The Florida Marlins had just snapped an 11-game losing streak, and as the stereo blared "Super Freak," rookie outfielder Todd Dunwoody stood in the middle of the happy clubhouse, savoring a winning atmosphere.

"Now," he said solemnly, "we've got a little momentum."Yep, one win represents progress for the miserable Marlins, who have gone from first to worst and are still sinking, perhaps to historic depths. The momentum Dunwoody sensed lasted about as long as a Marlins' lead, and they remain on pace to challenge the 1962 expansion New York Mets as the worst team in modern major league history.

With 100 games to go, the Marlins were 18-44 - one game ahead of the '62 Mets' 17-45 pace. New York finished that season with 120 losses, the most this century, and only 40 victories.

Florida's worst previous team, the 1993 expansion club, was 30-32 with 100 games left and finished 64-98. Unless Charlie Hough and Orestes Destrade come out of retirement, these Marlins will wind up worse.

With 14 rookies on the roster, including eight pitchers, manager Jim Leyland is hard-pressed to defend his team when it's compared with the '62 Mets.

"I know the situation," he said. "I know we're not going to win a lot of games. I'm not stupid."

The Marlins have allowed more runs, hits and walks than any other team in the National League. They're 5-24 on the road.