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

 

Every MLB team’s playoff record since the 2000 season

Which MLB teams have performed the best and which have underachieved in the playoffs so far this century? Starting with the 2000 season, this article will look at each team’s playoff history over the last 18 postseasons, using information gathered from Baseball Reference.

Every MLB team’s playoff record

Below is a table of showing every MLB team’s basic playoff information, sorted by the number of playoff appearances that each team has. It also shows each team’s overall playoff record and their series record.

Out of the 30 MLB teams, only five have made the playoffs at least nine times in the last 18 seasons. The New York Yankees have the most playoff appearances with 14. At the bottom are the Miami Marlins, who have only made it to the postseason once.

Team Playoff App Playoff Record Series Record
New York Yankees 14 69-61 (53.1%) 14-11 (56%)
St. Louis Cardinals 12 65-60 (52%) 15-10 (60%)
Boston Red Sox 9 46-34 (57.5%) 11-6 (64.7%)
Los Angeles Dodgers 9 32-36 (47.1%) 6-9 (40%)
Atlanta Braves 9 13-26 (33.3%) 1-8 (11.1%)
Oakland Athletics 8 15-23 (39.5%) 1-7 (12.5%)
San Francisco Giants 7 48-30 (61.5%) 11-4 (73.3%)
Los Angeles Angels 7 21-28 (42.9%) 5-6 (45.5%)
Minnesota Twins 7 6-22 (21.4%) 1-6 (14.3%)
Chicago Cubs 6 26-29 (47.3%) 6-5 (54.5%)
Philadelphia Phillies 5 27-19 (58.7%) 6-4 (60%)
Cleveland Indians 5 20-17 (54.1%) 3-4 (42.9%)
Houston Astros 5 27-26 (50.9%) 6-4 (60%)
Detroit Tigers 5 25-26 (49%) 6-5 (54.5%)
Texas Rangers 5 20-22 (47.6%) 4-4 (50%)
Arizona Diamondbacks 5 17-19 (47.2%) 4-4 (50%)
New York Mets 4 22-17 (56.4%) 5-3 (62.5%)
Tampa Bay Rays 4 13-17 (43.3%) 2-4 (33.3%)
Washington Nationals 4 7-12 (36.8%) 0-4 (0%)
Chicago White Sox 3 12-7 (63.2%) 3-2 (60%)
Colorado Rockies 3 8-8 (50%) 2-2 (50%)
Baltimore Orioles 3 6-8 (42.9%) 1-2 (33.3%)
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 3-5 (37.5%) 0-1 (0%)
Cincinnati Reds 3 2-7 (22.2%) 0-2 (0%)
Kansas City Royals 2 22-9 (71%) 5-1 (83.3%)
Toronto Blue Jays 2 10-10 (50%) 2-2 (50%)
Seattle Mariners 2 9-10 (47.4%) 2-2 (50%)
Milwaukee Brewers 2 6-9 (40%) 1-2 (33.3%)
San Diego Padres 2 1-6 (14.3%) 0-2 (0%)
Miami Marlins 1 11-6 (64.7%) 3-0 (100%)

Jetpack

Best and worst performing playoff teams this century by game

Over the last 18 playoffs, Kansas City Royals have the best record in terms of winning percentage since they made it to back-to-back World Series in their only two playoff appearances.  The Royals, along with the Marlins, White Sox, and Giants, are the only teams to win 60% of their playoff games.

At the bottom are the Red, Twins, and Padres who are the only three teams to win less than 30% of their playoff games. The Padres only have managed one playoff win, which came in a 1-3 series loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 2006 NL Division Series.

Team Playoff Record (5 Best and Worst Teams)
Kansas City Royals 22-9 (71%)
Miami Marlins 11-6 (64.70%)
Chicago White Sox 12-7 (63.20%)
San Francisco Giants 48-30 (61.50%)
Philadelphia Phillies 27-19 (58.70%)
Washington Nationals 7-12 (36.80%)
Atlanta Braves 13-26 (33.30%)
Cincinnati Reds 2-7 (22.20%)
Minnesota Twins 6-22 (21.40%)
San Diego Padres 1-6 (14.30%)

Every MLB team's win percentage in the playoffs (2000-2017 by game, not series)‘The Yankees and Cardinals have the most wins by far, with the Giants and Red Sox below them being far ahead of the other 26 MLB teams. At the bottom, the Pirates, Red, and Padres all have less than half the amount of playoff wins as all other teams.

