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List of Major League Baseball franchise postseason droughts

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Throughout the history of Major League Baseball (MLB), franchises have had various postseason and World Series droughts.

All 16 of the original Major League franchises (i.e., those in place when the first World Series was played in 1903) have won the World Series, with the longest wait for a franchise's first championship being for the Phillies (77 years, ending in 1980). Since expansion began in 1961, six of the 14 expansion teams have never won the World Series. Further, one franchise (the Indians) has a current championship drought that pre-dates the expansion era. The three longest championship droughts in history were ended recently by the Red Sox (85 years, ending in 2004), the White Sox (87 years, ending in 2005), and the Cubs (107 years, ending in 2016).

Only one expansion franchise (the Mariners) has never won a pennant (i.e., the league championship, the two winners of which meet in the World Series). The three longest pennant droughts in history were recently ended by the Nationals (51 years, starting with the team's foundation and ending in 2019, and including the franchise's entire 36 years as the Montreal Expos), the Rangers (49 years, starting with the team's foundation and ending in 2010) and the Cubs (70 years, ending in 2016). As the Nationals are the third franchise to be based in the city of Washington, their 2019 pennant also ended a drought of 53 seasons played in Washington since their last pennant, which was in 1933 (here we discount the 33 seasons during which there was no team in Washington).

Every MLB franchise has at least been to the postseason, especially since expansion of the playoffs in 1994 made that feat easier. The Mariners have the longest active postseason drought at 18 years. Long postseason droughts were ended recently by the Nationals (30 years for the franchise, 45 seasons over 78 years for the city, ending in 2012), the Pirates (20 years, ending in 2013), the Royals (28 years, ending in 2014), and the Blue Jays (21 years, ending in 2015).

This list includes only the modern World Series between the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), not the various 19th-century championship series. Those teams which have never achieved a particular accomplishment in their franchise history are listed by the date they entered the leagues.

World Series championship droughts

Longest current World Series championship droughts

No World Series was played in 1994, and counts as a drought season for those franchises.

Seasons Team Last World Series championship won Last World Series appearance
71 Cleveland Indians 1948 2016
59 Texas Rangers Never (franchise began 1961) 2011
51 Milwaukee Brewers Never (franchise began 1969) 1982
51 San Diego Padres Never (franchise began 1969) 1998
43 Seattle Mariners Never (franchise began 1977) Never
40 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979 1979
36 Baltimore Orioles 1983 1983
35 Detroit Tigers 1984 2012
33 New York Mets 1986 2015
31 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 2018
30 Oakland Athletics 1989 1990
29 Cincinnati Reds 1990 1990
28 Minnesota Twins 1991 1991
27 Colorado Rockies Never (franchise began 1993) 2007
26 Toronto Blue Jays 1993 1993
24 Atlanta Braves 1995 1999
22 Tampa Bay Rays Never (franchise began 1998) 2008
18 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 2001
17 Los Angeles Angels 2002 2002
16 Miami Marlins 2003 2003
14 Chicago White Sox 2005 2005
11 Philadelphia Phillies 2008 2009
10 New York Yankees 2009 2009
8 St. Louis Cardinals 2011 2013
5 San Francisco Giants 2014 2014
4 Kansas City Royals 2015 2015
3 Chicago Cubs 2016 2016
2 Houston Astros 2017 2019
1 Boston Red Sox 2018 2018
0 Washington Nationals 2019 2019

Longest World Series championship droughts through history

The first World Series was played in 1903. No World Series was played in 1904 or 1994. This list only shows droughts of 30 or more seasons. Active droughts are listed in bold type.

Seasons Team Previous Title Next Title
107 Chicago Cubs 1908 2016
87 Chicago White Sox 1917 2005
85 Boston Red Sox 1918 2004
77 Philadelphia Phillies 1903* 1980
71 Cleveland Indians 1948
63 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 1903* 1966
62 Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1924 1987
59 Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 1961*
55 Houston Colt .45s/Astros 1962* 2017
55 New York/San Francisco Giants 1954 2010
52 Brooklyn Dodgers 1903* 1955
51 Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers 1969*
51 San Diego Padres 1969*
50 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1969* 2019
43 Seattle Mariners 1977*
42 Boston/Milwaukee Braves 1914 1957
41 Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics 1930 1972
41 Los Angeles-California-Anaheim Angels 1961* 2002
40 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
37 Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 1957 1995
36 Baltimore Orioles 1983
35 Detroit Tigers 1984
34 Pittsburgh Pirates 1925 1960
34 Cincinnati Reds 1940 1975
33 New York Mets 1986
32 Detroit Tigers 1903* 1935
31 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988
30 Oakland Athletics 1989

* Year does not indicate a title won, but rather the team's first year of existence or the first year of the modern World Series (1903).

