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The 10 Worst MLB Franchises in League History

Washington Nationals

Major League Baseball is a sport that millions of fans follow. The best teams have the strongest records of wins, followed by a list of impressive player and team statistics that continue for multiple seasons. The worst teams established a track record for the most losses and consecutive seasons of poor performance. Which are the ten worst MLB franchises in operation today?

Ranking each team by deciding factors of wins to loss ratios is a part of the formula. The number of pennants and championships, and World Series games and wins. Some teams have remained at the back of the list for decades. They emerge as the worst teams in the history of the sport. We've listed them with #10 being the least of the most disappointing teams and #1 being the absolute worst team in the league.

10. Philadelphia Phillies

  • Seasons Played:122
  • Winning Games:2 World championships, 7 pennants, and 14 appearances in playoffs.

The Philadelphia Phillies isn't the worst team in the MLB, but its stats are not impressive compared to 29 other franchises. The Phillies have been around for 122 seasons. You'd think a team that's been around that long would have a few more victories in its history. Bleacher Report confirms that the last World Series win was in 2008, following its previous win in 1980.

In the most recent season, they once again occupy the place of the bottom-ranked team in their division. When we go back further in the team's history, they held the record for the number of losses with a 1942 season of 109 to 42 wins. The 1940s was when they belonged to the National League before the league even created divisions. The Phillies won three consecutive games that year while the losing streak of 13 consecutively blotted their record. We can safely say they're the tenth worst team in MLB with confidence. A win percentage of .278 is horrible, but fans still come out to support them.

9. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

  • Seasons Played: 51
  • Winning Games: 1 world championship, 1 pennant, and 9 playoffs

While the Angels of Anaheim are not the worst team in Major League Baseball, they're not far from it. In 51 seasons of play, the team won a pennant and a world championship and made it to the playoffs for 9 appearances. The team experienced a bright spot when it took the World Series title in 2002. It would stand as the team's only championship win up until now. They made a good run in the 1980s, from their championship win through 2009.

They fell into old habits, and Inside Hook reports that 2014 was another decent year for them in the playoffs, but they placed 29 out of 30 in 2021. We can confirm that they've progressed by moving up by 8 positions. Instead of being the next to the last team, eight others edged them out as the worst teams in the MLB. The players are skilled, but their teamwork is lacking. They can't manage to pull it together with the numerous player injuries.

8. Tampa Bay Rays

  • Seasons Played: 14
  • Winning Games: 1 pennant and 3 appearances in the playoffs

The Tampa Bay Rays is a team that is still in its infancy when compared to some of the other older MLB franchises, but is it an excuse for earning one pennant and making just three playoff appearances? In 14 seasons of professional play, the Tampa Bay Rays have a lackluster record of victories with 4 positive season events against 10 miserable seasons. We can give them a pass for being the youngest team in the league, as they're not the worst team.

Perhaps their young talent will pay off with a few more seasons' practice? We shall need to wait and see what happens in their future endeavors. Although they had a great season with 97 wins in 2008, they struggled to move up on the list of the best teams. We're hoping that the Rays can pull it together and begin the journey to a more successful data set of statistics. It will take more than a few good seasons, but with David Price and Evan Longoria, the odds of improvement appear to be in their favor.

7. Colorado Rockies

  • Seasons Played: 19
  • Winning Games: 1 pennant and 3 appearances in the playoffs

The Colorado Rockies are also a young team, but they've been MLB players for five years longer than the Tampa Bay Rays. Although they've had longer to pull their acts together as a cohesive team, the Rockies are faring worse than the Rays. We can't overlook the pennant they won and their achievements at 3 playoff appearances. They've not yet been able to stay on top of their game to achieve a long winning streak. They seem to be on a roller coaster with a few impressive wins, followed by a slew of defeats and lackluster performance. They've got the potential to turn their standing around in the next few seasons, but for now, they remain in the middle of the top ten worst MLB teams in 2022. If you think their stats are disappointing, wait until you see the horrific histories of the next six worst MLB teams.

6. San Diego Padres

  • Seasons Played: 43
  • Winning Games: 2 pennants, 5 appearances in the playoffs

ESPN suggests that the Padres are the worst team in the MLB for 2022, but we agree with Bleacher Report's assessment that moves it up five notches. They explain their position by confirming that the team suffered from the suspension of Fernando Tatis Jr as a shortstop for clostebol abuse. The drug is an illegal performance enhancer, and The MLB banned its use in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, he broke the rules because a penalty is an 80-game suspension that's wreaked havoc on the team. It's a scandal, but Taitis claims he accidentally ingested the drug, using it as a ringworm treatment. It all seems innocent, but the MLB offers no wiggle room, even if it was an accident.

