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How the Phillies’ latest playoff drought stacks up to others in MLB history

The Phillies are back in the playoffs for the first time in what feels like forever. Except it hasn't actually been that long, given the team's history.

Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Oct. 7, 2011. That's the last time the Phillies played a postseason baseball game.
Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS. Oct. 7, 2011. That's the last time the Phillies played a postseason baseball game.Read more Yong Kim / Staff Photographer

The Phillies’ playoff drought finally came to an end thanks to a 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday night. Now, Philly fans can put that dubious streak, one that spanned a decade and became the longest active playoff drought in the baseball after the Mariners ended their 21-year playoff drought last week.

It was far from the longest streak in franchise history, however. But given the heights they were at in 2011, when they won 102 games before being upset in the first round of the playoffs by a Cardinals team they’ll likely face once again in the opening round, and the recent September collapses that quickly dashed any playoff dreams, this 10-year stretch felt longer than most.

So how does this playoff drought compare to others throughout the history of the game? Take a look at the video below to see how they’ve trended over the last 100 years and you might feel a little better about the past decade.

Obviously, this all comes with a big caveat — the number of teams making the postseason has increased over the years, most notably in 1995 when the wild-card format was introduced. But even taking that into account, the Phillies have had some disastrous results over the years — you don’t become the franchise with the most losses in professional sports overnight — and have made the postseason just 14 times in their 140-year history. I’m no math major, but a 10-year drought sounds about par for the course.

The Phillies franchise existed for 33 years before the Phils made their first postseason in 1915. So we’re not off to a great start, but it can only get better from here, right? Wrong. The Phillies went the next 34 seasons without making it back to the postseason, and when they finally did in 1950, the Whiz Kids were swept by the Yankees.

» READ MORE: Projecting the Phillies’ playoff roster: Who’s in, who’s out in series vs. Mets or Cardinals

It was another 25 years before they were back, and this time the Phillies finally had their first consecutive playoff appearances from 1976-78, a full 85 years after the franchise played its first game. But things finally started turning around, as that started a stretch in which they went to the postseason six times in eight seasons, including winning the franchise’s first World Series title in 1980.

But then it was back to their old ways, as the Phillies made the playoffs just once in the next 23 years — the 1993 World Series loss to the Blue Jays — before again becoming postseason regulars from 2007-11, including their second World Series title (2008).

But they hadn’t been back since 2011. Until now.