The Philadelphia Inquirer swept the dust off of retired sports columnist Bill Lyons so that he could write a piece for today’s paper reminding us the Philadelphia — not Boston or Chicago — has the losingest baseball team around. Thanks Bill for bringing that up.
From the Inquirer:
When it comes to losing, the Fightin’s have no equal. At one point in this season – which begins for the Phillies tomorrow afternoon against the Braves- they will post their 10,000th defeat. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the über-CPA of sports stats, no franchise in any sport has lost more games.
Their 1961 ancestors still hold the record for most consecutive defeats: 23. The 1964 team suffered a meltdown – 6½ games ahead with 12 to play – cited still when conversation turns to inglorious all-time collapses. Their total of world championship rings is one fewer than two. That’s fewer than the Boston Red Sox (who actually have won six Series), and fewer even than the Chicago Cubs (whose rings came in 1907 and 1908). Yet these two teams have been the two most celebrated of the frustrated. Those two franchises have been portrayed, ad nauseam, sympathetically, even heroically. The Phils have been accorded no such gentle, forgiving sentiment.
That’s right, folks, Philly is the worst. And, frankly, it’s not even that close. Boston fans like to whine about how they suffered all those years before Curt Schilling overcame his bloody sock to rescue them. Cubs fans like to bemoan Steve Bartman and his interfering. But Schilling couldn’t do for Philly what he did for Boston and Arizona, because we’re way bigger losers than they are. And Bartman — well, he didn’t make Alex Gonzalez miss that grounder, did he?
The fact is Phillies fans have suffered over the years just as much, if not more, than any other fan base. I’m 27 and I’ve rooted for the Phils since I was two years old. I don’t really remember when the Phils played the Orioles in the ’83 World Series, but I’m told we lost. Since then, the team has only made the playoffs once. That was 1993, the year we lost to the Blue Jays in game six of the World Series, on a walk-off home run by Joe Carter. You want to know torture? Try watching your manager call for Mitch Williams in the ninth inning of game six of the World Series.
Since 1993, the Phils have been competative. Just enough to get everyone’s hopes up, and then fall a hair short of the playoffs.
Of course, this year will be different. But just in case it isn’t, we can always look forward to the team’s 10,000th loss. And in October, if Ryan Howard is spending his afternoons on the golf course, he’ll be able to take comfort in the knowledge that he’s not just playing for some losing team. He’s playing for the GREATEST loser of all time. Take that, Boston and Chicago.