World Series championship droughts by city/region

This list only includes cities/regions with current Major League Baseball franchises. Years during which a city/region did not field a Major League Baseball team are not counted.

Region Drought (seasons) Last World Series title
Cleveland 71 Cleveland Indians, 1948
Milwaukee 58* Milwaukee Braves, 1957
San Diego 51‡ None
Dallas-Ft. Worth 48‡ None
Seattle 44‡ † None
Pittsburgh 40 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979
Baltimore 36 Baltimore Orioles, 1983
Detroit 35 Detroit Tigers, 1984
Cincinnati 29 Cincinnati Reds, 1990
Minneapolis–Saint Paul 28 Minnesota Twins, 1991
Denver 27‡ None
Toronto 26 Toronto Blue Jays, 1993
Atlanta 24 Atlanta Braves, 1995
Tampa-St. Petersburg 22‡ None
Phoenix 18 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001
Los Angeles 17 Anaheim Angels, 2002
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 16 Florida Marlins, 2003
Philadelphia 11 Philadelphia Phillies, 2008
New York City 10 New York Yankees, 2009
St. Louis 8 St. Louis Cardinals, 2011
San Francisco Bay Area 5 San Francisco Giants, 2014
Kansas City 4 Kansas City Royals, 2015
Chicago 3 Chicago Cubs, 2016
Houston 2 Houston Astros, 2017
Boston 1 Boston Red Sox, 2018
Washington, D.C. 0 Washington Nationals, 2019

*city without Major League Baseball franchise for 4 seasons (19661969)

†city without Major League Baseball franchise for 7 seasons (19701976)

‡number doesn't indicate a title won, but rather total seasons played.

World Series in which neither team had previously won a championship

In these instances, the World Series matchup ensured that one team would win the first championship in its history.

Season Won Lost
1980 Philadelphia Phillies Kansas City Royals
1920 Cleveland Indians Brooklyn Dodgers
1909 Pittsburgh Pirates Detroit Tigers
1907 Chicago Cubs Detroit Tigers
1906* Chicago White Sox Chicago Cubs
1905* New York Giants Philadelphia Athletics
1903* Boston Americans Pittsburgh Pirates

*In these cases, each team was making its first World Series appearance.

World Series in which both teams had ended pennant droughts of 20-plus seasons

Season Won Drought (seasons) Lost Drought (seasons)
2005 Chicago White Sox 45 Houston Astros 43
1948 Cleveland Indians 27 Boston Braves 33

World Series in which neither franchise had won a championship in 30-plus seasons

Teams that had never won the World Series are included, even if they were less than 30 seasons old at the time. Bold denotes team that won.

Season American League Drought (seasons) National League Drought (seasons)
2016 Cleveland Indians 67 Chicago Cubs 107
2010 Texas Rangers 49* San Francisco Giants 55
2005 Chicago White Sox 87 Houston Astros 43*
2002 Anaheim Angels 41* San Francisco Giants 47
1997 Cleveland Indians 48 Florida Marlins 4*
1995 Cleveland Indians 46 Atlanta Braves 37
1992 Toronto Blue Jays 15* Atlanta Braves 34
1980 Kansas City Royals 11* Philadelphia Phillies 77*
1975 Boston Red Sox 56 Cincinnati Reds 34
1972 Oakland Athletics 40 Cincinnati Reds 31
1920 Cleveland Indians 17* Brooklyn Dodgers 17*
1909 Detroit Tigers 6* Pittsburgh Pirates 6*
1907 Detroit Tigers 4* Chicago Cubs 4*
1906 Chicago White Sox 3* Chicago Cubs 3*
1905 Philadelphia Athletics 2* New York Giants 2*
1903 Boston Americans 0* Pittsburgh Pirates 0*

Numbers marked with * indicates that the number is counted from either the franchise's first year of existence or the first year of the modern World Series (1903).

Major League pennant droughts

Longest current Major League pennant droughts

No pennants were won in 1994 due to the players' strike that year.

Seasons Team Last pennant
43 Seattle Mariners Never (franchise started in 1977)
40 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
37 Milwaukee Brewers 1982 (never since joining NL in 1998)
36 Baltimore Orioles 1983
29 Cincinnati Reds 1990
29 Oakland Athletics 1990
28 Minnesota Twins 1991
26 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
21 San Diego Padres 1998
20 Atlanta Braves 1999
18 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001
17 Los Angeles Angels 2002
16 Miami Marlins 2003
14 Chicago White Sox 2005
12 Colorado Rockies 2007
11 Tampa Bay Rays 2008
10 New York Yankees 2009
10 Philadelphia Phillies 2009
8 Texas Rangers 2011
7 Detroit Tigers 2012
6 St. Louis Cardinals 2013
5 San Francisco Giants 2014
4 Kansas City Royals 2015
4 New York Mets 2015
3 Chicago Cubs 2016
3 Cleveland Indians 2016
1 Boston Red Sox 2018
1 Los Angeles Dodgers 2018
0 Washington Nationals 2019
0 Houston Astros 2019

Longest Major League pennant droughts through history

List begins with 1903, about the time the current configuration of National League and American League stabilized and also the year of the first World Series. No pennants were won in 1994 due to the players strike that year. This list only shows droughts of 20 or more seasons. Active droughts are listed in bold type.

Seasons Team Prev. Pennant Next Pennant
70 Chicago Cubs 1945 2016
50 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1969* 2019
49 Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 1961* 2010
45 Chicago White Sox 1959 2005
43 Houston Colt .45s/Astros 1962* 2005
43 Seattle Mariners 1977*
41 St. Louis Browns 1903* 1944
41 Los Angeles-California-Anaheim Angels 1961* 2002
40 Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics 1931 1972
40 Cleveland Indians 1954 1995
40 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
39 Chicago White Sox 1919 1959
37 Milwaukee Brewers 1982
36 Baltimore Orioles 1983
34 Philadelphia Phillies 1915 1950
33 Boston Braves 1914 1948
32 Pittsburgh Pirates 1927 1960
32 Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 1958 1991
31 Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1933 1965
29 Philadelphia Phillies 1950 1980
29 Oakland Athletics 1990
29 Cincinnati Reds 1990
28 Kansas City Royals 1985 2014
28 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 2017
28 Minnesota Twins 1991
27 Boston Red Sox 1918 1946
27 Cleveland Indians 1920 1948
26 San Francisco Giants 1962 1989
26 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
24 Detroit Tigers 1909 1934
23 St. Louis Cardinals 1903* 1926
22 Detroit Tigers 1945 1968
21 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 1944 1966
21 Minnesota Twins 1965 1987
21 Detroit Tigers 1984 2006
21 Washington Senators 1903* 1924
21 San Diego Padres 1998
20 Brooklyn Dodgers 1920 1941
20 Cincinnati Reds 1940 1961
20 Boston Red Sox 1946 1967

* Year does not indicate a pennant, but rather the team's first year of existence or the first year of the modern World Series (1903).

Major League pennant droughts by city/region

This list only includes cities/regions with current Major League Baseball franchises. Years during which a city/region did not field a Major League Baseball team are not counted.

Region Drought (seasons) Last pennant
Seattle 44* † None
Pittsburgh 40 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979
Milwaukee 37 Milwaukee Brewers, 1982 (in A.L.)
Baltimore 36 Baltimore Orioles, 1983
Cincinnati 29 Cincinnati Reds, 1990
Minneapolis–Saint Paul 28 Minnesota Twins, 1991
Toronto 26 Toronto Blue Jays, 1993
San Diego 21 San Diego Padres, 1998
Atlanta 20 Atlanta Braves, 1999
Phoenix 18 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 16 Florida Marlins, 2003
Denver 12 Colorado Rockies, 2007
Tampa-St. Petersburg 11 Tampa Bay Rays, 2008
Philadelphia 10 Philadelphia Phillies, 2009
Dallas-Ft. Worth 8 Texas Rangers, 2011
Detroit 7 Detroit Tigers, 2012
St. Louis 6 St. Louis Cardinals, 2013
San Francisco Bay Area 5 San Francisco Giants, 2014
Kansas City 4 Kansas City Royals, 2015
New York City 4 New York Mets, 2015
Cleveland 3 Cleveland Indians, 2016
Chicago 3 Chicago Cubs, 2016
Los Angeles 1 Los Angeles Dodgers, 2018
Boston 1 Boston Red Sox, 2018
Houston 0 Houston Astros, 2019
Washington, D.C. 0 Washington Nationals, 2019

*city without Major League Baseball franchise for 7 seasons (19701976)

†number doesn't indicate a title won, but rather total seasons played.

League championship appearance droughts

Longest current league championship appearance droughts

No league championships were played in 1994 due to the players' strike that year.

Seasons Team Last appearance
27 Pittsburgh Pirates 1992
24 Cincinnati Reds 1995
21 San Diego Padres 1998
18 Atlanta Braves 2001
18 Seattle Mariners 2001
17 Minnesota Twins 2002
16 Miami Marlins 2003
14 Chicago White Sox 2005
13 Oakland Athletics 2006
12 Arizona Diamondbacks 2007
12 Colorado Rockies 2007
11 Tampa Bay Rays 2008
10 Los Angeles Angels 2009
9 Philadelphia Phillies 2010
8 Texas Rangers 2011
6 Detroit Tigers 2013
5 San Francisco Giants 2014
5 Baltimore Orioles 2014
4 Kansas City Royals 2015
4 New York Mets 2015
3 Toronto Blue Jays 2016
3 Cleveland Indians 2016
2 Chicago Cubs 2017
1 Milwaukee Brewers 2018
1 Boston Red Sox 2018
1 Los Angeles Dodgers 2018
0 New York Yankees 2019
0 St. Louis Cardinals 2019
0 Washington Nationals 2019
0 Houston Astros 2019

League division champion droughts

Longest current division champion droughts

No league division champions were won in 1994 due to the players' strike that year.

