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Aces Wild – 111 Losses
The 1941 Philadelphia Phillies were the worst team in franchise history. They lost 111 games, won only 43, and finished a near-impossible 57 games behind the pennant-winning Brooklyn Dodgers, led by Kirbe Higbe who put up 22 wins against only nine losses. The team was last in runs scored (501) and first in runs allowed (793). Manager Doc Prothro believed in sharing the grief – he had seven, equally bad ball tossers who threw in 100 or more innings and lost at least 10 or more games : Johnny (poor Johnny) Podgajny – 9-12; Tommy Hughes – 9-14; Cy Blanton – 6-13; Si Johnson – 5-12; Ike Pearson – 4-14; Lee Grissom – 2-13; and Lefty Hoerst – 3-10. Boom-Boom Beck was almost the eighth – 95 innings, 1-9 record.
The team was a textbook of bad – by the end of May, they already had three, six-game losing streaks; the season was littered with six, seven, eight, and nine game losing streaks. From June 9 through June 14th in a five game home losing streak, they were shutout four times.
Bright spots – none; dim spots – Nick Etten, tuning up before becoming the Yankees wartime firstbaseman, hit .311 with 14 homeruns and 79 RBIs. Danny Litwhiler played 151 games in leftfield and hit .305 with 18 homeruns and 66 RBIs. Rookie secondbaseman, 24-year-old, Danny Murtaugh led the league with 18 stolen bases.
Beanball wars scarred the game in 1941, several players were hospitalized, notably Joe Medwick, and Billy Jurges, and many players began to wear plastic liners inside their caps while batting, bringing scorn from baseball’s tough guys.