The Losingest Cities In Professional Sports

Earlier this morning, I said that this was a project for another day.  Well, turns out that day is actually today.

Now, I SUPPOSE I could’ve included college football and basketball as well, but really where would it all end at that point?  So, I stuck with The Big Three – NFL, NBA, & MLB – and I stuck exclusively with the years where there have been a Seattle professional franchise (excluding the Seattle Pilots).  It may not be fair to other cities who have lost franchises – and therefore it may not be an exhaustive list of all the last place pro cities since the dawn of sports – but this is a Seattle-centric website, so deal with it.

Anyway, as I was saying, this morning I made the following quote:

Hi, I live in Seattle.  It’s gloomy 9 months of the year, and we get to root for more last place finishes than any other city!

So, I decided to put that to the test.  The following list only includes Last Place Finishes.  These would be last place divisional finishes.  So, if there were only two divisions (or conferences, or whatever you want to call them), then there would likely be two teams for that particular year.  If there were eight divisions, then there’d be at least eight last place finishes.  And, if two (or more) teams tied for last place in a particular division in the same particular year, well guess what!  That means they were both (or all) in last place and they all get a tally-mark for their efforts!  The years go as follows:  1976 – 2010 for the NFL, 1977 – 2011 for MLB, and 1967/1968 – 2007/2008 for the NBA.

Some interesting things I learned:

First of all, Seattle does NOT have the most last-place finishes!  Not by a long shot!  In fact, Seattle is sitting alone in 10th place on the Last List.  Although, in their time on Earth, the Mariners are tied for 1st with most last-place finishes (with the mighty Pirates of Pittsburgh).  The Seahawks weren’t NEARLY as bad as I thought they’d be, sitting at 15th in the Last List (tied with Chicago & Oakland).  The Supersonics, of course, are were the class of the city.  To put the Supes in perspective, they are tied with the Boston Celtics in last place finishes (arguably the greatest franchise in the history of the NBA).  Also, I would like to point out that, before their last two seasons (both last-place finishes), the Sonics only had ONE last place finish (in 1980/1981).

Something else I learned:  New York ran away with this thing mostly because they have (or have had) multiple teams in each sport.  Also, Tampa came in third place by only having two sports (ouch).

Anyway, without further ado, the List of Most Last Place Finishes By City (Since Seattle Has Had Professional Sports):

New York City – 38
Detroit – 28
Tampa – 27
San Diego – 27
Oakland/Golden State (Warriors) – 25
Kansas City – 24
Atlanta – 24
Chicago – 24
Cleveland – 24
Seattle – 23
Milwaukee/Green Bay – 21
Los Angeles – 20
Washington, D.C. – 19
Houston – 18
Philadelphia – 17
Phoenix/Arizona – 17
Dallas/Texas (Rangers) – 17
Baltimore – 15
Cincinnati – 14
Pittsburgh – 13
Toronto – 13
Buffalo – 13
Miami/Florida (Marlins) – 13
St. Louis – 12
Minnesota – 12
New Orleans – 12
Indianapolis/Indiana (Pacers) – 12
Denver/Colorado (Rockies) – 11
Boston/New England (Patriots) – 9
San Francisco – 9
Charlotte/Carolina (Panthers) – 9
New Jersey (Nets) – 7
Sacramento – 6
Portland – 6
Jacksonville – 5
Memphis/Tennessee (Titans) – 5
Vancouver – 5
Utah (Jazz) – 4
Anaheim/California (Angels) – 4
Montreal – 4
Orlando – 3
San Antonio – 2

And, if you’re interested, I’ve got the list by sports (so you can mock me if my math is wrong).

MLB

Seattle – 12
Pittsburgh – 12
San Diego – 11
Toronto – 9
New York – 9
Chicago – 9
Kansas City – 9
Tampa – 9
Texas – 8
Oakland – 7
Atlanta – 7
Minnesota – 7
Detroit – 7
Baltimore – 6
Philadelphia – 6
Cleveland – 6
Milwaukee – 6
San Francisco – 5
Arizona – 5
Washington, D.C. – 5
Florida – 5
Colorado – 4
California/Anaheim – 4
Montreal – 4
Cincinnati – 2
Houston – 2
Boston – 1
Los Angeles – 1
St. Louis – 1

NFL

New York – 20
Tampa – 18
Detroit – 14
Houston – 12
Cincinnati – 12
Atlanta – 12
Buffalo – 11
Kansas City – 11
Cleveland – 11
St. Louis – 11
San Diego – 11
Phoenix/AZ – 10
New Orleans – 9
Baltimore – 9
Seattle – 8
Chicago – 8
Oakland – 8
Washington, D.C. – 7
Los Angeles – 6
Dallas – 6
Philadelphia – 6
Green Bay – 5
New England – 5
Indianapolis – 5
Jacksonville – 5
Carolina – 5
Miami – 4
San Francisco – 4
Denver – 4
Minnesota – 3
Tennessee – 2
Pittsburgh – 1

NBA

Los Angeles – 13
Golden State – 10
Milwaukee – 10
New York – 9
New Jersey – 7
Detroit – 7
Cleveland – 7
Chicago – 7
Washington, D.C. – 7
Indiana – 7
Sacramento – 6
Portland – 6
San Diego – 5
Atlanta – 5
Vancouver – 5
Philadelphia – 5
Kansas City – 4
Houston – 4
Utah – 4
Miami – 4
Charlotte – 4
Toronto – 4
Boston – 3
Memphis – 3
Dallas – 3
Seattle – 3
Orlando – 3
Denver – 3
New Orleans – 3
San Antonio – 2
Minnesota – 2
Buffalo – 2
Phoenix – 2
Baltimore – 1

Other Notes:

  • Los Angeles can thank the Clippers for their lofty rank on the overall list.
  • I had no idea how bad the New York teams in football have been throughout the years; should I include them in the New Jersey slot since they actually play their home games in Jersey?
  • I also had no idea how bad the Braves were back in the day.  Guess they really earned that dominant run in the 90s.
  • In 6 of the last 8 years, the Mariners have taken the bottom slot in the AL West
  • From ’92 – ’96, the Seahawks brought up the rear in the AFC West; although the last two years they tied for last.  Still counts in my book.
  • Tampa!  18 of 35 years in last place in the NFL!  9 of 14 years in last place in MLB!  And yet, that city still has more Super Bowl wins and World Series appearances than Seattle.  Don’t worry, the gun is in my mouth, but it’s not loaded.
  • Finally, Oakland, you can thank the Warriors of Golden State for YOUR lofty ranking.  Listen, NBA, if you’re looking to contract, this team and the Clippers would be at the top of my list.

Leave a Reply