Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Numbers Post: Which Cities are the Biggest Losers in Baseball

I would like to put up more evidence to support the theory that Philadelphia is the losingest baseball city in the history of baseball.

It was another thing I had wondered about due to a thread on USSM, which was, namely, how futile certain cities have had it at various times with their baseball teams. That is, it's bad enough to watch ONE baseball team having an awful year, but can you imagine living in a city where BOTH baseball teams were having godawful years?

So, yeah, take Philadelphia (a city which I spent most of my formative years learning about baseball in). They had two teams there from 1901 to 1955, and while the A's had some great years in there before Connie Mack kept selling off his stars, the Phillies were phairly phutile for large stretches of time.

But how often did the city of Philadelphia have to endure a collective 200 losses from both of their teams? And did any other cities ever have to?

The answer is 8. 1942 (208 collective losses), 1945 (206), 1938 (204), 1940, 1939, 1921 (203), 1941 (201) 1936 (200) And the other answer, as far as I can tell, is no.

I have a book called "On a Clear Day They Could See Seventh Place", which ranks the ten worst teams of the last century, one per decade. Let's put it this way: three of those teams are the 1916 Athletics, the 1928 Phillies, and the 1942 Phillies. Of course, in 1928 the A's were busy on their climb to winning the 1929 and 1930 World Serieses, and the 1916 the Phillies were still coming off winning their first ever league pennant in 1915. But in 1942? The Philly teams were dead last in all ways. Yes, several teams were starting to lose people to the war, but other teams still had some great players to cheer for, and St. Louis won 106 games and Brooklyn won 104. The Yankees won 103. But there was no joy in Philly.

Let's take a look at Chicago a second. They've both had teams since 1901, when the White Sox came into existence as part of the brand-new American League. And would you believe that the highest collective losses in one season they've ever had was 191? On the other hand, in 1906, they had a collective 209 WINS between the teams, though that has something to do with the Cubs winning 116 games, and was the only 200+ win season. Contrariwise, the most collective wins in Philly ever was 184, in 1913.

Hm, what other cities can I look at? Oo, let's take a look at New York. First with the Yankees and Giants, then with the Yankees and Mets.

Wow, this is impressive. The most collective losses that happened in New York when the Giants was there was 1915, when both teams were 69 and 83 for a combined 168 losses. Gosh, only 168. The Mets at least sucked a bit more, making the highest combined loss count 191 in 1965, as the Mets went and lost 112 and the Yankees lost 85. I mean, even the Mets' record-setting 120-loss season in 1962 didn't really matter because the Yankees only lost 66 that year; that was back during the great Mantle Yankees, after all.

The New York Giants just didn't seem to HAVE huge losing seasons. They lost 98 and 93 in 1945 and 1946, but again, that's the whole war thing. The very early Highlanders had some rocky years, losing 103 in 1908 and 102 in 1912, but those are the only 100+ loss seasons. Hell, New York, overall, has had 76 winning seasons out of 101. They even had three seasons over 200 wins combined, in the obvious 1998 and 1927, as well as 1954.

Also, let's take a look at how often the city teams had a collective winning record:

Philadelphia: 18 out of 55 years (32%)
Chicago: 59 out of 104 years (57%)
New York: 77 out of 98 years (78%)

I really need to go to sleep now (my gosh, it's 2am), but tomorrow I'll probably run the stats for other cities -- Boston (with the Braves), and St. Louis (with the Browns). Maybe even San Francisco and Los Angeles, if I'm bored. And I'm pretty sure that even with the debacle that was the 1935 Boston Braves, the numbers will still support me.

Hail Philly! We suck!

(Depressing stats continued here.)

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