The Stink of Losing – Three Star Stink

Today we jump from the two star stink to the three star stink. To get in the door your team needs to have 8 sub (or .500) seasons in a row. As we did before we’ll start back in the days of Cobb and the spitter.

*** THREE STAR STINK

St. Louis Cardinals
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1902  6th     56   78  .418   44.5
1903  8th     43   94  .314   46.5
1904  5th     75   79  .487   31.5
1905  6th     58   96  .377   47.5
1906  7th     52   98  .347   63
1907  8th     52  101  .340   55.5
1908  8th     49  105  .318   50
1909  7th     54   98  .355   56
1910  7th     63   90  .412   40.5

1911  5th     75   74  .503   22

A nine-year run of futility that ended oddly enough when Helene Hatheway Britton inherited the team from her father and uncle, making her the first female owner in the history f the game. Five years later Branch Rickey appeared from the team across town and well that suffices it to say; this is the Cardinals only entry in the list.

This was the end result of what happens when you have no hitting and no pitching you get only one season that you don’t finish 30 or more back from first. However they did manage to get Miller Huggins away from the Reds in the middle of that span, he helped pave the way for the Rickey era, whilst the Reds floundered for the first time, but certainly not the last.

Cincinnati Reds
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1929  7th     66   88  .429   33
1930  7th     59   95  .383   33
1931  8th     58   96  .377   43
1932  8th     60   94  .390   30
1933  8th     58   94  .382   33
1934  8th     52   99  .344   42
1935  6th     68   85  .444   31.5
1936  5th     74   80  .481   18
1937  8th     56   98  .364   40

1938  4th     82   68  .547    6

The plight of the Reds is at the end of the 1920’s and into the depression is one marked with a reoccurring theme in early baseball history (older owner bases not changing with the times) and a constant theme, money issues affecting the franchise. The departure of Garry Herrmann from the Reds brass was mirrored by an unstable time in the Reds history, local businessman Sidney Weil was able to wrest the club away from the men who ran the team in the post Herrmann era, but he hardly had the resources to run a major league franchise and the stock market collapse ensured that he never would in the near future. Eventually the bank owned the Reds, Larry MacPhail came to town, then Powell Crosley and Warren Giles. During this time they changed the game (Night Contests) and they stank, a putrid, stink losing 94 games or more 6 times out of 9 seasons and holding the bottom of the league down for 5 of them.

Pittsburgh Pirates
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1949  6th     71   83  .461   26
1950  8th     57   96  .373   33.5
1951  7th     64   90  .416   32.5
1952  8th     42  112  .273   54.5
1953  8th     50  104  .325   55
1954  8th     53  101  .344   44
1955  8th     60   94  .390   38.5
1956  7th     66   88  .429   27
1957  T7th    62   92  .403   33

1958  2nd     84   70  .545    8

When the Pirates were sold in the late 40’s to a group including Bing Crosby it was the passing of an era. The passing of the torch from Mrs. Barney Dreyfuss (the wife of the Pirates owner since the early part of the century) marked the end of the last ownership that could reach back and touch the days of the realigned National League. The move was the end of an era when Pittsburgh was known as Smoke City and the beginning of an era that would reshape the team and the cities image in the eyes of the baseball world. It also marked the last stop as team GM for Branch Rickey, who was eventually hired to fix the mess created by the dinosaur ownership group who couldn’t move with the quickening pace of mid-century major league baseball. 317 losses in three years, it’s a wonder the team didn’t move, and to show their appreciation once the team stopped losing 100 games a season the fans started to return.

Chicago White Sox
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1927  5th     70   83  .458   39.5
1928  5th     72   82  .468   29
1929  7th     59   93  .388   46
1930  7th     62   92  .403   40
1931  8th     56   97  .366   51.5
1932  7th     49  102  .325   56.5
1933  6th     67   83  .447   31
1934  8th     53   99  .349   47
1935  5th     74   78  .487   19.5

1936  3rd     81   70  .536   20

When Charles Comiskey built his steel and concrete stadium in 1909 he asked pitcher Ed Walsh to help him design the field. Walsh a spitballer in an era that favored pitching helped design a park that was a nice pitchers park for most of it’s life. During hitting eras it helped the home team, except when the home team didn’t help itself. The above is one of those times. A 9 year stretch of sub par hitting and pitching, during one of the biggest hitting eras ever. Prior to 1927 the White Sox had only lost 80 games 5 times prior, it would take 8 season until they lost less then 80. The absolute bottom was hit when the White Sox lost 102 games the year after Charles Comiskey died.

AMERICAN LEAGUE
1927-1935

ERA                         DIFF   PLAYER   LEAGUE
Yankees                    0.36     3.99     4.35
Senators                   0.15     4.20     4.35
A's                        0.15     4.20     4.35
Indians                    0.06     4.29     4.35
Tigers                     0.04     4.31     4.35
Red Sox                    -.15     4.50     4.35
White Sox                  -.22     4.57     4.35
Browns                     -.39     4.73     4.35

=================================================

OBA                         OBA
Yankees                    .372
A's                        .360
Senators                   .352
Tigers                     .349
Indians                    .347
Browns                     .338
White Sox                  .334
Red Sox                    .328

SLG                         SLG
Yankees                    .452
A's                        .435
Tigers                     .411
Indians                    .405
Senators                   .395
Browns                     .382
Red Sox                    .367
White Sox                  .366

Fun Fact: The White Sox didn’t have a player top 29 Home Runs in a season until Bill Melton did it in 1970. In the same span the Yankees did it 44 times and the Red Sox 25, and in Detroit they did it 19 times.

