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Have You Heard About the Lonesome Loser?
2007-07-16 18:22
by Mike Carminati

(The albatross and the whales are his brothers.)

So the other shoe finally dropped. The Phils lost game number ten thousand with very little fanfare, at least coming from the Phils themselves. I understand that setting a losing milestone is nothing to celebrate, but couldn't the team have turned into an opportunity to advertise the history of the franchise and of baseball in Philly in general?

Hey, it ain't beneath me. So here goes…

First, looking at the progressive history of the all-time losingest teams, the Phils have only led the pack since 1992. The Braves were in the lead from 1987 to 1991, but fourteen straight division titles will dig you out of that hole. The Phils and Braves have been swapping the title of losingest team since the Braves wrested the crown from the Cardinals in 1920. The Braves owned the title from 1920 to 1956 and from 1987 to 1991, and the Phils from 1957 to 1986 and then from 1992 until today. The Braves still outclass the Phils, by 21 years, in the category of total years owning the biggest loser crown.

There have been nine franchises in baseball history who have held the title of big loser in sports. Besides the Braves and Phils, just two others, the Cubs and Cards, are the only active ones:

Atlanta Braves6718811991
Philadelphia Phillies4619572007
Chicago Cubs918771904
Louisville Colonels518951899
Brooklyn Atlantics318731875
St. Louis Cardinals319161919
New York Mutuals218721876
Cincinnati Reds (I)118801880
Rockford Forest Citys118711871

The Braves can at least boast to own the biggest winner title for 36 years, the last coming in 1907, however. The current leaders are the Giants who having owned the crown every season since 1988:

Chicago Cubs7819081987
Atlanta Braves3618721907
San Francisco Giants2219822007
Philadelphia Athletics (I)118711871

The Phils have lost to 38 different opponents. They have lost to 28 of the 29 other active teams (they are 3-0 against the Texas Rangers) and to ten different defunct teams. Here are their all-time opponents (through 2007) ranked by most losses:

FranchiseFirst YrLast YrWLPCTActive?
San Francisco Giants188320078971,224.423Y
Chicago Cubs188320071,0711,197.472Y
St. Louis Cardinals189220079281,188.439Y
Pittsburgh Pirates188720061,0271,176.466Y
Atlanta Braves188320071,0541,169.474Y
Los Angeles Dodgers189020068811,125.439Y
Cincinnati Reds189020079131,100.454Y
New York Mets19622007412364.531Y
Washington Nationals18862007372334.527Y
Houston Astros19622007273259.513Y
San Diego Padres19692006217186.538Y
Florida Marlins19932007119103.536Y
Baltimore Orioles189220065882.414Y
Cleveland Spiders188918998476.525N
Detroit Wolverines188318884554.455N
Colorado Rockies199320076254.534Y
Arizona Diamondbacks199820073339.458Y
Louisville Colonels189218996634.660N
Washington Senators189218996933.676N
Providence Grays188318851431.311N
Milwaukee Brewers199820073929.574Y
Buffalo Bisons188318852125.457N
Cleveland Blues188318841218.400N
Boston Red Sox199720061318.419Y
St. Louis Maroons188518862112.636N
New York Yankees19972006810.444Y
Tampa Bay Devil Rays19982006510.333Y
Toronto Blue Jays199720071110.524Y
Indianapolis Hoosiers18871889439.827N
Detroit Tigers1997200766.500Y
Seattle Mariners2003200515.167Y
Chicago White Sox2002200754.556Y
Oakland Athletics2003200533.500Y
Minnesota Twins2002200433.500Y
Cleveland Indians2002200733.500Y
Kansas City Royals2004200733.500Y
Kansas City Cowboys18861886142.875N
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim2003200312.333Y
Texas Rangers20052005301.000Y
Grand Total8,81010,000.46839 teams
Vs. Active Teams8,4219,706.46529 teams
Vs. Inactive Teams389294.57010 teams

Now, the Phils have used 858 different pitchers on the road to 10K losses. Here are the ones that lost the most games for the team:

PitcherFirst YrLast YrWLPCT
Robin Roberts19481961234199.540
Steve Carlton19721986241161.600
Chris Short19591972132127.510
Curt Simmons19471960115110.511
Eppa Rixey1912192087103.458
Bill Duggleby189819079099.476
Jimmy Ring192119286898.410
Tully Sparks189719109595.500
Pete Alexander1911193019091.676
Hugh Mulcahy193519464589.336
Ray Benge192819365882.414
Phil Collins192919357279.477
Curt Schilling1992200010178.564
Jack Taylor189218979677.555
Rick Wise196419717576.497
Chick Fraser189919047475.497
Jim Bunning196419718973.549
Al Orth1895190110072.581
Larry Christenson197319838371.539
Kid Carsey189218979471.570
Kid Gleason188818917870.527

The Phils have used 25 pitchers this year and are on pace to potentially break the all-time record of 37 by the Padres in 2002. Given that they have about two or three reliable starters and possibly fewer reliable relievers, I wouldn't be surprised if they broke that record even with Stand Pat in all his standing pat glory. Here are the teams that used at least thirty pitchers in a year:

San Diego Padres200237
Cleveland Indians200032
Cleveland Indians200231
Kansas City Royals200631
Texas Rangers200430
Detroit Tigers200230
Texas Rangers200530
Cleveland Indians200430
Cincinnati Reds200330

The Phils will unquestionably set an all-time franchise record for most pitchers in a season. They are within two of the "record":

Philadelphia Phillies200027
Philadelphia Phillies199526
Philadelphia Phillies200725
Philadelphia Phillies199625
Philadelphia Phillies199224
Philadelphia Phillies194624

Finally, the Phillies have used 51 different managers en route to 10,000 losses. Andy Cohen (1-0) is the only one without a loss. Here are the top twenty losers on that list. Guess who comes in at #20:

ManagerFirst YrLast YrWLPCT
Gene Mauch19601968646684.486
Harry Wright18841893636566.529
Burt Shotton19281933370549.403
Danny Ozark19731979594510.538
Jimmie Wilson19341938280477.370
Jim Fregosi19911996431463.482
Eddie Sawyer19481960390423.480
Art Fletcher19231926231378.379
Red Dooin19101914392370.514
Terry Francona19972000285363.440
Doc Prothro19391941138320.301
Larry Bowa20012004337308.522
Bill Shettsline18981902367303.548
Mayo Smith19551958264282.484
Ben Chapman19451948196276.415
Pat Moran19151918323257.557
Hugh Duffy19041906206251.451
Frank Lucchesi19701972166233.416
Billy Murray19071909240214.529
Charlie Manuel20052007219196.528
2007-07-17 05:14:52
1.   markh
Cool stuff. But what's a "winner title"?

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