Mariners fans, it can always be worse: The story of history’s worst MLB team

May 26, 2019, 4:22 PM

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The Mariners' pitching staff has given up 95 home runs this season. (Getty)


The narrative of the Mariners’ season is well-told by now: Seattle began the year as baseball’s hottest team, setting a new MLB record for consecutive games with a home run to start a season (20) and led the MLB in nearly every offensive category.

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Defensively, Seattle struggled from the start. And once the bats cooled, the league leader in errors could do little to support its inconsistent rotation and bullpen.

Three Mariners are in the top five in errors committed – shortstop Tim Beckham (11), third baseman Ryon Healy (nine) and left fielder Domingo Santana (nine) – and the team’s 58 errors are 14 higher than the next-highest team. Meanwhile, Seattle’s pitchers have allowed 95 home runs in 55 games. ESPN’s Eddie Matz, who recently wrote of the Baltimore Orioles’ unfortunate MLB record pace to 100 home runs allowed, noted that Seattle isn’t far behind. The Mariners rank second to last in the majors in ERA (5.17) and home runs allowed, and are first in hits allowed (527).

The result? Seattle has dropped 30 of its last 40 games, and over the course of one month, have gone from a plus-32 run differential to minus-43.

If there’s one silver lining, it’s that Seattle will have ample time to develop young talent – which was, after all, the goal of 2019’s ‘step-back’ season. To be blunt, this team was never supposed to be a contender. And perhaps this is how fans should be watching the season. As a starting point, check out Mariners insider Shannon Drayer’s recent piece for that takes a look at how that young talent – catcher Omar Narváez, designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, and center fielder Mallex Smith, among others – is developing at the MLB level.

And even with its dismal turn, Seattle’s record isn’t as bad as the worst team in baseball history. Yes, that’s a very low bar. It’s also a stretch, given that current MLB rules would prevent any team from being as bad.

But for fans of any franchise, it’s always good to know one thing: it could always be worse.

Listen to the story of the worst team in baseball history, recapped by Jake Heaps, Stacy Rost and Curtis Rogers during 710 ESPN Seattle’s Seattle Sports at Night:

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Mariners fans, it can always be worse: The story of history’s worst MLB team