Seasons Team Division Last division champion
27 Colorado Rockies NL West Never (franchise began in 1993)
27 Miami Marlins* NL East Never (franchise began in 1993)
27 Pittsburgh Pirates** NL Central 1992 (never since moved from NL East in 1994)
18 Seattle Mariners AL West 2001
13 San Diego Padres NL West 2006
11 Chicago White Sox AL Central 2008
9 Tampa Bay Rays AL East 2010
8 Arizona Diamondbacks NL West 2011
8 Philadelphia Phillies NL East 2011
7 Cincinnati Reds NL Central 2012
7 San Francisco Giants NL West 2012
6 Oakland Athletics AL West 2013
5 Baltimore Orioles AL East 2014
5 Detroit Tigers AL Central 2014
5 Los Angeles Angels AL West 2014
4 Kansas City Royals AL Central 2015
4 New York Mets NL East 2015
4 Toronto Blue Jays AL East 2015
3 Texas Rangers AL West 2016
2 Chicago Cubs NL Central 2017
2 Washington Nationals NL East 2017
1 Boston Red Sox AL East 2018
1 Cleveland Indians AL Central 2018
1 Milwaukee Brewers NL Central 2018
0 Atlanta Braves NL East 2019
0 Houston Astros AL West 2019
0 Los Angeles Dodgers NL West 2019
0 Minnesota Twins AL Central 2019
0 New York Yankees AL East 2019
0 St. Louis Cardinals NL Central 2019

* Because of the wild card postseason berth, the franchise have won two World Series champions (1997, 2003) without winning the division.
** Also the franchise without a winning record for 20 consecutive seasons (1993–2012).

Postseason droughts

Longest current postseason droughts

Seasons Team Last appearance
18 Seattle Mariners* 2001 ALCS
16 Miami Marlins 2003 World Series
13 San Diego Padres 2006 NLDS
11 Chicago White Sox 2008 ALDS
8 Philadelphia Phillies 2011 NLDS
6 Cincinnati Reds 2013 NL Wild Card
5 Detroit Tigers 2014 ALDS
5 Los Angeles Angels 2014 ALDS
4 Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 NL Wild Card
4 Kansas City Royals 2015 World Series
3 Baltimore Orioles 2016 AL Wild Card
3 New York Mets 2016 NL Wild Card
3 San Francisco Giants 2016 NLDS
3 Texas Rangers 2016 ALDS
3 Toronto Blue Jays 2016 ALCS
2 Arizona Diamondbacks 2017 NLDS
1 Chicago Cubs 2018 NL Wild Card
1 Cleveland Indians 2018 ALDS
1 Colorado Rockies 2018 NLDS
1 Boston Red Sox 2018 World Series
0 Oakland Athletics 2019 AL Wild Card
0 Milwaukee Brewers 2019 NL Wild Card
0 Tampa Bay Rays 2019 ALDS
0 Minnesota Twins 2019 ALDS
0 Atlanta Braves 2019 NLDS
0 Los Angeles Dodgers 2019 NLDS
0 New York Yankees 2019 ALCS
0 St. Louis Cardinals 2019 NLCS
0 Houston Astros 2019 World Series
0 Washington Nationals 2019 World Series

* Also longest active drought in North American sports[1]

Longest postseason droughts in the expanded-postseason era

After the postseason was expanded in 1995 to include eight teams (further expanded in 2012 to ten teams), 18 of the 30 teams qualified within the first five years, and few teams went for long droughts without at least participating in the first round of the postseason. This list only shows droughts of 15 or more seasons that occurred primarily in the expanded-postseason era. Active droughts are listed in bold type.

Seasons Team Previous Postseason Appearance Next Postseason Appearance
30 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1981 2012
28 Kansas City Royals 1985 2014
25 Milwaukee Brewers 1982 2008
21 Toronto Blue Jays 1993 2015
20 Pittsburgh Pirates 1992 2013
18 Detroit Tigers 1987 2006
18 Seattle Mariners 2001
16 Miami Marlins 2003
15 Los Angeles Angels 1986 2002

See also

References

  1. ^ McKay, John (September 26, 2019). "Longest Pro Sports Postseason Drought? Mariners". KFLD NEWStalk 870. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
This page was last edited on 27 May 2020, at 22:08
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