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Cubs Not the Worst Team in Recent Decades: Fan's Take

Other Teams Have Made Fewer Postseason Since 1984

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We fans of the Chicago Cubs suffer annually at the fact that the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908 and last played in one in 1945. We hear (and even repeat) all of the jokes and criticism that accompany their losing history. The Cubs went from 1945-1983 without a postseason berth; even when divisional play began in 1969, it still took the Cubs 16 more seasons to make it to the postseason in 1984.

Still, the Cubs do not have the worst losing history from 1984 on. Here are recaps of the Cubs and five other MLB teams that have made the postseason less than the Cubs during this period (with the years of their last postseason appearances). The descriptions consider all changes to the playoff formats over recent decades.

Chicago Cubs -- 2008

Since 1984, the Cubs have won five National League East or Central division titles and one N.L. Wild Card. They won the N.L. Central in 2003 and then back-to-back division titles in 2007-2008, only five and four years ago. That may not seem overly impressive, but the Cubs have made the postseason more often than the following five teams from 1984 on.

#5 -- Seattle Mariners - 2001

The Seattle Mariners made four postseason appearances from 1995-2001. Although they have had a few other good seasons in the 2000s, they have not made the postseason since their MLB record-tying 116 regular-season wins and ALCS appearance in 2001. They have placed either third or fourth in the four-team A.L. West in nine of the eleven seasons since then.

#4 -- Baltimore Orioles - 1997

Until 2012, the Baltimore Orioles had only two postseason appearances from 1984 on. They last appeared in 1997. The 2012 Orioles had a terrific season, won an A.L. Wild Card, and very nearly advanced onto the ALCS. However, until 2012, the Orioles went 14 straight years with a losing record from 1998-2011.

#3 -- Toronto Blue Jays - 1993

From 1985-1993, the Toronto Blue Jays won five A.L. East titles (out of seven teams) and two World Series. That is a lot of winning in nine seasons. Since 1993, though, the Blue Jays have not landed a playoff berth even after the additions of the wild cards. Granted, they play in the toughest division in baseball and had many winning records, but they have still missed the postseason for 19 straight years.

#2 -- Pittsburgh Pirates - 1992

The Pittsburgh Pirates won the National League East three straight times from 1990-1992 but lost the NLCS each time. Those are the Pirates' only three playoff appearances since 1979. Since 1984, they finished with a winning record only one other time (1988). In fact, the Pirates have had a losing final record in the past 20 consecutive seasons (1993-2012).

#1 -- Kansas City Royals - 1985

The Kansas City Royals last made the postseason in 1984 and 1985, winning the 1985 World Series. Since then, they finished second only three other times, the last time in 1995. From 1996 on, the Royals have had one winning season (2003) while finishing third three times and fourth or last fourteen times in seventeen seasons.

Cubs not the worst

The Cubs have not had the same success in making the postseason as the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves have in recent times, but they are not the worst either. They won three division titles after 2001. I concede that these five teams play in much smaller markets, but they have had fewer playoff appearances than the Cubs since 1984. Nevertheless, the Cubs continue to bear the brunt of the jokes. I hope that one day soon, they will win their World Series and finally put that humiliation behind them.


Baseball Reference, Franchise History (Teams Linked Above),

Baseball Reference, Playoff and World Series Index,

Raymond grew up in Florida and began watching the Cubs on WGN in 1982. He became a fan in 1984 when Ryne Sandberg hit the two famous game-tying home runs off Cardinals closer and former Cub Bruce Sutter. Raymond then solidified his team loyalty when the Cubs won the division later that season and has been a fan ever since. He played baseball through high school and soon after became a varsity coach. Raymond previously produced radio sports talk shows and hosted a weekly MLB radio call-in show. Follow Raymond on Twitter @RayBureau.

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