UPDATED, 11/13/05, 11/14/05, AND 10/28/07
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series in 2004. That was the first WS win for a Red Sox team since 1918. The Chicago White Sox won the WS in 2005. That was the first WS win for a White Sox team since 1917. Who's next? Who knows?
Now we know, the St. Louis Cardinals (2006) and the Red Sox, again (2007).
But to fuel offseason speculation, the following list ranks teams by the number of World Series that have been played since a team's last WS win. The number after the "/" indicates a team's longest drought (the consecutive number of WS played in which the team failed to win a WS). The year of a team's last WS victory is shown parenthetically. The 16 pre-expansion teams are listed in bold; the 14 expansion teams, in italics. League designations are AL (American League), NL (National League).
98/98 - Chicago Cubs (1908) NL
58/58 - Cleveland Indians (1948) AL
52/52 - San Francisco Giants (1954) (New York Giants through 1957; San Francisco Giants, 1958-) NL
46/46 - Texas Rangers (1961 expansion team without WS victory; Washington Senators, 1961-71; Texas Rangers, 1972-) AL
45/45 - Houston Astros (1962 expansion team without WS victory) NL
38/38 - Milwaukee Brewers (1969 expansion team without WS victory; Seattle Pilots, 1969; Milwaukee Brewers, 1970-97) AL /(Milwaukee Brewers, 1998-) NL
38/38 - San Diego Padres (1969 expansion team without WS victory) NL
38/38 - Washington Senators (1969 expansion team without WS victory; Montreal Expos, 1969-2004; Washington Nationals, 2005-) NL
30/30 - Seattle Mariners (1977 expansion team without WS victory) AL
27/51 - Pittsburgh Pirates (1979) NL
26/76 - Philadelphia Phillies (1980) NL
23/40 - Baltimore Orioles (1983) (Milwaukee Brewers, 1901; St. Louis Browns, 1902-53: Baltimore Orioles, 1954-) AL
22/31 - Detroit Tigers (1984) AL
21/19 - Kansas City Royals (1977 expansion team, WS victory in 1985) AL
20/18 - New York Mets (1986) (1962 expansion team, last WS victory in 1986) AL
18/51 - Los Angeles Dodgers (1988) (Brooklyn Dodgers through 1957; Los Angeles Dodgers, 1958-) NL
17/41 - Oakland Athletics (1989) (Philadelphia A's, 1901-54; Kansas City A's, 1955-67; Oakland A's 1968-) AL
16/34 - Cincinnati Reds (1990) NL
15/62 - Minnesota Twins (1991) (Washington Senators, 1901-60; Minnesota Twins, 1961-) AL
14/14 - Colorado Rockies (1993 expansion team without WS victory) NL
13/16 - Toronto Blue Jays (1977 expansion team, last WS victory in 1993) AL
12/42 - Atlanta Braves (1995) (Boston Braves through 1952; Milwaukee Braves, 1953-65; Atlanta Braves, 1966-) NL
10/10 - Tampa Bay Devil Rays (1998 expansion team without WS victory) AL
07/19 - New York Yankees (2000) (Baltimore Orioles, 1901-2; New York Highlanders/Yankees, 1903-) AL
06/06 - Arizona Diamondbacks (1998 expansion team, WS victory in 2001) NL
05/40 - Los Angeles Angels (2002) (1961 expansion team, WS victory in 2002) (known variously as Los Angeles Angels, California Angels, Anaheim Angels, and now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) AL
04/05 - Florida Marlins (2003) (1993 expansion team, last WS victory in 2003) AL
02/86 - Chicago White Sox (2005) AL
01/23 - St. Louis Cardinals (2006) NL
00/84 - Boston Red Sox (2007) AL
Notes and comments:
1. The Cubs are closing in on the century mark. Will 2006 be the "Year of the Cubs"? (No.) How about a World Series between the Cubs and Indians? The Cubs probably would lose it.
2. Nineteen different teams won the 28 World Series that were played from 1979 through 2007. Here's the breakdown: Yankees, 4 wins; Cardinals, 2 wins; Red Sox, 2 wins; Marlins, 2; Blue Jays, 2; Twins, 2; Dodgers, 2; and 1 each for the White Sox, Angels, Diamondbacks, Braves, Reds, Athletics, Mets, Royals, Tigers, Orioles, Phillies, and Pirates. That's a far cry from the 28 World Series played from, say, 1934 through 1959, which were won by only 8 different teams: Yankees, 14 wins; Cardinals, 4; Dodgers, 2; Tigers, 2; and 1 each for the Braves, Giants, Indians, and Reds.
3. And how about those Yankees? Of the 18 World Series played from 1936 through 1953, the Yankees played in 13 and won 12. The Yankees played in 22 of the 29 World Series from 1936 through 1964, winning 16 times. Of the 44 World Series played from 1921 through 1964, the Yankees played in 29 and won 20. Since 1964 -- after expansion began and not too long before the era of free agency for players -- the Yankees have appeared in 10 of 40 World Series, and have won 6 times. That's the best record of any team for 1965-2005, but it's a far cry from the Yankees' glory days of 1921-64. Expansion and free agency do seem to have made a difference in the competitiveness of baseball (a statement corroborated by a post I wrote two years later).
4. Washington is now on its third franchise. The original Senators played in D.C. from 1901 through 1960, then became the Minnesota Twins. The expansion Senators lasted only from 1961 through 1971, when they became the Texas Rangers. The present Senators (oops, Nationals) were the Montreal Expos from 1969 through 2004. My money on another flop (see, also, this later post). After the novelty of major-league baseball wears off, residents of D.C. and environs will pay only to see a consistent winner, if then.