Monday, March 25, 2013

Worst Back-to-Back Seasons in MLB History

In 2011, the Houston Astros finished with their worst record ever, going just 56-106. In 2012 they broke that record by going 55-107. Few teams have had their two worst seasons consecutively, and the combined record of 111-213 is awfully ugly. Obviously it's the worst back-to-back stretch in their franchise history*, but how does it stack up with the worst back-to-back campaigns by other teams? Here's a look at each franchise's very worst consecutive seasons, along with other info on bad back-to-back records in baseball history.

*This post was written before the start of the 2013 season, but has been update to include that season, in which the Astros broke their franchise record for worst season for the third straight year.

This is the second entry in my look at the worst records in modern history (from 1901). The first entry looked at the worst single seasons. Some teams played in different cities or under different names at other times in history, so I've made note of those things where applicable. Also, ties used to be a semi-regular occurrence in baseball, teams in early 20th century would often finish with 3 or 4 of them. I'm ignoring all ties for this series, for what that's worth. The sixteen "original" teams (the teams that played in 1901) are starred in the chart below, other franchises are listed with their first year of play. 

Each Franchise's Worst Back-to-Back Records:

Team
Seasons
W-L (W%)
Notes
Baltimore Orioles*
1910-11
92-214 (.301)
St. Louis Browns
Boston Red Sox*
1925-26
93-212 (.305)

Chicago White Sox*
1931-32
105-199 (.345)

Cleveland Indians*
1914-15
108-197 (.354)
Cleveland Naps
Detroit Tigers*
2002-03
98-225 (.303)

Houston Astros (1962)
2012-13
106-218 (.327)

Kansas City Royals (1969)
2004-05
114-210 (.352)

Los Angeles Angels (1961)
1968-69
138-186 (.426)
California Angels
Minnesota Twins*
1903-04
81-207 (.281)
Washington Senators
New York Yankees*
1912-13
107-196 (.353)
Highlanders/Yankees
Oakland Athletics*
1915-16
79-226 (.259)
Philadelphia Athletics
Seattle Mariners (1977)
1977-78
120-202 (.373)

Tampa Bay Rays (1998)
2001-02
117-206 (.362)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas Rangers (1961)
1972-73
111-205 (.351)

Toronto Blue Jays (1977)
1978-79
112-211 (.347)

Arizona Diamondbacks (1998)
2004-05
128-196 (.395)

Atlanta Braves*
1911-12
96-208 (.316)
Boston Rustlers/Braves
Chicago Cubs*
1980-81
102-163 (.385)

Cincinnati Reds*
1933-34
110-193 (.363)

Colorado Rockies (1993)
2004-05
135-189 (.417)

Los Angeles Dodgers*
1904-05
104-201 (.341)
Brooklyn Superbas
Miami Marlins (1993)
1998-99
118-206 (.364)
Florida Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers (1969)
2001-02, 2002-03
124-200 (.383)

New York Mets (1962)
1962-63
91-231 (.283)

Philadelphia Phillies*
1941-42
85-220 (.279)

Pittsburgh Pirates*
1952-53
92-216 (.299)

San Diego Padres (1969)
1969-70
115-209 (.355)

San Francisco Giants*
1901-02
100-173 (.366)
New York Giants
St. Louis Cardinals*
1907-08
101-206 (.329)

Washington Nationals (1969)
2008-09
118-205 (.365)



The Angels and Rockies have the "best" bad back-to-backs, which is especially impressive for the Angels, because they've been around since 1961 and their worst consecutive seasons aren't particularly bad. Would you believe that among the sixteen original teams, the Cubs have the best mark? And among the American League teams, it's the Indians who hold that distinction. Those franchises may not have won a World Series in decades and decades (1908 for the Cubs, 1948 for the Indians), but they've got this.

Among the sixteen original teams, only the Cubs and Tigers have had their worst back-to-back records since expansion began in 1961. In fact, nine of the sixteen teams had their worst marks by 1916. Teams just don't lose like they used to. For further evidence of that, take a look at the next chart.

