We know this number all too well. At the end of this season the Maple Leafs championship drought hits the half century mark. With the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series last night (this morning), are the Leafs at the top of the North American championship drought list?
They aren't number one just yet but they're getting close. Here are the top droughts for each major league (plus the CFL and MLS):
MLB: Cleveland Indians (1948) - 68 years
This years World Series loser was handed the drought crown as a consolation prize. They defeated the Boston Braves for the title, in what can now be called the "Worst logos in history World Series" series. In 1948 there was no mainstream television. The second world war was barely over. Newfoundland wasn’t even a province yet!
NBA: Sacramento Kings (1951) - 65 years
The Sacramento Kings, last winning the NBA title in 1951, when they were the Rochester Royals, and a time when cities like Rochester could carry major league teams. King George VI ruled the British Empire, hell there was still a British Empire. Louis St. Laurent was Prime Minister, a fact many of you just learned, and Harry S. Truman was the President and was still working on covering up the Roswell incident.
NFL: The Detroit Lions (1957) - 59 years
NFL: The Arizona Cardinals - (1947) 69 nice years
Dammit, this is what happens when you write things on the bus. Okay, so the Arizona Cardinals are the worst in the NFL, not the Detroit Lions. The franchise last won when they were the Chicago Cardinals, and never won while they were in St. Louis before moving to Arizona. Which makes their drought one year longer than the World Series losers.
CFL: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1990) - 26 years
How do you go 24 years without a championship in a league with less than 10 teams? Just, how? Oh Winnipeg.
MLS: Chicago Fire (1998) - 17 years
17 years without a title makes them the most adorable drought on the list. Awwww not even two decades? (Pats head) You'll grow up into a big strong drought one day.
NHL: Toronto Maple Leafs (1967) - 49 years
Sigh. Okay here we are. Yes, at 49 years (1967) the Maple Leafs have the longest championship drought in the NHL, and fourth longest in major league sports. We used to have the Blackhawks ahead of us, before their recent dynastyish run they had last won in 1961, and they ruined it. And yes, smart asses, there are colour photos of the team.
Wait a minute, what about the [St. Louis Blues, Houston Astros, Phoenix Suns]?
No, I'm not counting teams that have never won a championship because that's another level of sad that I don't need to be involved with, but if we do count them, none take the top spot in any of the leagues, though St. Louis would tie the Maple Leafs in the NHL.
Will the Maple Leafs leave the list before we take first overall? I’m not confident enough to say yes, this team is talented enough to make some rings rain down on the drought, but I’m sure some of the other teams will help us stay off the top. Cleveland just went to the World Series, they may be the next team off the list, and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1979) are right there to take their spot.