Among current teams, the Cleveland Indians have endured 71 non-championship seasons since last winning the World Series (as of 2019).

The Tribe beat the Boston Braves, four games to two in 1948.

Here’s what the Series hero looked like …

1949 Bowman Bob Lemon

The record for most years between championships, however, belongs to the Chicago Cubs, who beat the Detroit Tigers in 1908, then didn’t take another World Series trophy home to Wrigley Field until 2016 … when they took out the Indians.

That’s a span of 108 years, in case you left your calculator in your other pants.

Honorable mention goes to the Boston Red Sox, who won the World Series in 1918 … sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in December of 1919 … then remained “cursed” by the Bambino until 2004, when they swept the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.

Eight-five years between championships is nothing to sneeze at, and it’s also the American League record for World Series droughts.

Failure by Any Other Name …

However, there are other kinds of futility besides just not winning a World Series.

For instance, an extended stretch without ever even reaching a World Series …

Among current teams, the Washington Nationals have never made the Fall Classic cut in their half century of existence, though they were the Montreal Expos through 2004.

If you’re looking for a futile franchise that hasn’t moved during their big-stage drought, the Seattle Mariners have you covered — they’ve never once made it to the World Series since their founding as an expansion club in 1976.

Considering only franchises who actually have *some* World Series experience, the Pittsburgh Pirates “lead” the pack, having last appeared in the Series in 1979.

Not far behind are the Milwaukee Brewers, whose only Series appearance came in 1982.

The Baltimore Orioles checked in for the last time — so far — the next year (1983).

Next in line are the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A’s, who faced off in the 1990 World Series, but neither of whom has made it back since.

And then, there are the Minnesota Twins, who thrilled the world with their seven-game nail-biter over the Atlanta Braves in 1991 … and then went away.

Interestingly, three of these teams are still in play as the 2019 playoffs get underway (sorry, Reds fans).

So … maybe this is the year?

Historically Missing

In case you’re wondering, only the Cubs top the Nationals’ record when it comes to long stretches without a Series appearance, as the North Siders whiffed on the last series of season between 1945 and 2016.

The Mariners are also looking up at Chicago’s other baseball team, as the White Sox made it to the Fall Classic in 1959 but then not again until 2005.

And, though it didn’t get as much play, the ChiSox were actually in worse shape than the BoSox in the drought department before that ’05 victory.

You probably remember that the White Sox (at least allegedly) threw the 1919 World Series to the Reds, but they also won the 1917 Fall Classic over the New York Giants.

Between then and 2005, though, it was just losses by the Black Sox and Go-Go Sox … and dead air.

This post is part of a new series, Baseball Briefs, exploring our game in 500-word (or less) snippets. Sign up here to make sure you don’t miss any of the fun!

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