Worst MLB Teams of All Time: Who Holds the Unflattering Title?

worst mlb teams

8 minutes

Last Updated: August 25, 2022


In baseball, like in all other sports, the focus tends to be on the best players, teams, and coaches.

But have you ever wondered what are the worst MLB teams of all time?

Well, throughout baseball’s history in the US, there were quite a few teams that heavily underperformed.

In this article, we bring you everything you need to know about the worst MLB teams in the league’s history.

10. The 2013 Houston Astros

Team Houston Astros
Season 2013
Record 51-111
Winning Percentage .315

For the Houston Astros, the 2013 season was by far the worst in the team’s history, especially if we consider that the team played in the World Series just eight seasons prior.

But to be fair, this was more of a strategic decision from the team’s ownership in an effort to cut down the expenses and rebuild the team.

And knowing that the Astros managed to bounce back and won the 2017 World Serious, we can safely say that it was worth it.

Back to the 2013 season, where Houston struggled heavily with batting and pitching. In fact, no player batted more than .223, but to be fair, most of the batting team was young and just figuring things out.

The pitching was even worse. Astros allowed the most runs in the league by far. But, once again, no pitcher on the team was paid more than $1.2 million.

However, not many fans realize that the Astros made more money in 2013 than any other franchise in MLB history up to that point. Per some reports, Houston made around $100 mil. from operating income in that year.

9. The 1932 Boston Red Sox

Team Boston Red Sox
Season 1932
Record 43-111
Winning Percentage .279

It is pretty hard to find a bright spot for the 1932 Boston Red Sox, but if we had to pick one, it would be Smead Jolley, who batted .309 and had 18 home runs that season.

Jelley finished in the top 25 in the MVP vote, which is quite an achievement if we consider e Red Sox were easily on of the worst MLB teams that year.

worst mbl teams of all time

To put things in perspective, the Red Sox were the worst team in the MLB when it came to ERA and walk rate and almost finished last in the strikeout rate.

Of all the pitchers on the squad, only Ivy Andrews had a better winning percentage than 0.460.

From the start of the 1932 season, it was easy to predict in which direction the season was going for the Red Sox, as they won only 4 out of the first 26 games. Things didn’t look any better after 78 matches, as they had only 17 wins.

Saying that this was a season to forget for Boston fans would be an understatement.

8. The 2018 Baltimore Orioles

Team Baltimore Orioles
Season 2018
Record 47-115
Winning Percentage .290

In 2018, Manny Machado was only three months with the team, but he managed to outperform all of his Baltimore Oriol teammates and their full-season numbers.

Thanks to this, he was voted for the 2018 All-Star Game. Unfortunately, this is where the positives end for Baltimore for that season.

Only 25 MLB games into the season, the Orioles dug so deep of a hole that it was clear their confidence was too shaken to make a comeback and fight for the playoffs.

worst mlb team

The worst part is that they weren’t even rebuilding, as they kept almost all of the main players that made a great run two seasons before. For example, Chris Davis hit 16 runs and batted .168.

As a last resort, the team traded their best player, Machado, hoping to receive several players in return who would have an immediate impact.

However, it turned out that this didn’t help them, as they weren’t performing much better in the seasons that followed.

Rarely do we see such differences in team performance in only two years, but the Orioles proved that it was possible to go from a great season to one of the worst MLB teams in history.

7. The 1904 Washington Senators

Team Washington Senators
Season 1904
Record 38-113
Winning Percentage .252

The 1904 Washington Senators would probably be much higher on this list if it wasn’t for Casey Patten.

The Senators’ starting pitcher singlehandedly carried the team in 14 of their wins that season. Patten gathered 350 innings with an ERA slightly higher than 3.00.

And this is where the good news stop, as the Senators ranked last in almost all of the batting categories, including the home runs, batting average, and so on.

Just like most names on the worst MLB teams list, Washington’s season was over before it even started.

They managed to win only one game in their first 18 outings, which resulted in Malachi Kittridge getting waived by the team.

His replacement, Patsy Donovan, did a slightly better job, but his managerial skills weren’t enough for the Senators to turn their season around.

6. 1939 St. Louis Browns

Team St. Louis Browns
Season 1939
Record 51-111
Winning Percentage .315

It is hard to imagine that any player could have a career year on the 1939 St. Louis Browns, but George McQuinn did just that.