The rules are the law. He delivered his apologies for the mistake. Although it's a rough blow for the team, it doesn't fully account for the lack of wins on their record. The franchise has played 43 seasons with a mere 5 playoff appearances and 2 pennants. The unfortunate situation has taken him out of 48 2022 games, and the remaining suspensions will keep him out for 32 games at the beginning of the 2023 year. The unfortunate event isn't going to help them move up the list and off the MLB's ten worst teams list anytime soon. They still haven't rebounded from the losing streak that put them in last place from 1969 through 1983. They showed the world they could make it to the World Series in 1984. They didn't win but were victors until they lost in five games. They're far from throwing in the towel. The team plans to rebuild and make the necessary improvements in their playing strategies regardless of the obstacles.

5. Texas Rangers

  • Seasons Played: 51
  • Winning Games: 2 pennants and 5 appearances in three playoffs

The Texas Rangers have an identical record of pennants and playoff appearances as the Padres. We can't call it a tie because they've been an MLB franchise for eight years longer than the Pads. It takes them down a notch and further away from getting their team off the 10 worst MLB teams list. They'd be even further down the list had they not earned consecutive American League titles. Their first division title was in 1996. Fans hope that the Rangers will climb out of the hole they dug and find the magic they once enjoyed.

4. Milwaukee Brewers

  • Seasons Played: 43
  • Winning Games: 1 pennant and 4 appearances in playoff games

The Milwaukee Brewers have been around for 43 seasons. They've earned just 1 pennant and 4 appearances in the playoffs. They made it to the 1982 World Series, which shows the team was at its finest, but they slid back into a losing streak, with poor performance and below-average playing until they made their first return to playoffs in 2008.

The impressive events were too far in between to lift them out of the cursed worst franchise list. The Brewers have had their share of top-notch players, including Hank Aaron, Paul Molitor, Rollie Fingers, and Robin Yount. It's simply not been in the cards for the Brewers to maintain consistency in playing. The one consistency in their more than four-decade existence is that they've been on the worst teams list more often than not.

3. Houston Astros

  • Seasons Played: 50
  • Winning Games: 1 pennant and 9 playoff appearances

You'd think the 9 playoff appearances would move the Astros further up on the list. The team played in the 2005 World Series and even earned a pennant. The problem is that the Astros had a few good years but a history with too many seasons of poor standings in the league. They performed at their best between 1997 through 2005, but the rest of the 50 seasons are lackluster.

2. Seattle Mariners

  • Seasons Played: 35
  • Winning Games: 4 playoff appearances, no other wins

The second worst team in the MLB is undisputedly the Seattle Mariners. The team should be out of its infancy stage with 35 seasons under their belts, but it's not gone well for most of their three and a half decades. The Mariners enjoyed several seasons with Hall of Famers Randy Johnson, Ken Grifffey, Jr, Ichiro, and Alex Rodriguez. With all that talent, they didn't once make it past 4 appearances in the playoffs. Their best season was in 2021, when they had a 115-win on the scorecard.

They did well during the era from 1995 through 2000, encouraging fans to believe that the team would pull out of its rut and get off the naughty list. Please don't count the Mariners out, as they've worked hard to make improvements to experience another run of successes and victories. It's going to take a while for them to make up for all the negatives, but if they work hard, they can gradually pull the averages out of the hole and begin to place higher on the best teams list instead of the worst.

1. Washington Nationals

  • Number of Seasons Played: 43
  • Winning Games: 1 playoff appearance

The Washington Nationals is officially the worst franchise in the MLB. Federal Baseball called it in April of 2022 and pointed out the massive shortcomings with a record of 1 playoff appearance and no other remarkable games in its 43 years in existence. They did manage to bring on winning records for "seventeen seasons," but the team's history is disappointing to fans. When compared to all of the other teams in Major League Baseball, they're at the bottom of the list with the most losses and the least wins.

They haven't figured out how to turn it around and transform from rock bottom to begin the slow and painful ascent to the top. Media reports confirmed in August of 2022 that they're trading a few key players. Sports analysts believe it will be a mistake, but when you're already at the bottom, there's nowhere to go but up. The alternative is staying in the last place. So far, the Nationals franchise isn't showing any evidence of improving soon. Only time will tell if it will remain the leader of the worst teams list or if it will get its act together and let someone else enjoy the honors.

Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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