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Caught Looking

M's Playoff Drought Reaches 18th Year

Yeah, not exactly news. We knew it in March. Or at least by the time the Mariners turned their shocking 13-2 start into a 20-23 deficit a month later. We were 11 games over .500 on April 11 and 11 games under .500 by May 30. Quick work. Hopes dashed. See you next year. Or the year after. Or...

Anyway, it's the 18th straight season the M's haven't played October baseball, which is the longest such drought in baseball. It‘s not the longest drought in baseball history—not by a longshot. That would be 41 years, shared by three teams:

  • St. Louis Browns: 1903-1944
  • Philadelphia/KC/Oakland Athletics: 1930-1971
  • Cleveland Indians: 1954-1995*

Here are the various title-holders for “Longest drought” throughout MLB history: How many years without seeing the postseason; and how many years they held the “longest drought” title. 

LONGEST DROUGHT TEAM PERIOD YEARS YRS W/TITLE
St. Louis Browns 1903-1944 41 18
Boston Braves 1914-1948 34 4
Philadelphia Phillies 1915-1950 35 2
Chicago White Sox 1919-1959 40 9
Pittsburgh Pirates 1928-1960 32 1
Phila/ KC/ Oakland Athletics 1930-1971 41 11
Chicago Cubs 1945-1984 39 13
Cleveland Indians 1954-1995 41 11
Texas Rangers 1961-1996 35 1
Montréal Expos/Wash. Nationals 1981-2012 31 16
Kansas City Royals 1985-2014 29 2
Toronto Blue Jays 1993-2015 22 1
Seattle Mariners 2001-? 18 4

The length of the droughts are shrinking because it's easier to get into the postseason. The Browns had just one slot: AL pennant. The M‘s, in the wild card era, have had either four or five slots. Even with expansion, with 30 teams rather than 16, your have better odds today. 

If you’re curious how the other 29 teams have done since the last time the Mariners were in the postseason in 2001, well, you came to the right place:

TEAM POSTSEASONS PENNANTS TITLES
Yankees 14 2 1
Cardinals 11 4 2
Dodgers 11 2 0
Red Sox 10 4 4
Braves 9 0 0
Twins 8 0 0
Athletics 8 0 0
Angels 7 1 1
Cubs 7 1 1
Astros 6 2 1
Giants 6 4 3
Rays 5 1 0
Nationals 5 0 0
Rangers 5 2 0
Indians 5 1 0
Phillies 5 2 1
Tigers 5 2 0
Rockies 4 1 0
Brewers 4 0 0
Diamondbacks 4 0 0
Mets 3 1 0
Orioles 3 0 0
Reds 3 0 0
Pirates 3 0 0
Padres 2 0 0
Blue Jays 2 0 0
White Sox 2 1 1
Royals 2 2 1
Marlins 1 1 1
Mariners 0 0 0

After the M's, the longest MLB postseason droughts are the usual suspects: Marlins (2003), Padres (2006), and the White Sox (2008). Every other MLB team has gone to the postseason this decade. Every one. Think of that. 

Take us out, Tanner Boyle and Timmy Lupus. 

* Were the Indians the only original-16 team that didn’t make the postseason during the first playoff era (1969-1993)? Yep. Even the hapless Chicago White Sox did it twice (1983, 1993). Even the hapless Cubs (1984, 1989).

This article is cross-posted at eriklundegaard.com.

Comments

  • Posted by James Mullin on September 30, 2019 (21 days ago)

    In a year the slump can hop in the car and legally get drunk in Canada... So there's that.

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