by Ron Spence
We mentioned – in the Ripken article – that Baltimore went 21 losses in a row at the start of the 1988 season. This became the American League’s record.
It wasn’t MLB’s record, however. The National League’s record of 24 straight losses was set by the Cleveland Spiders* in 1899.
NFL fans will tell you that the Detroit Lions set a record this season – 15 losses in a row.
But, that’s not really the NFL’s record for consecutive losses. During the 1976 and 1977 seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers set a record. They went 14 games in a row – in the 14 game 1976 season – followed by 12 in a row the following 1977 campaign.
Our questions concern the NBA and the NHL.
Which teams – in which years – set the records for consecutive loses in the NBA AND NHL?
A hint – one was a Vancouver franchise.
The Vancouver Grizzlies accumulated 23 losses in a row in 1996, and the Denver Nuggets equalled that same amount two seasons later.
The NHL’s consecutive loss record was set by the Washington Capitals during the 1974-75 season. The 18 game streak was equalled during the 1992-93 season by the San Jose Sharks.
Another NHL team, however, had a more pathetic record.
The 1980-81 Winnipeg Jets had a 30 game winless streak, which meant that they tied a game or two during their slump.
*It should be noted that the Spiders didn’t stand a chance. Their owners – the Robison Brothers – bought the St. Louis Perfectos [renamed the Cardinals the following year] and sent all of their best Spiders west to the Show Me State.
James Norris would do the same a half a century later – when he owned both the Blackhawks and Red Wings – and sent the best players from Chicago to Detroit.