I’ve always been fascinated with historically bad teams. Back in 2003, I rooted for the Tigers to lose 121, just for the historicalness of it. I recall being glued to MLB’s gameday when the Royals had a 19 game losing streak in ’05. Last summer, I had fun watching the Astros go through a 9-50 stretch. I think it was the worst stretch by any club since the Philadelphia A’s went 6-63 in the summer of 1916.
Now the Astros have my full attention again. After losing 106+ games in each of the past two seasons, they look like they’re at it again just 32 games into this season. Consequently, they need to go at least 55-75 (.423) to avoid a third consecutive 100 loss season.
Doesn’t sound too hard, but we’re talkin’ about a team that’s playing .250 baseball so far, and hasn’t played .400 ball in over two years. Their upcoming schedule looks tough too, with 19 of their next 21 games being against clubs currently over-.500. That includes Texas, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Oakland, & Colorado.
So this made me ask — where might these Astros be placed in the history of bad teams? Losing 100+ games means a team couldn’t manage better than a .383 winning percentage for the season. Only 47 teams ever stumbled through consecutive seasons that badly, and just 20 of them played that way for at least 3 straight seasons.
|2011-2013/5/6 Astros||119||237||.334||could be 3 straight by end of 2013|
|2004-2006 Royals||176||310||.362||3 straight seasons|
|2001-2002 Devil Rays||117||206||.362|
|1977-1979 Blue Jays||166||318||.343||3 straight seasons|
|1962-1965 Mets||194||452||.300||4 straight seasons|
|1961-1964 Senators||239||407||.370||4 straight seasons|
|1955-1957 Senators||167||295||.361||3 straight seasons|
|1953-1955 Browns/Orioles||165||297||.357||3 straight seasons|
|1952-1954 Pirates||145||317||.314||3 straight seasons|
|1949-1951 Browns||163||299||.353||3 straight seasons|
|1938-1942 Phillies||225||534||.296||5 straight seasons|
|1936-1940 A’s||269||493||.353||5 straight seasons|
|1936-1939 Browns||201||411||.328||4 straight seasons|
|1931-1932 White Sox||105||199||.345|
|1925-1930 Red Sox||268||609||.306||6 straight seasons|
|1922-1924 Braves||160||300||.348||3 straight seasons|
|1921-1924 Phillies||213||399||.348||4 straight seasons|
|1919-1921 A’s||137||310||.306||3 straight seasons|
|1915-1917 A’s||134||324||.293||3 straight seasons|
|1910-1913 Browns||202||411||.330||4 straight seasons|
|1909-1912 Doves/Rustlers/Braves||194||416||.318||4 straight seasons|
|1905-1909 Cardinals||265||498||.347||5 straight seasons|
|1895-1898 Browns||147||395||.271||4 straight seasons|
No streaks for these clubs…….
The trouble in Houston is all about finances. It probably always boils down to that. The new owner, was put behind the 8 ball by MLB, which forced him to switch to the tougher American League. In the meantime, in order to buy the team, he had to borrow a lot of money. So they’re smartly trying to pay that back quickly, while building up some prospects in the minors.
Right now, the Astros AAA club in Oklahoma City (18-11), the AA club in Corpus Christi (18-11), and the Advanced A club in Lancaster (18-12), are all in 1st place in their respective divisions. The class A team in Quad City (17-11) ain’t doin’ half bad either, sittin’ 3 games back of the top of their division.
So clearly, the Astros won’t turn into the Pirates, who’ve been struggling to have just one .500 season since 21 years ago, or those late 1920’s Red Sox who lost tons of games for 6 straight seasons. Houston’s just in the midst of a historically bad rebuilding period.