The Astros claimed their first championship Wednesday, defeating the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7 of the World Series, and in doing so, they ended a title drought of 56 seasons that dates back to the franchise's inception as the Houston Colt .45s in 1962.• Dress like a champion! Get Astros
The Astros claimed their first championship Wednesday, defeating the Dodgers, 5-1, in Game 7 of the World Series, and in doing so, they ended a title drought of 56 seasons that dates back to the franchise's inception as the Houston Colt .45s in 1962.
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Houston's victory maintained a three-season trend in which the World Series victor celebrated a long overdue championship. The Astros' victory comes on the heels of the Cubs ending their historic 108-year drought last season (it was not only the longest active drought, but the longest in baseball history) and the Royals winning their first title in 30 years in 2015.
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The Astros were also the oldest among the eight franchises that had not yet won a World Series. Now that Houston has shed that distinction, only the Nationals (moved to Washington in 2005, existed as a franchise in Montreal going back to 1969), Rays ('98), Rockies ('93), Mariners ('77), Rangers ('72), Brewers ('70) and Padres ('69) remain.
The Dodgers, meanwhile, fell just one win short of ending their own championship dry spell that spans 29 seasons, to 1988. The Dodgers have won five consecutive National League West titles, but they have yet to accomplish their ultimate goal in the postseason.
The Royals', Cubs' and Astros' blueprints provide hope for the Dodgers and other clubs seeking that elusive title in 2018 and beyond. Here's a look at baseball's remaining longest-standing championship droughts.
Cleveland Indians: 69 years
The Indians last won the World Series in 1948, when they defeated the Boston Braves in six games. They didn't return to the playoffs again until 1995, but have reached the Fall Classic three times since. Cleveland was within one win of a championship in last year's World Series before the Cubs battled back from a 3-1 deficit to end their historic drought. Only the NFL's Arizona Cardinals (70 years) are without a title for longer than the Tribe among major North American professional sports leagues.
San Diego Padres: 48 years
The beginning of the divisional era in 1969 saw MLB expand to 24 teams with the addition of the Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Montreal Expos and the Seattle Pilots. Among those expansion teams, only the Royals have won a World Series (1985 and 2015). The Expos and Pilots are now defunct, leaving the Padres with baseball's second-longest championship drought. The Padres have competed in the Fall Classic twice, but they lost in five games to the Tigers in 1984 and were swept by the Yankees in '98.
Milwaukee Brewers: 47 years
The Pilots lasted just one season in Seattle before they were relocated to Milwaukee and became the Brewers, and the franchise is still searching for its first title, 47 year later. The Brewers have made the postseason three times since, advancing as far as the World Series in 1982, when they lost in seven games to the Cardinals.
Texas Rangers: 45 years
Texas has been without a title since its inaugural season in 1972. The Rangers made it to the World Series twice, losing in back-to-back seasons to the Giants and Cardinals in 2010 and '11. If you include the franchise's time in Washington as the Senators, the drought stretches back 56 years to 1961 and would rank as the second longest in baseball.
Seattle Mariners: 40 years
Baseball returned to Seattle as part of MLB's 1977 expansion. The Mariners remain one of seven Major League clubs without a championship and are one of two teams -- along with the Nationals -- that haven't yet appeared in a World Series. Seattle has been in the thick of the playoff race the past few seasons, but it hasn't made the playoffs since 2001, the longest active postseason drought.
Honorable mention, Washington: 60 years
It's only been 12 seasons since the Expos relocated from Montreal and became the Nationals, but the city of Washington hasn't won a World Series since 1924, when the Senators won their only title. Discounting the 33 years in which Washington was without an MLB team, the city's drought spans 60 seasons.
Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.