When considering suffering Cleveland fan bases, you would be hard-pressed to not think of the Cavaliers; the franchise made the postseason 16 times since 1985, with no championships to show for it until this spring.
Much like the Cavaliers – a team led by LeBron James that lost in the NBA Finals twice (2006 and 2014) – the Cleveland Indians and their fans have suffered too, losing the World Series in 1995 and again in 1997, which happens to be the last time the team hosted a Fall Classic.
With the Cavaliers bringing their fans an NBA title for the first time ever in 2016, the Indians hope to be next in line Sunday in Game 5 at Wrigley Field. Here’s a look at the only two other chances Cleveland sports teams have had at clinching a championship in the past 50 years.
October 27, 1997 – Cleveland Indians
After two straight postseason appearances and one World Series defeat, the Indians entered the 1997 season with more to prove, adding free-agent outfielder David Justice. The Indians would go on to win their third straight division title, coming back to defeat the New York Yankees in the ALDS after trailing 2-1, and eventually moving past Baltimore in the ALCS.
The World Series against the Florida Marlins went the distance. In Game 7, the Indians led 2-0 heading into the seventh inning. The Marlins tied it in the bottom of the ninth and walked off in the 11th for the franchise’s first-ever championship.
June 19, 2016 – Cleveland Cavaliers
The return of The King in 2014 revitalized a franchise whose fans once hated its local star after he left Cleveland in 2010 to take his talents to South Beach, where he won his first two titles with the Miami Heat. In his first season back, James led the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals with relative ease (12-2 postseason record), only to lose to the Golden State Warriors in six games.
The following season, James and the Cavaliers once again advanced easily to their second straight NBA Finals in a rematch with the Warriors, who were coming off a record-breaking 73-win season. After going down 3-1 and losing by a combined 54 points, the Cavaliers stormed back to win Game 5 and 6, leading to a championship-deciding Game 7 at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Kyrie Irving and James combined to score 53 points, leading the Cavaliers to their first championship ever, and James’ third (though first with his home team).