Team Playoff Games Won
New York Yankees 69
St. Louis Cardinals 65
San Fransico Giants 48
Boston Red Sox 46
Los Angeles Dodgers 32
Baltimore Orioles 6
Milwaukee Brewers 6
Minnesota Twins 6
Pittsburg Pirates 3
Cinncinatti Reds 2
San Diego Padres 1

Games won by every MLB team in the playoffs (2000-2017)

Wildcard play-in game record

In 2012, MLB added an extra play-in game to the postseason which sees two teams from the AL and NL play a winner-take-all game to get into the best-of-five Division Series. I did not count these games as series wins/losses or as sweeps/being swept. They still counted towards total playoff games won/lost.

Team Wildcard Record
San Francisco Giants 2-0
Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0
Chicago Cubs 1-0
Houston Astros 1-0
Kansas City Royals 1-0
St. Louis Cardinals 1-0
Tampa Bay Rays 1-0
Toronto Blue Jays 1-0
Baltimore Orioles 1-1
New York Yankees 1-1
Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2
Atlanta Braves 0-1
Cincinnati Reds 0-1
Cleveland Indians 0-1
Colorado Rockies 0-1
Minnesota Twins 0-1
New York Mets 0-1
Oakland Athletics 0-1
Texas Rangers 0-1

Best and worst performing playoff teams this century by series

In terms of winning playoff series, only five teams have won over 60% of the ones they have played in this century. At the top are the Miami Marlins, as their only playoff appearance since 2000 resulted in them winning the World Series.

In fact, the Marlins have more playoff wins than 10 teams and as many or more playoff series wins than 15 teams. At the bottom are the Pirates, Reds, Padres, and Nationals, none of whom have won a playoff series.

Team Series Record
Miami Marlins 3-0 (100%)
Kansas City Royals 5-1 (83.3%)
San Francisco Giants 11-4 (73.3%)
Boston Red Sox 11-6 (64.7%)
New York Mets 5-3 (62.5%)
Minnesota Twins 1-6 (14.3%)
Oakland Athletics 1-7 (12.5%)
Atlanta Braves 1-8 (11.1%)
Pittsburgh Pirates 0-1 (0%)
Cincinnati Reds 0-2 (0%)
San Diego Padres 0-2 (0%)
Washington Nationals 0-4 (0%)

Every MLB team's win percentage in the playoffs by series (2000-2017)

Below is a table of the four best teams in terms of total series won in the playoffs. I opted to not add the bottom four teams since they are all the exact same ones as the above table.

Team Series Won
St. Louis Cardinals 15-10 (60%)
New York Yankees 14-11 (56%)
San Francisco Giants 11-4 (73.3%)
Boston Red Sox 11-6 (64.7%)

Series Won by ever MLB team in the playoffs (2000-2017)

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Playoff sweeps so far this century

Out of the 126 series to be played over these past 18 playoffs, there has been a total of 32 sweeps. The Boston Red Sox have the most accounting for 5 (12.5%) of all sweeps. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals and New York Mets have the most sweeps (2) without having been swept.

The Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Capitals have all neither swept anyone or been swept yet. At the bottom, the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins have both been swept three times but never swept an opponent.

Team Swept Opp Got Swept
Boston Red Sox 4 3
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 1
St. Louis Cardinals 3 2
Kansas City Royals 2 0
New York Mets 2 0
Chicago White Sox 2 1
Colorado Rockies 2 1
New York Yankees 2 1
Detroit Tigers 2 2
Cleveland Indians 1 0
San Francisco Giants 1 0
Seattle Mariners 1 0
Toronto Blue Jays 1 0
Atlanta Braves 1 1
Baltimore Orioles 1 1
Oakland Athletics 1 1
Philadelphia Phillies 1 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 3
Los Angeles Angels 1 3
Miami Marlins 0 0
Milwaukee Brewers 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0
Tampa Bay Rays 0 0
Washington Nationals 0 0
Cincinnati Reds 0 1
San Diego Padres 0 1
Texas Rangers 0 1
Houston Astros 0 2
Chicago Cubs 0 3
Minnesota Twins 0 3

Getting to each playoff round

The St. Louis Cardinals have the most appearances in the NL Championship game with nine, while the New York Yankees have the most in the AL Championship game with eight. Both of these teams are also tied with the San Fransico Giants for the most World Series appearances with four.

