The sport of baseball is one of the most beloved in the United States. Since the sport was created and formal leagues were founded, men, women, and children have begun watching and supporting their favorite teams. Just like with being a fan of any sport, it isn’t always easy loving some of the teams that compete in Major League Baseball. A quick look at the win-loss records of every team in the sport will show that there are more teams with losing records than those with winning marks.
In the history of the sport, the one team that has the worst winning percentage is one of the newest teams, the Tampa Bay Rays. With a .462 winning percentage, the Rays barely edge out the San Diego Padres for the unwanted top spot. With 1,087 more losses than wins, the Philadelphia Phillies hold the distinction of being the team with the most wins under .500.
On the other side, the team with the most World Series Championships in the history of the sport also has the best winning percentage at .569 and also has the most wins over .500 with 2,418 wins. While teams like the Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals are known for winning, many of these teams have been in the league long enough to register thousands of losses. It’s just a question of the years of play adding up. Several teams on this list have more wins than losses. Three teams have eclipsed the 10,000 loss mark in their franchise history, but what are the top 10 teams with the most losses in MLB history?
10. Minnesota Twins: 9,199 Losses
In 1901, the team we know of today as the Minnesota Twins began playing the sport of baseball as the Washington Senators. For the first 11 years of their existence, the Twins got off to a rocky start, but in their 24th season, they won their first of three World Series championships. Now with 114 seasons under their belt as a franchise, the Twins have a combined record of 8,497-9,199. The past four seasons have added to their overall futility, but they don’t compare to their worst season record, which came in 1904 when the team finished with a 38-113-6 record when they were in Washington.
9. San Francisco Giants: 9,262 Losses
With eight World Series championships, the San Francisco Giants are one of the most successful teams in the sport. Despite their great success, the team has been competing since 1883, providing 132 seasons for the loss tally to increase. With a combined record of 10,780-9,262, the Giants trail only the New York Yankees for the most wins over .500. While the Giants of today are known for winning three World Series titles in the past five years, they have had their downfalls over the years including 1985 when they posted their worst record of 62-100.
8. Baltimore Orioles: 9,264 Losses
The Baltimore Orioles are 942 games under .500 in their history despite winning three World Series titles. The team last won a championship in 1983 and in the two decades that have passed, there has been more negative than positive. Their 2014 performance has brought hope for the future and the team would love to never repeat the performance of their worst season in franchise history, which came in 1939 when they were 43-111-2 as the St. Louis Browns.
7 . Los Angeles Dodgers: 9,492 Losses
The Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most beloved franchises in the history of American sports. The team has seen dozens of superstars don their colors on the baseball field, helping them win six championships including five in Los Angeles and one in Brooklyn. In 1884, the franchise played its first season in Brooklyn and was called the Athletics. Their play improved years later, reaching their first World Series in 1889, but over time, the team had their ups and downs including 1905 when they registered their worst record, 48-104-3, when they were the Brooklyn Superbas.
6. St. Louis Cardinals: 9,701 Losses
The St. Louis Cardinals first played baseball in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings. The team finished under .500 in their first year and the next season, became known as the St. Louis Browns and finished with a .663 winning percentage. The franchise is one of the most popular in the sport of baseball and continues to be a threat each season in the National League Central. Overall in their history, the Cardinals have won 10,471 games and they are 770 games above .500.Their worst season to date came in 1898 when they finished the season with a 39-111-4 record.
We’ve come to view the Cardinals as an elite team in the majors, as they’ve reached the World Series four times in the last decade, winning two of them.
5. Cincinnati Reds: 9,925 Losses
With five world championships, the Cincinnati Reds are one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball history, but things haven’t always been great for the team. The team has suffered through 15 seasons of at least 90 losses and has finished under .500 a total of 61 times since they started playing in 1882 as the Cincinnati Red Stockings. In 1982, they suffered through their worst season- their only 100-loss campaign when they finished 61-101.
The Reds will find themselves in the 10,000 loss club at some point in the 2016 season unless they could pull off a couple of the best seasons in baseball history.
4. Pittsburgh Pirates: 9,999 Losses
It’s very likely that in the opening week of the 2015 Major League Baseball regular season, the Pittsburgh Pirates will become the fourth franchise to suffer through 10,000 losses. The Pirates have also recorded 144 more victories than losses in their existence, which speaks volumes to the amount of success they have especially considering their struggles for most of the past 20 years. As a franchise, the Pirates and their fans have suffered through eight 100-loss seasons including their worst campaign in 1890 when they were 23-113-2. They also suffered a stretch of 20 straight losing seasons, from 1993 to 2012. They have now made the playoffs in each of their past two seasons.
3. Chicago Cubs, 10,065 Losses
In 1876, the Chicago Cubs were the best team in the sport, finishing 52-14 in the regular season. It was their first year as an organized franchise and the team found great success over the years. They have a combined 10,511-10,065 record including two World Championships. Their lack of championships in the past 100-plus years is well known, as are their recent struggles. The team has suffered through five straight seasons of sub-.500 ball including one of the worst seasons of their history in 2012 when they finished 61-101.
The Cubs suffered the franchise’s 10,000th loss this past season, in a 5-2 loss to the next entry on our list, back on May 11, 2014. They became the third team in the majors to reach 10,000 losses thanks in part to a .417 winning percentage since the start of the 2010 season.
2. Atlanta Braves, 10,244 Losses
For more than a decade, the Atlanta Braves dominated the National League, but despite their regular season successes, won just one World Series title. Including their time in Boston and Milwaukee, the franchise has recorded three World Series titles, but to date, has won just 59 more games than they’ve lost. With a large roster turnover before the 2015 regular season, that number could shrink. Whether they will come close to their worst season, which came in 1935 when they went 38-115 as the Boston Braves, remains to be seen.
Overall, the franchise was seen as underachievers come playoff time, but even with their dominant regular season runs in the 90’s and a good part of the 2000’s, the Braves have well over 10,000 losses in their history. The Braves joined their division rival Phillies in the 10,000 loss club with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Marlins in the 2011 season.
1. Philadelphia Phillies, 10,551 Losses
The Philadelphia Phillies have spent their entire existence in the City of Brotherly Love and have won two World Championships with seven pennants. The Phillies have lost 1,087 more games than they have recorded victories. It has been tough for their fans to stick with them as they have suffered through 14 100-loss seasons including in 1941 when they had their worst regular season mark at 43-111-1. They have also finished 74 seasons with a winning percentage of less than .500, compared to just 58 seasons of .500 or better baseball.
The Phillies became the first professional team to reach 10,000 losses back in the 2007 season. They only had one World Series championship in their first 125 years of existence. Luckily for Phillies fans, they received a consolation prize in the 2008 season, with the team’s second World Series championship after defeating Tampa Bay in the ’08 Fall Classic. They followed that up with an AL Pennant in 2009 before falling to the Yankees in the World Series. They’ve fallen back on tough times with the emergence of the Washington Nationals in the NL East.
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