Has Any City’s Sports Teams Won All Four Major League Championships in One Year?

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

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

Students of sports history, however, are aware that these four trophies have not always represented «the» major leagues. There are the defunct competing major leagues such as the pre-merger American Football League or the World Hockey Association to consider. Also, the NBA was not always the major league in basketball, and other leagues have a good claim to being «the» major league for basketball at various times. Finally, we should at least consider the champions of the Canadian Football League considering the number of NHL teams from that country.

Broadening the definition like this adds relatively few cities to our list. Twice in the late 20’s three of four major league champions were from New York: the Giants, Yankees and Brooklyn Celtics in 1927, and the Yankees, Rangers and Brooklyn Celtics in 1928. The Brooklyn Celtics played in the American Basketball League, at a time when the NBA did not yet exist.

Other two-champion cities considering these competing and defunct major leagues are:

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

    • The Toronto RCAF Hurricanes and Montreal HMCS Donnacona were football teams from various armed forces bases which competed for the Grey Cup during WWII.
    • The Chicago American Gears were in the National Basketball League. The NBL merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1949 to form the current NBA.
    • The Cleveland Browns started their history in the All-America Football Conference. The AAFC competed with the NFL for four years. In 1949 the AAFC partially merged into the NFL, the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship the next year.

So while no city has completed what might be a «GrandSlam» of major league team sports, New York (twice) and Los Angeles (once) came close.

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The Famous Actor And The Homeless Man

On The Street.

It was the actor I noticed first, laughing and full of bonhomie, talking to a Big Issue seller on the street.

«That was John Hurt,» said the Big Issue seller to an indifferent passer-by.

«That was John Hurt,» he said to me as I walked towards him, his enthusiasm undimmed. «Did he buy one?» I said.

I could not ignore his pleasure. He was smiling. I couldn’t walk by, as I sometimes do with Big Issue sellers.

«Yes!» he cried excitedly. «That was John Hurt.»

John Hurt was an actor, but he was also jon hurt, a homeless man. Not unusual sight, an ordinary jon with ordinary hurts. But, this one could say:

«I may be in the gutter but I’m looking at the stars.» or, at one star – who had briefly brightened his life.

And for a moment, the illusion seemed real: that people cared, that everything would be alright, that we were all part of the same existence.

We might accept an illusion until the little boy points out that the Emperor has no clothes. How long did that glow remain with the Big Issue seller? How long did he bathe in reflected light? –

«John Hurt bought a Big Issue from me

But even if the actor had paid double (or more) for the magazine, had he really touched that man’s life? He may have briefly felt good about his largesse – he had been talking and laughing with the seller; not worrying about the price of the magazine and not waiting for any change.

Actions and gestures can take on a quality out of proportion to their worth. Politicians are prime examples of this.

They say they are in public life, as if they mean they are performing a service. But they expect the public to serve their ambition, behaving as if they have a right to their position – both self-seeking and self-serving.

It’s an illusion. The world of the two John Hurts do not touch. Another little boy sees that the ‘Emperor has no clothes’. No homeless person is rehoused. No policies change.

I briefly engaged with jon hurt on the street. But I did not buy a Big Issue. I already had a magazine for my journey home. I’d done my bit by witnessing jon hurt’s transformation.

John is still acting and jon is still homeless and I have turned the experience into a self-indulgent piece. Maybe the Big Issue will buy it.

copyright Marguerite Hegley 1994

N.B. The day I wrote this was the first day of an «Introduction to Journalism» at the City Lit in London. We were asked to write a ‘report’ on something that had happened on our way home, and bring it to the second lesson the following week. When the tutor read ‘The Big Issue’ he said to me:

«You are not a journalist, you are a writer». I did not go back to the class. But sent this story to The Big Issue the next day.

Next… A short story, written after the above encounter, imagining what jon hurt’s life could be like.

The Homeless Man

jon hurt – an imagined life

jon opened his eyes painfully and then closed them again. The numbness of his limbs made him let out a huge sigh. The sigh quickly turned to a cough which raked his chest and sent his head spinning. The single blanket which covered him was damp with sweat, despite the coldness of the morning.

The noises of others around him slowed and died… as he sank into unconsciousness.

He woke again and tried to stretch his legs. A cold stiffness crept stealthily thought his thin body. He coughed again and again until his head hurt. «

«Come on, jon, it’s chucking out time. Come on you lazy bastard, get up, you’ve already missed breakfast.» called a voice from the door, which banged closed shortly afterwards.

jon eased himself out of bed. He knew there would be no hot water to wash with and that the breakfast, even if there was any left, would have been rejected even by Oliver Twist.

He tried to remember where he had heard that name…

‘Oliver Twist’ sounded like a made up name. Where had he heard it before? Was it a book he had read at school?

He tried to remember.

There was a thin little boy standing in rags, saying that one plate of gruel was not enough.

«No», said jon out loud. «It is not enough.»