19/31 (63.33%) of the league has made it to the World Series since 2000. Despite only having three playoff appearances between them, the Royals and Marlins have 3/36 (8.33%) of World Series appearances in this span. All but four teams (Nationals, Pirates, Reds, and Padres) have appeared in at least one NL/AL championship series.

Team Playoff App NL/AL Champ App WS App
St. Louis Cardinals 12 9 4
New York Yankees 14 8 4
San Francisco Giants 7 4 4
Boston Red Sox 9 5 3
Detroit Tigers 5 4 2
Houston Astros 5 3 2
Philadelphia Phillies 5 3 2
New York Mets 4 3 2
Texas Rangers 5 2 2
Kansas City Royals 2 2 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 9 5 1
Chicago Cubs 6 4 1
Los Angeles Angels 7 3 1
Cleveland Indians 5 2 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 5 2 1
Tampa Bay Rays 4 1 1
Chicago White Sox 3 1 1
Colorado Rockies 3 1 1
Miami Marlins 1 1 1
Seattle Mariners 2 2 0
Toronto Blue Jays 2 2 0
Atlanta Braves 9 1 0
Oakland Athletics 8 1 0
Minnesota Twins 7 1 0
Baltimore Orioles 3 1 0
Milwaukee Brewers 2 1 0
Washington Nationals 4 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 3 0 0
Cincinnati Reds 3 0 0
San Diego Padres 2 0 0

The World Series

The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants have dominated since 2000, winning 10/18 (55.55%) of all World Series. Boston is also undefeated in World Series while sporting an impressive 12-2 record in the Fall Classic.

The American League (AL) has been controlled by the Yankees and Red Sox who have 7/18 (38.88%) of the conferences’ total World Series appearances. Meanwhile, the National League has been dominated by the Cardinals and Giants, who have 8/18 (44.44%) of the total World Series appearances.

Team World Series App WS W/L WS Game Record
San Francisco Giants 4 3-1 15-8
New York Yankees 4 2-2 13-11
St. Louis Cardinals 4 2-2 10-12
Boston Red Sox 3 3-0 12-2
Kansas City Royals 2 1-1 7-5
Philadelphia Phillies 2 1-1 6-5
Houston Astros 2 1-1 4-7
Texas Rangers 2 0-2 4-8
New York Mets 2 0-2 2-8
Detroit Tigers 2 0-2 1-8
Chicago White Sox 1 1-0 4-0
Miami Marlins 1 1-0 4-2
Chicago Cubs 1 1-0 4-3
Los Angeles Angels 1 1-0 4-3
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 1-0 4-3
Cleveland Indians 1 0-1 3-4
Los Angeles Dodgers 1 0-1 3-4
Tampa Bay Rays 1 0-1 1-4
Colorado Rockies 1 0-1 0-4

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

Featured Image: “Baseball” by Rachel Xiao is a free to use stock photo from Pexels.com

https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/ (Used to get playoff information for each team)

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

 

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.
Jetpack

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

The rarity of Cavs-Warriors IV in sports

Game one of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors tips off tonight. With that in mind, let’s take a look into the historical rareness of the same two teams meeting for a fourth consecutive season to play each other for a championship.

