On Sunday, Andy Murray ended a 77-year drought for British men’s players at Wimbledon, taking home the UK’s first championship at the All England Club since 1936 with a straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic.
With the historic win, Murray joined the likes of the 2002 Canadian ice hockey team, the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the 2005 Chicago White Sox, the 2010 Spanish World Cup team, the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks, the 2011 Boston Bruins, the 2011 Auburn football team as title-winners to bust a historic slump in recent memory.
But as long as there are sports, there will be painful and embarrassing lulls between titles, and there are still many more teams and athletes across the globe looking to put an end to their misery.
The Chicago Cubs are the owners of the most famous drought in sports, having gone 104 years since their last title, with a billy goat perhaps cursing them for eternity. In baseball, the Cubs are followed next by the Cleveland Indians, who haven’t won a World Series since 1948. But Cleveland’s infamous drought extends beyond the diamond, as no Cleveland team has won a major sports championship since the Browns’ 1964 NFL title.
Other cities still pining for something to celebrate? San Diego has never won a World Series and hasn’t celebrated a crowning achievement of any kind since the 1963 AFL championship, Buffalo hasn’t been the champion of anything but chicken wings since 1965, and Milwaukee has been crying in its cheese curds since the Bucks’ last title, in 1971 (but at least it still has the Packers not too far away).
In the NHL, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the standard bearers for futility, with 46 years separating them from their most recent Stanley Cup. (Though at least they’ve won; the St. Louis Blues have been around since 1967 and have never hoisted the Cup.)
On the hardwood, the Sacramento Kings haven’t won an NBA title since they were the Rochester Royals (1951), the Hawks haven’t been crowned champs since they played in St. Louis (1958) and the Suns have never won a title — and they’ve been in Phoenix the whole time (45 years). Meanwhile, Detroit’s wait for a football championship has been going on since 1957.
Slumps aren’t limited to professional sports, though. There are 73 nations that have never won an Olympic medal, though none have competed in as many Games as Monaco, which has participated in 19 Summer Olympics and eight Winter Olympics without reaching the medal stand.
Elsewhere, Northwestern just ended a 63-year bowl win drought in January, but the men’s basketball program is the only school from a BCS conference to have never — like, ever — played in an NCAA tournament. (And now that the Wildcats have won a bowl game, it’s New Mexico State that dons the futility crown in college football, its last bowl appearance was in 1960.)
Circling back to individual sports, NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. snapped a six-year, 218-race winless streak with his win at Sonoma last month, but he’s got nothing on Bobby Labonte, who hasn’t won since a victory in the season finale at Homestead in November 2003, a span of 341 Sprint Cup races. And in golf, an amateur hasn’t won a major championship since 1933, and none have really come close since Jim Simons entered the final round of the U.S. Open with the lead in 1971 and ended up finishing in a tie for fifth.
So who will be the next Andy Murray? Who will be the next to do their team, their city or their country proud with a win that’s been ages in the making? Will the Texas Rangers finally end a 52-year drought and grasp that elusive World Series title they’ve come so close to in recent years? Can Chip Kelly deliver the Philadelphia Eagles their first post-merger championship?
Or maybe 2013-14 will finally be the year for the LA Clippers, now that they have Doc Rivers in tow?
There’s no way to know for sure, but for these teams and others like them, one thing can be said with certainty: They’ve waited long enough.
Now for some links:
• Murray’s win made for a riveting front page of the Times Monday: