By David Schoenfield
Page 2

No sport causes as much misery as baseball. As Satchel Paige once said, "You can look it up."

We give to you -- with much pleasure, actually, because it makes us all feel part of one happy, miserable baseball family -- the most misery-inducing moments for each team over the past 25 years.

Dave Henderson
Hendu stunned the Angels in '86.

Why 25 years? You got to forget about it after that long. Yes, Red Sox fans, even Bucky Bleepin' Dent.

Anaheim Angels -- The Angels were just one strike away from reaching the World Series in the 1986 ALCS when Boston's Dave Henderson hits a go-ahead home run off Donnie Moore.

Arizona Diamondbacks -- We all felt the pain as Byung-Hyun Kim crouched on the mound at Yankee Stadium, unable to comprehend giving up a game-tying home run in the ninth inning of the World Series for the second straight game.

Atlanta Braves -- Mark Wohlers' hanging slider to Jim Leyritz, Game 4, 1996 World Series. Braves blow 6-0 lead to the Yankees and eventually lose in 10 innings -- and lose the Series after winning the first two games.

Baltimore Orioles -- The O's started the 1988 season with a 12-0 loss to the Brewers. And things got worse -- 21 consecutive losses worse.

Page 2's Misery Collection
  • Caple: Misery Index
  • Neel: 25 Moments of Misery
  • Schoenfield: MLB Misery
  • 25 Years of MLB Standings
  • Boston Red Sox -- Mookie. Buckner. Ball. Glove. Under. Knight. Pain. Misery. Agony. Torture.

    Chicago Cubs -- You kids may know only of Steve Bartman, but real Cubs fans know the pain of the ball rolling through the long legs of Leon Durham, Chicago's 3-0 lead over San Diego in Game 5 of the 1984 NLCS evaporating quicker than you can say "Let's play two."

    Chicago White Sox -- On July 31, 1997, the White Sox trailed the Indians by 3 1/2 games in the AL Central, when penurious owner Jerry Reinsdorf raised the white flag by trading pitchers Wilson Alvarez, Roberto Hernandez and Danny Darwin to the Giants for prospects. (Close second: uniforms with collars. Close third: Disco Demolition Night.)

    Cincinnati Reds -- Hey, Reds fans: He did it. Get over it and move on.

    Tony Fernandez
    Tony Fernandez did his best to help the Marlins win their first championship.

    Cleveland Indians -- It's a routine groundball to Tony Fernandez ...

    Colorado Rockies -- Even fans knew that signing Mike Hampton -- a good but overrated pitcher who had pitched in two great pitchers' park (Astrodome, Shea Stadium) -- for eight years at $121 million was a bold but reckless move.

    Detroit Tigers -- 2003.

    Florida Marlins -- Four hours after the Marlins win the 1997 World Series, owner Wayne Huizenga sells off Kevin Brown, Moises Alou, Al Leiter, Jeff Conine and Robb Nen for a month's worth of free rentals at Blockbuster.

    Houston Astros -- The most underrated of misery-inducing franchises, with October 12, 1980 absorbing the biggest shot to the abdomen: Nolan Ryan fails to hold a 5-2 lead in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS against the Phillies, who win the game and a trip to the World Series in the 10th.

    Kansas City Royals -- The Tony Muser Era finishes a strong second to any highlight of Willie Wilson batting in the 1980 World Series.

    Los Angeles Dodgers -- Tom Niedenfuer, meet Jack Clark.

    Milwaukee Brewers -- You mean besides the past 11 years? Let's try Game 7 of the '82 World Series, Brewers leading the Cardinals 3-1 in the bottom of the 6th. Starter Pete Vuckovich is replaced by Bob McClure after giving up two singles. McClure gives up a walk, single, single ... game over, Series lost.

    Minnesota Twins -- A week after the 2001 World Series, the Twins are one of two teams earmarked for contraction by commissioner Bud Selig.

    Montreal Expos -- The Expos actually made the playoffs once, back in 1981. The deciding game of the NLCS was tied 1-1 when manager Jim Fanning replaces starter Ray Burris with Steve Rogers in the 9th. Rick Monday homers to send the Dodgers to the World Series.

    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Does this count as a miserable moment for the Cincinnati Reds, too?

    New York Mets -- Following the utter joy of Robin Ventura's 15th-inning grand-slam single to win Game 5 of the 1999 NLCS against the Braves and then Mike Piazza's homer in Game 6 to help the Mets rally from a 5-0 deficit, Kenny Rogers had Mets fans cursing for weeks after he walked in the series-winning run with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 11th.

    New York Yankees -- Before the dynasty, the Yankees were just another franchise. When Edgar Martinez doubled in Ken Griffey Jr. in the 1995 playoffs, fans everywhere rejoiced. Yankee fans, bless them, cried big, fat tears of misery.

    Oakland Athletics -- Gibson's homer still hurts, that '90 Series sweep still causes cold sweats, the McGwire trade still induces strange rashes, but Jeremy Giambi's failure to slide makes A's fans feel a numbness in the brain which forces them to curl up into a fetal position.

    Philadelphia Phillies -- Why the hell was Mitch Williams in the game?

    Pittsburgh Pirates -- In the endless string of the space-time continuum, when the play happens over and over and over, Sid Bream gets thrown out at home plate. Every time. Except one.

    St. Louis Cardinals -- Sure, Don Denkinger is the convenient scapegoat, but maybe if Jack Clark catches that foul pop or Darrell Porter doesn't allow that passed ball, then maybe the Royals don't score two runs to win the game and for sure Whitey don't blow his top in Game 7.

    San Diego Padres -- What happens when an opponent (Tino Martinez) hits a grand slam in the World Series after he taken what-should've-been-called strike three (from Mark Langston) on the previous pitch? The misery index goes up. Way up.

    Scott Spiezio
    This pic will make San Fran fans resent Scott Spiezio even more.

    San Francisco Giants -- Giants fans are quiet about their misery, but they too have suffered mightily, having never a won a World Series in San Francisco. Just like they didn't win in 2002 when they blew a 5-0 lead in the 7th inning of Game 6. Just like when you mention the name "Scott Spiezio" to Giants fans, they just stare at you in silence.

    Seattle Mariners -- Teams which win a record 116 games are supposed to win the World Series. When you don't, when a rookie named Alfonso Soriano wins the crucial game of a playoff series with a 9th-inning home run off your Japanese closer, your gut cries out in pain like you've just eaten some bad sushi.

    Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- March 29, 2004: General manager Chuck Lamar is given a two-year contract extension.

    Texas Rangers -- Ahh, you're thinking of the time Lenny Randle punched out manager Frank Lucchesi, but that happened in 1977. So we're going with the trade that sent Alex Rodriguez to the Yankees and punched a big hole in the hearts of Rangers fans.

    Toronto Blue Jays -- In one of the biggest collapses of all time, the Blue Jays lose their last seven games of 1987, including the final three to Detroit (all by one run) as the Tigers win the pennant with Frank Tanana's 1-0 shutout in the season's final game.

    David Schoenfield is an editor for