Now that the Cubs have gone back to playing decent teams after the sweep of Houston, the losses have begun piling up again. And here’s a fun fact: Seattle just lost 17 games in a row and they are still two games better than the Cubs right now. But the tour of baseball in the 1970s keeps moving forward.
1973 Texas Rangers
Expansion team: No
Overall record: 57-105
# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Three
Manager(s): Whitey Herzog, Del Wilber, Billy Martin
Hall of Famers on roster: Herzog, but no players
100 loss seasons since: None
Pennant wins since: 2010
If you ever need to ask someone a really good trivia question, think about Delbert Quentin Wilber (who went by “Babe” for some reason). In the 1973 season, he managed exactly one game in the majors, won it, and then never managed another game again. He served as a place holder between Whitey Herzog, who lasted less than one full season with the Rangers, and Billy Martin, who was hired after being fired by Detroit earlier in the season. Herzog and Martin lost 105 games combined that season, but Wilber secured his place as the manager with the highest winning percentage in history. No one can ever beat it.
1973 San Diego Padres
Expansion team: No
Overall record: 60-102
# of win streaks of 3 games or more: Six
Manager(s): Don Zimmer
Hall of Famers on roster: Dave Winfield
100 loss seasons since: 1974; 1993
Pennant wins since: 1984; 1998
The Padres are here in the 100 loss club for the third time in their short existence as a franchise. But the most remarkable thing I can think to say about this team is that they had the foresight to draft Dave Winfield.
In addition to being drafted by the Padres as a pitcher, Winfield was also drafted by teams in the NBA, ABA, and NFL. Clearly, he was a talented athlete. And in the 1970s, such an athlete would still choose to play baseball. But today, he would be in the NFL of the NBA, and wouldn’t give baseball a second look, most likely. He was promoted by the Padres directly to the major leagues after being drafted out of college, and converted into an outfielder so that he could hit more regularly. I think that was also done with some guy named Ruth. It turned out pretty well for both of these guys, actually.
There isn’t much else that can be said about the 1973 Padres, except that they were very nearly moved to Washington, DC after the season ended. Instead, the team was sold to McDonald’s owner Ray Kroc, and the team has remained in San Diego ever since.