While we like to think that the 1962 Mets were the worst team in MLB history (a badge of honor we wear proudly) – they actually were not the worst team. They weren’t even close to being the worst team. Yes, they lost a modern era record 120 games… but there were four other teams that did worse than the Mets’ .250 winning percentage. They didn’t lose as many games as the Mets because the seasons were shorter.
1935 Boston Braves – This team was bad and finished with a record of 38-115 (.248 winning percentage), a full 61.5 games out of first place. They finished in dead last, a full 26 games behind the second worst Philadelphia Phillies. They had a 15 game losing streak in July and they won only 17 games in the 2nd half of the season. They did have a pretty good player on the squad – Wally Berger who hit .295 for them and led the league in Home Runs and RBIs with 34 and 130. Wally also scored 91 runs and hit 39 doubles. He didn’t have much help, though. Their pitching staff was awful. The starting pitcher with the lowest ERA was Bob Smith (8-18 3.94 ERA) , who started 20 games (46 appearances) and was also their “closer” with 5 saves. Poor Ben Cantwell had a record of 4-25. Their offense was last in batting average, runs scored, base hits, doubles, stolen bases, walks, slugging percentage, and on base percentage. Their pitching staff had the highest ERA, allowed the most runs per game, had the fewest saves, and struck out the fewest batters.
1916 Philadelphia Athletics – They stunk. They finished with a record of 36-117 (.235 winning percentage), 40 games behind the next worst Washington Senators and 54.5 games out of first place. The rest of the American League beat up on them so badly, the Senators (who finished 1 game under .500) was the only other team that finished with a losing record. They scored a league low 2.90 runs per game while allowing a league high 5.04 per game. Their offense was last in batting average, base hits, doubles, stolen bases, walks, and on base percentage. Their pitching staff allowed the most walks and threw the most wild pitches. They had three pitchers lose more than 20 games – Elmer Myers (14-23), Bullet Joe Bush (15-24 with an ERA of 2.57) and Jack Nabors went a dismal 1-20. The team also had two pitchers named Rube – Rube Parnham and Rube Bressler. They also featured a First Baseman named Stuffy McInnis and a 41-year old Hall of Famer Nap Lajoie in his final season. Connie Mack managed the Athletics for 50 seasons and won 9 American League Pennants and 5 World Series titles. 1916 fell just a tad short.
1890 Pittsburgh Alleghenys – The Alleghenys would change their name to the Pirates the following season, and after the season they had in 1890, they certainly needed a change. The team made the 1962 Mets look like a World Series contender. The team finished with a record of 23-113 (.169 winning percentage). They suffered through a 23 game losing streak. They finished 66.5 games out of first place, and 23 games behind the next worst Cleveland Spiders. They scored the second fewest runs per game and allowed a whopping 8.95 runs per game (Cleveland was the next worst at 6.12/game). They had the lowest batting average and lowest on base percentage. They gave up the most hits, allowed the most home runs, hit the most batters and threw the most wild pitches. The squad featured players such as Doggie Miller, Ducky Hemp, Peek-A-Boo Veach, Crazy Schmit, and Phenomenal Smith. They had a Mike Jordan that hit worse than the former basketball player. They also had a Robert Gibson that wasn’t quite as good as the Cardinals Hall of Famer.
1899 Cleveland Spiders – Now this was the worst MLB team of all time. The 1962 Mets were nearly twice as good. The Spiders went 20-134 (.130 winning percentage) and this early National League franchise went the way of the Dodo after this dismal season. Their first manager and third baseman Lave Cross got canned after an 8-30 start. His replacement and second baseman, the Mighty Joe Quinn didn’t do any better and went 12-104 the rest of the way. They finished 84 games out of first place and 34 games behind the next worst Washington Senators. They averaged a league low 3.44 runs/game and gave up more than twice that – allowing a dismal 8.13 runs/game. Their offense was last in hits, doubles, triples home runs, stolen bases, walks, batting average, and on base percentage. Their pitching struck out the fewest, hit the most batters, and balked the most times. They lost 24 straight games at one point. Their record after August 31st was 1-34. Crazy Schmit also had the distinction of playing for the worst two teams in MLB history and the only two teams with winning percentages under .200. Along with Crazy, the team had two Chiefs (Chief Sockalexis and Chief Zimmer), Sport McAllister, Kid Carsey, and Highball Wilson. The 1899 season was quite a fall from grace for the Spiders, for they had finished above .500 each of the previous seven seasons – but then again, all of those teams had a pitcher you may have heard of that had moved on to the St. Louis Perfectos by 1899 – his name was Cy Young.