Posted: Thursday October 28, 2004 11:54AM; Updated: Friday October 29, 2004 2:39PM
Most Die-Hard Fans
Red Sox fans, the journey has ended. You won. Fenway faithful no longer can claim special recognition for the unrequited love it has heaped on the team for the past 86 years. So which team inherits that aura of slavish devotion that the Red Sox have perfected? Here's our list of top contenders and see what you had to say.
Haven't won a championship since ...: 1908. Cubs 4, Tigers 1
Came close in ... : 1945. Phil Cavarretta batted .423 in the World Series and Hank Borowy picked up two wins. But in Game 7, the Cubs started Borowy on one day's rest and lost 9-3 to the Tigers and their ace, Hal Newhouser.
Hopes for near future: If starting pitching is the most precious commodity in baseball, then the Cubs are filthy rich. Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano and Greg Maddux are a fearsome foursome. Finding a dominant closer this offseason will be the key.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Haven't won a championship since ...: 1967 (None since the NHL expanded beyond six teams.)
Came close in ... : 2001-02. Lost to the Hurricanes in Game 7 of Eastern Conference finals.
Hopes for near future: It doesn't look like any team will be hoisting the Stanley Cup this season. As for the state of the team, it is much like the Rangers -- old and loading up on aging veterans.
Haven't won a championship since ...: 1965 (AFL)
Came close in ... : Super Bowl XXV, Jan. 27, 1991. Scott Norwood. Forty-seven yards. Wide right.
Hopes for near future: It's not looking so hot. The club's only win this season was agaisnt 1-6 Miami. Drew Bledsoe has been exposed as too immobile and stubborn in the pocket. But in the NFL, a few good picks and free-agent signings are all you need to turn things around.
Cleveland Indians, Browns, Cavs
Haven't won a championship since ...: 1964 (Browns); 1948 (Indians); Never (Cavs).
Came close in ... : Browns: 1985, '86. Lost consecutive AFC title games to John Elway's Broncos. Indians: 1997. Lost Game 7 of World Series to Florida Marlins. Cavs: 1991-92. Lost to Bulls in Eastern Conference finals.
Hopes for near future: The Indians are in a rebuilding mode and should be contenders for the AL Central crown in a couple of years, if not sooner. The Browns are completely mediocre but in the NFL that's not really a bad or a good thing. If the Cavs can keep LeBron James around and put some nice pieces around him, they can be playing in the Finals in a few years.
Haven't won a championship since ...: AP poll -- 1969; UPI -- 1970
Came close in ... : 1983. The No. 2 Longhorns went 11-0 before losing to Georgia in the Cotton Bowl. The top-ranked Huskers ended up losing to Miami in the Orange Bowl.
Hopes for near future: Oklahoma is in Texas' division and therefore on the schedule every season. So it doesn't look bright from that standpoint. But the Longhorns have all the resources and talent to win a national title in any given season.