As the 2014 Major League Baseball regular season draws near to its end, four franchises have gone at least ten full seasons without a playoff appearance. The leader on this list enters Friday’s game on the precipice of finally breaking through to the postseason after nearly three decades of watching the playoffs on TV from home. If this team is, in fact, able to clinch a postseason berth, who would own the next-longest current streak of futility?
Here are the four ball clubs with the longest current postseason droughts as of September 2014, in order of most consecutive years on the sidelines.
1. Kansas City Royals
Last playoff appearance: 1985
No MLB team had missed the playoffs more years in a row entering 2014 than the Kansas City Royals. KC is looking for its first trip to the postseason since the George Brett-led Royals won the franchise’s only World Championship in 1985. On the bright side for Kansas City fans, that dubious streak could very well end in 2014. Entering Friday’s games, the Royals need only a single win or Mariners loss in the season’s final weekend to clinch at least a wild card. The Royals are currently enjoying their first back-to-back winning seasons since the early ’90s.
2. Toronto Blue Jays
Last playoff appearance: 1993
Who knew watching Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to end the 1993 World Series that the Toronto Blue Jays wouldn’t be back to the postseason again for more than twenty years? If the Royals take care of business and snap their string of playoff-less baseball, it will be Toronto that has the longest current drought in the major leagues heading into 2015. This year will mark the nineteenth time in the last twenty seasons that the Blue Jays finish at least 10 games out in their division.
3. Seattle Mariners
Last playoff appearance: 2001
Seattle is guaranteed to finish 2014 with a winning record after only accomplishing that feat twice in the last ten years, and the Mariners are still technically alive in the playoff race entering the season’s final weekend, although they have some ground to make up. Seattle is looking for its first trip to the postseason since the days of Lou Piniella, Bret Boone, Ichiro Suzuki, and a 116-win team that couldn’t get past the Yankees in the ALCS.
4. Miami Marlins
Last playoff appearance: 2003
The Miami (formerly Florida) Marlins’ drought, which checks in at No. 4 on the list, seems downright respectable in comparison to some of the others. To put the Royals’ and Blue Jays’ absences in perspective, the Marlins didn’t even exist until 1993 (the last time either Kansas City or Toronto made the playoffs), and Miami owns a pair of World Series rings since then. In fact, the Marlins have won the trophy both years they’ve qualified for the postseason (1997 and 2003). That’s a pretty good success rate. However, 2014 will be the eleventh straight year Miami misses the postseason and the fifth straight year the team has posted a losing record.