List of Major League Baseball franchise postseason droughts

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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, eight 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). Discounting the 33 years in which there was no MLB franchise in Washington, there have been 59 seasons played in Washington since their last World Series championship (in 1924).

Only two expansion franchises (the Expos/Nationals and the Mariners) have never won a pennant (i.e., the league championship, the two winners of which meet in the World Series). The two longest pennant droughts in history were recently ended by the Rangers (49 years, starting with the team's foundation, ending in 2010) and the Cubs (70 years, ending in 2016). The Expos/Nationals pennant drought includes 36 years in Montreal, which no longer hosts a team, and 12 years since the move to Washington; discounting the 33 years in which there was no MLB franchise in Washington, there have been 50 seasons played in Washington since their last pennant (in 1933).

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 15 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[edit]

Longest current World Series championship droughts[edit]

Seasons Team Last championship won Last World Series appearance
68 Cleveland Indians 1948 2016
56 Texas Rangers Never (franchise began 1961) 2011
55 Houston Astros Never (franchise began 1962) 2005
48 Milwaukee Brewers Never (franchise began 1969) 1982
48 San Diego Padres Never (franchise began 1969) 1998
48 Washington Nationals Never (franchise began 1969) never
40 Seattle Mariners Never (franchise began 1977) never
37 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979 1979
33 Baltimore Orioles 1983 1983
32 Detroit Tigers 1984 2012
30 New York Mets 1986 2015
28 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988 1988
27 Oakland Athletics 1989 1990
26 Cincinnati Reds 1990 1990
25 Minnesota Twins 1991 1991
24 Colorado Rockies Never (franchise began 1993) 2007
23 Toronto Blue Jays 1993 1993
21 Atlanta Braves 1995 1999
19 Tampa Bay Rays Never (franchise began 1998) 2008
15 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001 2001
14 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2002 2002
13 Miami Marlins 2003 2003
11 Chicago White Sox 2005 2005
8 Philadelphia Phillies 2008 2009
7 New York Yankees 2009 2009
5 St. Louis Cardinals 2011 2013
3 Boston Red Sox 2013 2013
2 San Francisco Giants 2014 2014
1 Kansas City Royals 2015 2015
0 Chicago Cubs 2016 2016

Longest World Series championship droughts through history[edit]

The first World Series was played in 1903. Note that 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 Prev. 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
68 Cleveland Indians 1948
63 St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 1903* 1966
62 Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1924 1987
56 Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 1961*
55 Houston Colt .45s/Astros 1962*
55 New York/San Francisco Giants 1954 2010
52 Brooklyn Dodgers 1903* 1955
48 Seattle Pilots/Milwaukee Brewers 1969*
48 San Diego Padres 1969*
48 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1969*
42 Boston/Milwaukee Braves 1914 1957
41 Philadelphia/Kansas City/Oakland Athletics 1930 1972
41 Los Angeles-California-Anaheim Angels 1961* 2002
40 Seattle Mariners 1977*
37 Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 1957 1995
37 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
34 Pittsburgh Pirates 1925 1960
34 Cincinnati Reds 1940 1975
33 Baltimore Orioles 1983
32 Detroit Tigers 1903* 1935
32 Detroit Tigers 1984
30 New York Mets 1986

* 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[edit]

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 68 Cleveland Indians, 1948
Washington, D.C. 59* Washington Senators (original A.L.), 1924
Milwaukee 55** Milwaukee Braves, 1957
Houston 55‡ None
San Diego 48‡ None
Dallas-Ft. Worth 45‡ None
Seattle 41‡ † None
Pittsburgh 37 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979
Baltimore 33 Baltimore Orioles, 1983
Detroit 32 Detroit Tigers, 1984
Cincinnati 26 Cincinnati Reds, 1990
Minneapolis–Saint Paul 25 Minnesota Twins, 1991
Denver 24‡ None
Toronto 23 Toronto Blue Jays, 1993
Atlanta 21 Atlanta Braves, 1995
Tampa-St. Petersburg 19‡ None
Phoenix 15 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001
Greater Los Angeles Area 14 Anaheim Angels, 2002
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 13 Florida Marlins, 2003
Philadelphia 8 Philadelphia Phillies, 2008
New York City 7 New York Yankees, 2009
St. Louis 5 St. Louis Cardinals, 2011
Boston 3 Boston Red Sox, 2013
San Francisco Bay Area 2 San Francisco Giants, 2014
Kansas City 1 Kansas City Royals, 2015
Chicago 0 Chicago Cubs, 2016

*city without Major League Baseball franchise for 33 seasons (19722004)

**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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

Longest current Major League pennant droughts[edit]

