Stop us if you’ve heard this – it was a Yes, really long time since Cleveland won the World Series. 74 years if you want to know exactly how much time has passed since the city’s last World Series title in 1948. (Just as a point of reference, the Red Sox championship drought was officially known as the “Curse of the Bambino” after 68 years.)
However, it’s not as if the Guardians were entirely absent from the postseason during this period. The unfortunate reality of such a long drought is that no franchise has played poorly for 74 straight regular seasons — inevitably, at least once every ten years, the season ends not gracefully on the last day of the regular season, but rather more abruptly in an eliminator. And if you’re a Guardians fan, we probably don’t need to tell you how they’ve been doing lately.
Last 11 elimination games, CLE history:
• 2022 ALDS Game 5 vs. Yankees (L, 1-5)
• 2020 ALWC Game 2 vs. Yankees (L, 9-10)
• 2018 ALDS Game 3 vs. Astros (L, 3-11)
• 2017 ALDS Game 5 vs. Yankees (L, 2-5)
• 2016 WS Game 7 vs. Cubs (L, 7-8)
• 2013 ALWC game vs. Rays (L, 0-4)
• 2007 ALCS Game 7 vs. Red Sox (L, 2-11)
• 2001 ALDS Game 5 vs. Mariners (L, 1-3)
• 1999 ALDS Game 5 vs. Red Sox (L, 8-12)
• 1998 ALCS Game 6 vs. Yankees (L, 5-9)
• 1997 WS Game 7 vs. Marlins (L, 2-3)
That’s 11 consecutive elimination games lost by the Guardians, or, if you prefer, the longest such streak in postseason history. je.
Cleveland had a real chance to end that miserable run in 2022 when their hard-fought ALDS matchup against the Yankees resulted in a crucial fifth game. But despite their best efforts, and in keeping with recent history, the Guardians accepted defeat. and her historical strip lived to see another day.
But when was the last time you WON an elimination match?
In the grand scheme of postseason streaks, that wasn’t the case to long – just under 25 years. The 1997 Indians had their backs to the wall as they won Game 6 of the World Series from the Marlins and forced a deciding Game 7. Unfortunately, based on the length of the overall drought (and the list above), you know Cleveland didn’t. I didn’t win the 1997 World Series — and you might even remember that season’s heartbreaking conclusion: with Edgar Renteria’s walk-off single in the 11th inning.
Have there been comparable streaks in MLB history?
Despite the Guardians holding a postseason record, they have some company. Unfortunately for many other Midwestern baseball fans, it’s in the form of the Twins, who are currently on a nine-game losing streak of elimination games that dates back to 2002. Coincidentally, six of those nine losses were also against the Yankees, who inflicted four of their 11 losses on Cleveland, but that’s a postseason tale for another day.
How many were winner-takes-all games?
Eight. That’s an even more outrageous percentage considering the Guardians have only played nine winner-take-all games in franchise history, all of which have taken place since 1997. Aside from the 74-year championship drought over the past three decades, getting rid of Cleveland has been pretty tough.
Have you come close to winning any of them?
excruciating close, in fact, on several occasions. Even in putting aside Game 7 of the 1997 World Series, Cleveland lost two of the other nine games on one run, and both came to the end. Most recently, there was Game 2 of the 2020 ALWC series against the Yankees, in which they were just three outs from forcing a winner take-all Game 3 — this was before New York topped two runs in the ninth inning with a one Handful of well-placed grounders and a sacrificial fly.
More importantly, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against the Cubs was an instant classic did end a historic championship drought – just not the ones we’re talking about. To add insult to injury, Cleveland found himself trailing 6-3 at the end of the round of 16 before staging a notable two-out rally against then-Cubs seamer Aroldis Chapman, who was steered by Rajai Davis’ still iconic game-winning home Run down the left field line at Progressive Field.
That seemed like a turnaround in momentum, and even after Cleveland fell back down at the top of 10th place, all didn’t seem lost. Davis bet on another RBI, putting his club one run away from adding at least another inning to his season. But it shouldn’t be. Chicago walked away with its first championship since 1908, and Cleveland again fell just short.