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The worst finishes in White Sox history

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It’s not even close — the most hapless team the franchise ever fielded also authored its most harrowing finish

Great Right-Handed Hope: Lyons carried a 5.8 WAR in 1932, a hapless season when only one other White Sox player was better than 1.9.
MLB Photos via Getty Images

Stout and sturdy SSS user VAChisox wondered about, at the conclusion of the latest Race to the Bottom feature (which accents the worst White Sox starts), the worst finishes of all time.

Thankfully, Baseball-Reference searches allow us to judge our very worst second half, July-September, August-September and September finishes.

Granted, I’m no masochist, inasmuch as I am indeed a Chicago White Sox fan, so I only checked through the second half records of the 10 worst White Sox records ever, which are, in order:

  1. 1932
  2. 1948
  3. 1970
  4. 1934
  5. 1931
  6. 1929
  7. 2013
  8. 1950
  9. 1976
  10. 1921
  11. 1930

Yeah, 11 teams for 10 spots, as 1921 and 1930 were equally bad. Just for a little extra pain.

Point is, it’s theoretically possible there was a worse finish, particularly a terrible September, for a team among the “top 107” White Sox teams ever. I’m just not gonna be the guy to mindlessly scroll through every South Side season to pluck that needle in a haystack.

So for all practical considerations, let’s assume there are no worst finishes from teams somehow better than the Bottom 11.

After all that, the answer is relatively simple: 1932.

The worst White Sox team of all time, 1932, has the worst second half winning percentage (.286), worst July-September record (26-59, .306) and worst August-September record (16-38, .296). The only relief came in September, when the 1932 team sensed brighter days (?) and caught fire to finish 10-15 (.400).

So the honors for the worst September start go to those short-pantsed devils, the 1976 White Sox. They didn’t wear the knickers after August, so perhaps the team fell into a pantaloon funk: 7-23, .233.

The 1932 White Sox were howlingly bad in the second half, so much so that the next-worst second half among these teams won at a .342 clip (both 1970 and 1976). The difference between a .286 second half and a .342 one (theoretically, these are not literal records, as the 1932 team played a 154-game schedule, among other nitpicks) is five games in a 162-game season (23-58, vs. 28-53).

That’s pretty incredible underachievement: In 118 years of White Sox baseball, no team has come within five games of 1932’s unbearable lousiness of being. Bravo, you Great Depression slackers.

Five worst second-half finishes

1932: .286

1970, 1976: .342

1950: .347

1948: .350

Five worst July-September records

1932: 26-59 (.306)

1970: 29-58 (.333)

1976: 31-60 (.341)

1948: 32-61 (.344)

1950: 31-57 (.352)

Five worst August-September records

1932: 16-38 (.296)

1976: 19-41 (.317)

1948: 20-39 (.339)

1921: 20-38 (.345)

1931: 20-37 (.351)

Five worst September records

1976: 7-23 (.233)

2013: 7-21 (.250)

1970: 7-20 (.259)

1931: 6-20 (.300)

1934: 8-18 (.308)