With the dawn of Spring Training, this marks the 10-year anniversary of the infamous 2003 Detroit Tigers. The club set an American League record with 119-losses thanks to historically awful pitching.
Luminaries Nate Cornejo, Mike Maroth, Jeremy Bonderman, Adam Bernero, and Gary Knotts anchored the starting rotation. The quintet combined for a 25-77 record (128 starts) / 744.67 IP / 5.51 ERA / 1.52 WHIP.
The bullpen was equally atrocious featuring Steve Avery (finishing his career), Nate Robertson, Matt Anderson, Matt Roney, Chris Spurling, and Fernando Rodney. LHP Jamie Walker was the only effective pitcher on the roster.
Detroit started the campaign by dropping 18 of their first 20 contests and never recovered. On September 22nd, the Tigers lost 12-6 in Kansas City, setting the AL-record with their 118th defeat. Amazingly, the team avoided the 1962 New York Mets MLB-record 120 losses by winning five of their remaining six games of the season.
In retrospect, the only positive from this epic seasonal failure was acquiring the #2 overall draft pick in 2004. Justin Verlander. Detroit Tigers officials should FedEx some fancy wine to the San Diego Padres player development department for selecting legendary draft bust, Matt Bush, with the first overall pick.
Sometimes finishing last has some benefits.