|Worst Pro Teams of All-time|
Page 2 staff
You know you're in trouble when your team's "Inside the Numbers" blurb consists of a comparison to the 1962-63 New York Mets. We're referring to the Tigers, of course, who got a much-needed off day today (Monday) after starting the season 1-10.
We like doing fun projections this early in the season, and some stathead geek in the office tells us that if Detroit continues at this pace, they'll finish the season with a 15-147 record. But of course, stathead knows nothing about the intangibles. And we think the Tigers have more intangibles than any other team in baseball. Which just might keep them off of the 2004 version of this list, the worst pro teams of all-time:
1. 1976 Tampa Bay Bucanneers (0-14)
Commanded by head coach John McKay, Tampa Bay didn't just lose, they lost bad, getting trampled by an average of 20 points per game. And the Bucs had some serious mo going into 1977, when they'd lose 12 more games before the franchise recorded its first victory.
"Injuries were part of our problem," wrote 1976 Buc Pat Toomay in his Page 2 article. "Talent, of course, was another part, but it was impossible to tell how untalented we were because everybody was already hurt."
2. 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73)
Fred Carter was named the 76ers MVP, leading to some mind-bending metaphysical introspection. "I didn't know if it was for leading the team to nine wins or for leading the team to 73 losses," said Carter years later. "I still haven't figured it out."
There was simply no way to sugarcoat the season. Even the Sixers' official Web site says, "The team set the standard by which bad NBA teams would be judged for years to come."
3. 1935 Boston Braves (38-115)
The Braves were bad on offense -- the worst team in the AL by far -- and also boasted poor pitching, with the highest ERA. Without Berger, who led the team in almost every offensive category (even his three stolen bases tied for most on the Braves), it's hard to imagine Boston could have won 20. Fans stayed away in droves, with the Braves playing one late-July home game against the Dodgers before only 95 fans.
The team went bankrupt, was taken over by the NL after the season, and was renamed the Boston Bees.
Strangely enough, the Braves had gone 78-73 the season before, finishing fourth in the NL. And in 1936, Boston would finish with a respectable 71-83 record.
4. 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks (11-71)
But the Mavs had a powerful finish. In early March, they finally signed Jim Jackson, their No. 1 draft pick. The guard had said he'd never play for Dallas, but it probably helped that in addition to his $1 million bonus, the Mavs agreed to pay him a full season's salary, $2.6 million, for just the final 28 games. Jackson finished the season with an average of 16.3 points, 4.7 assists, and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Which was probably why the Mavs managed to avoid being lumped in with the 76ers for the worst season record in NBA history.
When the Mavs won their 10th game, in their final home appearance of the season, fans went wild. "It feels so good to have a win, to have the last game here be a win," said one. "We win! We win! We're successful!"
5. 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (36-117)
The Athletics didn't just do poorly as a team, they did poorly as individuals, too. Third-sacker Charlie Pick set a record by committing 42 errors and finished the season with a .899 fielding percentage. (He wasn't so hot with the stick, either.) Amos Strunk stole 21 bases -- but was caught stealing 23 times. Jack Nabors lost 19 straight games, setting a Major League record. Fellow pitcher Tom Sheehan went 1-16, walking 94 batters while striking out only 54.
6. 1974-75 Washington Capitals (8-67-5)
The Caps lost 37 straight games on the road, finally defeating the California Golden Seals in Oakland near the end of the season.
7. 1962 Mets (40-120)
"When one of them hits a single to you," he advised his outfielders, "throw the ball to third. That way we can hold them to a double."
8. 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates (42-112)
9. 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets (9-57-14)
"The Jets always played just well enough to lose," wrote E.M. Swift in SI. "Night after night they'd go out and scare the daylights out of some team for about two periods, then they'd gracefully give the game away. It wasn't that they'd quit --they just weren't very comfortable with the lead."
The Jets made the playoffs the next season, finishing with a 33-33-14 record.
10. 1936 Philadelphia Eagles (1-11-0)
How'd they do it? Owner and head coach Bert Bell failed to sign any of the Eagles picks from the first NFL draft (and the draft was Bell's idea). QB Dave Smukler completed only 21 of 68 passes, and had a passer rating of 26.9. His main target? Eggs Manske, who managed to catch 17 passes and average 19 yards a catch, without scoring a TD.