These teams lost at least 110 games

October 1st, 2023

To the victors go the spoils. As for the vanquished, many of them are forgotten. However, there are some downtrodden teams that made their own history. It might be unpleasant to remember, but here are the AL/NL teams that have lost the most games during a single season.

Note: This list contains teams that played after the start of the Modern Era (since 1900). As such, the 1899 Cleveland Spiders, who hold the AL/NL record with 134 losses, are not included below.

1. 1962 New York Mets: 120 losses (.250)
Expansion teams don’t have rousing success right out of the game. The 1961 California Angels own the best record by an expansion team in its inaugural season at 70-91-1. But no new franchise traveled a rougher road in year one than the 1962 Mets. The pitching staff turned in a 5.04 ERA, a mark no team would exceed over the following quarter century. Their 210 errors are the most by any club in the Expansion Era (since 1961), tying the ‘63 Mets. It would not get much better over the next few years -- you will see the Mets again later on this list -- but they would experience a simply Amazin’ turnaround in 1969.

2. 2003 Detroit Tigers: 119 losses (.265)
The Tigers avoided surpassing the ‘62 Mets by winning five of their final six games, including their season finale versus the AL Central-champion Twins. That game was won by left-hander Mike Maroth, whose 21 losses were the most by any pitcher since 1974. Detroit’s minus-337 run differential was the worst by any club in more than 70 years. But it would soon find a rotation leader and one of the best pitchers of his generation when it drafted Justin Verlander with the second overall pick in 2004. Only three years after setting the AL record for losses, the Tigers faced the Cardinals in the World Series with the rookie Verlander on the mound for Game 1.

3. 1916 Philadelphia Athletics: 117 losses (.235)
The Athletics reigned throughout the early half of the 1910s, winning three World Series titles and four National League pennants. But the back half of the decade contained some of their least successful seasons under the legendary Connie Mack. These Athletics own the lowest winning percentage of any Modern Era club and finished 40 games behind the second-to-last team in the NL standings. Only two pitchers won more than two games, and the staff’s overall 73 ERA+ is the second worst of any club since 1900.

4-T. 1935 Boston Braves: 115 losses (.248)
Not even Babe Ruth could save this team. Ruth, entering his 22nd Major League season and his age-40 campaign, had been on only one sub-.500 club before signing with the Braves in February 1935. His stint was short-lived as he played his final game on May 30 and, after batting .181 through 72 at-bats, announced his retirement a few days later. The Braves went 4-20 in May and had multiple losing streaks that lasted at least 14 games.

4-T. 2018 Baltimore Orioles: 115 losses (.290)
The Orioles made the playoffs three times between 2012-16. Although many players from those teams remained on the 2018 roster, it was clear by midseason that changes were on the horizon. Longtime O's such as Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Brad Brach and Darren O’Day were traded in July, marking the launch of a rebuild that began to bear fruit in the early 2020s. Of course, these moves didn’t offer any immediate help; Baltimore went 15-40 after Trade Deadline day and finished 61 games out of first place in the AL East.

6. 2019 Detroit Tigers: 114 losses (.292)
You could argue that 2019 was the worst offensive season in the Tigers’ storied history. Their 1,595 strikeouts were 254 more than any previous season. Their 78 OPS+ was the franchise’s lowest since 1902, its second year of existence. Only one player with at least 300 plate appearances registered an OPS+ of 95 or better. That was outfielder Nick Castellanos, who put up a 105 OPS+ before he was dealt to the Cubs at the Trade Deadline.

7. 1904 Washington Senators: 113 losses (.252)
The 1904 Senators were surrounded by change. They moved into a new home ballpark and played under new ownership, which decided to dismiss manager Tom Loftus a week before the season began. He was replaced by 34-year-old catcher Malachi Kittridge, whose one and only stint as an MLB manager ended after the Senators began the season 1-16-1. Outfielder Patsy Donovan became the interim manager, but that did little to solve the team’s woes. Washington ultimately averaged just 2.78 runs per game.

8-T. 1952 Pittsburgh Pirates: 112 losses (.273)
The Pirates endured an eight-year stretch during the 1950s that saw them finish last or second-to-last in the NL each season. That stretch was bleakest in ‘52. Pittsburgh dropped 28 of its first 33 games and wrapped the year by losing 23 of its final 28. But there was a light at the end of this long tunnel as the Pirates opened the next decade with a legendary World Series triumph over the vaunted Yankees. 

8-T. 1965 New York Mets: 112 losses (.309)
The ‘65 Mets posted a 74 OPS+, the second-worst mark in franchise history. They also scored 122 fewer runs than their aforementioned, less successful version. This season contained Yogi Berra’s final game as a player, an 0-for-4 performance against the Milwaukee Braves on May 9, three days before his 40th birthday. Berra would then transition into a full-time coach with the Mets and remain with them for the next decade. That tenure included a 1973 NL pennant with Berra as manager.

8-T. 2023 Oakland Athletics: 112 losses (.309)
After reaching the postseason in three straight seasons from 2018-20 and winning 86 games in 2021, the A’s began a rebuild by trading away a number of veteran stars, including Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea. More departures followed at the 2022 Trade Deadline and during the offseason, leading to 112 losses in 2023. It marked the A’s worst season since the franchise moved to the Bay Area in 1968.

Other teams that lost at least 110 games in the Modern Era:
2013 Houston Astros: 111 losses
2004 Arizona D-backs: 111 losses
1963 New York Mets: 111 losses
1941 Philadelphia Phillies: 111 losses
1939 St. Louis Browns: 111 losses
1932 Boston Red Sox: 111 losses
2021 Arizona D-backs: 110 losses
2021 Baltimore Orioles: 110 losses
1969 Montreal Expos: 110 losses
1969 San Diego Padres: 110 losses
1909 Washington Senators: 110 losses