NBA

This is the 14th time in NBA history that the same two teams have met in the Finals for at least two consecutive seasons. The Cavaliers and Warriors are the first to ever meet three (and four) times in a row for the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

Teams Years Result
Minneapolis Lakers v. New York Knicks (2) 1952-53 Lakers 2-0
Boston Celtics v. St. Louis Hawks (2) 1957-58 Split 1-1
Boston Celtics v. St. Louis Hawks (2) 1960-61 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1962-63 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1965-66 Celtics 2-0
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1968-69 Celtics 2-0
Los Angeles Lakers v. New York Knicks (2) 1972-73 Split 1-1
Seattle Supersonics v. Washington Bullets (2) 1978-79 Split 1-1
Los Angeles Lakers v. Philadelphia 76ers (2) 1982-83 Split 1-1
Boston Celtics v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1984-85 Split 1-1
Detroit Pistons v. Los Angeles Lakers (2) 1988-89 Split 1-1
Chicago Bulls v. Utah Jazz (2) 1997-98 Bulls 2-0
Miami Heat v. San Antonio Spurs (2) 2013-14 Split 1-1
Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors (4) 2015-18 Warriors 2-1

NFL

In the NFL, there have only been eight times where the same two teams met in the Championship Game consecutive times. Since the Super Bowl era started in 1967, it has only happened once.

Teams Years Result
Chicago Bears v. New York Giants (2) 1933-34 Split 1-1
Green Bay Packers v. New York Giants (2) 1938-39 Split 1-1
Chicago Bears v. Washington Redskins (2) 1942-43 Split 1-1
Cleveland Browns v. Los Angeles Rams (2) 1950-51 Split 1-1
Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions (3) 1952-54 Lions 2-1
Baltimore Colts v. New York Giants (2) 1958-59 Colts 2-0
Green Bay Packers v. New York Giants (2) 1961-62 Packers 2-0
Buffalo Bills v. Dallas Cowboys (2) 1993-94 Cowboys 2-0

MLB

There have been nine times in baseball history that two teams played each other consecutive years in the World Series. However, it has only happened only since 1960 and last took place four decades ago.

Teams Years Result
Chicago Cubs v. Detroit Tigers (2) 1907-08 Cubs 2-0
New York Giants v. New York Yankees (3) 1921-23 Giants 2-1
Philadelphia Athletics v. St. Louis Cardinals (2) 1930-31 Split 1-1
New York Giants v. New York Yankees (2) 1936-37 Yankees 2-0
New York Yankees v. St. Louis Cardinals (2) 1942-43 Split 1-1
Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1952-53 Yankees 2-0
Brooklyn Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1955-56 Split 1-1
Milwaukee Braves v. New York Yankees (2) 1957-58 Split 1-1
Los Angeles Dodgers v. New York Yankees (2) 1977-78 Yankees 2-0

NHL

The NHL has seen eight teams meet at least back-to-back times to play for the Stanley Cup. However, it has only happened once in the last four decades.

Teams Years Result
New York Rangers v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1932-33 Split 1-1
Detroit Red Wings v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1948-49 Leafs 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Montreal Canadiens (3) 1954-56 Red Wings 2-1
Montreal Canadiens v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1959-60 Canadiens 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Toronto Maple Leafs (2) 1963-64 Leafs 2-0
Montreal Canadiens v. St. Louis Blues (2) 1968-69 Canadiens 2-0
Boston Bruins v. Montreal Canadiens (2) 1977-78 Canadiens 2-0
Detroit Red Wings v. Pittsburgh Penguins (2) 2008-09 Split 1-1

Jetpack

Three-peat matchups in the big four

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors meeting for a fourth straight time is truly historical among the combined histories of the four major North American sports.

It is not a surprise that the NBA was the first league to do so. Since 1980 there have been six times in the NBA two teams played each other back-to-back years for the championship. In the MLB, NFL and NHL combined it has happened twice in that same span.

Teams Sport Years Result
New York Giants v. New York Yankees MLB (3) 1921-23 Giants 2-1
Cleveland Browns v. Detroit Lions NFL (3) 1952-54 Lions 2-1
Detroit Red Wings v. Montreal Canadiens NHL (3) 1954-56 Red Wings 2-1
Cleveland Cavaliers v. Golden State Warriors NBA (4) 2015-18 Warriors 2-1

Four-peat matchups in other sports

While the Cavaliers and Warriors meeting for a four straight time is historical among the four major North American sports, how often has it happened in sports in general? I took a look at championship matchups in various other professional, Olympic and college sports to see if anything like this had occurred before.

Players/Teams Sport/Event Event Year/Span Result
USA v. Canada Hockey World Championships Met in 4 straight gold medal games 1931-34 Championships* 3-1 Canada
USA v. Soviet Union Olympic Men’s Basketball Met in 4 straight gold medal games 1952, 56, 60 and 64 Olympics 4-0 USA
S.Williams v. V.Williams Women’s Singles Tennis Met in 4 straight majors 2002 French Open to 2003 Aus Open 4-0 S. Williams
Mount Union v. Wisconsin-Whitewater Division III College Football Met in 7 straight championship games 2005-2011 4-3 Wisconsin
Djokovic v. Nadal Men’s Singles Tennis Met in 4 straight majors 2011 Wimbledon to 2012 French Open 3-1 Djokovic
Cavaliers v. Warriors NBA Met in 4 straight NBA Finals 2014-15 to 2017-18 2-1 Warriors

*The 1932 Winter Olympic’s Ice Hockey Tournament also counted as the World Championship

List of all sports/leagues checked:

Soccer: MLSWorld Cup, UEFA Super Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League

Basketball: NBLABAG-League, WNBAEuroLeague, EuroLeague WomenFIBA World Championship

Baseball: Japan Championship Series, Baseball World Cup, World Baseball Classic

Hockey: WHAMemorial Cup Champions (CHL)KHL (Gagarin Cup)World Championships

Football: AAFC, AFL, CFL, Arena League

Tennis: Men & Women’s Singles in majors

Lacrosse: National Lacrosse League

Cricket: ICC Champions Trophy

Darts: World Professional Darts Championship

Summer Olympics: Men & Women’s Singles Tennis, Men & Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men and Women’s Soccer

Winter Olympics: Men & Women’s Hockey, Men & Women’s Curling

College Sports (Division I): Football (BCS) (Playoff) (FCS), Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Women’s Hockey, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (D II): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s HockeyMen’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (D III): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Women’s HockeyMen’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer

College Sports (NAIA): Football, Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Men’s Hockey, Men’s Soccer
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Sources and Info:

Featured Image: “SD attends NBA Finals” by James N. Mattis is licensed under CC BY-2.0

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NFL_champions_(1920%E2%80%931969)

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

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

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

The Vegas Golden Knights are the best expansion team ever

The Vegas Golden Knights wrapped up their inaugural 2017-18 season last night, finishing a dominant year that no one saw coming from the expansion team. This was after they had already clinched the Pacific Division title about a week ago.

Vegas finished the year as the third-best team in the Western Conference and fifth best in the entire NHL. Historically speaking this season has made them the best expansion team of all time.

Golden Knights compared to other NHL expansion teams 

Starting with the 1967-68 season the NHL has seen 26 expansion teams, with all of them using the expansion draft. Historically, these teams have not been very good with the previous 25 teams prior to the Golden Knights failing to finish with a winning record.

However, the Golden Knights are not the first NHL expansion team to make the playoffs. Six of the previous 25 expansion clubs qualified for the postseason. In 1967, four expansion teams made the playoffs. However, that year 8/12 teams (66% of the league) made the playoffs.

In 1979,  two expansion teams made the playoffs in their first season. That year 16/21 teams (76% of the league) made the playoffs. For comparison, in the Golden Knights inaugural season, only 16/31 teams (51% of the league) made the playoffs.

Only the Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders, 8/16 teams (50% of the league), have had a lower chance of making the playoffs in their first season as an NHL expansion team when they joined in the 1972-73 season.

