When thoughts turn to the worst teams in baseball history, around these parts (and most others), the lovably laughable 1962 Mets (Choo-Choo Coleman! Marv Throneberry! Roger Craig!) usually come to mind first. And while Casey Stengel’s charges were not so Amazin’, that was an expansion team that only had great things to look forward to. The 2003 Tigers and this year’s Athletics and Royals are another story: once proud franchises reduced to .250 or so winning percentages and all in the running for the title of “worst team ever.”
So which should actually get that designation? It’s only been a half-season for Oakland and Kansas City in 2023, but the folks at Strat-O-Matic thought they’d set up a simulation with today’s Biggest Losers in a mini-tournament with those two execrable teams of years past to see which comes out on bottom.
In the “semifinal” sets, the 1962 Mets were swept by the 2003 Tigers in four straight and this year’s A’s lost in five to the Royals to “advance” to the “finals.” Oakland then won the first two against the Mets, 10-6 and 2-1, but amazingly dropped the next three before winning game six to set up a “loser take all” game seven. There, Oakland fell in embarrassing fashion, 13-0, managing just four hits against Al Jackson, a 20-game loser in the actual inaugural Mets season.
To conduct the simulation, this year’s teams were constructed using rosters from the current “Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily 2023,” which recalculates player cards each day throughout the current season, while the Detroit and New York squads are part of the standard Strat-O-Matic historical baseball seasons, which date back to 1871.
“Fans are always asking about the greatest teams ever, so we thought it would be fun to pit two of the worst ever against two truly bad teams in this year’s Oakland and Kansas City,” said Adam Richman, CEO, Strat-O-Matic Media. “Most think of the ‘62 Mets and ‘03 Tigers as the worst teams, and this simulation shows that they may have company with these two clubs.”
Could an all-time worst New York team tournament be far behind? Which teams would join the ’62 Mets in representing each New York franchise? Maybe this:
Yankees (/Highlanders): 1912, lost 102 games; the 1908 and 1990 teams would be in the running, maybe 1966 for good last-place measure
Giants: never truly awful in 70+ years in N.Y.; the 1902 team was 48-88-5 but that was before the World Series and the ’43 squad was 55-98-3 but that’s during WW2. So maybe 1956 soon on the way out
Dodgers: lots to pick from; any of the 1904-09 teams would fit, or post-deadball you could to with the ’37 team which went 62-91-2 in a string of second-division finishes but were the start of the ’41 N.L. champs
cover image: Joe_Pignatano,_Eddie_Yost,_Yogi_Berra_1969 (Flickr-Peter Manzari)