This is not a definitive list, but rather an overview of whom I believe are the 5 best losers in MLB’s past 11 seasons. I would have added the Detroit Tigers, but this list is subjective, and I hate the Tigers, and I don’t think they will make the postseason ever again, at least I hope not.
Additionally, I would have added the Dodgers because they’re my team. But unfortunately, the Dodgers haven’t been good for an entire season in twenty years.
5. 1998 Atlanta Braves
Like they did throughout most of the 90’s, the Atlanta Braves of 1998 had it all. They had impressive bats with Javy Lopez, Andres Galarraga, Chipper Jones and Andrew Jones (who was not nearly as fat and worthless as he is today as a Dodger), all with thirty or more home runs and 90 RBI each. They had aces in Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, the Braves’ FortÃ© during the 90’s. Maddux finished with a record of 18-9 an ERA of 2.22, while Glavine went 20-6 with an ERA of 2.47, earning the veteran his second Cy Young Award.
The Braves went 106-56 on the year but managed to lose to Tony Gwynn and the San Diego Padres in the disappointing 98′ NLCS.
The Mariners of 2001 started the season in first place and never wavered. They ended the season 116-46, easily winning the American League West Division Championship, breaking the 1998 Yankees‘ American League single-season record of 114 wins, and matching the MLB record for single-season wins of 116 set by the Chicago Cubs in 1906. Upon the season’s end, Ichiro won the AL MVP, AL Rookie of the Year, and one of three outfield Gold Glove Awards, becoming the first player since the 1975 Boston Red Sox’s Fred Lynn to win all three in the same season.
They didn’t have more than nine losses in any month. Their pitching was stacked as well, led by Jamie Moyer and Freddie Garcia. Moyer won 20 games on the year and Garcia 18 while posting an ERA of just 3.05. They beat everyone during the regular season, but once they got to the playoffs it was a different story.
The Mariners defeated the Indians in the ALDS but once again succumbed to the Yankees for the second year in a row in the ALCS, 4 games to 1, in a series which had been postponed due to the terrorist attacks on September 11.
The Cardinals hurdled over everyone finishing the season at 105-57, the best record in baseball. They led the National League in runs, batting average and slugging percentage. The Cardinals where led by Albert Pujols’ 46 home runs and 123 RBI, and Jason Isringhausen’s 47 saves – they were ready to do what they had done in the regular season again in October.
They first defeated the Curse of the Bambino by winning their first World Series in 86 years.in the NLDS and then beat the Houston Astros in the NLCS. When they reached the they were swept by the Boston Red Sox who broke the
2. 2008 Anaheim Angels (no, not the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim)
On September 10, the Angels clinched the American League West division title, their seventh in franchise history, and became the earliest team to clinch the division in its history. Three days later, closing pitcher Francisco Rodriguez broke the single-season save record with his 58th save.
With the Boston Red Sox securing the AL Wild Card, the Angels would have to face their old foes who swept the Halos in the 2007 and 2004 division series.
In game 1, John Lackey gave up a 2 run homer to Jason Bay in the top of the sixth allowing Boston to take a lead they would not relinquish. Boston went on to win 4 games to the Angels’ 2, marking the 10th straight playoff game the Angels lost to Boston. People now refer to this as the curse of Donnie Moore.
1. 2008 Chicago Cubs
The Cubs headed into the All-Star break with the National League’s best record, while tied for the league record with eight representatives in the All-Star game, including catcher and 2008 NL Rookie of the Year, Geovany Soto . On September 14, in a game moved because of Hurricane Ike to Miller Park, Zambrano pitched a no-hitter against the Astros, and six days later the team clinched a playoff birth by beating the Cards at Wrigley.
The Boys in Blue ended the season with a 97-64 record, and were soon to face the “other” Boys in Blue – The Los Angeles Dodgers and their recent acquisition – Manny Ramirez. The heavily favored Cubs took an early lead in Game 1, but LA Dodger James Loney and his grand slam off Ryan Dempster turned the game around and gave the Dodgers momentum on the road. Chicago committed numerous critical errors and were outscored 20-6 in a Dodger sweep, which provided yet another sudden and stunning ending to what had once been looked at as a season of destiny.