You've probably heard that the White Sox have won their first playoff series since 1917, sweeping the erstwhile champs, the Red Sox, in the division series. This comes a year after the Red Sox won their first World Series since 1918. Suddenly, the world is realizing that the narcissistic Red Sox never did have the longest postseason drought, and the White Sox don't even own the longest championship drought in their own city.
Well, even though the Chisox had gone 88 years since winning a series, they also play second fiddle to the Cubbies for that dubious distinction. The Cubs once waited 95 years between playoff series wins. In 2003 (the year of Bartman), they beat the Braves in five games in the division series. It was the first time they won a postseason series since Teddy Roosevelt was president and Julio Franco was a rookie shortstop for the Phils. In 1908 behind the pitching of Orval Overall, they took the Series in five games over the Ty Cobb and the Tigers.
What makes that even more impressive is that they had waited 22 years between playoff series wins when they won the Series in 1908. They are the Joe Dimaggios of futility.
Here are all the "streaks" of 30 or more years:
Chicago White Sox
Washington Senators/Minnesota Twins
Boston Red Sox
St. Louis Browns/Cardinals
New York/San Francisco Giants
Five of those teams switched cities waiting for a playoff win.
In game one the White Sox broke a five-game postseason losing streak. They got swept in three games by the Mariners in 2000. Their last postseason win had been October 9, 1993, when they beat the Blue Jays 7-4 to tie the ALCS behind Tim Belcher's pitching (he entered the game in the third after Jason Bere faltered) and homers by Frank Thomas and Lance Johnson. They lost the next two and the series.
However, a twelve year wait between postseason victories is nowhere near the longest streaks. My Phils waited 62 years between postseason wins from 1915 to 1977. I'm not talking about playoff series winsI mean just playoff games won. It took them 62 years to win one playoff game. I remember some of that streak, witnessing their being swept at the hands of the Reds in 1976 in the NLCS. Of course, the Whiz Kids were swept by the Yankees in the 1950 World Series.
The Phils won game one of the 1915 Series, 3-1, on October 8 in the Baker Bowl behind Pete Alexander. The Red Sox swept the next four, each by one run. Games two through four were all won by a 2-1 score.
On October 4, 1977, the Phils beat the Dodgers in LA, 7-5, in game one of the NLCS. It was a game started by Steve Carlton and Tommy John, but neither figured in the decision with Gene Garber getting the win and Elias Sosa the loss. The Dodgers took the next three and the series. This included a 6-5 loss in game three after leading 5-3 to start the ninth. (I was at that game and helped boo four straight walks out of Burt Hooton.)
That means the Phils lost eleven straight games between postseason wins. They lost another five straight as their next win came in game three of the 1978 NLCS, which they again lost three games to one to the Dodgers.
Here are the longest stretches between postseason wins. The White Sox do crack the top 15 twice: