How low can the Braves (then known as the Boston Beaneaters) go? Pretty low some years.
In 1905 Boston Beaneaters finished seventh with a record of 51-102. That’s right.
They were 54 and 1/2 behind the leader. It was Fred Tenney’s 1st year as manager. What a start that was. Spoiler alert. It would get worse next year.
The owners didn’t do Fred any favors. A veteran Beaneater, he knew what he was getting into.
This was Moneyball in reverse. The owners, Arthur Soden and William Conant were only interested in getting a profit out of the team. They literally told Tenney not to worry about losing. Seriously.
What kind of bonus did the offer him? More money if the team didn’t lose money.
So what did he do? He took them seriously. He even went to climbing into the stands to retrieve balls. He got into a fight with umpire Bill Klem. He accused Klem of keeping balls.
As a side note, Tenney tried to sign William Clarence Matthews, an African-American middle infielder from Harvard University, to a contract. Tenney later retracted his offer due to pressure from the players.
So … Tenney got his bonus and the Braves got worse.
Be careful what you ask for!