Do The Seattle Mariners Have The Worst Offense In Perfect-Game History?

Seattle, WA, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Philip Humber (41) pitches to Seattle Mariners player Brendan Ryan in the ninth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

The Seattle Mariners are the antonym of offense. But are they the worst offense to ever have a perfect game thrown against them?

It's early in the season, so you probably can't make too much of early season stats. The Seattle Mariners entered Saturday with a team batting average of .235, an on-base percentage of .285, and a slugging percentage of .367. Then they recorded 27 straight outs.

But it's early. It's just April. Small sample size, right? I did some serious research, though, and I'm thinking this might not be a mirage. Turns out that the Mariners were pretty bad offensively last year too. And while Jesus Montero is a fine young player, he's unlikely to fix the offense by himself.

If the Mariners continue on their current pace, will they be the worst-hitting team to ever have a perfect game thrown against them? To the stat cave! Wait, my mom's using it to do laundry. To Baseball Reference!

Here's a list of the teams who were on the wrong side of perfect-game history, ranked in reverse order of OPS+. I used OPS+ because it accounts for a) the home park of the team, and b) what other teams are hitting around the league. A team with a 100 OPS+ is a league-average team:

Team OPS+ Record Winning Percentage
1981 Toronto Blue Jays 74 37-69 .349
1880 Buffalo Bison 80 24-58 .293
1964 New York Mets 84 53-109 .327
1965 Chicago Cubs 86 72-90 .444
1998 Minnesota Twins 86 70-92 .432
1908 Chicago White Sox 87 88-64 .579
1984 Texas Rangers 88 69-92 .429
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers 90 94-67 .580
1994 California Angels 90 47-68 .409
1968 Minnesota Twins 91 79-83 .488
1999 Montreal Expos 91 68-94 .420
2010 Florida Marlins 92 80-82 .494
1991 Los Angeles Dodgers 95 93-69 .574
1904 Philadelphia Athletics 96 81-70 .536
1956 Brooklyn Dodgers 96 93-61 .604
1880 Cleveland Blues 99 47-37 .560
2004 Atlanta Braves 99 96-66 .593
2010 Tampa Bay Rays 105 96-66 .593
2009 Tampa Bay Rays 106 84-78 .519
1922 Detroit Tigers 108 79-75 .513

The 2011 Mariners, with a team OPS+ of 82, would have been the third-worst offensive team on this list. The 2012 Mariners had an 83 team OPS+ entering play Saturday, and that went down to 74 after Humber's perfect game. They could be one of the worst, certainly. If they did exactly what they've been doing this year -- complete with a perfect game against them every 16 games or so -- they'd be tied for first.

But they'd have a long, long season if they were to catch the 1981 Toronto Blue Jays, who flailed their way through a strike-shortened season. Alfredo Griffin hit .209/.243/.289; basketball player Danny Ainge got lost on the way to Boston Garden on 86 separate occasions and hit .187/.258/.228. Other than John Mayberry and Otto Velez, every player with more than 50 at-bats had an OPS+ below 80. Woof.

This isn't to take away from Philip Humber's accomplishment. There have been thousands and thousands of games in history featuring teams with wretched offenses, and almost every single one featured at least one runner. It's still a monumental feat.

But while the 2012 Mariners aren't good, they aren't likely to be the worst-hitting team in perfect-game history. It's still early, of course. They have something to shoot for!

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