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1909 Washington Senators

From BR Bullpen

1909 Washington Senators / Franchise: Minnesota Twins / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 42-110, Finished 8th in American League (1909 AL)

Managed by Joe Cantillon

Ballpark: American League Park

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1909 Washington Senators set the American League record for fewest runs per game, with 382 in 156 games or 2.45 per game, and also had the worst pitching in the league even if their ERA of 3.04 appears respectable at first glance (almost 200 of their 655 runs allowed were unearned that season, distorting the true picture). Only the 1908 St. Louis Cardinals have scored fewer runs per game in major league history, and then only by a whisker. As a result, they finished in last place with an awful record of 42-110.

Even the great Walter Johnson had a tough year that season. His record was 12-23 at the end of August when he missed three weeks due to a sore arm, finishing at 13-25 in spite of a 2.22 ERA. The time missed meant he did not lead the team in losses, that honor befalling Bob Groom, who went 7-26, 2.87. Rookie Dolly Gray also got beaten around, going 5-19, 3.59, and Charlie Smith was 3-12. In fact, of the 17 men who pitched in at least one game for the Senators that year, only one had a winning record - Dixie Walker, who went 3-1 in his 4 games.

The pitching may have been bad, but on July 16th, Gray and Groom combined to hold the eventual pennant winners, the Detroit Tigers, scoreless for 18 innings. Unfortunately the batters were also unable to score against Ed Summers and the game was called by darkness, ending up as the longest scoreless tie in major league history up to that point, a record that would hold until 1946.


American League W L Pct. GB
Detroit Tigers 98 54 .645 --
Philadelphia Athletics 95 58 .621
Boston Red Sox 88 63 .583
Chicago White Sox 78 74 .513 20
New York Highlanders 74 77 .490 23½
Cleveland Naps 71 82 .464 27½
St. Louis Browns 61 89 .407 36
Washington Senators 42 110 .276 56

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jonathan Weeks: Cellar Dwellers: The Worst Teams in Baseball History, Scarecrow Press, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Lanham, MD, 2012. ISBN 978-0-8108-8532-5