Orioles can end 15-year drought Friday

Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Baltimore Orioles, one of the original 16 teams, have not won a postseason series in 15 years. How does this stack up against the other clubs who have been around since the World Series began?

The Baltimore Orioles are on the cusp of winning a playoff series.

That might not seem like a big deal to you if you're a Yankee fan, since that club wins playoff series nearly every year.

But the Orioles haven't won a postseason series in 15 years -- since they won an ALDS in 1997, before losing in the ALCS that year, the last time, in fact, they had a winning season.

How does this stack up against other teams? For this investigation, I'm limiting it to the original 16 clubs in existence in the two leagues before they began expanding in 1961. For comparison to the teams you'll see below, the longest drought of any of the 14 expansion teams is 31 seasons, by the Expos/Nationals franchise, whose only postseason series win was in the 1981 strike season. They won a first-round series from the Phillies before losing in the NLCS. The Nats, too, have a chance to break that drought Friday.

Here are the droughts for the other 15 original teams, in ascending order from shortest to longest drought.

San Francisco Giants, 0 seasons: The Giants have won their last four postseason series, three in 2010 when they were World Series champs, and the first one this year. The last time the Giants lost a postseason series was in 2003, a division series to the Marlins.

Detroit Tigers, 0 seasons: The Tigers lost the ALCS in 2011, but ended that mini-drought by defeating the A's Thursday night to move to the championship series for the second straight year.

St. Louis Cardinals, 0 seasons: The Cardinals are in the same boat as the Yankees; if they don't win Friday night, they go home for the winter. They won all three series they played last year; the last series they lost was in 2009, a division series to the Dodgers.

New York Yankees, 1 season: Unless the Yankees win Friday night, their mini-drought will extend to two years; the last series they won was a division series over the Twins in 2010.

Philadelphia Phillies, 2 seasons: The Phillies lost the NLCS to the Giants in 2010 after defeating the Reds in the first round.

Los Angeles Dodgers, 3 seasons: The Dodgers won in the first round two straight years, 2008 and 2009, before losing to the Phillies both years in the NLCS.

Boston Red Sox, 4 seasons: Boston defeated the Angels in a 2008 division series before losing to the Rays in the ALCS.

Chicago White Sox, 4 seasons: The Chisox were also in the postseason in 2008; they were the losers to the Rays in their division series.

Cleveland Indians, 5 seasons: It might seem as if this one should be longer, but the Indians won a division-series matchup with the Yankees in 2007 before dropping the ALCS to the Red Sox.

Oakland Athletics, 6 seasons: The A's won a division series in 2006 over the Twins, but then lost the ALCS to the Tigers.

Chicago Cubs, 9 seasons: The Cubs won their first postseason series in 95 years when they beat the Braves in the division series before losing the NLCS to the Marlins.

Minnesota Twins, 10 seasons: The Twins won their 2002 division series over the Athletics before losing the ALCS to the Angels. Since 2002, Minnesota has lost five times in the first round of the playoffs.

Atlanta Braves, 11 seasons: Despite the Braves' long string of playoff appearances, their last series win was in 2001, when they defeated the Astros in a division series before losing the NLCS to the Diamondbacks.

Cincinnati Reds, 17 seasons: The Reds' loss to the Giants Thursday kept their streak of winless postseason appearances intact since a division-series win over the Dodgers in the first year of the wild-card era, 1995.

Pittsburgh Pirates, 33 seasons: The Pirates' run of consecutive losing seasons, now at 20, is well-known, but the last postseason series they won was the 1979 World Series; they lost three straight NLCS from 1990-92.

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