Dan's Dugout: Bad Teams Threaten Mark of '62 Mets • Latino Sports


Dan’s Dugout: Bad Teams Threaten Mark of ’62 Mets


The original New York Mets, circa 1962, won 40 and lost 120. They could have lost more but two rainouts were never made up.

In the game’s modern era that began in 1901, only the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who lost 119, came close to New York’s record of futility – until now.

Suddenly, there are seven teams on target to lose at least 100 games and maybe many more.

The American League is overloaded with losing teams

Each of the three American League divisions has a cellar-dweller: the Baltimore Orioles in the East, Texas Rangers in the West, and both the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals in the Central.

In the National League, the Miami Marlins have established themselves as Least of the East in a division where two 2017 also-rans, the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, have suddenly emerged from the depths ahead of schedule.

The San Diego Padres, worst of the West, handed out the longest contract of the off-season – eight years to Eric Hosmer – but still stink, sabotaged by porous pitching.

And the once-proud Cincinnati Reds are suffering the reverse of the Big Red Machine days: despite a six-game winning streak that culminated in their first four-game sweep in Los Angeles since 1976, they’re still struggling. Even though changing managers is like rebooting a computer, the switch from Bryan Price to Jim Riggleman helped only a little.

More heads could roll as a result of all the losing.

Buck Showalter, in the last year of his Baltimore contract, is in the same boat as Dan Duquette, his general manager. Both could be gone long before the O’s peddle free-agent-to-be Manny Machado, their superstar shortstop.

Even the cerebral Buck Showalter can’t save the pitching-poor Orioles

Don Mattingly, another active manager with Yankees roots, might not survive either – even though long-time Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter now serves as Miami’s CEO. Jeter has already fired Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez, not to mention the man locals call Mr. Marlin, Jeff Conine. Even lovable Jack McKeon, who won the last Marlins world title, got the ax from Jeter in the team’s accelerated payroll purge.

In Texas, Jeff Banister is on the verge of going from Manager of the Year to the unemployment line. The Rangers have a roster full of veterans but just can’t jell.

Former infielders Rick Renteria (White Sox) and Ned Yost (Royals) suffered significant losses of veterans who left via free agency or the trade route. Kansas City’s consecutive pennants of 2014-15 are now distant memories, fading fast after four favorites left town on their own.

Dave Roberts has a lot of explaining to do

Even Dave Roberts, whose Dodgers came within a whisker of winning the World Series last fall before falling fast this spring, could be on a short leash. Injuries have ravaged the roster, to be sure, but Roberts has also run into trouble with a myriad of ridiculous decisions.

At last look, the Dodgers 16-24, a feable .400 winning percentage that left the team fourth in the five-team NL West, just a game up on pitching-poor San Diego, with its league-worst 5.16 ERA.
Andy Green may be well-liked by the front office there but hey, he’s Andy Green, the most anonymous of the 30 managers in the major leagues.

With Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred anxious to preserve parity in the game, the thought of a half-dozen clubs losing 100 has to give him nightmares. That would be twice as many 100-game losers as baseball had in 2002, the last year even three teams were that bad.

And guess what? Things might get worse as the losers realize they dropped out of contention before Memorial Day and might as well rebuild by dealing veterans for prospects by July 31.

Such deals are certain to make terrible teams atrocious – and increase the chances that one or more could produce an even worse record than the ‘62 Mets.

And while we’re talking futility, let’s not forget the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics, who went 36-117 for a .235 winning percentage and ended 54½ games behind, or the 1935 Boston Braves, who were 38-115, 61½ games behind in the National League race with a .248 percentage.

Even the Mets weren’t THAT bad; their winning percentage was a wonderful .250.

Throw the 19th century into the mix and the list changes again; the Cleveland Spiders of the 1899 National League went 20-134 for a .130 mark. Not surprisingly, they finished 84 games behind.


About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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