Losingest team ever -- the Phillies?

I’ve been reading that the Philadelphia Phillies are sitting on 9,999 losses since they were organized as a National League team, and that when they lose their next game they will become the first major sports franchise to lose 10,000 games in its history.

The Phillies? Not the Cubs??

Anyway, I have no idea who came up with the stat or even how to Google for it. Does anyone have a cite (probably many different sources) for all-time franchise records in professional sports?

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ is one list. (Yea Giants!)
And The Society For American Baseball Research.

Oh, shit, the Chicago Cubs aren’t even in the same zip code as the Phillies in terms of hopelessness. They’re not remotely comparable.

The Phillies in recent years haven’t been that bad, and of course they did win their one and only World Series title in 1980 - the only one of the 16 original teams to only win it once. But for much of their history they were bad beyond the comprehension of today’s baseball fan.

From 1918 to 1948, the Phillies had a winning record once. That one year, they were 78-76. In many of those years they were far, far worse than any team is today. Remember a few years back when the Tigers were 43-119? Imagine a team that’s pretty much that bad every year, and that’s what the Phillies were like. In one five year stretch from 1938 to 1942 the Phillies lost more than twice as many games as they won every year. The 1942 squad went 42-109 and was lucky to win that many. They had a pitcher, Hugh Mulcahy, whose officially recognized nickname - you can look this up - was “Losing Pitcher.” He was the best pitcher they had for quite some time there.

Let me illustrate the difference between the PHils and the Cubs this way; the Cubs’ worst record ever was 59-103, which they’ve done twice, in 1962 and 1966. Between 1918 and 1948, a span of 31 years, the Phillies had a record worse than that thirteen times.

The Phillies at that point were drawing so few fans - about 2800 a game - that the team couldn’t continue operations, and the owner basically gave the club back to the league. The Phillies were essentially a major league baseball team at that point only in the sense that they had some players and were on the schedule; they had never really developed a farm system, and had no money. The league sold the team to a guy named William Cox, who a year later was thrown out of baseball for life for gambling on baseball. Then they were given to Robert Carpenter. Carpenter’s management tried to change the name to “Philadelphia Blue Jays,” presumably to try to make people think somehow it wasn’t the same batch of losers, but they couldn’t afford new uniforms so all the jerseys still said “Phillies,” and after a couple of years they gave up on that. New ownership managed to turn the team around for awhile, but then they most sucked again from the mid-50s until Mike Schmidt came along.

Major League Baseball today would never allow a team to get that bad. Imagine a team as bad as the Devil Rays except a LOT worse, like 15 to 20 games a year worse, and with even more screwed up ownership and financial problems than the Expos had their last few years, drawing even fewer fans, and playing in a ballpark that is ten times worse than any ballpark you would find today, a park where any rational remodelling plan would begin with “Step 1. Burn this fucker to the ground.” That’s what the Phillies were like.

Another thing to remember is that the Cubs, even though they last won the World Series in 1908, won six more pennants and were still fairly competitive until the late 1930’s. Their reputation as losers didn’t really begin until well after their last World Series appearance (their seventh since 1908) in 1945.

They didn’t suck during that whole time. Unfortunately, the season when the Phillies didn’t suck was 1964 when the team, who was in first place by 6 1/2 games with only 12 left, proceeded to lose 10 in a row and end up finishing in second place behind the St. Louis Cardinals in what was probably one of the most infamous choke jobs in baseball or sports history.

So according to from a to z’s link, the Giants are the first to surpass the 10k mark and it looks like the Braves are up next.

Interesting how all the teams sort of hover around 500, with Tampa Bay being the worst (but in terms of games played, the Padres are sort of worse).

But damn look at those olde timey teams. Looks like Indianapolis and DC are just bad, bad places to have baseball teams.

Hey the Yanks are not exactly hovering near .500 with a 0.567 Winning percentage.

I know many of us on this board have been aware of and keeping an eye on when Philly hits that magic number.


It’s also important to note that the Giants have moved (from NYC to San Fran) and the Braves have moved twice (from Boston, to Milwaukee, to Atlanta). The Phillies have been in Philly the whole duration.

Also, you’re looking at wins. Losses are on the right W-L (it wasn’t clear that’s what you were referencing).

And yet it was the A’s that left town. Go figure.

well one thing you have to remember is that the Phillies are the longest running one team name, one city franchise in all of professional sports (at least in this country anyway) so they might be expected to be the losingest, of course they also might be expected to be the winningest, but of course they aren’t.

You gotta give them credit though, they’ve hung in there like orioles.

That is not right, Cubs & Reds are both older and still in their original cities.

Doing some checking it appears the Card & Pirates are also older.


And it looks like the Cubbies will be the second team to get to 10,000 wins, after the Giants, with 9946. And both the Dodgers and Cardinals have less than 200 to go. The Yankees are still 700 away because they were nice enough to give a 20-year head start to the older teams.

We in the NL East don’t forget how hapless the poor Phillies are. I like the current team, though, and would root for them if they knocked the Mets out of it.

My source is mlb.com

reds have had several name changes and though they may have played the first game ever they do not qualify as longest team in same city with same name, same with cubs who started as white stockings, becoming cubs only in 1902, pirates started as alleghenies after there was already a phillies team (1883). i guess it would be a trick question, had it been a question.

Um, excuse me? You think that the Braves will win 300 some odd games before the Cubs manage to win just 54?

Well, you could be right… :smiley:

It’s not hard to figure. The Philadelphia A’s from 1933 on were just as lousy as the Phillies were.

In addition to the fact that the A’s were really bad at that point too, the thing is that relocation westward wasn’t really economically viable until the advent of air travel, and in any event the Depression and the war made relocation impossible until after WWII. So teams just weren’t going to start drifting wastward until the 50s, due to all those factors - and as it happens, that coincides with the time when the Phillies were, for the first time in three or four decades, fielding some interesting teams, whereas the A’s hadn’t won a pennant in a long time and the ownership situation had to change. Philadelphia simply wasn’t going to support two teams going forward, so the A’s, needing to be sold, were the logical choice to go at the time.

If it had been possible for teams to move in 1942 there’s a good chance the Phillies would have left, or dissolved and been replaced by a new franchise.

Amusingly, there is talk the A’s will no longer be the “Oakland” Athletics after their move to Fremont, which I guess will make themn the first four-city team. Incredibly, “Silicon Valley Athletics” is, supposedly, being seriously considered. I can’t think of anything more hilarious than pairing Silicon Valley with the notion of being athletic.

First four-city baseball team. In basketball, there are the Rochester-Cincinnati-Kansas City-Omaha-Sacramento Royals/Kings.

The AFLAC trivia question during today’s ATL v PIT game was ‘Which team holds the record for most consecutive losing seasons?’ Both announcers guessed Philadelphia A’s, but as we all know, the answer is the Phillies.

And in football there are the Cleveland-Los Angeles-Anaheim-St.Louis Rams, not to mention the Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders who in their first AFL season played in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium.

The Phillies attempted to change their name to the Blue Jays in the 1940s because they thought a new name would give them better luck, although they did go back to Phillies a few years later. They kept “Phillies” on the uniform, however.

Not really “several”- the Reds had to change their name to “Redlegs” two times in the 1950s during the McCarthy witch hunts as “red” is also a slang term for a Communist. If it weren’t for that, they’d probably have kept the name.

As far as four-city baseball teams go, the Angels have had four official names in their history, but it wouldn’t count as four cities, since California isn’t a city, and the current name is just a combination of the metro area and the actual city done to keep Anaheim from suing them.