Academic Forum 21 2003-04
Baseball's Worst Team
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Abstract - In this paper we will look at some of the worst teams in baseball history and try to
decide which team was indeed the worst. We will look at some statistics that will compare the
teams to the teams of their day to try to account for the differences in eras.
Much discussion is heard regarding who the best player, hitter, pitcher, etc. in baseball history
may have been. There is not typically a lot of discussion on who the worst in any of these
categories may be. The 2003 season changed that a little bit due to the incredible futility
displayed by the Detroit Tigers. In this paper, we will look at some of the worst teams in
baseball history and see if, indeed, the Tigers qualify.
The first consideration needs to be what criteria we will use to make our determination of the
worst team. Certainly the teams win-loss record and winning percentage should be considered.
Since the word "worst" implies a comparison, we should also look a how far the teams finished
out of first place and, to see how truly bad they were, how far they finished behind the next-to-
The following table lists the teams we will consider for the designation as the worst team in
baseball history. There have been other teams that were very bad. Obviously the choice of
candidates is fairly arbitrary, however, most would agree that these nine teams were rather bad.
Games out of:
1904 Washington Senators