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Bob Ryan

Boston sports simply the best in the land

Scenes such as these have become a familiar sight in our city.
Scenes such as these have become a familiar sight in our city.Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff

You’re going to like this. It’s all about Us, wonderful Us, America’s most fortunate sports fans.

Oh, the players and coaches and administrators and owners think it’s about Them, but We know better. Can anyone seriously think it’s an accident that no municipality in this great land of ours has been home to as many championships in the Big Four pro sports in this century as Greater Boston? Or that we are the only city able to claim a title in football, baseball, hockey, and basketball?

Nah. Clearly, this is some kind of cosmic justice, planned and approved by a higher authority who smiled down on Us and said, “Boston, yes Boston. These are my chosen people.”


Thus far in the 21st century — the Boston Century, that is — there have been 56 available championships, most recently Super Bowl XLIX, won by, ahem, the New England Patriots. It would have been 57, but the NHL never got to conduct the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2005.

Here is the tally: Boston, 9; Los Angeles (but not Anaheim), 6; Miami and San Antonio, 4; New York, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, and San Francisco, 3; Baltimore, Tampa-St. Pete, St. Louis, and Anaheim 2; Indianapolis, Green Bay, New Orleans, Seattle, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Phoenix and — you gotta love this one — Raleigh, 1.

There is one more. The New Jersey Devils were the 2003 Stanley Cup champs. Not sure how to classify them. As a Jersey native, I can tell you there was no there there. Unless I’m mistaken, the “parade” was in the parking lot. I want to believe that, anyway.

Of course, if Jersey wants to get fussy, the people can claim two football titles since the Giants play in a stadium located in East Rutherford, N.J.

Here we need to address the Southern California issue.


The official name of the baseball team that plays in a stadium located in Anaheim, Calif., is the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This is a stupid and, for the most part, futile marketing gesture on the part of owner Arte Moreno and whatever marketing geeks who got his ear a few years ago. It is a colossal joke. The Angels are not a Los Angeles team.

Anaheim, a city whose population is approximately 345,000 is the hub of Orange County, a distinct slice of Southern California geography with a population in excess of 3 million. People there do not wish to be associated with Los Angeles. They are Orange County folk, and proud of it.

You’ll note that the hockey team has its head on straight. They are the Anaheim Ducks, by God, and under that name they won the Stanley Cup in 2007. The two championships in question — the Angels in 2002 and the Ducks in 2007 — belong to Anaheim, not LA. But if you wish to go all Moreno and claim LA, the total of eight between LA and Anaheim still falls short of Us, wonderful Us.

Now we get to the good part — distribution. We pretty much lap the field, because we are the only city in this century with titles in all four major sports, while no one else has more than two.

I put this challenge out to the boys in Vegas. Why not establish some sort of betting proposition addressing the following issue:


How deep into the 21st century will we go before another city matches us with championships in all four major leagues? How about setting the over/under at 2025 for starters?

Right away we can eliminate Los Angeles, San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa-St. Pete, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Green Bay, Seattle, Anaheim, Buffalo, and Raleigh, since none of them have franchises in all four sports.

That could change quickly when the inevitable NFL move back to Los Angeles takes place. But then they’ll have to win one. Oops, almost forgot. Despite spending $125 bazillion during the last two years, the Dodgers haven’t won anything in this century, either.

Is anyone close? I’d say the best shot right now is Detroit. They’ve got hockey (2002, ’08) and basketball (2004). The Tigers have been legit contenders of late. The Lions, whose last championship was in 1957, are not hopeless. Far crazier things have happened in sports history than the Lions winning a Super Bowl in the next three to five years.

But I wouldn’t put a whole lot of money on it.

Chicago? They’ve got hockey (Blackhawks, 2010 and ’13) and baseball (White Sox, 2005). The Bulls are on the clock with their current personnel. There might be a bit of a wait for Da Bears, however.

Miami? They’ve got basketball (Heat in 2006, 2012, and 2013) and baseball (Marlins, 2003). The Dolphins are not remotely close to winning. The Panthers have nothing on the horizon.


Ah, yes, New York, our suburb 225 miles or so to the south. New York, which sends so many of its finest youth to one of our great institutions of higher learning, there to be indoctrinated into our peculiar (and winning) way of sporting life. Where does New York fit into all this?

Well, let’s see. They’ve got football, courtesy of New Jersey’s hospitality, (Giants in 2007 and 2011 seasons). They’ve got baseball (Yankees, 2009). The Rangers coulda/shoulda/woulda last year, but look more like a second-tier entry this year. They could hit the lottery one of these years, I suppose. That would leave the Knicks. And here you are entirely free to provide your own punch line, the snarlier the better.

Friends, that is it. No municipality is seriously close to catching Us and our titles. Let’s pretend to stay humble.

Bob Ryan’s column appears regularly in the Globe. He can be reached at ryan@globe.com.