Sporting Charts

Longest Active World Series Appearance Droughts

It is sometimes fun to analyze the futility of some major league teams, since the point of being a team is actually trying to win - something. Or at least, getting to fight for a Championship. In some cases, it is quite amusing (as with the Cubs), but in others, it is just a little pitiful (read Seattle Mariners).

So here we present you with the 10 longest World Series appearances droughts and how they came to be:

10 - Cincinnati Reds

Last World Series Appearance: 1990
Last World Series won: 1990

The Reds won their last pennant on 1990 with a team that included players like Chris Sabo, Barry Larkin, Eric Davis, José Rijo and Randy Myers, and were managed by Lou Piniella. They were an amazing team that started the season 33-12 and swept Oakland on the Series quite easily. However, after that, the team fell quite harshly into an era of mediocrity with some decent and some terrible results, but never the same magic.

If there’s any Reds team that could break this drought is the current one, led by former MVP Joey Votto in front of a well rounded and deep team that’s probably second best in the NL.

9 - Oakland Athletics

Last World Series Appearance: 1990
Last World Series won: 1989

After revamping their minor league system and bringing up people such as José Canseco, Mark McGwire and Walt Weiss, also having luminaires such as Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley and hiring the proficient Tony LaRussa to be their manager, the A’s went into pure victory mode, winning the AL Division 3 times in a row (from 88 to 90), including a World Series victory in 1989, were they swept their Bay Area rival Giants.

Afterwards, the front office started to make giant payroll cuts and leading to the Moneyball era, but even with GM Beane’s brilliance and many teams that break all negative predictions, they haven’t been able to recapture the winning ways of their late 80s.

8 - Los Angeles Dodgers

Last World Series Appearance: 1988
Last World Series Won: 1988

On 1988, the Dodgers were not expected to compete as Fernando Valenzuela was pretty much out because of injuries and their roster just didn’t seem strong enough. Many Dodgers had career years such as MVP Kirk Gibson and Cy Young Orel Hershiser. The World Series had a lot of drama with plays such as when an injured Kirk Gibson, who hadn’t been able to play any Series games hit a walk-off home run of sturdy closer Dennis Eckersley in game 1.

After that, they didn’t win a postseason game until 2004, and the World Series has eluded the Dodgers. Nowadays, with new team owners, the Dodgers are trying to buy their way into the Series, and 2012 will be their first test.

7 - Kansas City Royals

Last World Series Appearance: 1985
Last World Series Won: 1985

In the late seventies and early eighties, the Royals were a forced to be reckoned with. From 1976 to 1985, they went to the postseason 7 times, eventually winning it all in 1985 on a year where they rallied from a 3-1 deficit on the ALCS and then beat the Cardinals in 7 games after losing the first two at home.

After that, however, the Royals haven’t been to the postseason at all. After having some decent seasons, the team fell down till they eventually hit rock bottom and, since the early 2000s, have been developing a big farm system that, they’re hoping, will soon net them another playoff appearance.

6 - Baltimore Orioles

Last World Series Appearance: 1983
Last World Series Won: 1983

The Orioles had what people call the “Glory Years” which spawned from the late sixties to the last time they won the Series in 1983. They were led that year by MVP shortstop Cal Ripken Jr and MVP runner-up Eddie Murray, and they ended up beating the Phillies quite easily on a 5 game series.

The birds stayed relevant till the late nineties, but the post-Ripken era has not been kind to them and, without counting their improbable 2012 playoff appearance, they haven’t been to any October baseball since 1997.

5 - Milwaukee Brewers

Last World Series Appearance: 1982
Last World Series Won: never

1982 was a year that saw the Brewers become the prime example of a truly power hitting team, having three players in the top five in HRs. They did eventually get to the Series but they eventually lost to the Cardinals on 7 games that saw Milwaukee’s weak bullpen be a big factor.

Afterwards, they have had a few highs and mostly lows, until turning things around on the late 2000s. A new World Series appearance, however, still looks to be far as the Brewers struggle to build a deep and well balanced team.

4 - Pittsburgh Pirates

Last World Series Appearance: 1979
Last World Series Won: 1979

In 1979, a Pirate was designated as the MVP in every MVP category available: Dave Parker was the All Star Game MVP, Willie Stargell was the NLCS MVP, World Series MVP and NL MVP. The team mustered a 98 - 64  record en route to the World Series, where they beat the Orioles in 7 games after trailing 3-1.

Life after that hasn’t been so easy. Even though they appeared in the postseason from 1990 to 1992, they have gone into an era of mediocrity that has them at a record setting 20 consecutive losing seasons (and counting?) as the Pirates try to find a way to avoid increasing that total.

3 - Chicago Cubs

Last World Series Appearance: 1945
Last World Series Won: 1908

Much has been said about the Cubs being a futile team in terms of actually winning, as they haven’t really done it much since they won it all on the early years. In 1945, they lost to the Tigers on their last Series appearance. In Game 4, Billy Sianis, who was the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern, watched the game with his goat on a box seat. P.K. Wrigley, then owner of the Cubs, asked him to leave because the goat’s odor was bothering other fans. It is said that, in his anger, Sianis said “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more” and, since then, the Cubs have won no NL pennants.

2 - Seattle Mariners

Last World Series appearance: never

The Seattle Mariners were created in 1977 and are owned by Nintendo of America. While Nintendo can be translated as “leave luck to heaven”, luck has certainly not been on the M’s side, as they have only reached the postseason 4 times.

In 2001, Seattle won 116 games, tying an MLB record for single season wins and hosting AL MVP and rookie of the year, Ichiro Suzuki and players like Edgar Martinez and Bret Boone. They lost in the ALCS against the Yankees, losing on 5 games and having their offense largely shut down. What’s more, recently they have entered into an era of rebuilding that still looks like is years away from new glory.

1 - Washington Nationals

Last World Series Appearance: never

Born in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, they have only been to the postseason twice. First, in 1981, they lost on the ALCS against the Dodgers after a Sunday game was postponed due to rain. On Monday, they lost on a 9th inning homer by Rick Monday, where the phrase “Blue Monday” was born. Time passed and, while the team gave some hope, it also created plenty of disappointments. Eventually, the team was relocated to Washington.

While continuing in futility in Washington, the Nats eventually did reach the postseason in 2012 and have been projected to be the majors best team in 2012, with a rebuilt core of young players and some of the best pitching in the majors.


Which team do you think will be the first to end their drought?