30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Close But No Cigar

Now that the Houston Astros have finally won a World Series championship, the list of teams without a title is down to seven.  One of those teams is my beloved San Diego Padres who haven't even gotten a whiff of the playoffs since 2006.  Just typing those words out is depressing.

Since the 2018 MLB season is just around the corner, I figured I'd take a trip down memory lane and reminisce when these seven title-less teams came the closest to winning a championship for their fans...

#1:  Texas Rangers (est. 1961)

2013 Archives 1960 Topps Relic #60R-AB

I decided to kick things off with the Texas Rangers, because they were literally one strike away (two different times) from beating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.  They'd go on to lose in seven games.

Close, but no cigar.

Seriously... it doesn't get any closer than that.

#2:  Milwaukee Brewers (est. 1969)

2015 Topps Tier One Clear One Auto #RY (#'d 19/25)

Next up are the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers who are the only other team on this list to reach a Game 7 of the World Series.  And in the top of the 6th inning of that game, they had a 2-1 lead with Robin Yount on 1st, Paul Molitor on 3rd with no outs.  Cecil Cooper would manage to drive in Molitor to increase the lead, but sadly they would only have one more batter reach base the rest of the game.

On the other hand, the St. Louis Cardinals would go on to score three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.  They added two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth and walked away the 1982 World Series Champions.  

Close, but no cigar.

Since then... the Brewers have only made the playoffs twice in thirty-five seasons.

#3:  San Diego Padres (est. 1969)

2007 UD Masterpieces Captured on Canvas #CC-TG

Only two teams on this list have made multiple trips to the World Series.  The Texas Rangers are one of them and the San Diego Padres are the other.  Both teams have gone twice.

The Padres World Series record?  1-8.  One measly win in two trips.  Ouch.  That hurts.

I struggled to pick which team I felt came closer to winning a championship.  Honestly... neither were considered great teams.  Although the 1998 team managed to win more games, I decided to go with the 1984 team because they actually won a game in their series.

Ugh.  Close, but no cigar.

#4:  Colorado Rockies (est. 1993)

2000 Skybox Autographics #NNO

Talk about a historic run.  In 2007, the Colorado Rockies treated their fans to some amazing September/October baseball finishing the season with 14 wins in their final 15 games.  They carried this momentum right into the postseason, sweeping the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.  Go ahead and do the math.  Yeah that's right.  Entering the World Series, the Rockies had won 21 out of their last 22 games.

Then they ran into a brick wall... also known as the Boston Red Sox... who swept them in four games.

Close, but no cigar.

#5:  Tampa Bay Rays (est. 1998)

2008 Goudey Memorabilia #M-AI

I've always thought it was rough being a Padres fan.  But when I read that the Rays didn't reach four games above .500 until their 11th season, I quickly counted my blessings.  Rays fans' patience paid off, because that same season they made their first (and only) World Series appearance and finished the season thirty-two games over .500.

With the exception of Game 4 of the 2008 World Series, they actually gave the Philadelphia Phillies a run for their money.  Sure the Rays only won one game in the series, but in three of those losses, they only lost by one run.

Close, but no cigar.

#6:  Seattle Mariners (est. 1977)

2001 Topps Gallery #151 (English and Japanese)

The Seattle Mariners are one of two teams who have never played in the World Series and although they've were within two wins of getting there in 1995 and 2000, I decided to target their 2001 season.

That year they tied the MLB record for wins in a season with 116 with a team that featured four 15-game winners and a batting lineup that was equally as scary.  Their pitching staff allowed the least amount of runs in baseball, while their hitters scored the most runs in Major League Baseball.

Sadly they ran out of gas when it counted the most and lost to the New York Yankees in the ALCS 4 games to 1.

Close, but no cigar.

#7:  Washington Nationals (est. 1969)

1981 Topps Traded #816

The Washington Nationals arguably have the best odds of being the next team to remove themselves from this list.

Unfortunately, they're the other MLB franchise who has never played in the World Series.  In fact, they've only made it to the NLCS once and that was thirty-seven years ago.

Although the 1981 Montreal Expos had three future hall of famers in their lineup, the team itself was far from dominating.  They had the 3rd lowest team batting average in the National League and were 5th in total runs scored.  You would think that their pitching staff would have carried them, but they were just under the league average in ERA.

Bottom line... they did enough to make the postseason and beat the defending World Champions in the NLDS to face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Entering the 9th inning of Game 5, the series was tied and the score was tied.  Sadly... Rick Monday broke the tie and ended the Expos season.

