In the annals of defeat, the Pirates hold the dubious distinction of being the only franchise in North America's four major professional leagues to endure 20 consecutive losing seasons. It was victory No. 81 for Pittsburgh on Sept. 3, 2013, that ensured the Pirates will not finish with a losing record for the first time since going 96-66 in 1992. With their losing season streak finally over, here are some other teams that have severely tested their fans' loyalty, patience and mental health.
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The Pirates may have taken them off the hook at 16, but if not for a 78-76 campaign in 1932, the Phillies would have subjected their faithful to a mindboggling run of 31 straight losing seasons that dated back to 1918. Pictured is Chuck Klein (1933, 36-44 Phillies).
3 of 24John Iacono/SI
The Canucks suffered 16 straight losing seasons and yet managed to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 82, only to be swept by the New York Islanders. Not so difficult a feat for the Canucks when you consider that 16 out of 21 NHL teams made the playoffs. Pictured is Stan Smyl (1978-91 Canucks).
4 of 24Charles Conlan/Sporting News/Icon SMI
Boston Red Sox
The Curse of the Bambino is often cited as the reason for Boston's extended misery after their trade of slugger Babe Ruth to the Yankees in December 1919, but the Red Sox had already begun a slide of 15 losing seasons by finishing 67-71-1 that year. They eventually ran their non-winning streak to 16 with a .500 season in 1934.
5 of 24John G. Zimmerman/SI
Philadelphia/Kansas City Athletics
The Athletics moved to Kansas City in 1955 a losing team, and after 13 years there, they left without a single winning season. Ironically, the A's would enjoy nine consecutive winning seasons upon moving to Oakland, including three consecutive World Series championships.
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Kansas City/Sacramento Kings
The Kings own the NBA's dubious mark of 15 straight losing seasons, but it at least includes a consolation prize of three playoff appearances. Then again, all three were first-round losses. Pictured is Mitch Richmond (1991-98 Kings).
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It is the true mark of goaltender Al Rollins' excellence that he was awarded the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP in 1954 after toiling to a sorry squad that went 12-51-7 during a 14-year run of losing seasons that mercifully included three playoff appearances. A winning season in 1960-61 led to a Stanley Cup.
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Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons
The Pistons had 14 consecutive losing seasons, 13 of which came after moving from Fort Wayne, IN, to Detroit. During the 1960s, the Pistons were characterized by very strong individuals and weak teams. In fact, in their first 26 seasons in Detroit, they only had three winning seasons. Pictured is Dave DeBusschere (Pistons 1962-68)
9 of 24Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images
Detroit Red Wings
Derided as the Dead Things, this proud old Original Six franchise endured a cruel two decades that included a run of 14 sub-.500 campaigns from 1973 to `87. (The 1976-91 Vancouver Canucks hold the NHL record of 15 straight losing seasons, but appeared in the playoffs nine times, thanks to a liberally inclusive format.) Detroit's 14 included four playoff appearances that culminated in the 1987 Western Conference Finals. Pictured is Jim Rutherford (1970-71, 74-81, 83 Red Wings).
10 of 24V.J. Lovero/SI
Launched in 1977, the Mariners drifted for 14 years until they reached -- and exceeded -- the .500 mark with an 83-79 record in 1991. Their fans waited until 1995 for the M's to make a postseason appearance. Pictured is Alvin Davis (1984-91 Mariners).
11 of 24Joe Patronite/Getty Images, AP
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs achieved unequaled infamy by losing the first 26 games in their history, but they also hold the NFL's black mark of 14 successive sub.-500 seasons.
12 of 24AP, Bill Frakes/SI
Called the Bungles for obvious reasons, Cincinnati's tiger-striped squad went 14 seasons without seeing the playoffs, and only two .500 campaigns (1996 and 2003) kept them from joining the Bucs in the NFL record book. Inset is Corey Dillon (1997-03 Bengals).
