Now that Jim Bowden has resigned as Nationals general manager, he no longer holds the unofficial title as the worst GM in baseball. He leaves behind a last-place team that lost a major league-worst 102 games in 2008; he's also currently under a federal investigation for the alleged skimming of signing bonuses given to Latin American prospects.
There should have been an investigation into how Bowden got the job in the first place after the team moved from Montreal to Washington. In his four seasons as Nats GM, the team finished in last place three times and didn't have a winning record. Bowden didn't fare much better in his first job as GM. Hired at age 31 by the Reds in 1992, Cincinnati made the playoffs just once in 12 seasons.
Not everyone can go out as a world champion like Pat Gillick. Here are five of the worst baseball GMs in recent history. Was Bowden worse than these guys?
1) Kevin Malone: If you're going to boast, you better back it up. Malone is mostly remember for inserting his foot in his large mouth during a stormy three-year tenure as Dodgers GM, which ended with his forced resignation in April 2001 after he challenged a Padres fan to a fight. Like Bowden, Malone said he didn't want to be a distraction and agreed to step down.
2) Chuck LaMar: Before the Tampa Bay Rays dropped "Devil" from its name in 2008, it first had to get rid of Lamar. It is probably no coincidence the Rays began to improve after he was fired following the 2005 season. The Rays finished in last place in seven of his eight years as GM. Lamar liked to sign former All-Stars and players who were at the end of their careers, figuring he could build a following and a contender. He did neither.
3) Woody Woodward: He was the GM for the Yankees (1987), Phillies (1988) and Mariners ('88-99). In 1997, Woodward traded prospects Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe to the Red Sox for reliever Heathcliff Slocumb. As the story goes, Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette said he wanted Varitek or Lowe for Slocumb. Woodward thought Duquette said "and" instead of "or," and agreed to include both players in what turned out to be one off the worst trades in major league history.
4) Cam Bonifay: The Pirates, a once-proud franchise, haven't made the playoffs or had a winning season since 1992. The string of futility began with Bonifay being named GM and continued in his eight seasons in Pittsburgh, which featured poor drafts and bad contracts.
5) Dan Duquette: The former Red Sox GM was a humorless technocrat who became the face of the franchise in his seven seasons on the job. He had the right plan and made several key acquisitions along the way, laying the groundwork for 2004 championship team. But he lacked the people skills and his perceived arrogance alienated a passionate fan base. He was involved in too many projects, from the proposed building of a new park (which never happened) to the sale of the team (which cost him his job).