Can you spell 'futility?' The Phillies certainly can

The grandfathers of the current Philadelphia Phillies weren't even born when the club began its long march toward an unenviable milestone: 10,000 losses. As Major League Baseball resumes its 2007 season following the All-Star Game break, the franchise is still two games short of being the first in professional sports to reach that mark. But before long, the loss odometer will turn to five digits. That's not to say the current players are losers; they have a 44-44 record to this point and are only 4-1/2 games behind the National League East division-leading New York Mets. Still, the team's 124-year history is filled with disappointments. Some key facts:

First game (and loss): May 1, 1883
Longest losing streak: 23 games in 1961, a major league record
Most consecutive losing seasons: 16 (1933-48)
Worst stretch of futility: 1938-42 (103 or more losses each year)
Number of 100-loss seasons: 14
Worst finish: 62-1/2 games out of first place (1942)
Worst collapse: With 12 games left in 1964 season, the team lost 10 straight, squandering a 6-1/2-game lead.
World Series championships: one (1980)

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