Baseball’s Biggest Losers.

The 1899 Cleveland Spiders Own the Biggest Loser Title for their Worst-Season-Record-Ever mark of 20 wins and 134 losses for a.130 winning percentage and also for their All Time Consecutive Game Losing Streak of 24 Games in a Row.

No, this article isn’t about the 2010 Houston Astros – not yet, anyway. It isn’t even about “losing” as a new social convention. In fact, if we examine the scoreboard of both biblical and scientific history, it doesn’t take long to see that losing has been going on for a very long time. A short look there is all we shall need to confirm that reality:

History’s Scoreboard

Temptation 2 – Adam & Eve 0.

Jealousy 1 – Cain 0. (As a result, Abel moved to the “DL” – the permanent one).

Meteors 25 – Dinosaurs 0.

Sinai Commandment 10 – Golden Calves 1.

Jesus Christ 1 – Original Sin 0.

Lions 48 – Christians 0 (on any given Sunday at the Coliseum in Rome).

Brutus 1 – Caesar 0.

Renaissance 8 – Dark Ages 7.

Darwin 4 – Fundamental Opposition (still evolving).

Baseball 1 – Football 0.

Technology 15 – Intimacy 0.

Present Year 2010 – Time Travel Destination 1927 (The year Ruth hit 60).

There. That pretty much covers the big historical events. Let’s get to baseball. I’m only looking at the worst season records and longest losing single game losing streaks. Otherwise, we could get stuck here all day talking about the St. Louis Browns.

The two big records for all time are held by one of the last clubs to play baseball in the 19th century pre-modern era, the notorious 1899 Cleveland Spiders of the National League.

The 1899 Spiders were so bad that they literally had to finish their season on the road to avoid the wrath of a community that felt betrayed by the club’s ownership – and because other clubs refused to lose money by coming to Cleveland to play before empty houses. What happened to make Cleveland the perfect storm atmosphere for losing 1899 is simple enough to explain.

The Robison brothers who owned the Spiders also bought the St. Louis Browns of the same league and simply renamed them the “Perfectos.”  Then (and here comes the best reason in the world why multiple club ownership is now prohibited) the Robisons poured all their talent into making their St. Louis club a success. The best talent from both rosters was sent to St. Louis; the culls and dregs were sent to Cleveland. The result pulled St. Louis slightly above mediocrity (5th place with a 84-67 mark while Cleveland sank like lead to 12th and last place at 20-134. Along the way, ’99 Spiders also set the single game all-time losing mark of 24 losses in a row. The experience also stomped the itsy-bitsy Spiders into extinction.

Cleveland would emerge with a new team under new ownership in the new American League in 1900, but the Spiders were dead forever. The 1899 Cleveland Spiders may be the only team in baseball history that actually played like an extinct entity while active unplayed games still remained on their schedule.

20th century losing marks received constant heat from clubs like the St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators in the early part of the century, but the two game and season losing marks did not finally register until 1961-62.

The 1961 Philadelphia Phillies made an incredible run at the single game losing mark of the old Spiders, falling one game short of a tie, when they came up with only 23 straight losses from July 26th to August 20th. Their 47-107 season record, however, fell far short of Cleveland’s record for futility.

The 20th century, modern era worst season record sprang forth the following 1962 season in the first year of National League expansion, and it wasn’t our new Houston Colt .45’s who pulled the trigger. “Honors” for amazing ineptitude went tour city’s brotherly new franchise, the New York Mets, who finished in 10th place n the national League in 1962 with a modern worst season record of 40-120, but still a steamy 17 games better than those 1899 Cleveland Spiders.

Mets Manager Casey Stengel was finally moved to ask of his Mets, “Can anybody here play this game?” If you’re a Houston fan, let’s just hope that 2010 Astros manager Brad Mills isn’t moved anytime soon to pose the same question.

Losing is losing – and unlike fine wine, it doesn’t taste better with age.

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One Response to “Baseball’s Biggest Losers.”

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    Baseball’s Biggest Losers. | The Pecan Park Eagle

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