Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

5 Biggest Losing Streaks in Baseball History


2
1961 Philadelphia Phillies
The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after winning the 2008 World Series – a far cry from the losing streaks of old.
The Philadelphia Phillies celebrate after winning the 2008 World Series – a far cry from the losing streaks of old.
Ron Tringali/Getty Images

In late July of 1961, a very young Philadelphia Phillies team went on a five-game losing streak before winning the second game of a double-header against the San Francisco Giants on July 28. A five-game slump isn't great news, but it's nothing to cry in your beer about. What came next, though, had Phillies fans sobbing into their Yuengling for three straight weeks.

From July 28 through August 20, the Phillies lost 23 straight games [source: Donaghy]. If you overlooked that lone "W" against the Giants, it was more like 28 games. The colossal losing streak still stands as the longest in major league history since the advent of the World Series in 1903.

The '61 Phillies were young, but they weren't terrible. They just had a very, very bad run. During the streak, they batted a collective .248 and couldn't seem to convert with runners in scoring position. Many of the games could have gone either way, though: Eight of the matches, painfully enough, were lost by a single run [source: Philly.com].

Phillies manager Gene Mauch loved his players, but hated losing. After one crushing loss, he smashed the dugout lights. When they installed protective cages around the lights, he took them out with a bat. When one of his players was tagged hard at home, Mauch led the rest of the team in a bench-clearing brawl [source: Donaghy].

Phillies fans can be brutal, but they are nothing if not loyal. When the Phillies finally broke the cursed streak, they boarded a late flight back to Philadelphia, arriving close to midnight. From their windows, the team saw a crowd assembled at the gate. A player joked that that someone was selling rocks to the crowd for a dollar a bucket.

To the Phillies' great surprise, the crowd of 2,000 was there to cheer the return of their triumphant heroes. A brass band played as the crowd lifted the tortured Phillies manager Gene Mauch on their shoulders and paraded him for a long-awaited victory lap [source: Philly.com].