13 of 24Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images
The Orioles had 14 straight losing seasons, finishing in fourth or fifth in the AL East every season but one in that span. Pictured is Brian Roberts (2001-13 Orioles).
14 of 24Rod Hanna/NFL
Starting life in the AFL, the Broncos started losing and continued their woeful ways for 13 consecutive seasons that included their admission to the NFL in 1970. Pictured is Floyd Little (1967-75 Broncos).
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New Jersey Devils <br> (Kansas City Scouts/<br>Colorado Rockies)
Branded ''a Mickey-Mouse operation'' by the great Wayne Gretzky in 1984, the Devils' streak of 13 losing seasons stretched back to their days as the Kansas City Scouts and Colorado Rockies. It also included a record nine straight campaigns without making the playoffs. Only once (1978) did they see postseason play, and they were promptly shot down by the Flyers, two-games-to-none in the first round. Pictured is goalie Glenn ''Chico'' Resch (1981-86 Rockies/Devils).
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St Louis/Arizona Cardinals
A move to Phoenix in 1988 did not inspire these birds to break their schneid of 13 straight non-winning seasons. The best they could do during that unseemly run was an 8-8 record in 1994. A playoff appearance after their 9-7 season in 1998 proved to be a momentary break. The Cardinals went another nine years before participating the postseason again. Pictured is Eric Hill (1989-98 Cardinals).
17 of 24TSN/Icon SMI, Jay Maisel/SI
Their fans surely did not enjoy that streak of 12 straight losing seasons, but even more depressing was the 25-year stretch from 1946 to 1971 when the Redskins failed to reach the playoffs. Pictured (left) is Bobby Mitchell (1962-68 Redskins).
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New Orleans Saints
Known as the Aints and forever associated with paper-bag-wearing fans, New Orleans' sadsack franchise put together a streak of 12 losing seasons that would have hit 20 had Archie Manning not led them past the L.A. Rams on the final day of 1979 season. After that .500 campaign, the Saints did not have winning season or make a playoff appearance until 1987.
19 of 24Mike Powell/NBAE/Getty Images
San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers
A basketball shipwreck, the Clippers posted 12 straight losing seasons during an NBA-record streak of 15 without a playoff appearance (1976-91) that stretched back to their tenure in Buffalo as the Braves. Pictured is Benoit Benjamin (1985-91 Clippers).
20 of 24Ronald C. Modra/SI
It's easy to see why last season's return to the playoffs after a quarter century was so joyously received in Milwaukee. During that long wait, Brewers fans were subjected to 12 consecutive losing seasons, a skid snapped only by an 81-81 mark in 2005. Pictured is Geoff Jenkins (1998-07 Brewers).
21 of 24Duane Burleson/AP
The Tigers may have made it to two World Series in recent memory, but before making it there in '06, the team had 12 years of futility in what many considered a fairly weak division. Pictured, from left to right, are Bobby Higginson (1995-2005 Tigers), Todd Jones (1997-2001 Tigers) and Doug Brocail (1997-2000 Tigers).
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Golden State Warriors
The Warriors were anything but golden during their run of 12 straight losing seasons without making the playoffs. They also subjected their fans to a streak of nine seasons (1977-86) without postseason action. Pictured are Antawn Jamison (1998-03 Warriors) and Erick Dampier (1997-04 Warriors).
23 of 24Mark Kauffman/SI
Cincinnati Reds (Redlegs)
Maybe changing to the Redlegs in '54 is what helped the Reds eventually snap 11 straight losing seasons in Cincinnati. However, they did make the World Series in '61, just one year after changing back to the Reds. Pictured is Ted Kluszewski (1947-57 Reds/Redlegs).
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Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Before the franchise's stunning run to the World Series in 2008, the 'Devil Rays' were the laughingstock of the major leagues. In its first 10 years of existence, Tampa Bay averaged 97.2 losses per season, including a franchise-worst 55-106 record in 2002 -- and didn't win more than 70 games once. Pictured is Vinny Castilla (2000-01 Devil Rays).
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