Washington Senators
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1954  6th     66   88  .429   45
1955  8th     53  101  .344   43
1956  7th     59   95  .383   38
1957  8th     55   99  .357   43
1958  8th     61   93  .396   31
1959  8th     63   91  .409   31
1960  5th     73   81  .474   24
1961  7th     70   90  .438   38

1962  2nd     91   71  .562    5

The stink of death, as one of the original AL franchises moves out of the Capital, again. Strangely enough the Washington franchise was drawing about what the pitiful Pirates of the 50’s were drawing. But they didn’t have an owner grumbling about the racial makeup of the city and the dollars being generated by once lost franchises like the Braves. In the decade of the super team the Senators fall way short, they don’t get much press from the New York saturated coverage of the 50’s in the baseball literary world. Taking a look at their record and you might understand why. Each dynasty has its bobos; this is a prime example of one. Whitey Herzog got 504 at bats with the Senators during this time, compiling a .230/.300/.313 line. The last year of the run was spent in Minnesota and a new era was beginning.

Boston Red Sox
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1959  5th     75   79  .487   19
1960  7th     65   89  .422   32
1961  6th     76   86  .469   33
1962  8th     76   84  .475   19
1963  7th     76   85  .472   28
1964  8th     72   90  .444   27
1965  9th     62  100  .383   40
1966  9th     72   90  .444   26

1967  1st     92   70  .568   +1

It began the year Ted Williams turned 40, and the year that Pumpsie Green makes the Red Sox the last team to leave the lily white past of baseball in the rearview mirror. The 100-loss season in 1965 was the first 100-loss season since prior to the Yawkeys purchasing the team in the 1930’s. The string ends with the Impossible Dream season in 1967 and the cementing of Carl Yastrzemski a Boston legend, a moment still celebrated in Red Sox lore, a space of time that even surprised the most diehard Sox fan.

Philadelphia Phillies
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1954  4th     75   79  .487   22
1955  4th     77   77  .500   21.5
1956  5th     71   83  .461   22
1957  5th     77   77  .500   18
1958  8th     69   85  .448   23
1959  8th     64   90  .416   23
1960  8th     59   95  .383   36
1961  8th     47  107  .305   46

1962  7th     81   80  .503   20

What goes up must come down. The Phillies brief touch of the top was a mere memory as they found themselves in a familiar place, the bottom half of the standings, howver this time they were the only show in town, having bid the A’s farewell when they went west after the 1954 season. Two .500 seasons stretched this minor stink in Phillie history; the 90 loss season in 1959 was the teams 26th season with 90 losses or more! 12 of those seasons were 100 losses or more. Gene Mauch came in and saved their bacon, only to infuriate the fans later on in the decade.

Twins
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1993  T5th    71   91  .438   23
1994  4th     53   60  .469   14
1995  5th     56   88  .389   44
1996  4th     78   84  .481   21.5
1997  4th     68   94  .420   18.5
1998  4th     70   92  .432   19
1999  5th     63   97  .394   33
2000  5th     69   93  .426   26

2001  2nd     85   77  .525    6

Ahh the Twins… so often they have popped up after years of stink, vengeful and scrappy they fight their way into the scene, despite the pundits declarations. This era of the Twins was affected by the post lock out situation and the ensuing era often found them on the top of lists to be contracted… somewhere Sam Rice cried. Four straight seasons of 90 losses and 1st base manned by Scott Stahoviak, a fan can only stomach so much. Payback comes again this postseason as the once to be contracted Twins are again in the post season.

Baltimore
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1998  4th     79   83  .488   35
1999  4th     78   84  .481   20
2000  4th     74   88  .457   13.5
2001  4th     63   98  .391   32.5
2002  4th     67   95  .414   36.5
2003  4th     71   91  .438   30
2004  3rd     78   84  .481   23
2005  4th     80   82  .494   21

2006 will be the 9th year in this string, blame the Yankees, blame the Sox… but point a finger at the owner Peter Angelos, a man whose management style is reminiscent of a hammer. The team never transitioned from the Ripken era cleanly and they haven’t found a groove, currently they are on their 4th manager in the slide and poised to lose 90 games for the 4th time in the last 6 seasons.

Royals
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YEAR  PLACE   W    L   PCT   GB
1995  2nd     70   74  .486   30
1996  5th     75   86  .466   24
1997  5th     67   94  .416   19
1998  3rd     72   89  .447   16.5
1999  4th     64   97  .398   32.5
2000  4th     77   85  .475   18
2001  5th     65   97  .401   26
2002  4th     62  100  .383   32.5

2003  3rd     83   79  .512    7

A surprise season in 2003 pulled the once proud Royals franchise out of their post strike funk. It turned out to be a fluke however and the Royals are once again poised to lose 100 games. A feat first attained since 1970 by the 2002 club a team that was the portal out of the game for Chuck Knoblauch. Currently the Royals are in a funk that looks like a sure thing for some sort of list about bad baseball teams in the near future.

Next… Four Star Stink.

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