Baseball teams are always playing in pursuit of greatness, but the worst MLB record ever is just as important from a historical standpoint. Granted, it might sound a little mean to remember the worst MLB record ever.
However, the worst MLB record over 162 games is a record like any other, and it needs to be remembered, especially in a sport like baseball where records mean everything.
Worst MLB record ever
Of course, we didn’t only want to mention the worst MLB record ever. We wanted to give credit to the 10 teams that had the fewest MLB wins in a season.
It’s our way of trying to turn the worst baseball record ever into an accomplishment. After all, there’s something lovable about teams that are laughably bad over a full season. With that said, let’s share a bottom-10 list of the worst baseball record in a full season in big league history.
10. 1965 Mets, 50-112, 309
This is not the first time the Mets appear on our list or the first time they were in contention for the worst MLB record ever. The franchise was truly a disaster during the early years of its existence.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that just four years after losing 112 games, the Mets won a World Series, so they were able to turn things around quickly. In fact, the 1965 team had a few players who would be a part of the 1969 team that won a championship, including Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Bud Harrelson, and Ed Kranepool.
There were also notable pitchers like Tug McGraw and Warren Spahn on the roster. The Mets even signed Yogi Berra before the 1965 season. But the notable players on the 1965 Mets were either too young or too old to make much of a difference, resulting in 112 losses and just 50 victories.
9. 2019 Tigers, 47-114
Sorry, Detroit, but this won’t be the last time the Tigers are on our list, although this is the most recent of the truly horrible teams in big league history.
Ironically, the Tigers began the year with seven wins in their first 10 games. But it was all downhill from there, as Detroit was 5-20 in both June and July. Outside of Miguel Cabrera, it’s hard to name anyone on the roster anybody outside of Detroit would recognize, as things got ugly for the Tigers, who had eight losing streaks of at least five games or more.
8. 2018 Orioles, 47-115
Even for a rebuilding team, this was rock bottom for the Orioles. Some players with big contracts like Chris Davis underperformed greatly.
They had no chance after that, going 15-40 in August and September. Of course, the Orioles were also just 6-20 in June under Buck Showalter, all contributing to Baltimore finishing 61 games out of first place and 50 games away from a Wild Card spot.
7. 2003 Tigers, 43-119
As far as the American League is concerned, this is the worst team ever, at least in terms of the total number of losses, giving them the worst MLB record ever over 162 games.
It would have been difficult to find a starting rotation with less experience than Detroit’s rotation heading into the 2003 season. That did no favors for Alan Trammell, who was a legend with the Tigers as a player and a first-time manager in 2003. This team was doomed from the start, finishing the month of April just 3-21.
The Tigers would go on to win just five games in June and only six in August. For what it’s worth, the Tigers were in the World Series just three years later, so they got good quickly after this season. But they still had to endure 119 losses and finished 47 games out of first place.
6. 1904 Senators, 38-113
In their fourth season of existence, the Senators had a stinker of a season.
Outside of winning 10 of their 22 games against St. Louis, the Senators got knocked around by every other team in the American League. They had three starting pitchers lose over 20 games with Casey Patten being the only one to win more than six games.
In the end, the Senators finished 55.5 games out of first place, more than 20 games from the next closest team. Things would only get marginally better in the years to come, as the Senators didn’t win a championship until 1924, two decades after this disastrous campaign.
5. 1962 Mets, 40-120
As mentioned, the Mets appear on this list more than once. During their inaugural season, the Mets experienced one of the worst seasons imaginable.
As an expansion team, they had to rely on players from the expansion draft, many of which couldn’t cut it in the big leagues. Even with a proven manager like Casey Stengel leading the way, there wasn’t much the Mets could do.
They were comically bad from start to finish, showing no signs of improvement during the season and little progress in the years to come. At the end of the season, they were 60.5 games out of first place in the National League standings. It would take more than 50 years until another team ended a season more than 60 games out of first place, showing just how far behind the 1962 Mets were behind everyone else.
4. 1935 Braves, 38-115
The 1935 Boston Braves are memorable not just for their 115 losses but because this was Babe Ruth’s final season. After years with the Yankees, Ruth signed with the Braves and returned to Boston before the 1935 season.
The problem is he didn’t have much left in the tank, batting .181 with six home runs in 28 games before officially retiring on June 1. Outside of outfielder Wally Berger, the rest of the team wasn’t much better. It turned into one of the worst teams ever with pitcher Ben Cantwell becoming the final pitcher of the 20th century to actually lose 25 games in a season.
3. 1916 Athletics, 36-117
Believe it or not, it was legendary manager Connie Mack who oversaw this train wreck. Based on winning percentage, this is the second-worst record in baseball history and the worst since 1900.
The amazing part is that the Philadelphia Athletics had won the World Series in 1910, 1911, and 1913, and got back to the World Series in 1914. But they went from 99 wins and winning the pennant in 1914 to winning 43 games in 1915. Things got even worse the following year, leading to a historically bad team in 1916 that won a mere 36 games and is still considered by some baseball historians as the worst team of all time.
Read more: Greatest teams in MLB history
2. 1890 Alleghenys, 23-113
This would become the final season for the Alleghenys before changing their name to the Pirates. What else can you do after winning just 23 games in a 136-game season?
The poor record is because several of the team’s top players left to play for the Pittsburgh Burghers in the short-lived Players’ League. With poor attendance, 97 of those 136 games were played on the road with the Alleghenys going 9-88 on the road, giving them the worst road winning percentage in MLB history. At the time, the 23 wins were a record-low, but only until the team at the top of our list.
1. 1899 Spiders, 20-134
It’s the 1899 Cleveland Spiders who have the honor of having the worst MLB record ever. The crazy thing is that they didn’t even need 162 games to get there. Their season lasted just 154 games, yet they blow away every other losing team in baseball history in total losses.
The problem with the Spiders this year is that the Robinson Family, which owned the club, also bought the St. Louis Perfectos prior to the 1899 season. Needless to say, that was a conflict of interest that wasn’t handled properly because the family sent most of Cleveland’s good players to the Perfectos, who somehow went a modest 84-67 that year. In any event, with the Spiders lacking their best players from the previous year, they only managed to win 20 games.
Eventually, fans stopped showing up and the Spiders played most of their games on the road. At one point, the Spiders lost 24 straight games, which is one of the longest losing streaks in baseball history, contributing to the lowest winning percentage ever seen in baseball history.