September 17, 2021

The Worst Teams in Baseball History (FanGraphs)

After the World Series ended and the Nationals emerged victorious, I wrote about how the Astros had put together one of the greatest regular seasons of all time and joined the (perhaps ignominious) list of great teams without a title. In doing so, I created the below graph, which shows team winning percentage and WAR, highlighting some of the greatest teams of all time:

At the time, I didn’t mention the teams at the very bottom-left of the graph. If the teams at the top-right are the greatest, then the teams in the bottom-left are the worst. In trying to find a single number to determine just how good or bad a team was, I created an IQ-like score for both winning percentage and team WAR, where 100 is average and every standard deviation away from the mean was worth 15 points. Then I took the average of the two scores for one final number. For reference, this year’s Astros team ended up at 136.5; more than 90% of all teams from 1903 through this season were between 75 and 125.

Because one big list going back to 1903 might end up with too many teams that some readers might have little interest in, or at least no memory of, let’s start with the worst teams of the last…

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