The San Francisco Giants last won the World Series in 1954 when they were playing in the Polo Grounds-that's New York, don't you know. That series featured the amazing Mays' catch as New York swept 111-game winning Cleveland. 2001 made 47 straight seasons in which they failed to reach baseball's promised land, 47 years of futility. As we all know by now, the Angels have never won a World Series. They have had 41 years of futility.
Combined these two teams have 88 years of futility between them. That seemed a bit high to me. I wondered what was total for previous seasons. I didn't think that it meant anything especially: I just thought it was kind of interesting. I based totals using the season of 1903, the first NL-AL World Series as the starting point (sorry, Bill Temple). The non-Series years of 1904 and 1994, I included in the totals (except for the two league winners in 1904 who were not allowed to meet because of Giants' manager John McGraw's disdain for the AL for being fired as manager of the AL Baltimore Orioles in 1902).
Anyway, I found that 88 years is the second total of all time, tying the 1980 Phillies (77 years)-Royals (11) Series. The all-time high is 90 years in the 1975 World Series (Reds 34, Red Sox 56). The next highest are 1995 with 83 years (Braves 37, Indians 46) and 1972 with 72 (A's 41, Reds 31).
That got me to thinking what was the lowest total ever. The lowest potential total (other than zero for both teams in 1903) would be one if the past two champions meet in the Series. That happened in 1928 (Cards-Yanks), 1943 (ditto), and 1958 (Yanks and Braves). There was only one total of 2-1956 (Yanks and Dodgers).
Another thing I thought was what was the greatest disparity in years of futility between the two clubs. That would be 66 years in 1980 (Phillies 77, Royals 11). Here is the entire list with a difference between the two teams' years of futility 50 or above:
Finally, -before you're completely sick of this-here are the years of futility for the potential 2003 World Series combatants:
Anaheim 0 or 42 (depending on the 2002 outcome)
Chicago Cubs 94
Chicago White Sox 85
Kansas City 17
Los Angeles 13
New York Mets 16
New York Yankees 2
St. Louis 20
San Diego 34
San Francisco 0 or 48 (depending on the 2002 outcome)
Tampa Bay 5
A Cub-White Sox World Series confab besides selling a lot of pop would blow away the previous high with 179 years of futility between them. A Cubs-Red Sox meeting would be just one year less.
By the way, the Yankees have never strung together more than 20 years of futility at once. Their high of 20 was broken by their first title in 1923. They only have two other stretches of over 10 years: 17 broken in 1996, and 14 broken in 1977.