NHL team 1st Year # of teams (Playoff) Record Points PTS % Playoffs Result
Oakland Seals 1967 12 (8) 15-42-17 47 .318 No N/A
L.A. Kings 1967 12 (8) 31-33-10 72 .486 Yes Quaterfinals
Minnesota North Stars 1967 12 (8) 27-32-15 69 .466 Yes Semi-finals
Philadelphia Flyers 1967 12 (8) 31-32-11 73 .493 Yes Quaterfinals
Pittsburgh Penguins 1967 12 (8) 27-34-13 67 .453 No N/A
St. Louis Blues 1967 12 (8) 27-31-16 70 .473 Yes Cup Finals
Buffalo Sabers 1970 14 (8) 24-39-15 63 .404 No N/A
Vancouver Canucks 1970 14 (8) 24-46-8 56 .359 No N/A
Atlanta Flames 1972 16 (8) 12-60-6 30 .192 No N/A
New York Islanders 1972 16 (8) 25-38-15 65 .417 No N/A
Kansas City Scouts 1974 18 (12) 15-54-11 41 .256 No N/A
Washington Capitals 1974 18 (12) 8-67-5 21 .131 No N/A
Edmonton Oilers* 1979 21 (16) 28-39-13 69 .431 Yes Preliminary
Hartford Whalers* 1979 21 (16) 27-34-19 73 .456 Yes Preliminary
Quebec Nordiques* 1979 21 (16) 25-44-11 61 .381 No N/A
Winnipeg Jets * 1979 21 (16) 20-49-11 51 .319 No N/A
San Jose Sharks 1991 22 (16) 17-58-5 39 .244 No N/A
Ottawa Senators 1992 24 (16) 10-70-4 24 .143 No N/A
Tampa Bay Lightning 1992 24 (16) 23-54-7 53 .315 No N/A
Florida Panthers 1993 26 (16) 33-34-17 83 .494 No N/A
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 1993 26 (16) 33-46-5 71 .423 No N/A
Nashville Predators 1998 27 (16) 28-47-7 63 .384 No N/A
Atlanta Thrashers 1999 28 (16) 14-57-7-4 39 .238 No N/A
Columbus Blue Jackets 2000 30 (16) 28-39-9-6 71 .433 No N/A
Minnesota Wild 2000 30 (16) 25-39-13-5 68 .415 No N/A
Vegas Golden Knights 2017 31 (16) 51-24-7 109 .665 Yes TBD

*The 4 teams who entered the league in 1979 did hold expansion drafts despite coming over from the merger with the World Hockey Association (WHA). However, each of these teams was allowed to protect up to two goaltenders and two skaters. These were designated as “priority selections” in the Expansion Draft.

How the Golden Knights stack up to all expansion teams 

The Golden Knights are clearly the best NHL expansion team ever in teams of regular season success. However, how do they stack up when compared to every expansion team from the other the major sports, the NFL, NBA, and MLB, in addition to the NHL?