Worst Back-to-Back Records in Modern History:

Rank
Seasons
Team
W-L (W%)
t19
1909-10
Boston Doves (Braves)
98-208 (.320)
t19
1911-12
St. Louis Browns (Orioles)
98-208 (.320)
t19
1938-39
St. Louis Browns (Orioles)
98-208 (.320)
18
1910-11
Boston Doves/Rustlers (Braves)
97-207 (.319)
17
1964-65
New York Mets
103-221 (.318)
16
1926-27
Boston Red Sox
97-210 (.316)
15
1911-12
Boston Rustlers/Braves
96-208 (.316)
14
1939-40
Philadelphia Phillies
95-209 (.313)
13
1927-28
Philadelphia Phillies
94-212 (.307)
12
1925-26
Boston Red Sox
93-212 (.305)
11
2002-03
Detroit Tigers
98-225 (.303)
10
1940-41
Philadelphia Phillies
93-214 (.303)
9
1910-11
St. Louis Browns (Orioles)
92-214 (.301)
8
1938-39
Philadelphia Phillies
90-211 (.299)
7
1952-53
Pittsburgh Pirates
92-216 (.299)
6
1916-17
Philadelphia Athletics
91-215 (.297)
5
1919-20
Philadelphia Athletics
84-210 (.286)
4
1962-63
New York Mets
91-231 (.283)
3
1903-04
Washington Senators (Twins)
81-207 (.281)
2
1941-42
Philadelphia Phillies
85-220 (.279)
1
1915-16
Philadelphia Athletics
79-226 (.259)

Of those, the 21 worst marks in modern history, only one took place in the last forty years. I hope that helps you appreciate how unique those awful Detroit teams from a decade ago were, no one under the age of fifty has seen baseball that bad in consecutive seasons. 17 of these 21 back-to-backs are from before the end of World War II, so let's take a look at only the more recent bad stretches.


Worst Back-to-Back Records of Expansion Era (1961-present):


Rank
Seasons
Team
W-L (W%)
10
2004-05
Kansas City Royals
114-210 (.352)
9
1972-73
Texas Rangers
111-205 (.351)
8
1977-78
Toronto Blue Jays
113-209 (.351)
7
1978-79
Toronto Blue Jays
112-211 (.347)
6
2011-12
Houston Astros
111-213 (.343)
5
2012-13
Houston Astros
106-218 (.327)
4
1963-64
New York Mets
104-220 (.321)
3
1964-65
New York Mets
103-221 (.318)
2
2002-03
Detroit Tigers
98-225 (.303)
1
1962-63
New York Mets
91-231 (.283)

The Mets really were something in their first few seasons, weren't they? And there are the 2011-12  (and now 2012-13) Astros. The Astros have not only had their two three worst seasons, they had the very worst record in baseball in each of the last two three years too. How often has that trick been pulled off?

Worst Record in Baseball in Consecutive Seasons:

1903* and 1904: Washington Senators (Twins)
1915 and 1916: Philadelphia Athletics
1919 and 1920: Philadelphia Athletics
1925, 1926, and 1927*: Boston Red Sox
1927* and 1928: Philadelphia Phillies
1940, 1941, and 1942: Philadelphia Phillies
1944 and 1945: Philadelphia Phillies
1952 and 1953: Pittsburgh Pirates
1957, 1958, and 1959: Washington Senators (Twins)
1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965: New York Mets
1972 and 1973: Texas Rangers
1985 and 1986: Pittsburgh Pirates
2001* and 2002*: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2002* and 2003: Detroit Tigers
2006 and 2007: Tampa Bay Devil Rays
2008 and 2009: Washington Nationals
2011, 2012, 2013: Houston Astros

*: Tied for worst record

The Astros have become the first team since those early Mets to finish with the very worst record in three consecutive seasons. I'll look at the worst three-season stretches in the next entry of this series.

No comments:

Post a Comment