The 1962 New York Mets are widely considered to be the worst baseball team of all time. Finishing with a 40-120 record, it still remains the worst in the live ball era. It is hard to believe that only seven years later they were raising the commissioner’s trophy. The real worst team of all time, however, did not fare nearly as well. The 1873 Baltimore Marylands were so awful that they dissolved their franchise in the middle of the 1873 season, and never played a game again. This team is, in every way, the worst baseball team to ever walk the earth, and remains today a disgrace to the sport that has been long forgotten. This team was so bad they do not deserve to be forgotten, which is why I am bringing them back from the dead.
The first impression of this team is as bad as any, because they have one of the worst names in history. I thought the New York Mets was an uncreative name, but the Baltimore Marylands? Not only does it sound horrible and make no sense, but it looks terrible on paper, too. “Maryland” was not a word that was every meant to be put in the plural form. That is because there is only one Maryland, and yet we have a team of 19 players calling themselves the Marylands.
Now, let’s actually examine the play of this team to see just how bad they really were. They finished their only season with a .156 team batting average. Our friends the 1962 Mets had one almost one hundred points higher at .240. The Marylands recorded zero home runs in their history, and only one extra base hit (a double by Mike Hooper). They attempted to make up for their dismal offense with their even worse pitching. The Marylands had a team earned run average of 8.00, and in total allowed 152 runs on 144 hits. The pitching staff also failed to record a single strike out the entire season. The team did not win a single game in their history, finishing with a record of 0-6. That likely comes as a surprise to most. How can a team that only played six games be the worst of all time? The answer is that they were so horribly bad in those six games, even by the standards of the time, that they were unable to play anymore games.
I think it would be reasonable to say that the most basic baseball skill, the first thing you learn playing baseball, is throwing and catching a ball. Someone who cannot do that will get cut from every team for which they try out. Nobody even looks at the other aspects of your game if you are unable to throw and catch. You have to learn to crawl before you can walk, which you have to do before you can run. Well in this analogy, the Baltimore Marylands tried to run an olympic marathon before they could crawl. I mentioned that the Maryland’s team ERA was 8.00, and they allowed 152 runs in their six games. Well, the math doesn’t add up quite right there. A team ERA of 8.00 over six games should allow a total of 48 runs. That leaves 104 of 152 runs without clear origin. That is because ERA only encompasses earned runs. In six games, the Marylands allowed 104 unearned runs, which by the standards of any time in baseball history, is horrible. The team committed a terrifying 74 errors over their six games of shame, which, to put in context, is higher than two teams in the 2018 season, who played a season 27 times longer. Now, only a minority of this team ever played professional baseball outside of the Marylands, but some of them did. In fact, one of them, Henry Kohler, led the team in errors.
So, how did a team this horrible come to be? There is no definite answer to that question, but I can make a pretty good guess. Almost all of the players for the Marylands are from Baltimore. From this, I can infer that the team thought it would be fun to play professional baseball and were not at all serious about it. If you think this disqualifies them from being the worst team of all time, I have two things to say to that. First, this is a guess I am making about the team’s origin and should not be accepted as fact. Secondly, even if it wasn’t serious, they were still in the league.
Even more mysterious than the origin of this team was it’s demise. Over the team’s first five games, their average margin of defeat was 23.2 runs. If I was running this team and saw my team lose 24-3 on opening day, I would have immediately dissolved the team. They, however, were a bit more resilient. In their fifth game, they lost to the Baltimore Canaries by a score of 35-1. If the first four games weren’t enough, this should have been their last game. Now, it is likely that the players were more interested in the party after the game than the game itself, but still, this could not have been fun. They insisted on continuing their season with another game against the Canaries, which they dropped 20-10. By the standards of any other team ever, this is awful. But it was the lowest margin of defeat for the Marylands in their history by a lot. They could have built off this game, but instead, they now found it fit to dissolve the franchise. After so much suffering, they got a small taste of success, and ended the whole thing. The Marylands would never play another game, and to this day remain one of the greatest mysteries in baseball history.
Pre-modified Feature Photo: Majestic