We hold professional athletes to high standards, and for a good reason. Less than one percent of all athletes make it to the pros, so the ones that do are the very best the world has to offer in their craft. Professional athletes rarely make mistakes, but baseball is a game full of failure. The best fielders in the world make 99 percent of their routine plays, but they still make errors from time to time. A few players have actually made over 1,000 errors over their careers, but who holds the record for most errors in MLB history?
Errors were far more prevalent in the 1800s
Whether it was the lack of effective equipment or a more ridged scoring system at the time, errors were far more prevalent in the 1800s and early 1900s. The top 12 MLB players with the most errors in history played mostly in the late 1800s.
It’s not just the top names on the list, though. Out of the top 400 in errors made, no current players crack the list. Every single name is either dead or retired, and a large majority of them are names you’ve probably never heard of.
The most famous name near the top of the list is Hall-of-Fame shortstop Honus Wagner. Wagner played 21 years in the MLB and recorded 828 errors. However, he doesn’t even crack the top 10.
Four MLB players committed over 1,000 errors
Nowadays, players can go a full season without committing a single error. Strength and conditioning practices and sure-handed gloves have significantly cut down the number of errors in the MLB over time.
Before revolutionary workouts and new-age equipment were available, though, players made a ton of errors. The top four players who committed the most errors in MLB history all had over 1,000 in their careers.
Germany Smith, a shortstop who played from 1884-1898, comes in at No. 4. Smith committed a staggering 1,009 errors in 15 seasons. That’s over 67 errors per season! The most any player committed last season was 26.
Deacon White comes in next with 1,018 errors. White played 20 seasons in the big leagues, so his error percentage isn’t as bad as Smith’s. Still, it’s a huge number for someone who eventually made the Hall of Fame.
At No. 2 on the list, we have Bill Dahlen. The longtime Chicago Colt (not a typo) committed 1,080 errors over 21 seasons in the bigs. He still couldn’t top the worst fielder of all time.
Herman Long committed the most errors in MLB history
The good news for Herman Long is he holds an MLB record all by himself. The bad news is it might be the only record you don’t want your name attached to.
In 16 seasons, Long managed to commit a mind-boggling 1,096 errors in 1,875 games. Long committed an error in every other game he played, on average.
Long also holds the record for most errors in a single season with 122. Alongside Cal Ripkin Jr.’s consecutive games record, Long’s record is one that may never be beaten.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference