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|There are bad pitchers, and there are unlucky pitchers, and then there are men who were neither: they were just cursed to pitch on horrendous Philadelphia teams, the poor souls.|
Mulcahy was a regular member of the Phillies for only four seasons, but he wasn't a terrible pitcher. Sure, he walked too many batters. Yeah, his strikeout total is pretty low, even for the late 30's (Mulcahy had 2.51 K/9 from 1937-40 - the NL was at 3.52 for the same period). His ERA was nothing to brag about either. But he was durable, finishing in the NL's top 10 for innings pitched three years in a row. All in all, he wasn't someone you'd find in a key spot for a good team, but he was a capable innings-eater in the majors.
Unfortunately, as the above message says, he was stuck on some terrible Phillies teams. From 1938-1940, the Phillies were worst in the league at scoring runs and worst in the league at preventing them. Philadelphia's NL team lost 100 games in six out of seven seasons after 1935. It wasn't like this was a short-lived time of troubles for Philadelphia: from 1919 to 1948 the Phillies finished in the top half of the NL one time. That was in 1932 when Burt Shotton guided the club to a 78-76 record and a fourth place finish. That was the only winning season the team had over that stretch.
You know what's coming next: the combination of Mulcahy's durability, lack of dominance, and terrible surrounding cast led to a lot of losses on his record. Over his four seasons in the Phillies rotation he lost 76 games. He led the league in losses in 1938 and 1940. His regular placement in box scores gave him perhaps the most unfortunate nickname of any major league player: "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy.
While he was doomed to bad teams and may have even had a respectable record had he pitched for better teams, it only seems fitting that Hugh "Losing Pitcher" Mulcahy be the namesake of the opposite of the Steve Carlton Award I posted about earlier in the week. Whereas Carlton won plenty of games for a team that didn't win much, the Hugh Mulcahy Award recognizes pitchers who were responsible the highest percentage of their team's losses.
The top ten all-time is again clogged with early 20th-century pitchers, so I'll post a separate 1961-2008 list again.
|Rank||Pitcher||Pitcher W-L||Team||Team W-L||L%|
|1||Joe McGinnity||31-20||1903 New York Giants||84-55||36.4|
|2||Bill Dinneen||21-21||1902 Boston Red Sox||77-60||35.0|
|3||George Mullin||20-20||1907 Detroit Tigers||92-58||34.5|
|4||Dolf Luque||13-23||1922 Cincinnati Reds||86-68||33.8|
|5||Patsy Flaherty||11-25||1903 Chicago White Sox||60-77||32.5|
|6||Eppa Rixey||16-21||1917 Philadelphia Phillies||87-65||32.3|
|7||Harry Howell||14-21||1901 Baltimore Orioles||68-65||32.3|
|8||Jack Powell||23-19||1904 New York Highlanders||92-59||32.2|
|9||Dummy Taylor||21-15||1904 New York Giants||106-47||31.9|
|10||Dummy Taylor||18-27||1901 New York Giants||52-85||31.8|
Quick, spot the Hall of Famers! Dummy Taylor just couldn't catch a break (or avoid a loss), I guess.
This next list should be more interesting. At the very least, the names should be more familiar.
|Rank||Pitcher||Pitcher W-L||Team||Team W-L||L%|
|1||Dennis Martinez||15-16||1979 Baltimore Orioles||102-57||28.1|
|2||Don Drysdale||19-17||1963 Los Angeles Dodgers||99-63||27.0|
|3||Steve Rogers||15-22||1974 Montreal Expos||79-82||26.8|
|4||Ralph Terry||17-15||1963 New York Yankees||104-57||26.3|
|5||Dave McNally||17-17||1973 Baltimore Orioles||97-65||26.2|
|6||Mike Moore||13-15||1990 Oakland Athletics||103-59||25.4|
|7||Wilbur Wood||24-17||1972 Chicago White Sox||87-67||25.4|
|8||Brian Kingman||8-20||1980 Oakland Athletics||83-79||25.3|
|9||Jim Bibby||19-19||1974 Texas Rangers||84-76||25.0|
|10||Dennis Martinez||7-16||1983 Baltimore Orioles||98-64||25.0|
Hmm. Maybe I should call it the Dennis Martinez Award instead. Nah, I still like the idea of an award involving losses named after Losing Pitcher Mulcahy, even if he never would've won the award. I don't think Martinez will mind.
So who was responsible for the highest percentage of his team's losses this year? Strangely, the top ten is split evenly between above-.500 and below-.500 teams:
- Javier Vazquez, 12-16 for the 89-74 White Sox, 21.6%
- Aaron Harang, 6-17 for the 74-88 Reds, 19.3%
- Justin Verlander, 11-17 for the 74-88 Reds, 19.3%
- Andy Pettitte, 14-14 for the 89-73 Yankees, 19.2%
- Barry Zito, 10-17 for the 72-90 Giants, 18.9%
- Brandon Backe, 9-14 for the 86-75 Astros, 18.7%
- Greg Smith, 7-16 for the 75-86 Athletics, 18.6%
- Brett Myers, 10-13 for the 92-70 Phillies, 18.6%
- Braden Looper, 12-14 for the 86-76 Cardinals, 18.4%
- Brian Bannister, 9-16 for the 75-87 Royals, 18.4%
Fun fact: Deacon Phillippe went 20-9 for the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates only lost 36 games that season, making him responsible for one-quarter of his team's losses. That's the highest percentage among pitchers with single-digit losses on the season.