The worst team in the league. This franchise is the joke of MLB! We’ll never see a World Series title again here in Pittsburgh.

Well, you know what I’m talking about. Maybe you’re one of those who say these things about the Pittsburgh Pirates. Maybe you say it even more colorfully. These sentiments are spoken on a daily basis here in Pittsburgh and it got me thinking, forty years without a championship is one factor, but there are so many other factors to look at on top of that. Like winning percentage, or the number of seasons under .500. Let’s take a look and see just how bad this franchise really is by digging into some of these key metrics when stacked up against the worst of the worst. I’d say this will be fun, but I haven’t researched or written it yet so here goes.

San Diego Padres (est. 1969)

  • Number of Championships-0
  • Winning Seasons – 12
  • Winning Percentage –.461
  • Time Since Last Championship – 51 Years
  • Division Titles – 5

The beleaguered fanbase of the Friars have never witnessed a championship. They have appeared in two World Series and have a record of 1-8. They’ve had some great players, none more notable than Tony Gwynn, quite possibly the most consistent natural born hitter the game has ever seen. It’s been pretty straight misery for San Diego, good thing its sunny and 81 degrees there every day or they might get down.

Baltimore Orioles (est. 1902)

  • Number of Championships-3
  • Winning Seasons – 46
  • Winning Percentage –.474
  • Time Since Last Championship – 36 Years
  • Division Titles – 9

The Orioles and Pirates were both at their peak in the 70s along with the Reds. Great teams but after winning the 1970 World Series against the Reds, their budding dynasty was cut short by the upstart Pirates in 1971. 1979 brought a rematch and a chance to join the Big Red Machine as the top team of the 70s, but again the Pirates had the last laugh. The Orioles of today find themselves as second fiddle in the DC area to the Nationals and the only thing they compete with Pittsburgh for is the salary floor.

Cincinnati Reds (est. 1890)

  • Number of Championships-5
  • Winning Seasons – 59
  • Winning Percentage –.505
  • Time Since Last Championship – 30 Years
  • Division Titles – 10

The Reds are the single oldest franchise in the game that has remained in its place of origin. So those 59 winning seasons still means 71 losing campaigns but they have tasted victory more recently than our other competitors. The Big Red Machine was every bit as good as the Pirates and Orioles were in the 70s. Plus points for an overall above .500 winning percentage. Although I can’t say how positive that must feel. 

Chicago White Sox (est. 1901)

  • Number of Championships-3
  • Winning Seasons – 60
  • Winning Percentage –.502
  • Time Since Last Championship – 15 Years (Don’t Stop…Believin’…Sorry)
  • Division Titles – 5

Boy the White Sox are a weird team to figure. The run in 2005 was out of nowhere and aside from that in their very lengthy history they’ve only made the playoffs five times. When I think of their stars the ones that jump of the page were actually someone else’s finishing out their careers. Like Carlton Fisk who just changed sox. Black Jack McDowell, Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, all very good players but aside from that man I’d have to go back to Nellie Fox, unless you really think Harold Baines deserves to be a Hall of Famer.

Seattle Mariners (est. 1977)

  • Number of Championships-0
  • Winning Seasons –14
  • Winning Percentage –.471
  • Time Since Last Championship – 43 Years
  • Division Titles – 3

The Mariners have had big names like Ken Griffey Jr., Alex Rodriguez, King Felix, Randy Johnson, Edgar Martinez, and have never gotten over the hump. An entire generation pulled for them in the 90s as Ken Jr. played with Ken Sr., Randy was killing birds with fastballs and the Kingdome was a bandbox. The fanbase has been patient, but the wait has no end in the rainy city.

Pittsburgh Pirates (est. 1887)

  • Number of Championships-5
  • Winning Seasons –69
  • Winning Percentage –.506
  • Time Since Last Championship – 41 Years
  • Division Titles – 9

Oh, come on, you guys know our history, right? Ok, I’ll do it anyway. The Pirates at 20 seasons set the MLB record for consecutive losing seasons, and no championships in 41 years is brutal. They have never won the NL Central since its inception. However, the Pirates have had some MLB-wide recognized icons like Roberto Clemente, Pops, Bonds and Kiner as well as arguably the best to ever play the game, Honus Wagner (not that I’m one to compare players across the eras).

We often when following a club get lost in our own bubble of highs and with this franchise particularly here in Pittsburgh the lows. When you stack up the Pirates history against many other franchises it still can be hard to swallow, but misery loves company and it might make you feel a bit better to know the Bucs aren’t alone. I could have easily added the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels to this list and still not touched the Mets. There are a whole lot of franchises out there who have suffered. For a league that wants to feign parity, perhaps it shouldn’t be so easy to identify these many franchises with fans on life support for enthusiasm.

Follow Gary on Twitter: @garymo2007