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Opening Day Countdown: The 1976 Brewers

As we're just 76 games away from opening day, today we're taking a look back at the '76 Brewers. Sorry.

In 1977 we established the fact that the rest of these articles would be discussing teams that were less than good. Some teams were lesser than others. The '77 team finished the year 33 games back of first place. But the '76 team only missed first place by 32 games! However they actually finished with a worse season record than the '77 team.

That year the Brewers finished with a 67-95 record. Or a .414 win percentage. The 1976 Brewers had a 66-95 record. Or a .410 win percentage. They were 0.4% worse! That's what we call fun with numbers. Okay no one calls that fun, I'm just trying to keep things lighthearted so lay off!

If you're curious, the 2002 Brewers own the franchise worst record: 56-106, .346 win pct. I graduated that year so I actually didn't spend a lot of time watching baseball. I spent altogether too much time partying. That's how I got through that season. How did you? And how did 1976 Brewers fans get through that season? The franchise wasn't even a pre-teen at that point and had been nothing but awful.

This was before Cecil Cooper and Paul Molitor. Even Gorman Thomas and "The Kid" Robin Yount hadn't established himself as a superstar caliber player yet. Thomas was in the middle of his fourth really poor season. He hit 198/294/361 that year. Yount hit 252/292/301. Yeesh. Actually, we should take note of this as fans of a currently rebuilding club. It took time for even these amazing players to find their groove. Major League Baseball is hard.

It wasn't all bad though. George Scott and Don Money were both pretty good, each earning 3+ fWAR. Scott hit 274/334/414 and Money hit 267/333/408. Sixto Lezcano was solid again this year with a 2.4 fWAR, hitting 285/348/382. Maybe this is something we should take note of as well. Even the worst team has fun players to watch.

That does apply to the pitching staff as well, but only barely. Jim Slaton pitched a career high 292.2 innings that year. That's so crazy. He started 38 games. THIRTY EIGHT. If the Brewers made the playoffs that year there was a special stipulation that he could just roll balls to home plate and batters would just swing and miss out of courtesy. True stroy. Slaton and his 3.44 ERA, 3.34 FIP, 4.1 fWAR was the only above average pitching performance the Brewers got that year.

Woof. What a rough season to be a baseball fan in Milwaukee. We're talking about 3 players that were anything better than average. I wonder how many Brewers will end 2016 with an above average performance. Think it'll be more than three? I guess part of that depends on whether or not they trade any more players. Or perhaps on how many they trade...

Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs