Sports

Have sports teams in any city won all four major league championships in one year?

The simplest answer is no. No city has hosted the current owner of the Vince Lombardi Trophy (National Football League), the Larry O’Brien / Walter A. Brown Trophy (National Basketball Association), the World Series Trophy (Major League Baseball) and the Stanley Cup (National Hockey League) in the same year. The closest a city has come so far is 1988 when the Raiders, Lakers and Dodgers brought championships to Los Angeles. On six other occasions, a city has hosted two out of four champions:

  • 1956: New York Giants (NFL) and New York Yankees (MLB)
  • 1971: Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
  • 1976: Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
  • 1999: Dallas Cowboys (NFL) and Dallas Stars (NHL)
  • 2001: Denver Broncos (NFL) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL)
  • 2002: Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Anaheim Angels (MLB)
  • 2004: New England Patriots (NFL) and Boston Red Sox (MLB)

Scholars of sports history, however, are aware that these four trophies have not always represented “the” big leagues. Consider the missing major competing leagues, such as the pre-merger American Football League or the World Hockey Association. Also, the NBA was not always the top basketball league, and other leagues have a good claim to be “the” top basketball league at various times. Finally, we should at least consider the Canadian Football League champions considering the number of NHL teams from that country.

Expanding the definition in this way adds relatively few cities to our list. In the late 1920s, three of the four major league champions were from New York: the Giants, Yankees, and Brooklyn Celtics in 1927, and the Yankees, Rangers, and Brooklyn Celtics in 1928. The Brooklyn Celtics played in American Basketball League, at a time when the NBA did not yet exist.

Other cities of two champions that consider these major leagues in competition and missing are:

  • 1930: Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and Montreal AAA (CFL)
  • 1932: Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Argonauts (CFL)
  • 1942: Toronto Maple Leafs (NFL) and Toronto RCAF Hurricanes (CFL)
  • 1944: Montreal Canadiens (NHL) and Toronto HMCS Donnacona
  • 1947: Chicago Cardinals (NFL) and Chicago American Gears (NBL)
  • 1947: Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Argonauts (CFL)
  • 1948: Cleveland Indians (MLB) and Cleveland Browns (AAFC)
  • 1977: Montreal Canadiens (MHL) and Montreal Alouettes (CFL)
  • 1987: Edmonton Oilers (NHL) and Edmonton Eskimos (CFL)
    Notes:

    • The Toronto RCAF Hurricanes and Montreal HMCS Donnacona were soccer teams from various military bases that competed for the Gray Cup during World War II.
    • The Chicago American Gears were in the National Basketball League. The NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1949 to form the current NBA.
    • The Cleveland Browns began their history in the All-America Football Conference. The AAFC competed with the NFL for four years. In 1949, the AAFC partially merged with the NFL, the Cleveland Browns winning the NFL championship the following year.

So while no city has completed what could be a “GrandSlam” of major league team sports, New York (twice) and Los Angeles (once) were close.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *