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Most 100+ Loss Seasons Since 1973

Posted by Steve Lombardi on September 10, 2010

Per CoolStandings.com today, the Pirates are on pace to lose 107 games this season.

Now, at first blush, that didn't strike me as a big deal. In fact, if asked without having the benefit to check, I would have probably said that the Pirates have lost 100+ games more than a few times since that franchise hit the skids. But, I decided to check, anyway, because you can do that with Play Index.

But, instead of using the fall of the Pirates as my starting point, I decided to go back to 1973 and see which teams had lost 100+ games in a season the most times. Why 1973? Simple, that's when I started following baseball - so, it's a personal stake in the ground. And, it's when the D.H. came into play - so, if you need to have a baseball event tied to your markers, that does serve, to an extent.

Here's what I found:

Rk Tm 5 Year #Matching W L  
1 ARI 2004 111 0 111 Ind. Games
2 ATL 1988 106 0 106 Ind. Games
3 ATL 1977 101 0 101 Ind. Games
4 BAL 1988 107 0 107 Ind. Games
5 CIN 1982 101 0 101 Ind. Games
6 CLE 1991 105 0 105 Ind. Games
7 CLE 1985 102 0 102 Ind. Games
8 CLE 1987 101 0 101 Ind. Games
9 DET 2003 119 0 119 Ind. Games
10 DET 1996 109 0 109 Ind. Games
11 DET 2002 106 0 106 Ind. Games
12 DET 1989 103 0 103 Ind. Games
13 DET 1975 102 0 102 Ind. Games
14 FLA 1998 108 0 108 Ind. Games
15 KCR 2005 106 0 106 Ind. Games
16 KCR 2004 104 0 104 Ind. Games
17 KCR 2006 100 0 100 Ind. Games
18 KCR 2002 100 0 100 Ind. Games
19 MIL 2002 106 0 106 Ind. Games
20 MIN 1982 102 0 102 Ind. Games
21 MON 1976 107 0 107 Ind. Games
22 NYM 1993 103 0 103 Ind. Games
23 OAK 1979 108 0 108 Ind. Games
24 PIT 1985 104 0 104 Ind. Games
25 PIT 2001 100 0 100 Ind. Games
26 SDP 1973 102 0 102 Ind. Games
27 SDP 1974 102 0 102 Ind. Games
28 SDP 1993 101 0 101 Ind. Games
29 SEA 1978 104 0 104 Ind. Games
30 SEA 1980 103 0 103 Ind. Games
31 SEA 1983 102 0 102 Ind. Games
32 SEA 2008 101 0 101 Ind. Games
33 SFG 1985 100 0 100 Ind. Games
34 TBD 2002 106 0 106 Ind. Games
35 TBD 2006 101 0 101 Ind. Games
36 TBD 2001 100 0 100 Ind. Games
37 TEX 1973 105 0 105 Ind. Games
38 TOR 1979 109 0 109 Ind. Games
39 TOR 1977 107 0 107 Ind. Games
40 TOR 1978 102 0 102 Ind. Games
41 WSN 2009 103 0 103 Ind. Games
42 WSN 2008 102 0 102 Ind. Games
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/10/2010.

.

So, if the Buccos drop 100+ this year, it will be the third time for them since 1973. And, that's not the worst team tally during this period. In fact, the team with the most 100+ loss seasons since 1973 is the Tigers (with five).

I never would have known that...without looking. And, what's interesting is that the Bengals have done it at least once a decade prior to this current decade - meaning the '70's, '80's, '90's and '00's; but, not in the '10's (so far). I wonder if that's some sort of a record - losing 100+ games in a season at least once a decade for four decades in a row? It just might be a record for a team in one city, as far as I can tell

Note the Philly/KC/Oakland A's lost 100+ games in a season, at least once a decade, in every decade from the 1920's to the 1970's.  Wow.  Talk about an "A" for failure, huh?

This entry was posted on Friday, September 10th, 2010 at 5:45 pm and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

25 Responses to “Most 100+ Loss Seasons Since 1973”

  1. The A's lost 100+ in 1915 and 1916, too, which means they did 5 decades in a row just in Philadelphia.

  2. Good find BWC

  3. wow. u wrote bengals. (hate to be nitpicky, but i found it noteworthy to share)

  4. Typical cubs fan, too drunk to understand bengals = tigers

  5. As a Tigers fan, just let me say thanks a lot for bringing this up...

    I need a drink.

  6. LOL - sorry Hartvig!

  7. Steve, wish there was some way to eliminate expansion franchises say... in their first five years of existence from the list so that only mature franchises would be exposed.

    High draft picks are such a crap shoot in baseball compared to football or hockey that is doesn't pay to put up a couple of 100-loss seasons. Your high draft picks won't quickly make you better.

