Are 2005 Padres The Worst Division Winner In MLB History?

Are 2005 Padres The Worst Division Winner In MLB History?
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

The 2005 San Diego Padres still hold a leaguewide record few fans of that era in team history hold dear.

That year’s San Diego squad still holds the worst year-end winning percentage of any playoff qualifier, at .506, with the Padres winning the National League West despite finishing with an 82-80 record.

This year, there are two divisions that look like contenders for the team’s mediocrity record, as Minnesota and Cleveland currently hold the top spot in the AL Central despite having a .494 winning percentages. Meanwhile, Cincinnati and Milwaukee are the only teams with records above .500 in the NL Central.

Unfortunately there is no legal sports betting in California that allows for wagers on MLB or other sports. It will be 2024 before another betting referendum goes before voters.

With the AL and NL Central being especially down this season, a record just a few games about .500 might be enough to win either division. BetCalifornia.com decided to look back at the worst regular season teams (86 or fewer wins) to reach the postseason since the MLB expanded to three divisions in 1994.

We utilized historical records from MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com.

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Worst MLB Playoff Teams Since 1995

Year Team Record Postseason Result
2005 Padres 82-80 (Won NL West) Lost NLDS to Cardinals, 3-0
2006 Cardinals 83-78 (Won NL Central) Won World Series over Tigers, 4-1
1997 Astros 84-78 (Won NL Central) Lost NLDS to Braves, 3-0
2008 Dodgers 84-78 (Won NL West) Lost NLCS to Phillies, 4-1
2007 Cubs 85-77 (Won NL Central) Lost NLDS to Diamondbacks, 3-0
2017 Twins 85-77 (Second AL Wild Card) Lost AL Wild Card Game to Yankees
1997 Indians 86-76 (Won AL Central) Lost World Series to Marlins, 4-3
2015 Astros 86-76 (Second AL Wild Card) Lost ALDS to Royals, 3-2
2022 Rays 86-76 (Third AL Wild Card) Lost AL WC Series to Guardians, 2-0

There is currently no BetMGM California, but nationally the operator lists Tampa Bay with the second best World Series odds at +450. Atlanta is first at +375.

2005 Padres Made Surprising Run to Playoffs

It’s hard to remember now that the Padres feature a star-studded roster led by perennial All-Stars like Juan Soto, Manny Machado and Fernando Tatis Jr., but San Diego of the early 2000s was a place where baseball hope was in short supply.

Between the team’s -42 run differential and lack of hitting and pitching depth, the Padres were far from the ideal portrait of a playoff contender.

With exactly one starting pitcher sporting a sub-3.00 ERA (Jake Peavy) and as many hitters hitting .300 or better (Brian Giles), the Padres were a definite beneficiary of good luck that year, with no other NL West team finishing close to .500.

The Padres, unsurprisingly, went down in flames in three games to the St. Louis Cardinals in that year’s NLDS, putting a timely end to the MLB’s lowest winning percentage playoff qualifier.

If sports betting was legal in the state, you could use California sportsbook promos to get this year’s Padres at +3000 to win the NL West.

That’s a far cry from where fans hoped the team would be at this point in the season, making an 80-plus win playoff run not seem like such a bad thing.

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Author

Christopher Boan
Reporter / Journalist

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at BetCalifornia.com, specializing in sports betting issues in the western United States. He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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