When the Twins were 0-9, fans patiently waited for a turnaround — assuming their record could be passed off as a bad opening week. When the Twins were 8-20, owner Jim Pohlad uttered the now oft-repeated quote, “Total system failure” to describe the team. Still, maybe it was just a bad month? The Twins couldn’t be historically bad, could they?
Well, now it’s nearly one-quarter of the way into the season. The Twins are 10-29 (.256 winning percentage, not to mention 2-9 since “total system failure”) and is seemingly inventing new ways to lose. If the Twins lose Thursday against Toronto, they will be on the exact pace to match the team known for historic futility: the 1962 Mets, who finished 40-120. As such, it’s not too early to start making actual comparisons between those two teams. Let’s take a look:
RECORD AFTER 39 GAMES
2016 Twins: 10-29
1962 Mets: 12-27
FROM BAD TO WORSE
2016 Twins: Started the year 0-9, then endured a 3-15 stretch from late April to mid-May (still ongoing).
1962 Mets: Started the year 0-9, then had a 17-game losing streak that spanned parts of May and June.
OUTFIELDER OF NOTE
2016 Twins: Miguel Sano, after a very slow start, has seven home runs in his past 28 games — and four in his past seven.
1962 Mets: Veteran Frank Thomas (no, not that Frank Thomas) belted 34 home runs, more than twice as many as anyone else on the team.
INFIELDER OF NOTE
2016 Twins: Three-time batting champ Joe Mauer is the first baseman. After a hot start, his average dipped to .266 as of Wednesday.
1962 Mets: “Marvelous” Marv Throneberry played first base and was a fan favorite thanks to his sense of humor. He hit 16 homers in 1962 but retired the next season.
PITCHER OF NOTE
2016 Twins: Phil Hughes, who won 16 games for the Twins in 2014, is tied for the MLB lead with six losses this season.
1962 Mets: Roger Craig, who would go on to become a noted MLB manager and pitching coach, lost 24 games — one of three pitchers to lose at least 19 for the Mets that year.
2016 Twins: Slugger Byung Ho Park has nine home runs, many of them of the tape-measure variety.
1962 Mets: Richie Ashburn, in the final season of a Hall of Fame career, hit .306 in 473 plate appearances.
WITH THE BENEFIT OF HINDSIGHT
2016 Twins: The Twins lost 92-plus games every year from 2011 to ’14, a trend interrupted by an 83-79 mark in 2015.
1962 Mets: This was an expansion team that was expected to be terrible.
2016 Twins: Even with as bad as things have gone, the Twins have enough young talent to retain hope for 2017 and beyond.
1962 Mets: The Mets lost 111, 109 and 112 games their next three seasons.
But a little later on, “Miracle Mets” won the World Series in 1969.