McQuinn batted .316 and set personal records in home runs, RBI, triples, and slugging percentage.

This performance helped him make his first All-Star appearance that year, as well as finish in the top 15 in the AL MVP race.

Led by the fifth manager in a two-season span, the Browns were never on the right track during the season.

They managed to string several back-to-back wins, but nothing close to get them off the list of the worst MLB teams.

And their pitcher stats were bad even for the 1939 season standards. Some experts even believe that the 1939 St. Louis Browns had the worst pitching staff in history.

When looking at their score and winning percentage, it is really hard to argue with the statement.

5. The 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates

Team Pittsburgh Pirates
Season 1952
Record 42-112
Winning Percentage .273

It is hard to imagine that the Pirates had both Dick Groat and Ralph Kiner on the team for the 1952 season.

Looking at their career achievements from this standpoint makes the disappointing season even worse.

Kiner had 37 home runs in this season and finished in the Hall of Fame after his career finished, while Groat was a promising young player and one of the candidates for the best rookie.

worst baseball teams

Still, during the 1952 season, the Pirates never managed to win more than two games in a row but they did manage to have a ten-game losing streak.

But, in their defense, they did have 13 players who had never played in the league before the 1952 season.

4. The 1942 Philadelphia Phillies

Team Philadelphia Phillies
Season 1942
Record 42-109
Winning Percentage .278

Unlike most teams on this list, the 1942 Philadelphia Phillies weren’t so bad at pitching, as two teams were worse in this category.

The bright spot was Tommy Hughes, who threw 19 complete games and finished in the top 25 for the NL MVP race.

On the other hand, the team struggled offensively as most of their players batted below .245. Their best batter was Danny Litwhiler with .271. This wasn’t enough for a decent spot, as they finished 62.5 games behind first place.

It was another bad season for the Phillies, but again during those years, the franchise from Philadelphia struggled in most seasons.

This was just one of the eight consecutive years in which they were 40+ games behind the first place, clinging to their spot on the list of the worst MLB teams.

3. The 1935 Boston Braves

Team Boston Braves
Season 1935
Record 38-115
Winning Percentage .248

From this perspective, the 1935 season seems like a hiccup for the Boston Braves, as they performed pretty well in both the 1934 and the 1936 seasons.

But it was a pretty big misstep as they achieved one of the worst negative records in baseball history with 77 games under .500.

Still, Wall Berger managed to finish in the top six in the MVP vote as he led the NL in home runs and RBI.

Unfortunately for the Braves, the rest of the team only had 4 more runs than Berger. Even Babe Ruth couldn’t help the team (although he was already 40 at the time) and retired in the middle of the season.

During this season, Boston managed to achieve two quite impressive negative streaks. First, they lost 15 games in a row, and after that, they lost 28 out of 30 games. All of this gave the Braves the second winning percentage since 1900.

2. The 2003 Detroit Tigers

Team Detroit Tigers
Season 2003
Record 43-119
Winning Percentage .265

In retrospect, the worst record in 2003 at least gave Detroit Tigers a good draft pick in the 2004 MLB draft in which they took Justin Velander. Verlander was more than solid for the Tigers in the next 10 seasons.

Aside from a good pick, one of the bright spots for the Tigers was Dmitri Young, with a career-best in home runs. Young also batted 0.300 in the 2003 season.

worst team in mlb

Nate Cornejo, who was considered the second-best player on the team, had a 4.67 ERA and just 46 strikeouts in 194.2 innings pitched with a 6-17 record.

It is safe to say that the 2003 Detroit Tigers were the worst team baseball has seen since 2000 and the second worse in the last 106 years.

1. The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics

Team Philadelphia Athletics
Season 1916
Record 36-117
Winning Percentage .235

It sounds unbelievable that the Philadelphia Athletics won the World Series three consecutive times starting in 1910 and then finished as the worst team in the league for 7 seasons in a row starting in 1915.

The best player on the 1915 A’s roster was Amos Strunk, who batted .316.

One of the main reasons why Philadelphia Athletics are the worst MLB team of all time is the fact that their best head-to-head record in the 1916 season was against the Yankees.

Even in that matchup, they didn’t manage to surpass the .320 winning percentage. They were the worst baseball team, offensively and defensively.

The “peak” of their season was when the team won only 2 out of the 43 possible games. They ended the season 40 games behind the second-worst team in the league and solidified their place as one of the worst MLB teams of all time.

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