Win or lose, the Chicago Cubs put an end to the longest active drought between World Series appearances. They hadn’t won a National League pennant since 1945 – two years before Jackie Robinson first suited up for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
With the Cubbies’ dubious streak at an end as they prepare for Tuesday’s Game 1 against the Cleveland Indians, here’s a look at the teams in each of the big four professional leagues with the longest active wait to reach the championship round.
With the Cubs’ achievement, every pre-expansion franchise has reached the Fall Classic since Major League Baseball began adding franchises in 1961.
Just two clubs have yet to win a pennant: the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners. The Nats debuted in 1969 as the Montreal Expos, while the M’s entered in 1977.
The longest advice streak since a World Series appearance belongs to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who haven’t returned since winning the 1979 World Series.
Four franchises – the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, and Jacksonville Jaguars – are still waiting to make their Super Bowl debut.
While Houston and Jacksonville are expansion franchises with less than 25 years of history, the Browns and Lions predate the Super Bowl era. The Lions’ last NFL title came in 1957, while the Browns’ most recent pre-Super Bowl championship appearance was a win in 1964.
Among teams who’ve been to the Big Game, the New York Jets’ 47-season gap tops the list.
The Association is one of the most exclusive when it comes to teams reaching the Finals, with seven franchises yet to make it that far.
But the Sacramento Kings have toiled without a Finals appearance for longer than any of those teams have existed, last qualifying in 1951 as the Rochester Royals when they topped the New York Knicks.
Among teams without a single Finals berth, the Los Angeles Clippers have waited longest. They began as the Buffalo Braves in 1970.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup on 13 occasions, but they haven’t even reached the Final since their last championship in 1967. Every other Original Six team has won the Cup at least once during the past 23 years.
Five teams have yet to vie for the Cup, but the Arizona Coyotes are the only franchise among them that entered the NHL before the 1990s. After winning the final WHA championship in 1979 as the original Winnipeg Jets, they joined the NHL the following season.