Once again... close, but no cigar.

Two more days until Opening Day.  All 30 teams will walk onto the diamond with the same record and for the next seven months, they'll battle it out to determine who is worthy of playing in the 2018 World Series.

What are your 2018 World Series predictions?

Any chance one of these teams finally crosses their name off of this list?

I'm rooting for my Padres, but I'm not holding my breath.  Instead I'm thinking that Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros will make it back to the World Series where they'll face the Los Angeles Dodgers again.  It'll be close, but no cigars this time.  I'm predicting the Dodgers will get revenge and Clayton Kershaw will finally get a World Series ring to add to his collection.

Okay... that wraps up another long post.  Time to take a nap.

Happy Tuesday and sayonara!


  1. Honestly I'm predicting a postseason dominated by big markets (and Cleveland). The Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, Astros (people somehow think Houston is a small market), and Toronto are all in my playoff picture somehow. Out of the teams on this list I see the Nationals and Rockies having the best shot but also not being able to capitalize on them because of their inability to ever get beyond the first round of the playoffs (or in the Rockies' case their pitching might do them in). I'm hoping for a Yankees-Dodgers World Series because the world needs a reminder that it's all about the big cities that matter lol. Also because seeing Judge-Stanton-Sanchez go up against Kershaw-Buehler-Wood is prime must watch TV.

  2. The Mets over the Yankees in the Series. I'm joking, of course. The Yankees will never get past the Astros. But the Mets will.

  3. I think the Nats have a decent chance.

  4. I LIVE in Houston and I still have to remind myself that they are an American League team. Some things are just ingrained in you I guess. But to the question....I think the Astros can repeat, at least in winning the AL. I'll take the Nats in the NL. Astros repeat in six games and get to celebrate at home.

  5. I am calling it now, the Mariners will not make it to the playoffs... again 😫
    But on the positive side, there is a good core that is young and really we just need some good pitching and the playoff drought will be over.

  6. Well, I hate to say it, but out of those teams who have never won the World Series, all of them have some sort of shot ... except the Padres. ... Oh, who am I kidding, I didn't hate saying that at all!

  7. Nats have a good chance, but something will happen to mess it up. Injuries, losing streak, or a bizarre supernatural event that dooms them to an early exit. Because that's pretty much what happens to Washington sports teams.
    I know the league is all about the big markets, but I'd rather see someone else have some success. It's not all about the money. How about Indians and Pirates or something.

  8. No predictions for this year but you should've at least referenced how the Expos were the best team in MLB in 1994 before the strike hit.

  9. The Nationals have the talent to go all the way for sure. They have a really deep roster. The window will be closing soon with Harper's free agency looming and the Braves stock piling blue chip prospects. I think they will run away with the NL East this year unless the Mets pitching stays healthy (not likely).

    I think the Brewers and Rockies have reasonable wild card shots so anything can happen once you are in.

  10. Great post..I think you and I mentioned that same fact about the Rangers, and possibly within minutes of each other. Don't feel too bad about the Padres, they had the misfortune of running into two all-time great teams in the WS. Those Mariners though..how the heck does one team have Griffey, A-Rod, Unit, Edgar, Buhner, and (later) Ichiro..and not even get within a game of winning the pennant?

  11. zippy zappy - agree with your big market prediction... but i'm definitely not hoping for a yankees/dodgers world series

    stubby - lol. i sure hope the astros take down the yankees.

    the lost collector - yeah, out of all of the teams, i feel the safest bet would be the nats.

    commishbob - even as an a's and padres fan, i'd celebrate an astros world series win.

    corky - who knows.... maybe ichiro hits .388, wins his 2nd mvp award, and leads the mariners to their first world series championship. i'd drink to that.

    night owl - sadly, i can't argue with your statement.

    gca - i'd be 100% okay with two small market teams battling it out in the world series.

    nick vossbrink - you're right. if it makes you feel better, i have discussed their run on my blog before.

    matthew scott - i'm looking forward to watching the rockies this season. that lineup is going to be exciting to watch

    chris - it doesn't help much. losing is losing. yeah, really surprised those mariners teams didn't do more.

  12. Normally, your blog is one of my favorites to read. This post, however, just makes me sad....especially since the Rangers are essentially your #1 losers. haha

  13. I'm pulling for Seattle this year!

  14. j. meeks - they were sooooooooooooooo close. so close.

    sumomenkoman - me too... assuming the a's aren't in the running.

  15. Replies
    1. That was an insanely impressive run the Rockies went on.