, most notably for the Minnesota Twins. He was the catalyst who led the 1965 Twins to their first World Series after moving from Washington to Minnesota. The same year he also won the American League Most Valuable Player award.

Base running

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