Which state has won the most professional sports championships?

Which states (along with the nation’s capital Washington D.C.) have the most professional championships in the five biggest team sports in America? For the purposes of this article, I counted all championships won in each of the leagues listed below for football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer.

Which leagues are counted towards championships? 

Football (American Football): NFL, AFL, AAFC, USFL, Arena League, CFL

Basketball: NBA, ABA, NBL, WNBA

Baseball: MLB (NL+AL), NAPBBP, Union Association, American Association

*For baseball before the World Series (1903, 1905-present), I counted championships for which team won the pennant for that year. All World Series before 1903 were considered exhibitions, so I did not count them.

Hockey: NHL, WHA, PCHA, WCHA

Soccer (Football): MLS, NWSL (plus predecessors WPS and WUSA)

States with the most championships

Out of the 50 states and D.C., only 26/51 (50.98%) have one at least one championship in any of these five sports. The top four states of New York, California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania 223 championships. All other states and D.C. combined have 268.

Out of New York’s 66 championships, the Yankees have 27 (40.90%) of them. In fact, the Yankees alone have more World Series titles than all but six states (counting NY minus the Yankees total) have fewer total championships across these five sports.

States with the most professional championships

Below is a table showing the number of championships each state has won in each sport. The states with N/A never had a team in that sport in any of the above leagues mentioned.

State Football Basketball Baseball Hockey Soccer Total
Alabama 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Alaska N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Arizona 5 3 1 0 N/A 9
Arkansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
California 14 20 18 3 9 64
Colorado 5 0 0 2 1 8
Connecticut 0 0 0 0 N/A 0
Delaware N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Florida 11 3 2 1 0 17
Georgia 0 0 1 0 0 1
Hawaii N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Idaho N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Illinois 12 7 13 6 1 39
Indiana 1 7 N/A N/A N/A 8
Iowa 0 0 0 N/A N/A 0
Kansas N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Kentucky 0 1 1 N/A N/A 2
Louisiana 1 0 N/A N/A N/A 1
Maine N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Maryland 7 1 6 N/A 0 14
Massachusetts 5 17 22 6 0 50
Michigan 10 6 5 11 N/A 32
Minnesota 0 10 2 0 0 12
Mississippi N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Missouri 2 1 16 0 4 23
Montana N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Nebraska N/A 0 N/A N/A N/A 0
Nevada 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
New Hampshire N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New Jersey 0 0 0 3 1 4
New Mexico N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
New York 12 7 37 8 2 66
North Carolina 0 0 N/A 1 1 2
North Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Ohio 13 4 8 0 1 26
Oklahoma 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Oregon 0 1 N/A 0 3 4
Pennsylvania 15 4 17 7 0 43
Rhode Island 1 0 2 N/A N/A 3
South Carolina N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
South Dakota N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Tennessee 0 0 N/A 0 N/A 0
Texas 8 12 1 1 2 24
Utah N/A 1 N/A N/A 1 2
Vermont N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Virginia N/A N/A 0 N/A N/A 0
Washington 2 3 0 1 1 7
Washington D.C. 5 1 1 1 5 13
West Virginia N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0
Wisconsin 13 4 1 N/A N/A 18
Wyoming N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 0

States with three or fewer championships

Georgia: Atlanta Braves 1995 World Series (MLB)

Louisiana: New Orleans Saints 2009 Super Bowl (NFL)

Kentucky: Kentucky Colonels 1975 ABA Champions (ABA), Louisville Colonels 1890 pennant winners (AA)

Utah: Utah Stars 1971 ABA Champions (ABA), Real Salt Lake 2009 MLS Cup (MLS)

North Carolina: Carolina Hurricanes 2006 Stanley Cup (NHL), Carolina Courage 2002 Founders Cup Champions (WUSA)

Rhode Island: Providence Steam Roller 1928 NFL Championship (NFL), Providence Grays 1879 and 1884 pennant winners (NL)

Some interesting facts from this information

  • Pennsylvania has the most football championships (15)
  • California has the most basketball championships (20)
  • California has the most soccer championships (9)
  • New York has the most baseball championships (37)
  • Michigan has the most hockey championships (11)
  • Ohio is tied for the 3rd most football championships even though a team from the state has not won since the Browns captured their last NFL Championship in 1964.
  • Rhode Island has as many or more football championships then North Carolina, Georgia, Minnesota, Louisiana, Indiana, and Tennessee. This is despite all these states currently having NFL teams.
  • Despite being the smallest state, Rhode Island has more championships than 31 states.
  • Maryland is the only state to have won a Grey Cup when the Baltimore Stallions won it in 1995 during the CFL’s brief expansion into America.
  • 17 states have never had a professional team in any of the five major sports.

 

Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “USA State Flag Map” by WonderWhy is licensed under CC BY-2.0

All graphs and tables made using Google Spreadsheet

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/

http://www.remembertheafl.com/AFL.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All-America_Football_Conference

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Football_League#1983

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Grey_Cup_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ArenaBowl

http://www.nba.com/history/nba-season-recaps/

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ABA_champions

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Basketball_League_(United_States)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WNBA_Finals

http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Professional_Base_Ball_Players

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_National_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_League_pennant_winners

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Association_(19th_century)

http://www.nhl.com/ice/page.htm?id=25426

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Hockey_Association

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Canada_Hockey_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Coast_Hockey_Association

http://www.mlssoccer.com/history/mls-cup

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Women%27s_Soccer_League

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Professional_Soccer

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_United_Soccer_Association

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Comparing every team’s playoff record since 2000 in the four major sports

After taking an individual look at each of the four major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL and NHL) it is time to see how all of these team compared to each other in terms of playoff success. This article will look at the every NBA, NFL and NHL season starting with 1999-00 and every MLB season since 2000.

Playoff Appearances and totals for each sport

The graph below shows the total number of playoff appearances for all 123 franchises between the four major sports since the 2000 playoffs.

Number of playoff appearances by each team in the four major sports since 2000

Click here for larger version of the above graph

*Did not count Vegas toward NHL total for at least 5 and 9 playoff appearances in the table below since they have only played one season as a franchise.

Sport At least 1 Playoff App. At least 5 Playoff App. At least 9 Playoff App.
MLB 30/30 (100%) 16/30 (53.33%) 5/30 (16.66%)
NBA 30/30 (100%) 30/30 (100%) 21/30 (70%)
NHL 31/31 (100%) 26/30* (86.67%) 20/30* (66.67%)
NFL 32/32 (100%) 24/32 (75%) 8/32 (25%)

The table below shows the only five teams to have at least 15 playoff appearances since 2000, as well as the Yankees who have the most of any MLB team. While the next table shows all of the teams who have two or fewer playoff appearances.

Team Sport # of Playoff Appearances
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19
Detriot Red Wings NHL 16
San Jose Sharks NHL 16
New England Patriots NFL 15
Dallas Mavericks NBA 15
New York Yankees MLB 14

*The NBA teams with the fewest playoff appearances are the Charlotte Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and New York Knicks with six each.

*Vegas has only played one season. After them, the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets have the fewest in the NHL with three appearances.

Team Sport # of Playoff Appearances
Buffalo Bills NFL 2
Kansas City Royals MLB 2
Milwaukee Brewers MLB 2
San Diego Padres MLB 2
Seattle Mariners MLB 2
Toronto Blue Jays MLB 2
Vegas Golden Knights* NHL 1
Miami Marlins MLB 1
Cleveland Browns NFL 1

Jetpack

Best and worst performing playoff teams since 2000 by game

Out of the 123 teams, only 12 (4 NFL, 4 MLB, 3 NBA 1 NHL) have won at least 60% of there playoff games. In contrast, 13 (8 NFL, 3 MLB, 2 NHL) have won less than 30% of them.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Win % (record)
New England Patriots NFL 15 73% (27-10)
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 71% (22-9)
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 68.1% (77-36)
Baltimore Ravens NFL 10 65.2% (15-8)
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 65% (13-7)
Miami Marlins MLB 1 64.7% (11-6)
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 63.8% (97-55)
Chicago White Sox MLB 3 63.2% (12-7)
New York Giants NFL 8 62.5% (10-6)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 62.1% (123-75)
San Fransico Giants MLB 7 61.5% (48-30)
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 12 60% (15-10)

*Lowest NBA team is the Denver Nuggets at 34.4% win percentage (22-42 record in 10 playoff appearances).

Team Sport # of Playoff App Win % (record)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 29.4% (5-12)
Miami Dolphins NFL 5 28.6% (2-5)
Washington Redskins NFL 5 28.6% (2-5)
Blue Jackets NHL 4 23.8% (5-16)
Dallas Cowboys NFL 7 22.2% (2-7)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 22.2% (2-7)
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 21.4% (6-22)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 14.3% (1-6)
Kansa City Chiefs NFL 7 12.5% (1-7)
Cincinnati Bengals NFL 7 0% (0-7)
Detroit Lions NFL 4 0% (0-4)
Buffalo Bills NFL 2 0% (0-2)
Cleveland Browns NFL 1 0% (0-1)

The graph below shows the winning percentage of every single team in this time frame by playoff game.

Percentage of playoff games won in 4 major sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL) since 2000 playoffs (2000 season for MLB, 1999-00 season for other sports)

Click here to view the larger version of this graph

Team with the most and least total games won in each sport

Team Sport # of Playoff App Games Won Win % (Record)
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 148 59% (148-103)
New England Patriots NFL 15 27 73% (27-10)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 112 56.3% (112-87)
New York Yankees MLB 14 69 53.1% (69-61)
Team Sport # of Playoff App Games Won Win % (Record)
Cincinnati Bengals NFL 7 0 0% (0-7)
Charlotte Hornets NBA 6 14 36.8% (14-24)
Blue Jackets NHL 4 5 23.8% (5-16)
Detroit Lions NFL 4 0 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 5 29.4% (5-12)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 1 14.3% (1-6)
Buffalo Bills NFL 2 0 0% (0-2)
Cleveland Browns NFL 1 0 0% (0-1)

Best and worst performing playoff teams by series

Since the NFL does not have playoff series, this next section will only focus on MLB, NBA and NHL teams in terms of their playoff series success. While the NBA and NHL have four rounds of playoff series, MLB only has three. For MLB I did not count the play-in wild-card games towards series wins/losses.

The next two tables below show every team that has won at least 65% of there playoff series and won less than 20% of there playoff series.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Win % (record)
Miami Marlins MLB 1 100% (3-0)
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 83.3% (5-1)
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 81% (17-4)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 78.9% (30-8)
Carolina Hurricanes NHL 4 75% (9-3)
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 75% (3-1)
San Fransico Giants MLB 7 73.3% (11-4)
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 72.4% (21-8)
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 10 69.6% (16-7)
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 68.1% (32-15)
Miami Heat NBA 14 67.6% (23-11)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 67.6% (23-11)
Team Sports # of Playoff App Series Win % (record)
Denver Nuggets NBA 10 16.7% (2-10)
Milwaukee Bucks NBA 10 16.7% (2-10)
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 14.3% (1-6)
Oakland Athletics MLB 8 12.5% (1-7)
New York Islanders NHL 7 12.5% (1-7)
Atlanta Braves MLB 9 11.1% (1-8)
Washington Nationals MLB 4 0% (0-4)
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 4 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 0% (0-3)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 0% (0-2)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 0% (0-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 3 0% (0-1)

The chart below shows every MLB, NBA and NHL team’s winning percentage by series.

Percentage of playoff series won by MLB, NBA and NHL since 2000

Click here to view larger version of above graph

*Did not count Vegas toward NHL total for at least 5 and 9 playoff series since they have only played one season as a franchise.

Sport At least 1 Series Won At least 5 Series Won At least 10 Series Won
MLB* 26/30 (86.67%) 12/30 (40%) 4/30 (13.33%)
NBA 30/30 (100%) 20/30 (66.67%) 11/30 (36.67%)
NHL 29/31 (93.54%) 22/30 (73.33%) 14/30 (46.67%)

The first table shows the top team in the MLB, NBA, and NHL in terms of playoff series won. Meanwhile, the next table shows the bottom teams in each of these sports in terms of series won.

Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Won Series % (Record)
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 23 67.6% (23-11)
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 30 78.9% (30-8)
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 12 15 60% (15-10)
Team Sport # of Playoff App Series Won Series % (Record)
Charlotte Hornets NBA 6 2 25% (2-6)
Minnesota Timberwolves NBA 6 2 25% (2-6)
New Orleans Pelicans NBA 7 2 22.2% (2-7)
Denver Nuggets NBA 10 2 16.7% (2-10)
Milwaukee Bucks NBA 10 2 16.7% (2-10)
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL 4 0 0% (0-4)
Florida Panthers NHL 3 0 0% (0-3)
Washington Nationals MLB 4 0 0% (0-4)
Cincinnati Reds MLB 3 0 0% (0-2)
San Diego Padres MLB 2 0 0% (0-2)
Pittsburgh Pirates MLB 3 0 0% (0-1)

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Playoff sweeps

In the time frame of this article, these have been a total of 116 playoff sweeps between the NBA (53), NHL (31) and MLB (32). Eight of the 91 teams in these three sports have accounted for 46 (41.07%) of these sweeps.

Team Sport # of Playoff App # of Sweeps # of times Swept
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 10 2
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 7 2
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 7 3
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 5 0
Anaheim Ducks NHL 12 5 1
Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 4 1
Miami Heat NBA 14 4 2
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 4 3

On the opposite side of the spectrum, only ten teams have been swept at least three times. However, no NHL has been swept more than two times. These ten teams account for 36 (31.03%) of these sweeps.

Team Sport # of Playoff App # of times Swept # of Sweeps
Memphis Grizzlies NBA 10 5 0
Toronto Raptors NBA 10 4 0
Atlanta Hawks NBA 10 4 0
Portland Trail Blazers NBA 12 4 0
Detroit Pistons NBA 10 4 1
Chicago Cubs MLB 6 3 0
Minnesota Twins MLB 7 3 0
Arizona Diamondbacks
MLB 5 3 1
Los Angeles Angels MLB 7 3 1
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 3 4

The table below compares sweeps in each sport, as well as how many teams have yet to sweep or be swept.

Sport Teams to sweep opp Teams to be swept
Teams neither sweep or been swept
MLB 19/30 19/30 5/30
NBA 18/30 24/30 2/30
NHL 17/31 23/31 3/31

Conference Championships and Championships

The table below shows how each sport compares in terms of what percentage of there teams have appeared in a conference championship, championship and won a championship.

Sport Conf. Champ App. Champ App. Champ Won
MLB 26/30 (86.67%) 19/30 (63.33) 12/30 (40%)
NBA 26/30 (86.67%) 13/32 (40.62%) 8/32 (25%)
NHL 28/31 (90.32%) 21/31 (67.74%) 11/31 (35.48%)
NFL 23/32 (71.87%) 19/32 (59.37%) 12/32 (37.5%)

Between the 123 teams in the four major sports, only 17 have appeared in at least five conference championship games. The New England Patriots led the way with 12 appearances and eight wins.

Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
New England Patriots NFL 12 8 4
San Antonio Spurs NBA 9 5 4
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 9 4 5
New York Yankees MLB 8 4 4
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 7 7 0
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 6 5 1
Miami Heat NBA 6 5 1
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 6 4 2
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 6 3 3
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 6 2 4
Boston Celtics NBA 6 2 4
Detroit Pistons NBA 6 2 4
Boston Red Sox MLB 5 3 2
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 5 3 2
Anaheim Ducks NHL 5 2 3
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 5 2 3
Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 5 1 4

There have also been ten teams to appear in multiple conference championship games without losing one with the Los Angeles Lakers being an impressive 7-0. On the flipside, there have been ten teams to appear in multiple conference championship games and not win one.

Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 7 7 0
Golden State Warriors NBA 4 4 0
San Francisco Giants MLB 4 4 0
New Jersey Devils NHL 4 4 0
New York Giants NFL 3 3 0
Seattle Seahawks NFL 3 3 0
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 2 0
Boston Bruins NHL 2 2 0
Texas Rangers MLB 2 2 0
Los Angeles Rams NFL 2 2 0
Team Sport Conf Champ. App Won Lost
Minnesota Vikings NFL 3 0 3
Phoenix Suns NBA 3 0 3
Buffalo Sabres NHL 2 0 2
Houston Rockets NBA 2 0 2
Jacksonville Jaguars NFL 2 0 2
New York Jets NFL 2 0 2
Montreal Canadiens NHL 2 0 2
Seattle Mariners MLB 2 0 2
St. Louis Blues NHL 2 0 2
Toronto Blue Jays MLB 2 0 2

Every team to win multiple championships

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App. Champ Record Game record
New England Patriots NFL 15 8 5-3 5-3
Los Angeles Lakers NBA 13 7 5-2 23-15
San Antonio Spurs NBA 19 5 4-1 19-10
Miami Heat NBA 14 5 3-2 15-14
Golden State Warriors NBA 7 4 3-1 15-7
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 14 4 3-1 14-11
San Francisco Giants MLB 7 4 3-1 15-8
Boston Red Sox MLB 9 3 3-0 12-2
Chicago Blackhawks NHL 10 3 3-0 12-6
New York Yankees MLB 14 4 2-2 13-11
New Jersey Devils NHL 12 4 2-2 13-13
St. Louis Cardinals MLB 12 4 2-2 10-12
Detroit Red Wings NHL 16 3 2-1 11-7
Pittsburgh Steelers NFL 12 3 2-1 2-1
New York Giants NFL 8 3 2-1 2-1
Baltimore Ravens NFL 10 3 2-0 2-0
Los Angeles Kings NHL 10 3 2-0 8-3

Every team with one championship

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App Champ Record Game Record
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA 9 5 1-4 7-19
Seattle Seahawks NFL 12 3 1-2 1-2
Dallas Mavericks NBA 15 2 1-1 6-6
Boston Celtics NBA 14 2 1-1 7-6
Indianapolis Colts NFL 14 2 1-1 1-1
Anaheim Ducks NHL 12 2 1-1 7-5
Boston Bruins NHL 12 2 1-1 6-7
Philadelphia Eagles NFL 11 2 1-1 1-1
Detroit Pistons NBA 10 2 1-1 7-5
Denver Broncos NFL 9 2 1-1 1-1
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL 9 2 1-1 6-7
Los Angeles Rams NFL 6 2 1-1 1-1
Philadelphia Phillies MLB 5 2 1-1 6-5
Houston Astros MLB 5 2 1-1 4-7
Carolina Hurricanes NHL 4 2 1-1 5-7
Kansas City Royals MLB 2 2 1-1 7-5
Green Bay Packers NFL 13 1 1-0 1-0
Washington Capitals NHL 13 1 1-0 4-1
Colorado Avalanche NHL 10 1 1-0 4-3
Los Angeles Angels NFL 7 1 1-0 4-3
New Orleans Saints NFL 7 1 1-0 1-0
Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL 6 1 1-0 1-0
Chicago Cubs MLB 6 1 1-0 4-3
Arizona Diamondbacks MLB 5 1 1-0 4-3
Chicago White Sox MLB 3 1 1-0 4-0
Miami Marlins MLB 1 1 1-0 4-2

Teams with no championship

Team Sport Playoff App Champ App Champ Record Game Record
Brooklyn Nets NBA 9 2 0-2 2-8
Carolina Panthers NFL 7 2 0-2 0-2
Detroit Tigers MLB 5 2 0-2 1-8
Texas Rangers MLB 5 2 0-2 4-8
New York Mets MLB 4 2 0-2 2-8
San Jose Sharks NHL 16 1 0-1 2-4
Philadelphia Flyers NHL 14 1 0-1 2-4
Indiana Pacers NBA 14 1 0-1 2-4
Ottawa Senators NHL 13 1 0-1 1-4
Nashville Predators NHL 11 1 0-1 2-4
New York Rangers NHL 11 1 0-1 1-4
Vancouver Canucks NHL 11 1 0-1 3-4
Oklahoma City Thunder NBA 11 1 0-1 1-4
Philadelphia 76ers NBA 10 1 0-1 1-4
Orlando Magic NBA 9 1 0-1 1-4
Los Angeles Dodgers MLB 9 1 0-1 3-4
Dallas Stars NHL 9 1 0-1 2-4
Atlanta Falcons NFL 8 1 0-1 0-1
Calgary Flames NHL 7 1 0-1 3-4
Tennessee Titans NFL 7 1 0-1 0-1
Edmonton Oilers NHL 5 1 0-1 3-4
San Francisco 49ers NFL 5 1 0-1 0-1
Cleveland Indians MLB 5 1 0-1 3-4
Tampa Bay Rays MLB 4 1 0-1 1-4
Arizona Cardinals NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Chicago Bears NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Oakland Raiders NFL 4 1 0-1 0-1
Colorado Rockies MLB 3 1 0-1 0-4
Vegas Golden Knights NHL 1 1 0-1 1-4

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Sources and Info: (All sources not listed here linked/mentioned in the article)

Featured Image: Featured Image: “Sports” by Charly W. Karl is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/index.htm (Used to get playoff information for each team)

https://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/

https://www.hockey-reference.com/teams/index.html

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/

https://www.printyourbrackets.com/winning-percentage-calculator.php (Used to find win percentage for each team)

Used Google Spreadsheet to make charts and tables

 

MVPs and championships in the four major sports (Part 2)

Yesterday, saw the first part of my look at the connection between MVPs and championships in the four major North American sports. Now, the second and final part will look at multi-time winners of both, as well as totals and the unluckiest MVPs who never won a championship.

Note: Any gaps in career span in all tables below are seasons that a player was either retired, completely missed due to injury, was not playing professionally due to WWII/other reasons or there was a lockout.

Players with multiple MVPs and Championships

NBA

Only nine players in NBA history have multiple MVPs and Championships. Three of these players won their championships with multiple teams, Kareem (5 Lakers, 1 Bucks), LeBron (2 Cavs, 2 Heat) and Wilt (1 76ers, 1 Lakers).

Player Position Career Span # of MVPs # of Championships
Kareem Abdul Jabbar C 1969-1989 6 6
Bill Russell C 1956-1969 5 11
Michael Jordan SG/SF 1984-93, 1994-98, 2001-03 5 6
LeBron James SF/PF 2003- 4 3
Wilt Chamberlain C 1959-1973 4 2
Magic Johnson PG/SG 1979-91, 1995-96 3 5
Larry Bird PF/SF 1979-1992 3 3
Tim Duncan PF/C 1997-2016 2 5
Steph Curry PG 2009- 2 3

NFL

Only five players in NFL history have won multiple MVPs and championships (NFL Championship + Super Bowls), with all of them being quarterbacks. The fact that Montana and Young were on the same team from 1987 to 1992 is definitely a historical outlier. Manning (1 Colts, 1 Broncos) is the only one to win his championships with different teams.

Player Position Career # of MVPs # of Championships
Peyton Manning QB 1998-2010, 2012-15 5 2
Tom Brady QB 2000- 3 5
Johnny Unitas QB 1956-1973 3 3
Joe Montana QB 1979-1990, 1992-94 2 4
Steve Young QB 1985-1999 2 3

NHL

Only 14 players in NHL have won multiple Hart trophies and Stanley Cups. Dominik Hasek is the only goalie to have accomplished this. Mark Messier is the only one to win his championships with multiple teams (Oilers 5, Rangers 1).

*Howe played in the rival World Hockey Association (WHA) from 1973-79 and won two Avco Cups (in addition to his 4 Stanley Cups) with the Houston Aeros in 1974 and 1975.

Players Position Career # of MVPs # Of Champ
Wayne Gretzky C 1978-1999 9 4
Gordie Howe RW 1946-71, 1973-80 6 4*
Eddie Shore D 1926-1940 4 2
Howie Morenz C 1923-1937 3 3
Bobby Orr D 1966-77, 1978-79 3 2
Bobby Clarke C 1969-1984 3 2
Mario Lemieux C 1984-97, 2000-04, 2005-06 3 2
Jean Beliveau C 1950-51, 1952-71 2 10
Mark Messier LW/C 1978-2004 2 6
Guy Lafleur RW 1971-85, 1988-91 2 5
Sidney Crosby C 2005- 2 3
Bill Cowley C 1934-1947 2 2
Phil Esposito C 1963-1981 2 2
Dominik Hasek G 1990-2002, 2003-04, 2005-08 2 2

MLB

Only 13 MLB players have won multiple MVPs and World Series Championships. Five of these players (Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, and Maris) all played for the New York Yankees.

Player (AL) Position Career Span # of MVP (League) # of Champ
Jimmie Foxx 1B/3B/C 1925-42, 1944-45 3 (NL) 2
Joe DiMaggio CF 1936-42, 1946-51 3 (NL) 9
Stan Musial OF/1B 1941-44, 1946-63 3 (AL) 3
Yogi Berra C/OF 1946-63, 1965 3 (NL) 10
Mickey Mantle CF/1B 1951-1968 3 (NL) 7
Albert Pujols 1B/LF/3B 2001- 3 (AL) 2
Lou Gehrig 1B 1923-1939 2 (NL) 6
Mickey Cochrane C 1925-1937 2 (NL) 3
Hank Greenberg 1B/LF 1930, 1933-41, 1945-47 2 (NL) 2
Frank Robinson OF/1B 1956-1976 2 (AL and NL) 2
Roger Maris RF 1957-1968 2 (NL) 3
Joe Morgan 2B 1963-1984 2 (AL) 2
Johnny Bench C/3B/1B 1967-1983 2 (AL) 2

Jetpack

Totals and takeaways

Sport # of players to win MVP Players with multiple MVPs MVPs who won a championship MVPs without championship MVP never played in championship
NFL 47* 9 (19.14%) 25 (53.19%) 22 (46.80%) 9 (19.14%)
NBA 33 13 (39.39%) 26 (78.78%) 7 (21.21%) 2 (6.06%)
NHL 58 18 (31.03%) 46 (79.31%) 12 (20.68%) 6 (10.34%)
MLB (Total) 151* 31* (20.52%) 94* (62.91%) 57 (37.7%) 29 (19.20%)
MLB (NL) 77* 12 49 28 13
MLB (AL) 75 18 46 29 16

*In 1997 (Brett Farve and Barry Sanders) and 2003 (Peyton Manning and Steve McNair) both won that year’s MVP award as they finished in a tie.

*In 1979 the NL MVP race ended in a tie with Keith Hernandez and Willie Stargell sharing the award.

*Frank Robinson counted once towards number of players to win MVP for NL and AL. Only counted once for MLB total, hence the one player difference. Same for MVPs who won a championship. Also counted for multi-MVP total since he has one from both leagues.

C MVP 4 Sports

MVP Winners with 7+ Championships, plus top two for the NFL

Player Sport Career Span # of MVPs # of Championships
Bill Russell NBA 1956-1969 5 11
Yogi Berra MLB (AL) 1946-63, 1965 3 10
Jean Beliveau NHL 1950-1971 2 10
Joe DiMaggio MLB (AL) 1936-42, 1946-51 3 9
Maurice Richard NHL 1942-1960 1 8
Mickey Mantle MLB (AL) 1951-1968 3 7
Babe Ruth MLB (AL) 1914-1935 1 7
Phil Rizzuto MLB (AL) 1941-42, 1946-56 1 7
Tom Brady NFL 2000- 3 5
Bart Starr NFL 1956-1971 1 5

Russell spent his entire career with the Boston Celtics. Beliveau and Richard both spent their entire careers with the Montreal Canadiens. Berra, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Rizzuto spent their entire career playing for the Yankees.

Ruth is the only one who played for different teams. He played for the Boston Red Sox (1914-19), then the New York Yankees (1920-34) before spending his final season with the Boston (now Atlanta) Braves.

The two NFL players with the most are Tom Brady (5 Super Bowls) and Bart Starr (2 Super Bowls, 3 NFL Championships), who both have five championships. Like the other players in the table, Starr played his entire career with the Green Bay Packers while Brady has done the same so far with the New England Patriots.

*I did not count Starr’s (or anyone else’s) NFL Championships during the four-year span it overlapped with the Super Bowl.

Amount of MVPs won by MVP winners in the four major sports (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB)

The players with 4+ MVPs

Player Sport Career Span # of MVPs # of Championships
Wayne Gretzky NHL 1978-1999 9 4
Barry Bonds MLB (NL) 1986-2007 7 0
Kareem Abdul Jabbar NBA 1969-1989 6 6
Gordie Howe NHL 1946-1980 6 4
Bill Russell NBA 1956-1969 5 11
Michael Jordan NBA 1984-93, 1994-1998, 2001-2003 5 6
Peyton Manning NFL 1998-2015 5 2
LeBron James NBA 2003- 4 3
Wilt Chamberlain NBA 1959-1973 4 2
Eddie Shore NHL 1926-1940 4 2

Out of the players to have not won a championship in each sport, a total of 19/98 of them are currently playing. Broken down for each sport it is 3/7 for the NBA, 3/22 (NFL), 4/10 (NHL) and 9/57 (MLB).

Only 10 players have won multiple MVPs and never won a championship, with eight of them being from MLB and two from the NBA. Mike Trout is the only one of these players currently playing. Barry Bonds is the only player in the four major sports to have 3 or more MVPs and never won a championship.

Only eleven players across the four major sports have won multiple championships and MVPs but ended up with more MVPs. It has happened six times in the NHL but only five times (Peyton Manning, LeBron James, Wilt Chamberlain, Albert Pujols, Jimmie Foxx) in the other three sports.

 
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Out of the 98 MVPs who never won a championship, 48 of them never played in one. 37 of them only made it there once and lost. That means only 13 (13.26%) got at least a second crack at winning a championship and failed. 12 of these times happened in the NFL or MLB, with it only happening once in the NBA and never in the NHL.

Player Sport Career # of MVPs Championship Record
Terry Pendleton MLB 1984-1998 1 0-5 (13-20)
Gabby Hartnett MLB 1922-1941 1 0-4 (3-16)
Thurman Thomas NFL 1988-2000 1 0-4
Ty Cobb MLB 1905-1928 1 0-3 (4-12-1)
Larry Doyle MLB 1907-1920 1 0-3 (6-12-1)
Phil Cavarretta MLB 1934-1955 1 0-3 (5-12)
Y.A. Tittle NFL 1948-1964 1 0-3
Fran Tarkenton NFL 1961-1978 1 0-3
Alan Page NFL 1967-1981 1 0-3
Karl Malone NBA 1985-2004 2 0-3 (5-12)
Bobby Shantz MLB 1949-1964 1 0-2 (6-8)
Carl Yastrzemski MLB 1961-1983 1 0-2 (6-8)
Josh Hamilton MLB 2007-2015 1 0-2 (4-8)

Karl Malone is the only player in the four major sports to win multiple MVPs, play in multiple championships and never win one. This included losing consecutive NBA Finals with the Jazz in 1997 and 1998.

Terry Pendelton lost five championships, with three of those World Series loses coming in game seven. Two of those were with the St. Louis Cardinals and three with the Atlanta Braves, including back-to-back losses in 1991 and 1992. He was on the Braves from 1991-94 and traded back to them in 1996. The one year he was not on the team in 1995, they won the World Series.

Thurman Thomas made it to four consecutive Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills (1990-93) and lost all of them.

Ty Cobb lost three straight World Series (1907-09) with the Detroit Tigers and Larry Doyle lost three straight with the New York (now San Francisco) Giants (1911-13). Y.A. Tittle lost three straight NFL Championship games with the New York Giants (1961-63).

Frank Tarkenton and Alan Page both lost three Super Bowls in four years with the Minnesota Vikings in 1973, 1974 and 1976.

Josh Hamilton lost back-to-back World Series with the Rangers in 2010 and 2011.

 
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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “Bill Russell” by Kip-koech is licensed under CC BY 2.0

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/mvp.html#all_mvp_NBA

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/awards/ap-nfl-mvp-award.htm

https://www.hockey-reference.com/awards/hart.html

https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml

Used Google Spreadsheet to make all charts and tables

MVPs and championships in the four major sports (Part 1)

In the last week, the NHL Awards and NBA Awards show took place, with Taylor Hall and James Harden both being named the newest MVP winners in their respective sports. Now the NFL, NBA, and NHL are all in the offseason, while the MLB is still a few months away from the playoffs. So this seems like a good time to take a look at the connections between MVPs and championships in the four major North American sports.

Players with at least one MVP and no championship

NBA

There have been 33 different players to win the NBA MVP award since it was first given out in following the 1955-56 season. Out of these 33 players, seven (21.21%) have never won an NBA Championship. Only two of these players, Steve Nash and Derrick Rose, have never played in an NBA Finals.

Note: Any gaps in career span in all tables below are seasons that a player was either retired, completely missed due to injury, was not playing professionally due to WWII/other reasons or there was a lockout.

Player Position Career Span # of MVPs Champ Record (By Game)
Karl Malone PF 1985-2004 2 0-3 (5-12)
Steve Nash PG 1996-2014 2 0-0
Charles Barkley SF/PF 1984-2000 1 0-1 (2-4)
Allen Iverson SG/PG 1996-2010 1 0-1 (1-4)
Russell Westbrook PG 2008- 1 0-1 (1-4)
James Harden SG/PG 2009- 1 0-1 (1-4)
Derrick Rose PG 2008- 1 0-0

NFL

The NFL does not have an officially sanctioned MVP award. However, the one the Associated Press (AP) gives out is as close as it gets especially since it is the MVP award presented at the league’s annual honor show. The award has been given out since the 1957 season, with 47 different players having won it.

22 (46.80%) of these players never won a championship. This is broken down between 13 quarterbacks, eight running backs, and one defensive tackle. Out of those 22, nine of them never played in a championship game.

Player Position Career # of MVPs Championship/Super Bowl Record
Thurman Thomas HB 1988-2000 1 0-4
Y.A. Tittle QB 1948-1964 1 0-3
Fran Tarkenton QB 1961-1978 1 0-3
Alan Page DT 1967-1981 1 0-3
Larry Brown HB 1969-1976 1 0-1
Ken Anderson QB 1971-1986 1 0-1
Dan Marino QB 1983-1999 1 0-1
Boomer Esiason QB 1984-1997 1 0-1
Rich Gannon QB 1987-2004 1 0-1
Steve McNair QB 1995-2007 1 0-1
Shaun Alexander HB 2000-2008 1 0-1
Matt Ryan QB 2008- 1 0-1
Cam Newton QB 2011- 1 0-1
John Brodie QB 1957-1973 1 0-0
Roman Gabriel QB 1962-1977 1 0-0
OJ Simpson HB 1969-1979 1 0-0
Bert Jones QB 1973-1982 1 0-0
Brian Sipe QB 1974-1983 1 0-0
Earl Campbell HB 1978-1985 1 0-0
Barry Sanders HB 1989-1998 1 0-0
LaDainian Tomlinson HB 2001-2011 1 0-0
Adrian Peterson HB 2007- 1 0-0

NHL

The NHL has given out the Hart Memorial Trophy to each year’s most valuable player since the 1923-24 season. In that span, 58 different players have won the award. Out of these, 12 (20.68%) have never won the Stanley Cup. Between those 12, eight have never played in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Players Position Career # of MVPs Champ Record
Chuck Rayner G 1940-1953 1 0-1 (3-4)
Eric Lindros C 1992-04, 2005-07 1 0-1 (0-4)
Joe Thornton C 1997-2004, 2005- 1 0-1 (2-4)
Henrik Sedin C 2000-04, 2005-18 1 0-1 (3-4)
Billy Burch C/LW 1922-1933 1 0-0
Roy Worters G 1925-1937 1 0-0
Herb Gardiner D 1926-1929 1 0-0
Tom Anderson LW/D 1934-1942 1 0-0
Jose Theodore G 1995-2013 1 0-0
Carey Price G 2007- 1 0-0
Taylor Hall LW 2010- 1 0-0
Connor McDavid C 2015- 1 0-0

MLB (NL and AL)

From 1911-1914, 1924-28 and since 1931 both the National League (NL) and American League (AL) have given out an MVP award at the end of the season. However, in 1923 and 1924 only the AL presented an MVP award.  In 1929, the  NL presented one while the AL did not.

Overall, 77 players have won an NL MVP and 75 have won an AL MVP. However, only 151 different players have won either MVP since Frank Robinson won both an NL MVP (1961) and AL MVP (1966). 57 (37.7%)  MVP winners never won a World Series championship, while 29 have never played in one.

NL

Player (NL) Position Career Span # of MVP Champ Record
Barry Bonds LF 1986-2007 7 0-1 (3-4)
Ernie Banks 1B/SS 1953-1971 2 0-0
Dale Murphy 1B/C 1976-1993 2 0-0
Terry Pendleton 3B 1984-1998 1 0-5 (13-20)
Gabby Hartnett C 1922-1941 1 0-4 (3-16)
Larry Doyle 2B 1907-1920 1 0-3 (6-12-1)
Phil Cavarretta 1B/OF 1934-1955 1 0-3 (5-12)
Paul Warner RF 1926-1945 1 0-1 (0-4)
Chuck Klein RF 1928-1944 1 0-1 (2-4)
Dolph Camilli 1B 1933-43, 1945 1 0-1 (1-4)
Bob Elliott 3B/RF 1939-1953 1 0-1 (2-4)
Jim Konstantly P 1944, 1946, 1948-56 1 0-1 (0-4)
Willie McCovey 1B/LF 1959-1980 1 0-1 (3-4)
Ken Caminiti 3B 1987-2001 1 0-1 (0-4)
Larry Walker RF/1B 1989-2005 1 0-1 (0-4)
Jeff Bagwell 1B 1991-2005 1 0-1 (0-4)
Jeff Kent 2B/1B/3B 1992-2008 1 0-1 (3-4)
Hank Sauer LF 1941-42, 1945, 1948-59 1 0-0
Joe Torre C/1B/3B 1960-1977 1 0-0
Andre Dawson OF 1976-1996 1 0-0
Ryne Sandberg 2B/3B 1981-1994, 1996-97 1 0-0
Sammy Sosa RF 1989-2005, 2007 1 0-0
Joey Votto 1B 2007- 1 0-0
Ryan Braun LF/3B 2007- 1 0-0
Clayton Kershaw P 2008- 1 0-0
Andrew McCutchen CF 2009- 1 0-0
Giancarlo Stanton RF 2010- 1 0-0
Bryce Harper OF 2012- 1 0-0

AL

Player (AL) Position Career Span # of MVP Champ Record
Ted Williams LF 1939-42, 1946-60 2 0-1 (3-4)
Robin Yount SS/CF 1974-1993 2 0-1 (3-4)
Juan Gonzalez OF 1989-2005 2 0-0
Frank Thomas 1B/DH 1990-2008 2 0-0
Mike Trout CF 2011- 2 0-0
Ty Cobb CF 1905-1928 1 0-3 (4-12-1)
Bobby Shantz P 1949-1964 1 0-2 (6-8)
Carl Yastrzemski LF/1B 1961-1983 1 0-2 (6-8)
Josh Hamilton OF 2007-2015 1 0-2 (4-8)
Nellie Fox 2B 1947-1965 1 0-1 (2-4)
Harmon Killebrew 1B/3B/LF 1954-1975 1 0-1 (3-4)
Zolio Versalles SS/3B/2B 1959-1969, 1971 1 0-1 (3-4)
Jim Rice LF/DH 1974-1989 1 0-1 (3-4)
Fred Lynn CF 1974-1990 1 0-1 (3-4)
Jason Giambi 1B/LF/DH 1995-2014 1 0-1 (2-4)
Vladimir Guerrero RF 1996-2011 1 0-1 (1-4)
George Sisler 1B 1915-22, 1924-30 1 0-0
Dick Allen 1B/3B/LF 1963-1977 1 0-0
Rod Carew 1B/2B 1967-1985 1 0-0
Jeff Burroughs OF 1970-1985 1 0-0
George Bell LF 1981, 1983-93 1 0-0
Don Mattingly 1B/OF 1982-1995 1 0-0
Ken Griffey CF 1989-2010 1 0-0
Mo Vaughn 1B 1991-00, 2002-03 1 0-0
Miguel Tejada SS/3B 1997-2011, 2013 1 0-0
Ichiro Suzuki* RF 2001- 1 0-0
Justin Morneau 1B 2003-2016 1 0-0
Joe Mauer C/1B 2004- 1 0-0
Josh Donaldson 3B 2010, 2012- 1 0-0

*While Ichiro transitioned into a front-office role with the Mariners after playing 15 games this season, he said that he is not retiring yet.
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Distribution of championships among MVP winners

Amount of championships each MVP winner has won (NBA)

*For the four years (1966-69) the NFL Championship and Super Bowl overlapped before the NFL-AFL merger, I only counted the Super Bowl for the graph below.

Amount of championships each MVP winner has (NFL)

Amount of Stanley Cups each Hart Trophy winner has (NHL)

*Only counted Frank Robinson (two World Series championships) once in the chart, counted him once for both NL and AL in the table showing separate leagues.

Amount of World Series championships each AL and NL MVP winner has (MLB)

World Series Won 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10
NL MVP 28 26 15 7 1 0 0 0 0 0
AL MVP 29 18 12 6 3 1 1 3 1 1

Distribution of MVP Winners in the four major sports

Amount of MVPs won by MVP Winners (NBA)

Amount of MVPs won by MVP Winners (NFL)

Amount of Hart Trophies won by Hart Trophy winners (NHL)

Amount of MVPs won by MVP winners for AL and NL (MLB)

*Counted Frank Robinson’s two MVPs as one for the AL and one for the NL in the table below.

Number of MVPs 1 2 3 7
NL MVP 65 7 4 1
AL MVP 57 13 5  0

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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “Barry heads to left field after driving in 2 with a single in the 3rd” by John is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

https://www.basketball-reference.com/awards/mvp.html#all_mvp_NBA

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/awards/ap-nfl-mvp-award.htm

https://www.hockey-reference.com/awards/hart.html

https://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/mvp_cya.shtml

Used Google Spreadsheet to make all charts and tables