One drought will end in Dodgers-Astros WS
LA seeks first title since '88, while Houston has yet to win it all
Then there were two. But not just any two.
Either the Dodgers or the Astros are set to end one of the longest active title droughts in baseball in the upcoming World Series presented by YouTube TV. And it's the first time in history the two franchises will meet in the Fall Classic.
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Houston has never won a professional baseball title. It has been 55 years since the inception of its franchise as an expansion team in 1962, the second-longest active streak in the sport (Indians, 69 years). The Astros reached the American League Division Series in 2015 and the Fall Classic in '05, but that's as close as they've come to breaking the dry spell.
The Dodgers have won five World Series since the organization moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. However, the club's last appearance in the Fall Classic was a while ago -- 29 years, to be exact, when they defeated the Athletics. Eighteen franchises have won the title since the last time Los Angeles hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy.
After watching the Cubs snap their 108-year hiatus between championships in 2016, the Dodgers and Astros are poised to follow suit. One drought will end, another will extend.
Here's a look at where both franchises stand, their closest calls at winning a title in recent history and how their droughts stack up against some of the longest current streaks in baseball.
Though the Dodgers haven't been to (or won) the World Series in 29 years, they've been no strangers to the postseason. In fact, they've played 67 playoff games since the 1988 World Series, which is the most postseason games a team has ever played between World Series appearances (or before their first Fall Classic trip). Coincidentally, No. 2 on that list is the Astros, who played 52 playoff games before making their first World Series appearance in 2005. The Dodgers' '88 title is famous for Kirk Gibson's iconic pinch-hit, walk-off blast in Game 1 of the '88 Fall Classic, the highlight of the Dodgers' 4-1 series victory over the A's.
Closest call: Twice in the past four seasons, the Dodgers reached the National League Championship Series, falling to the Cardinals, 4-2, in 2013 before losing to the Cubs, 4-2, last season. St. Louis defeated Clayton Kershaw in Game 2 then L.A. won two out of the next three before the Cardinals bested the left-hander again in Game 6. In 2016, the Dodgers took a 2-1 lead over the Cubs on the arms of Kershaw and Rich Hill. Chicago prevailed in the next three, including a defeat of Los Angeles' ace to end the series in six.
Houston has reached the postseason 11 times in franchise history, and after appearing in the NLCS in 2004, the club represented the NL in the World Series in '05. After teasing with their potential in '15 with a narrow 3-2 ALDS loss to the eventual champion Royals, the Astros are back as they look to win their first Fall Classic contest.
Closest call: Facing the White Sox in the 2005 World Series was the club's best chance. The Astros were swept, but each game was decided by two runs or fewer. Game 3, which lasted until the 14th inning, is tied for the longest World Series game (Mets-Royals Game 1, 2015). Game 4 was scoreless until Chicago's Jermaine Dye brought home Willie Harris with an eighth-inning single, the only run for either team.
Longest active World Series championship droughts among MLB teams in their current cities
1. Cleveland Indians (69 years)
After their heartbreaking loss in Game 7 of last year's World Series, the Indians took another tough one this season in Game 5 of the ALDS, when they were eliminated by the Yankees in a series they led 2-0. But with one of the deepest, most talented teams in baseball led by an exciting young core of players, the Tribe doesn't look like it's going anywhere.
2. Houston Astros (55 years)
The Astros are four wins away from their first World Series title, which would end the second-longest drought of any Major League team, spanning more than five decades. Houston has yet to win a title since the franchise began as the expansion Colt .45s in 1962. The Astros had only made one World Series appearance before this year, when they were still an NL team in 2005. Now, just over a decade later, they have the chance to bring Houston a championship.
3. San Diego Padres (49 years)
The Padres have made two World Series appearances since beginning as an expansion team in 1969, but they fell to the Tigers in five games in '84 and were swept by the Yankees in '98.
The Nationals also own a 49-year title-less stretch as a franchise -- the Expos also began playing in 1969, and like the Padres, the franchise has never won a World Series. But while the D.C. area hasn't had a World Series champ since the '24 Senators, the city's current drought with the Nats only stretches back 13 years. Still, it's been a difficult one, as Washington has yet to win a playoff series despite becoming a perennial contender in recent years.
4. Milwaukee Brewers (48 years)
The Brewers fell just short of making their first postseason since 2011 this year, so they'll have to wait until '18 to get another crack at ending a World Series drought that dates back to their inaugural year in Milwaukee. The Brew Crew played one season as the Seattle Pilots in 1969, but Milwaukee natives have yet to see their club win it all since it moved to Wisconsin in '70. The Brewers fell short in their only World Series appearance -- in the AL in '82 -- pushing the Cardinals to the brink before losing in Game 7.
5. Texas Rangers (46 years)
The Rangers missed the playoffs this year after winning back-to-back AL West titles in 2015 and '16, so they'll be hungry to bounce back next season in the hopes of ending a championship drought that is as old as the team's tenure in Texas. The Rangers have been in Arlington since 1972, and although they played in back-to-back World Series in 2010 and '11, they have yet to win a title. After falling to the Giants in five games in 2010, the Rangers got closer to a championship than than any other team on this list -- they were one strike away from clinching in Game 6 in 2011 before the Cardinals rallied and won the series in seven games.