Worst in Sports Baseball Part 2

About the worsts in the sport of baseball including the worst team in a game and field performance.



Worst Team (one game): The Detroit Tigers on May 18, 1912; also known as the Detroit Pick-Ups because the team that played for Detroit that day was not the real one. What happened was that Detroit's abrasive star Ty Cobb had jumped into the stands in New York and beaten senseless a spectator who had been cursing him. Cobb was suspended without a hearing, and in sympathy Detroit players went on strike. Rather than forfeit and pay a $5,000 fine, the Tiger owner directed manager Hughie "Ee-yah" Jennings to put together a team for the next day's game in Philadelphia. And so the word went out that, as Arthur "Bugs" Baer wrote, "Any ballplayer who can stop a grapefruit from rolling uphill or hit a bull in the pants with a bass fiddle has got a chance of going direct...to the Detroits." Jennings picked a lightweight boxer named Billy McHarg to play third base. He also selected two of his coaches, 41-year-old Joe Sugden and 48-year-old Deacon McGuire ("so old they can sleep in a swamp without mosquito netting," one newsman wrote); a semipro pitcher named Al Travers; and an outfielder whose name was so long it was listed in the box score as "L'n'h's'r."

This haphazard collection was arrayed against the world-champion A's of Eddie Collins, Home Run Baker, and Stuffy McInnis. Travers went the distance, allowing 25 hits and 7 walks in 8 innings. He did strike out one batter, which might have eased the pain of his 24--2 defeat. One of the Pick-Ups' infielders was struck in the mouth by a ground ball and lost two teeth. One outfielder, who was struck on the head by a fly ball, was instructed by Jennings to forget about trying to catch balls on the fly but rather to "play them off the walls." The Pick-Ups collected 4 hits and made 10 errors. Cobb, apparently fearing that his teammates (the real Tigers) would face harsh disciplinary action, urged them to end their one-day strike, which they did. The Detroit regulars were fined $100 each, while Cobb was fined $50 and suspended for 10 days. None of the Detroit Pick-Ups ever played another game in the major leagues. As for the Four Apostrophes (L'n'h's'r), who went hitless, Baer wrote: "Nobody knows whether his name was Loopenhouser or Lagenhassinger and I bet his wife still calls him a liar when he says he once played for the Detroits."

Worst Fielding Performance (one play): Third baseman Mike Grady of the New York Giants, 1895. His memorable feat began when he muffed an easy ground ball allowing the batter to reach first. Error no. 1. Then he overthrew the ball to first, allowing the runner to advance to second. Error no. 2. The runner headed for third, and the first baseman threw to Grady in time, but Grady dropped it. Error no. 3. The runner raced home, and Grady threw over the catcher's head. Error no. 4. And all on a single play.

Worst Fielding Performance (one inning): Dodger outfielder Willie Davis committed three errors in the 5th inning of the second game of the 1966 World Series.

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