Top 10 Longest MLB Championship droughts of all time
The longest current World Series championship drought in MLB history belongs to the Cleveland Guardians. Find out which baseball teams have the current and longest such droughts.
The Cleveland Guardians had a disappointing 2023 season, finishing 76-86 to miss the postseason just a year after they won in the wild-card round and then lost the American League Divisional Series to the New York Yankees 3-2.
It was the second time in three years that the Guardians, formerly known as the Indians, failed to reach the postseason. Their championship drought now stands at 75 years since their last World Series victory in 1948, which means that anyone under the age of 90 has no recollection of the ultimate level of baseball happiness in the city derisively referred to as the “Mistake by the Lake.”
So, as we head into the fall and winter months, and Cleveland fans have to peg their championship hopes to the Browns and Cavaliers, it is worth noting that just as all good things come to an end, all bad things come to an end, too. There will eventually be another baseball championship for the team still nicknamed “The Tribe,” and hope springs eternal in baseball every single spring.
With that in mind, let’s have a look at the 10 longest championship droughts in Major League Baseball history.
What is the longest active MLB championship drought?
The longest drought belongs to the Guardians, who have gone three-quarters of a century since Bob Feller and Lou Boudreau led the then-Indians to a World Series victory over the Boston Braves. That was the only World Series played between 1947 and 1958 that did not feature a New York team.
Who has the longest World Series championship drought in MLB history?
The Chicago Cubs went 107 seasons between winning championships in 1908 and 2016.
The 10 Longest World Series Championship Droughts in History
- New York/San Francisco Giants Title-Drought Length: 55 seasons
Years in Drought: 1955 to 2009
This franchise played at the Polo Grounds in upper Manhattan before moving across the country and landing in San Francisco’s windy Candlestick Park, where it played until 2000 before moving into Oracle Park – the Giants’ home when they won the 2009 World Series. San Francisco defeated the Texas Rangers 4-1 that year for the Giants’ first title since beating the Indians in 1954.
- Houston Colt .45s/Astros Title-Drought Length: 55 seasons
Years in Drought: 1962 to 2016
After acquiring future Hall of Fame pitcher Justin Verlander from Detroit just moments before the trading deadline, the Astros took the 2017 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games. They scored five runs against Yu Darvish in the first two innings of Game 7 and went on to win 5-1. The Astros were the first team to beat MLB’s three wealthiest teams -- the Red Sox, Yankees, and Dodgers -- in a single postseason.
- Washington Senators/Texas Rangers
Title-Drought Length: 62 seasons
Years in Drought: 1961 to 2022
Other than the Chicago Cubs, no team personified losing in baseball year after year after year after year more than the Washington Senators, who played in the nation’s capital under two iterations. The second one was the team that moved to Arlington, Texas, and became the Rangers, who have yet to win the World Series but had reached the 2023 ALCS at the time of this writing.
- Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins
Title-Drought Length: 63 seasons
Years in Drought: 1925 to 1986
The original version of the Washington Senators left the nation’s capital after the 1960 season and moved to Minneapolis. Some 27 years later, the Minnesota Twins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in a seven-game World Series. It was the franchise’s first championship in Minnesota and the first since last winning the World Series as the Senators in 1924. It was also the first World Series to feature games played indoors (at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome) and only the third time that all games in a World Series were played on artificial turf.
- St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles
Title-Drought Length: 63 seasons
Years in Drought: 1903 to 1965
The St. Louis Browns were owned by Bill Veeck and had the distinction of using Eddie Gaedel as a pinch-hitter on August 15, 1951, when the 3-foot-7 performer donned a uniform with the number ⅛ and walked on four pitches before being replaced by a pinch runner. The franchise moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season, and its postseason drought ended in 1966 when the Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games to capture the first championship in franchise history. The Dodgers scored a total of just two runs in the four games.
- Cleveland Indians/Guardians
Title-Drought Length: 75 seasons
Years in Drought: 1949 to present
As noted above, it will be another long winter in Cleveland for Guardians fans, whose drought is presently the longest in Major League Baseball and will be addressed again this offseason as each one of baseball’s 30 teams looks to retool through trades and free agency. This franchise does have the distinction of having won 22 consecutive games, the second-longest winning streak in baseball history. So not all streaks associated with Cleveland are bad.
- Philadelphia Phillies
Title Drought Length: 77 seasons
Years in Drought: 1903 to 1979
The team that won the 2008 World Series championship under manager Charlie Manuel gave everyone in cheesesteak nation something to celebrate for the first time since 1980, when the Dallas Green-managed club defeated the Kansas City Royals in six games. Game 6 om 1980 is also significant because it stands as the most-watched game in World Series history, with a television audience of 54.9 million viewers.
- Boston Red Sox
Title-Drought Length: 85 seasons
Years in Drought: 1919 to 2003
The franchise that traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees in what still stands as the worst deal in professional sports history ended this epic drought in the 2004 World Series by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0 behind powerhouse pitchers Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez. The Red Sox won Game 7 on the road – a 4-0 victory that made Boston the first city to have a Super Bowl and World Series winner in the same year since Pittsburgh in 1979.
- Chicago White Sox
Title-Drought Length: 87 seasons
Years in Drought: 1918 to 2004
Another franchise owned by Bill Veeck long after the Black Sox scandal, the team that plays on the South Side of Chicago ended this epic drought with a four-game sweep of the Houston Astros in 2005. Both teams were attempting to overcome decades of disappointment, with a combined 132 years between the two clubs without a title. The Astros were making their first Series appearance in 44 years of play, while the White Sox had waited exactly twice as long for a title.
- Chicago Cubs
Title-Drought Length: 107 seasons
Years in Drought: 1909 to 2015
Up until 2015, everyone in America could reference the Cubbies when it came to describing perennial losing. In other words, everyone got the joke, and that joke particularly irked Cubs fans. Their torture finally ended in the 2016 World Series, when they defeated Cleveland in seven games. Game 7 lasted 10 innings with the Cubs scoring twice and the Indians once, and the final out came when Cleveland had a runner on first base. It is considered one of the greatest Game 7s in baseball history.
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