    {Woah... the Rays just pitched to Bautista with first base open and he hammered his 2nd HR of the night to tie the game. #46}

  8. Not Related:

    Looking up random things in PI tonight and came across this game:
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU199906130.shtml

    Can anybody explain to me what happened in the ninth inning with all the changes? Hoffman somehow came into the game only to be replaced immediately, then in the bottom it seems like Houston replied with the same thing with Lima/Elarton. I don't get it....

  9. But for the strike that wiped out 38% of the season, several teams were on pace for 100 losses in 1981: Toronto (105), Chicago Cubs (102), San Diego (102) and Minnesota (101). The Mets were awful, too, and were on pace for 98 losses. Interestingly, all five teams were on the verge of major turnarounds; each would be in the playoffs or in playoff contention within three seasons.

  10. Thomas #8:

    Astros manager Larry Dierker had a stroke in the bottom of the 8th during Bagwell's at bat. When the game resumed on July 23rd, some of the players who had been in the lineup weren't on the active roster any more.

  11. That makes a bit of sense... I didn't realize that was that game. But at the same time, I'm still not sure I understand the top of the 9th stuff, like how Lima appears at 3B and Elarton ends up at CF. Is that just a generic because the original player wasn't there so someone had to take his place, prior to the game actually starting back up? Meaning, player x is in CF, game is halted, player x is traded (or whatever), game resumes, player z picks up the place in CF, but in that time in the middle it's just a random player? Or am I completely missing something?

    Sorry if this is all a bit hardheaded of me.

  12. Man, the M's were bad their first decade. Unfortunately, they might tie DET with 5 after this year.

  13. I know your just joking with the "A for failure" reference cause any true fan knows how Connie Mack built and rebuilt his teams during those days.

  14. Yup, just joshing.

  15. Do not overestimate the Royals. Some franchises don't need four decades to establish futility. They have about three and a half MLB players, and they need rain or victories in six more games this year to avoid their fifth 100 loss season in nine years...

  16. @9
    Kelly, good point about the 1981 campaign. Using your projected losses, Toronto would have had four 100 plus-loss seasons in five years. Man expansion sure sucked.

    @15
    Interesting, although the Royals have had a similar losing run to the expansion Jays from 2002-2006, they are the only post-1972 team to have three consecutive 100 plus-losses in a season. How does management, trying to compete, allow that?

  17. Hey for once I guessed one of these things right! Huzah for the Tigers futility! (Of it's worth noting that even with this "achievement" the Tigers still aren't the most embarrassing pro sports team in Detroit)

  18. It's up to 108 now ... great research, Steve! I was just going to look through the site and confirm that only 3 teams -- 1979 Blue Jays, 2003 Tigers and 2004 Diamondbacks -- have lost more than 108 games since 1970. You took care of that for me!

  19. Orioles and Mariners have an outside chance at joining the 100-loss club this year.

    @18
    '79 Blue Jays (3rd year), and '04 D'Backs (6th year) could be cut some slack. But what about Detroit?

    Early sixties Mets, anyone?

    WRT the Pirates.... guess MLB better stop writing those revenue-sharing cheques.

  20. Detroit Michael Says:

    Unfortunately, I would have guessed the Tigers correctly to this one. Maybe for your next post, you can bring up Joe Falls voting for Buddy Bell as Manager of the Year!

  21. DoubleDiamond Says:

    @13 - The A's during their years in Oakland have also endured ownership that built and rebuilt the team. Charlie O. Finley actually started building the team when it was still in Kansas City, but he tore it down starting in 1975. The team bottomed-out in 1979, as shown above, and then made three straight World Series appearances in 1988-1990.

    The Kansas City A's never had anything completely built up while still in that city, so they never had anything to tear down. Of course, there was a time when they were almost like a farm team for the Yankees.

  22. The interesting thing is how many of those teams were so close to a turn around.

    The Rays lost 101 in 2006 and two years later were a World Series team. The D-Backs lost 111 in 2004 and three years later were a playoff team. The Tigers lost 119 in 2003 and three years later they were a World Series team. The 02 Brewers were 6 years away from a return to the playoffs. The 98 Marlins were 5 years away from their 2nd World Series win. The 93 Padres were 5 years away from the World Series. The 93 Mets were 6 years away. The 88 Braves were 3 years away from the playoffs and four years away from making me hate them forever. The 85 Giants were 2 years away from the playoffs and 4 years from a return to the World Series.

    So the Pirates could be on the verge of something good.

    Or just more of the same. Only time will tell.

  23. [...] finished with a record of 43 wins and 119 losses. Not the worst ever, but pretty bad! According to this report, there have been 43 teams that lost 100 games or more since 1973 and the Tigers own five of those [...]

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