Team Sub-.300 Winning Percentages

Wikipedia has a convenient page listing the 34 sub-.300 winning percentages posted by MLB teams from the 1870s to the present. Here are a few observations gleaned from that list.

The only sub-.235% teams played before 1900: 5 of them.

There have been 20 sub-.300% teams from 1900 onward, versus 14 before 1900. 16 of those 20 teams were in the Northeast (that is, from D.C. to Boston and west to Pittsburgh).

Eight of the 34 teams have been editions of the Philadelphia Phillies or Philadelphia A’s. The St. Louis Browns (3) are the only team west of the Mississippi River on the list.

Three of the 34 teams played after the end of World War II; 3 played during WWII (all of them Phillies teams), and 4 played during the ’30s. The Phillies had 5 seasons from 1938-1945 of sub-.300 records. In those 5 seasons, they cumulatively went 221-539, for a .291 winning percentage. I don’t know the franchise’s history in detail, but it sounds like it suffered from malfeasance or severe incompetence during those years. All that losing explains the fervor and exhilaration that surrounded their pennant-winning Whiz Kids team in 1950.

Finally: in light of the recent scarcity of teams losing more than 105 games in a season-even the 2013 Astros only lost 111 games-the fact of the 2003 Tigers going 43-119 (.265%) is almost inexplicable.

Published in: Uncategorized on February 8, 2015 at 10:12 am  Comments (2)  

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  1. What I find most fascinating about the 2003 Tigers is that they entered the final weekend of the season at 40-118 heading into a 4-game set against the AL Central-winning Minnesota Twins… by all rights they should have easily shattered the 1962 Mets’ modern-day record for futility of 120 losses. And yet, they somehow won 3 games of those 4, to escape legendary status. In one of those gamse, they were down 8-0 and STILL managed to come from behind to win, with Jesse Orosco’s final Major League pitch being a walkoff wild pitch (a bizarre way to end an historic career). The Tigers’ best starter by winning percentage, Mike Maroth, still became MLB’s first 20-game loser in almost a quarter century. They even had a knuckleball pitcher, Steve Sparks, who contrived to go 0-6 in relief. And their manager? Why, who else but borderline HOF candidate and all-time Tiger great Alan Trammell. There’s a great book about this horrible team just waiting to be written …

  2. I looked the team’s stats up on Retrosheet: On offense, Dmitri Young was pretty good, but none of their pitchers were better than acceptable. 27 saves for the entire team, and no one with more than 5 saves. The three regular starters had 57 losses combined.

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