The following is a list of the major league baseball teams that lost the most games in a single season. Not a list any team wants to be on, and all of the teams on this list were just awful baseball teams. I’ve listed all the teams in baseball history that lost 115 or more games in a season.
Major League Baseball Teams with Most Losses in a Season
1. 1899 Cleveland Spiders – 134 losses
The 1899 Cleveland Spiders, playing in the National League, hold the record for most losses in a season with 134. The Spiders started spring training in 1899 with talented players like Cy Young, Jesse Burkett, Cupid Childs and Bobby Wallace on the roster, but before the season started the team was gutted by its owners, brothers Frank and Stanley Robison.
In 1899, while still owning the Cleveland Spiders, the Robison brothers bought the St. Louis Browns and renamed the team the Perfectos. One year later the name would be changed to the Cardinals.
In order to field a good team in St. Louis, the Browns lost 111 games in 1898, Frank and Stanley Robison traded all the best players from their Cleveland team to their St. Louis team. That included future Hall of Fame players Cy Young, Burkett, and Wallace, along with talented second baseman Cupid Childs.
The tactic worked for St. Louis, the team went 84-67 in 1899, but it completely decimated the Spiders, who lost a record 134 games. Included in the 134 losses was a losing streak of 24 games, the second longest losing streak in baseball history.
2. 1962 New York Mets – 120
The 1962 New York Mets lost the second most games in a season in baseball history, and the most in the modern era, with 120 losses. The 1962 Mets were an expansion team in New York that was meant to replace the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, both of whom left New York for California after the 1957 season.
Managed by Casey Stengel, the 1962 Mets had little talent on the roster. Richie Ashburn, who is in the Hall of Fame, was on the team, but he retired after the season. Three players on the team went on to be high-profile managers, Don Zimmer, Gil Hodges, and Roger Craig.
The 1962 Mets will always be remembered for losing 120 games in a season.
3. 2003 Detroit Tigers – 119
After 156 games in the 2003 season, the Detroit Tigers record stood at 38-118. The team looked certain to break the 1962 New York Mets record for most losses in a season in the modern era, but then a miracle happened.
The Tigers finished the 2003 season by winning five of their last six games, to finish with a 43-119 record. Starting pitcher Mike Maroth lost 21 games for the 2003 Detroit Tigers, while Jeremy Bonderman lost 19, and Nate Cornejo lost 17. Adam Bernero only managed to lose 12 games, but his record on the season was 1-12.
4. 1916 Philadelphia A’s – 117
The 1916 Philadelphia A’s managed to lose 117 games, while only playing 154 total games. That is arguably a worse showing than either the 1962 Mets or 2003 Tigers, since the Mets (161 games) and Tigers (162) both played in more games.
5. 1935 Boston Braves – 115
The 1935 Boston Braves, who are now the Atlanta Braves, had a record of 38-115. The 115 losses is the fifth most in major league baseball history. The 1935 Braves are a notable team because they were the last team Babe Ruth ever played for.
After only hitting 22 home runs in 1934, the New York Yankees released Babe Ruth before the start of the 1935 season, and he was signed by the Boston Braves as a player, assistant manager and vice president of the team. Ruth wanted to be a manager in the majors, and hoped he would end up as the Braves manager, but after playing in 28 games he figured out the Braves only signed him to draw fans, and he retired.
The Boston Braves were 10-27 (.270) while Babe Ruth was with the team. After he retired, the team went 28-88 (.241). Ruth hit six home runs for the team, including a game in which he hit three home runs.