There have been some historically bad hitting teams in baseball. Based on minutes of crack research by me, I came up with 7 teams that have hit .220 or less for a season since 1900. For me, one of those teams shines a brighter light than all the others. Let’s take a brief look at these 7 teams.
1908 Brooklyn Superbas-Hit .213 as a team on their way to a 53-101 record. Surprisingly they did not finish in last place, edging out the woeful St Louis Cardinals by 4 games. Patsy Donovan managed for the entire season. He did not return in 1909.
It featured one of the all time worst hitters in the game, catcher Bill Bergen. He played in 99 games and managed to score just 8 runs. He hit just .175, a pretty good year for the lifetime .170 hitter. 1st baseman Tim Jordon led the team with 12 home runs(1st in the NL) with a .247 average.
It also featured one of the greatest names in baseball. 19 year old Pembroke Finlayson pitched 1/3 of an inning, giving up 5 runs. That works out to a 135.00 ERA.
This is actually a picture of the 1907 Superbas. None of them look particularly thrilled to be there, especially the player standing on the left. It looks like he just realized this is not the Fordham team picture.
1910 Chicago White Sox– Hit .211 as a team, a post 1900 record, but they still managed a 6th place finish in the AL. Their 68-85 record was 23.5 games better than the last place Browns. A 2.03 team ERA will win you some low scoring games. 1st Baseman Chick Gandil led the team with a whopping 2 home runs. Only 5 other players hit a home run for the White Sox that season. Patsy Dougherty paced the team with a .248 average, while the future mud rubbing entrepreneur, Lena Blackburne hit .174.
The 1910 White Sox featuring the ghoulish looking Chick Gandil(standing with arms crossed) and what looks like a young Sadaam Hussein in the back right.
1910 St. Louis Browns- Hit .218 as a team and finished 57 games out with a 47-107 record. Their 4.70 team ERA was good for last in the AL. They hit just 12 home runs as a team, with no player hitting more than 2. Future Hall of Famer Bobby Wallace hit .258 to lead the team. Rube Waddell went 3-1, it was his last season in the major leagues.
A panoramic view of the 1910 St Louis Browns.
1963 NY Mets-In just their 2nd season the lowly Mets hit .219 as a team. 21 points lower than the 120 loss 1962 team. At 51-111 they won 11 more games than the 62 team, but still managed to finish last, 48 games back. Casey Stengel was managing his 2nd season with the Mets, and he was still wondering if anybody here can play this game. 2nd baseman Ron Hunt hit .278 to lead the team, while 18 year old Ed Kranepool hit .209. Gil Hodges played his final game in May, after hitting .227 in 11 games.
1963 Houston Colt 45’s- Playing in their 2nd season the 45’s hit exactly .220 as a team, finishing ahead of the Mets with a 66-96 record. 19 year old Rookie Rusty Staub hit .224, while the forgettable Al Spangler led the team with a .281 average. 19 year old Joe Morgan made his debut in September. In 8 games he hit .240. This is also the team where John Paciorek went 3-3 with 4 runs scored in his only Major League game.
1972 Texas Rangers– The former Washington Senators, playing in their 1st season as the Rangers hit .217 on their way to a last place finish and a 54-100 record. Ted Williams actually managed this hitless mess. It was his last season as a manager. Toby Harrah hit .259 to lead the team. Outfielder Ted Ford led the team with 14 home runs.(Yeah, I’ve never heard of him either)
Ted Williams sits glumly in the middle of the 2nd row, and can you blame him?
And finally, the team that is responsible for lighting my baseball fan boy flame. At the tender age of 9 my malleable brain was almost permanently reduced to ash while watching this team hit. The 1968 New York Yankees hit an amazing .214 as a team, the lowest since the 1910 White Sox. 1968 was the year of the pitcher, with the entire AL hitting just .230, so the Yankees still managed to finish in 5th place with an 83-79 record. They put together a 10 game winning streak in September, putting them in 3rd place. They went 3-9 to end the season, breaking a little boys heart. They were shutout 14 times, and rarely seemed to score more than 3 runs a game. Mickey Mantle finished his career by hitting .237 with a team leading 18 home runs. Roy White hit .267 to lead the team. Tom Tresh played 152 games at short and hit just .195. Horace Clarke hit .230 and was my favorite player next to the Mick. That all changed when Bobby Murcer arrived in 1969 which cemented my love of baseball, and the NY Yankees.
So a team that hit just .214 became my favorite team. When anyone accuses me of jumping on the Yankee bandwagon I just point out this team, and for that matter most of the 80’s.
How can you not love Horace Clarke?