Seasons Team Last pennant
48 Washington Nationals never (franchise started in 1969)
40 Seattle Mariners never (franchise started in 1977)
37 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
34 Milwaukee Brewers 1982 (never since joining NL in 1998)
33 Baltimore Orioles 1983
28 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988
26 Cincinnati Reds 1990
26 Oakland Athletics 1990
25 Minnesota Twins 1991
23 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
18 San Diego Padres 1998
17 Atlanta Braves 1999
15 Arizona Diamondbacks 2001
14 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2002
13 Miami Marlins 2003
11 Chicago White Sox 2005
11 Houston Astros 2005 (never since joining AL in 2013)
9 Colorado Rockies 2007
8 Tampa Bay Rays 2008
7 New York Yankees 2009
7 Philadelphia Phillies 2009
5 Texas Rangers 2011
4 Detroit Tigers 2012
3 St. Louis Cardinals 2013
3 Boston Red Sox 2013
2 San Francisco Giants 2014
1 Kansas City Royals 2015
1 New York Mets 2015
0 Chicago Cubs 2016
0 Cleveland Indians 2016

Longest Major League pennant droughts through history[edit]

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. Note that no pennants were won in 1994 due to strike. 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
49 Washington Senators/Texas Rangers 1961* 2010
48 Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals 1969*
45 Chicago White Sox 1959 2005
43 Houston Colt .45s/Astros 1962* 2005
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 Seattle Mariners 1977*
39 Chicago White Sox 1919 1959
37 Pittsburgh Pirates 1979
34 Philadelphia Phillies 1915 1950
34 Milwaukee Brewers 1982
33 Boston Braves 1914 1948
33 Baltimore Orioles 1983
32 Pittsburgh Pirates 1927 1960
32 Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves 1958 1991
31 Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins 1933 1965
29 Philadelphia Phillies 1950 1980
28 Kansas City Royals 1985 2014
28 Los Angeles Dodgers 1988
27 Boston Red Sox 1918 1946
27 Cleveland Indians 1920 1948
26 San Francisco Giants 1962 1989
26 Oakland Athletics 1990
26 Cincinnati Reds 1990
25 Minnesota Twins 1991
24 Detroit Tigers 1909 1934
23 St. Louis Cardinals 1903* 1926
23 Toronto Blue Jays 1993
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
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).

Numbers reflect drought at start of current season.

Major League pennant droughts by city/region[edit]

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
Washington, D.C. 50* Washington Senators (original A.L.), 1933
Seattle 41** † None
Pittsburgh 37 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1979
Milwaukee 34 Milwaukee Brewers, 1982 (in A.L.)
Baltimore 33 Baltimore Orioles, 1983
Cincinnati 26 Cincinnati Reds, 1990
Minneapolis–Saint Paul 25 Minnesota Twins, 1991
Toronto 23 Toronto Blue Jays, 1993
San Diego 18 San Diego Padres, 1998
Atlanta 17 Atlanta Braves, 1999
Phoenix 15 Arizona Diamondbacks, 2001
Greater Los Angeles Area 14 Anaheim Angels, 2002
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale 13 Florida Marlins, 2003
Houston 11 Houston Astros, 2005 (in N.L.)
Denver 9 Colorado Rockies, 2007
Tampa-St. Petersburg 8 Tampa Bay Rays, 2008
Philadelphia 7 Philadelphia Phillies, 2009
Dallas-Ft. Worth 5 Texas Rangers, 2011
Detroit 4 Detroit Tigers, 2012
St. Louis 3 St. Louis Cardinals, 2013
Boston 3 Boston Red Sox, 2013
San Francisco Bay Area 2 San Francisco Giants, 2014
Kansas City 1 Kansas City Royals, 2015
New York City 1 New York Mets, 2015
Cleveland 0 Cleveland Indians, 2016
Chicago 0 Chicago Cubs, 2016

*city without Major League Baseball franchise for 33 seasons (19722004)

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

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

- Drought has ended, as franchise has qualified for the upcoming 2016 World Series; numbers reflect drought at start of current season.

Postseason droughts[edit]

Longest current postseason droughts[edit]

Seasons Team Last appearance
15 Seattle Mariners 2001 ALCS
13 Miami Marlins 2003 World Series
10 San Diego Padres 2006 NLDS
8 Chicago White Sox 2008 ALDS
7 Colorado Rockies 2009 NLDS
6 Minnesota Twins 2010 ALDS
5 Arizona Diamondbacks 2011 NLDS
5 Philadelphia Phillies 2011 NLDS
5 Milwaukee Brewers 2011 NLCS
3 Cincinnati Reds 2013 NL Wild Card
3 Atlanta Braves 2013 NLDS
3 Tampa Bay Rays 2013 ALDS
2 Oakland Athletics 2014 AL Wild Card
2 Detroit Tigers 2014 ALDS
2 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2014 ALDS
1 New York Yankees 2015 AL Wild Card
1 Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 NL Wild Card
1 Houston Astros 2015 ALDS
1 St. Louis Cardinals 2015 NLDS
1 Kansas City Royals 2015 World Series
0 Baltimore Orioles 2016 AL Wild Card
0 New York Mets 2016 NL Wild Card
0 Boston Red Sox 2016 ALDS
0 San Francisco Giants 2016 NLDS
0 Texas Rangers 2016 ALDS
0 Washington Nationals 2016 NLDS
0 Los Angeles Dodgers 2016 NLCS
0 Toronto Blue Jays 2016 ALCS
0 Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series
0 Cleveland Indians 2016 World Series

Longest postseason droughts in the expanded-postseason era[edit]

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 Prev. 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
15 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 1986 2002
15 Seattle Mariners 2001

See also[edit]

External links[edit]