Team Sport (Year) Win % (Record) Make Playoffs
Vegas Golden Knights NHL (2017) (.665) 51-24-7 Yes
Florida Panthers NHL (1993) (.494) 33-34-17 No
Philadelphia Flyers NHL (1967) (.493) 31-32-11 Yes
L.A. Kings NHL (1967) (.486) 31-33-10 Yes
St. Louis Blues NHL (1967) (.473) 27-31-16 Yes
Minnesota North Stars NHL (1967) (.466) 27-32-15 Yes
Hartford Whalers* NHL (1979) (.456) 27-34-19 Yes
Pittsburgh Penguins NHL (1967) (.453) 27-34-13 No
Carolina Panthers NFL (1995) (.438) 7-9 No
Los Angeles Angels MLB (1961) (.435) 70-91 No
Columbus Blue Jackets NHL (2000) (.433) 28-39-9-6 No
Edmonton Oilers* NHL (1979) (.431) 28-39-13 Yes
Kansas City Royals MLB (1969) (.426) 69-93 No
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
NHL (1993) (.423) 33-46-5 No
New York Islanders NHL (1972) (.417) 25-38-15 No
Minnesota Wild NHL (2000) (.415) 25-39-13-5 No
Colorado Rockies MLB (1993) (.414) 67-95 No
Chicago Bulls NBA (1966) (.407) 33-48 Yes
Buffalo Sabers NHL (1970) (.404) 24-39-15 No
Arizona Diamondbacks MLB (1998) (.401) 65-97 No
Houston Colt .45s MLB (1962) (.400) 64-96 No
Seattle Pilots MLB (1969) (.395) 64-98 No
Seattle Mariners MLB (1977) (.395) 64-98 No
Florida Marlins MLB (1993) (.395) 64-98 No
Tampa Bay Devil Rays MLB (1998) (.389) 63-99 No
Nashville Predators NHL (1998) (.384) 28-47-7 No
Quebec Nordiques* NHL (1979) (.381) 25-44-11 No
Washington Senators MLB (1961) (.379) 61-100 No
Vancouver Canucks NHL (1970) (.359) 24-46-8 No
Portland Trail Blazers NBA (1970) (.354) 29-53 No
Toronto Blue Jays MLB (1977) (.335) 54-107 No
Milwaukee Bucks NBA (1968) (.329) 27-55 No
Montreal Expos MLB (1969) (.321) 52-110 No
San Diego Padres MLB (1969) (.321) 52-110 No
Winnipeg Jets * NHL (1979) (.319) 20-49-11 No
Oakland Seals NHL (1967) (.318) 15-42-17 No
Tampa Bay Lightning NHL (1992) (.315) 23-54-7 No
Seattle SuperSonics NBA (1967) (.280) 23-59 No
New Orleans Jazz NBA (1974) (.280) 23-59 No
Buffalo Braves NBA (1970) (.268) 22-60 No
Minnesota Timberwolves NBA (1989) (.268) 22-60 No
Toronto Raptors NBA (1995) (.256) 21-61 No
Kansas City Scouts NHL (1974) (.256) 15-54-11 No
New York Mets MLB (1962) (.250) 40-120 No
Jacksonville Jaguars NFL (1995) (.250) 4-12 No
Houston Texans NFL (2002) (.250) 4-12 No
Charlotte Hornets NBA (1988) (.244) 20-62 No
San Jose Sharks NHL (1991) (.244) 17-58-5 No
Atlanta Thrashers NHL (1999) (.238) 14-57-7-4 No
Chicago Packers NBA (1961) (.225) 18-62 No
Orlando Magic NBA (1989) (.220) 18-64 No
Charlotte Bobcats NBA (2004) (.220) 18-64 No
Minnesota Vikings NFL (1961) (.214) 3-11 No
Atlanta Falcons NFL (1966) (.214) 3-11 No
Phoenix Suns NBA (1968) (.195) 16-66 No
Atlanta Flames NHL (1972) (.192) 12-60-6 No
San Diego Rockets NBA (1967) (.183) 15-67 No
Cleveland Cavaliers NBA (1970) (.183) 15-67 No
Dallas Mavericks NBA (1980) (.183) 15-67 No
Miami Heat NBA (1988) (.183) 15-67 No
Vancouver Grizzlies NBA (1995) (.183) 15-67 No
Seattle Seahawks NFL (1976) (.143) 2-12 No
Ottawa Senators NHL (1992) (.143) 10-70-4 No
Washington Capitals NHL (1974) (.131) 8-67-5 No
Cleveland Browns NFL (1999) (.125) 2-14 No
New Orleans Saints NFL (1967) (.077) 1-12-1 No
Dallas Cowboys NFL (1960) (.000) 0-11-1 No
Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL (1976) (.000) 0-14 No

Out of the 68 expansion teams across the four major North American sports, Vegas is the only one to have a winning record. Vegas is also only the eighth expansion team to make the playoffs, joining the aformentioned six other NHL teams and the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

The Golden Knights are an outlier compared to other expansion teams

chart.png

Only the expansion St. Louis Blues have an argument

The Golden Knights are by far and away the best expansion team in the regular season from the four major North American sports. Only the St. Louis Blues have a real argument against them as the best expansion team.

The 1967 expansion Blues are one of only two expansion teams in the four major sports to win a playoff series. They beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 in the Quater-Finals. Then they defeated a fellow expansion team, the Minnesota North Stars, 4-3 in the Semi-Finals. St. Louis then got swept in the Stanely Cup Finals by the Montreal Canadiens.

Unlike the 67-68 Blues, Vegas will have the play an extra playoff round, first facing the Los Angeles Kings. They would then take on the winner of Anaheim/San Jose to get to the Western Conference Finals.

However, even if Vegas were to lose in the first round their regular season was so dominant compared to any previous expansion team that it should secure them their spot as the best ever.

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Sources and Notes:

Featured Image: “Untitled” by Brandon Zeman is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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

https://www.hockey-reference.com/leagues/NHL_1968_standings.html (plus subsequent seasons with first-year expansion teams)

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leagues/NBA_1962_standings.html (plus subsequent seasons with first-year expansion teams)

https://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/MLB/1961-standings.shtml (plus subsequent seasons with first-year expansion teams)

https://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/1960/index.htm (plus subsequent seasons with first-year expansion teams)

Tables and chart make using Google Docs (Spreadsheets)