1974 San Diego Padres
Expansion team: No
Overall record: 60-102
# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Six
Manager(s): John McNamara
Hall of Famers on roster: Willie McCovey, Dave Winfield
100 loss seasons since: 1993
Pennant wins since: 1984; 1998
The Padres are the closest thing to a regular in these pages, since they are already being highlighted for the fourth time here, in only six years of existence as a franchise. Doing this countdown has made me realize how hard it was for the Padres to get established in the Majors.
I now realize that this team–which suffered so much back in the 1970s– has since made it to the World Series, twice. They haven’t yet won it, but that’s still two more times than I’ve ever seen, and my hat is off to them for the accomplishment. The Cubs’ ongoing failures are magnified when they are put next to the Padres and some other franchises that are still decades away at this point in time.
I spoke of Dave Winfield in the last post here, and the team also featured Willie McCovey, who was 36 and on the downside of his career. The team had a fighting chance to avoid 100 losses, if not for two teams in their own division. The Padres went 2-16 against the Dodgers, and 1-17 against the Atlanta Braves, for a combined winning percentage of .083. A team would have to tear up the rest of the league to overcome that, and the Padres couldn’t do it.
On the bright side, the San Diego Chicken did make its debut this season, and the team would also win the National League pennant only ten years later. I’ve written about that here if you’re interested.
The 1970s are half over now, and the next Cubs loss will bring us to the epochal year of 1975. The year it all changed for me, personally. Should be fun to write about when the time comes.