Longest baseball playoff droughts

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been having a stunning season. The team entered 2011 riding a record streak for consecutive losing seasons. But as of July 19, 2011, the Pirates are alone in first place. That means they stand a great chance of reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1992. Surprisingly, that is not the longest playoff drought in baseball. Here is a look at the five worst playoff droughts in Major League Baseball's history.

1. Washington Nationals - 1981

The Nationals franchise last reached the playoffs in 1981 when they were the Montreal Expos. 1981 was a strange year due to a strike. A total of eight teams reached the playoffs. Montreal defeated the Philadelphia Phillies before losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. In 1994, the franchise was on track to reach the playoffs once again. However, the 1994 strike ended the season and Montreal was never the same.

2. Kansas City Royals - 1985

The Royals last reached the playoffs in 1985, when they defeated the St Louis Cardinals in the World Series. That is a high note for a franchise that has become a small market team with little chance to compete nowadays. The Royals have had a few winning seasons since then but haven't come very close to making the playoffs.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates - 1992

The Pirates last reached the playoffs in 1992. That season, they lost in the NLCS to the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year. At the time the Pirates had a loaded roster that included Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla. Before the 1993 season, the Pirates began rebuilding. They haven't had a winning season since.

4. Toronto Blue Jays - 1993

The Blue Jays are another team that has been affected by the changing culture of baseball. In 1993, they won their second straight World Series by defeating the Phillies. Since that time, Toronto has played second fiddle to the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The other two teams in the AL East have also reached the playoffs since the Blue Jays last appeared.

5. Baltimore Orioles - 1997

The Orioles became a strong team in the middle of the 1990s. They played in the ALCS in 1996 and 1997, losing both times. Since that time, owner Peter Angelos has ripped apart the team. Baltimore has become an afterthought in baseball ever since.

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Updated Tuesday, Jul 19, 2011