The Oakland Athletics were not on the wrong end of a perfect game on June 29 when they fell at home to the New York Yankees in what is likely becoming their final season in the city across the bay from San Francisco. Oakland is preparing a move to Las Vegas, where the Tropicana Hotel will be demolished to make room for a new ballpark.

But yes, they lost, this time to the Yankees by a score of 10-4 for their second straight defeat, which is nothing by their standards. The worst team in Major League Baseball has endured losing streaks of 11, 8, 7, 6, and 5 (twice) games this season, playing 27 home games that drew fewer than 10,000 spectators. The low was 2,064 on May 15 against Arizona, which is a stunningly paltry number for a franchise that routinely sold out the Oakland Coliseum in the 1970s when Reggie Jackson was the star and Charley Finley was the colorful owner.

But times change, and fortunes change, and the city of Oakland is going to lose another team after watching the Golden State Warriors move across the bay to San Francisco to play at the Chase Center. This is an unfortunate part of sports in America, where certain cities lose the one entity that held them together as a sporting community. This was the case in Washington D.C. after the Senators left for Texas in 1975, and it stayed that way for 27 years until the Nationals were formed in 2002.

The Senators/Rangers franchise has not won a World Series since its inaugural 1961 season, and the franchise that now holds the distinction of having gone the longest without even a World Series appearance is the Seattle Mariners, who have been around since 1977 and never played for a title.

But that is big-picture stuff. When it comes to losing, it happens short-term, too.

The Athletics’ 11-game skid was the longest in the majors this season, and the Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago White Sox have all had 10-game slides. The good news is that baseball plays a 162-game schedule, so the chance for a turnaround comes almost every single day. Insert your own joke here about Steve Cohen’s overpaid Mets being immune from that rule.

No baseball team has ever lost every single game in a season, so there is always hope in this sport. Even one victory in a lost season can be special to a young fan attending his first game in person, so all is not lost even when almost every game is a loss. That is one of the beauties of baseball.

What is the longest losing streak in the 2023 MLB season?

Oakland’s 11-game streak began on May 17 with a 5-3 defeat against Arizona and included six losses to the Houston Astros and four to the Seattle Mariners before it ended on Memorial Day against Atlanta.

Which team has the longest losing streak to start a season?

The 1988 Baltimore Orioles went 0-21 to start the 1988 season, shattering the previous mark for futility set by the 1920 Detroit Tigers, who lost their first 12. Ironically, that Orioles roster included some of the best players in baseball history: Cal Ripken Jr., Curt Schilling, Eddie Murray, and Fred Lynn.

Which team has the longest losing streak in baseball history?

The 1961 Philadelphia Phillies lost 23 consecutive games from July 29 until the second game of a doubleheader on Aug. 20, when they defeated the Milwaukee Braves.

The Top 10 Longest Losing streaks in MLB history

  1. Cincinnati Reds, 1914

Losing Streak: 19 games
Final Record: 60-94-3

The 1914 Reds entered September at 54-63, just nine games below .500, and were 56-65 through Sept. 4. But on Sept. 5 they lost, 12-2, to the Cardinals, and wouldn’t win again until the second game of a doubleheader on the road against the Braves on Sept. 23. The Reds won just four more games the rest of the way, including that one, to finish at 60-94 with three ties.

  1. Detroit Tigers, 1975

Losing Streak: 19 games
Final record: 57-102

The Tigers actually reeled off a nine-game winning streak in early July against the Orioles, Brewers, White Sox, and Royals, but by the end of the month, a different streak began. They lost on July 29 at New York and did not win another game until a road victory over the Angels on Aug. 16.

  1. Kansas City Royals, 2005

Losing Streak: 19 games
Final Record: 56-103

The Royals beat the White Sox on July 27 in 13 innings, but they couldn’t carry that momentum on their subsequent road trip, losing the next day in Tampa Bay. They went on to lose 19 straight overall, finally winning on Aug. 20 at Oakland.

  1. Baltimore Orioles, 2021

Losing Streak: 19 games
Final Record: 52-110

The Orioles' losing streak began after an Aug. 2 win at Yankee Stadium. The O's would not win another game until Aug. 25, and over their 0-19 run they were outscored by 108 runs, the worst run differential by any team in a 19-game span since at least 1901.

  1. Boston Americans, 1906

Losing Streak: 19 games
Final Record: 49-105-1

The Americans, now known as the Red Sox, saw their streak begin with an 8-0 loss at New York (against the Highlanders, who later became the Yankees) on May 1. They next won a game on May 25 against the White Sox, a win that improved their record to 7-27. How long ago was this? Fenway Park didn’t open until 1912, so the team’s home park in 1906 was the Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds.

  1. Philadelphia Athletics, 1916

Losing Streak: 20 games
Final Record: 36-117

Connie Mack managed two A’s teams that notched 20-game losing streaks, which is part of what can happen across any long tenure like his. The Athletics’ streak began with a 7-2 loss against the Indians on July 21 and ran through a 9-0 loss at Detroit on Aug. 8. The 1916 A’s never won more than two consecutive games.

  1. Philadelphia Athletics, 1943

Losing Streak: 20 games
Final record: 49-105-1

Connie Mack’s A’s stood at 40-58 after a 4-0 win against the Yankees on Aug. 6, but it went further downhill from there. They lost, 3-1, to the Yankees the following day and went on to lose each game through the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 24. In the second game of that twin bill at Chicago, the team finally won, beating the White Sox 8-1 to snap the skid. They then went on to lose their next four games. 

  1. Montreal Expos, 1969

Losing Streak: 20 games
Final Record: 52-110

In the franchise’s first MLB season, the Expos went on quite the streak from May 13 through June 7, dropping 20 straight. The stretch started with a 10-3 loss against the Astros and ended on June 8 with a 4-3 win at Los Angeles. 

  1. Baltimore Orioles, 1988

Losing Streak: 21 games
Final Record: 54-107

The worst start to an MLB season began when Baltimore lost an Opening Day game to the Brewers 12-0 on April 4, and the Orioles did not win their first game of the year until April 29 at Chicago. 

  1. Philadelphia Phillies, 1961

Losing Streak: 23 games
Final Record: 47-107

The Phillies were already 29 games out of first place in the National League before the longest losing streak in MLB history began on July 29, 1961. When they snapped it, they were 42 games behind. There was not a lot of happiness that summer at Connie Mack Stadium, and this remains the MLB losing-streak record.

Did you know? The Tampa Bay Rays have the MLB longest win streak in 2023 with 13 straight wins. Find out which teams have the longest winning streaks in MLB history


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