Worst individual baseball season

I suggest Tom Veryzer former Detroit Tiger.
In 1977 he played 125 games. he cranked out 2 homeruns and 28 RBIs. Batting average .197 230 ob 254 slg 30 ops he tossed in 16 walks.
He was frustrating for a fan. Like having 2 pitchers in the lineup.
Can you top that with a worst starter.?

Ray Oyler.

Started most of the Tigers’ games at shortstop during the 1968 World Championship season. For the World Series, he was replaced with Mickey Stanley, who had played something like a half-dozen games at short in his career.

A really bad season by a very good player:

from this blog

Ted Simmons in 1984: hit .221/.269/.300, 4 home runs, OPS+ of 61, VORP -18.8, 1 Win Share.

“Simmons might be the only player in baseball history to have over 500 plate appearances and only 1 win share.” I’m assuming as primarily a DH he added little with his glove.

This list from the godlings at ESPN picks Mike Parrott’s 1980 season with the Seattle Mariners (opponents batted .356 against him, finished 1-16 with a 7.28 ERA) and John Gochnauer of the 1903 Cleveland Naps (hit .185 and made 98 errors in 134 games, for a fielding percentage of .869, 44 points below the league average).

Jose Lima, 2005 Royals

5W- 16L 168.2IP 6.99ERA .314Average allowed .373OBP .544Slugging 63ERA+ 142OPS+ 1.66 Whip

Apparently this is the worst ERA+ in the live ball era

Definitely Oyler. In 1968, he batted merely .135 with one home run and 12 RBIs. His On-Base Percentage was .213.

Just to put it in perspective, Earl Wilson, the teams #2 pitcher hit .227 (with 7 home runs), and Denny McClain, their ace, hit a relatively robust .152.

1968, of course, was the archetypal pitcher’s year, where in the American League, only Cleveland and Chicago didn’t have a sub-.200 player in the regular lineup.

This very morning, as a matter of fact, The Hardball Times had an article on the worst #9 hitters since 1957:


Tom Veryzer’s 1977 effort came in second place (he also came in ninth, for his 1979 season with the Indians). Worst ever was the unforgettable Mario Mendoza, who batted .198 in 401 plate appearances in 1979 for the Mariners.

For the worst #8 hitters since 1957,


Luis Gomez of the 1980 Braves takes the first spot, with a .191 average in 307 plate appearances.

(Edited because I kept saying “ever” instead of “since 1957.”)

Mendoza of the famous Mendoza line had
198 ba 216 obp 249 slg ops 466
197 230 254 300
Veryzers in comparison. Both sucked big time. Hard to determine worst.

Oyler, Veryzer and Mendoza were, at least, good fielders at hard defensive positions.

George Scott in 1968 batted .171 with three homers. He was given the Gold Glove for some reason, but he was still a first baseman.

Believe it or not, if you reduce the requirement to 50 innings, the worst pitching season of all time was achieved by Roy Halladay, who in 2000 posted an ERA of 10.64. In 67 2/3 innings he allowed 107 hits, 14 of them homers. He was so bad they sent him to single-A and completely changed his delivery.

Other players may have had crappier seasons, but for a complete waste of $4 million, I give you Jeff Blauser for the Cubs in 1998: http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/blausje01.shtml. I also remember him striking out to start a strikeout/throw-'em-out double play in a huge at-bat in Game 2 of the NLDS that year. I can’t think of any Cubs player whom I hated any more than Blauser.

Enzo Hernandez’s rookie season always has a place in my heart: 12 RBI (and 12 XBH, none of them homeruns) in a full season.

I think some consideration should be given to Tony Pena Jr. from this current Royals season. He hasn’t really played enough to be an all-time failure (just over 200 AB this year), but the line is certainly impressive. Slash stats of .164/.181/.206 with an OPS+ of 1 (yes, you read that correctly, 1). Now his defense is purportedly good, so I guess that counts for something. Oh, and he did have 1 inning of shutout pitching… and a bobblehead night.

You obviously tuned out of the Todd Hundley era.


According to baseball-reference.com this morning, those numbers are now .162/.179/.204 with an OPS+ of 0. 2 hitless at-bats in yesterday’s 12-0 rout of the Mariners.

On the other hand, Tony Pena, Jr.'s ERA+ is holding steady at infinity, so he’s got that going for him.

I messed around on Baseball-Reference’s Play Index tool and found that Ivy Griffin, for the 1920 Philadelphia Athletics, had the worst season for a first baseman who qualified for the batting title, hitting .238 / .281. / .274 with zero home runs and twenty RBI for a OPS+ of 47. Unsurprisingly his team finished in last place, as it appears only two of their hitters with >250 plate appearances were better than league average.

(George Scott, whom RickJay mentioned earlier, is still the worst 1B to have over 250 PAs.)

Bill Bergen appears to be the worst hitter to qualify for the batting title, but he played catcher and had to have been well-regarded defensively to have lasted 11 seasons with the numbers he had. His 1909 season for Brooklyn boasted a .139 / .163 / .156 slash line. He made 314 outs in 372 PAs. His last season, 1911, was even worse. In 250 PAs he had a -4 OPS+, and batted .132.