He remembered being at school. He had wanted to be an actor. He managed to get a warm cup of tea from the Hostel kitchen and sat, warming his hands… trying to remember.

And then he did remember. A school play when he was about 12 years old.

He had been Oliver Twist. He could sing then. He could act as well. Where had it all gone wrong?

jon collected his copies of the Big Issue and walked to his pitch in Leicester Square. He could always smile for the public. Some were his customers.

He had some nice ones, regular customers who said hello, some even stopping to talk.

«I may be in the gutter, but I’m looking at the stars.» he joked to himself with grim irony.

Now where had he heard that? Did he read it in book at school, where he read well and was always near the top in English?

Where had it all gone wrong? Why, when he left school, unable to get into Drama college, did he take one dead end job after another, start spending every evening in the pub, and be thrown out by his Dad, disappointed in his once- promising only son.

A middle-aged man stopped to by a Big Issue from him. He had a smiling, rather crinkly face which seemed familiar.

jon tried to put a name to the face.

He was an actor! At times like this jon began to feel hopeful that there could be a chance to do something else. That there was live after this. He looked closely at the man, who smiled.

‘Aren’t you an actor?’ he asked. The man laughed. He had a throaty, croakey laugh. As throaty and croakey as jon’s cough.

‘Well, yes,’ said the man. ‘My name’s John Hurt’. ‘But that’s my name’, said jon hurt, bitterly adding: ‘I bet it hurts me more.’

The actor looked sympathetic. He stayed and talked to jon then gave him a £50 note.

jon walked the streets with the £50 note in his pocket. What good was it? He could spend it trying to forget his situation. But it was not enough to turn his life around.

He remembered how going to the pub every night with his workmates dulled his ambition. He walked and walked.

What was the point of £50?

It would not get him a home, or a job. It would gradually be spent as he tried just to get by.

He remembered where he had seen his namesake. It had been in a film about a horse racing. That was it.

John Hurt had played the true life story of a jockey who had fought back against a terminal illness to win the Grand National, or some such big race.

jon found a bookies.

The Grand National had been postponed because of a bomb scare. Yes, he could put a bet on, it was running today, Monday instead.

jon chose a horse with ‘Lord’ in it’s name –

‘ha, ha,ha,’ he thought. ‘A titled horse’ and laughed until his chest hurt.

He put his £50, that was £40 after tax, on his ‘lordship’ at 100-1 on the nose. And then he walked away. He could not listen to the race, of course. He sat in Leicester Square.

Later he went to the bookies. He had won £40,000.

ends

copyright Marguerite Hegley 1995

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Shopping Tour – Who is the New Star Joining Barcelona?

It’s always the right time to write about this topic, right? Now that Barcelona games are only available for weekends, we have lot of days to wait and lot of time to kill. Nothing is better than some transfer temptations. We will have to live with all kind of rumors till the end of the season. Being a season of elections won’t make is better, pouring oil on the fire.

So let’s go straight to the market!

Goalkeepers:

Alright, for once I doubt there will be any voices questioning Valdes as a first notch keeper. We need to buy a backup keeper. Pinto, for all his good (and bad) is aging. Barcelona Athletic keepers still untested and need at least three years to prove themselves for being reliable. The keeper we are seeking must not be a first class keeper who demands playing time, but still good enough to cover Valdes absence and with enough quality to keep Valdes alert to avoid competition threats. Claudio Bravo of Real Sociedad was mentioned for being the main target. I still think he is too good to be true. Twenty six years old Chilean international who will defend his nation in the following world cup may not find it a tempting opportunity to warm up Barcelona bench for the rest of his career. That’s ten years from now considering the Goal keepers football career. It will be an absolute craziness if it happens, in an absolutely fantastic way, for Barcelona.

On my short list -which has nothing to do with Barcelona targets- there is Daniel Fernandes for being one of the most realistic options. One older reliable -and may be cheap- option is Morgan De Sanctis who can serve for couple of years. Cedric Carrasso is a less realistic option, though not an impossible one. Federico Marchetti is an interesting option to scout, while Joe Hart is impossible to get though I want to list him here just to wonder why -OH WHY the hell!- did Manchester City loaned out such a quality talented youth and bought an aging Given?

Defense:

I will make it short. I don’t want us to sign any defender this summer. I know the club is looking for a backup for Alves. But the same as I mentioned last summer, there is no better backup for Alves than Puyol. Yet, if we need more assurance, bring back Caceres, Henrique, or promote a Cantera. I am not sure who is under the scouting radars at the moment, but I will be so surprised if the targets have the quality of Caceres or Henrique. I watched them close this season, and I am more certain than before they can serve the team well.

Besides, there is a decision to be made regarding Botia who is having a very good season on loan. There is a decision to be made regarding Muniesa, Fontàs, Bartra and the rest of defenders we have at Barca Athletic who are looking forward to see the light out of the tunnel toward the first team. The decision may not be promoting them all next season, but at least sending a clear message that they are in our plans and will have a chance and space with time.

Midfield:

My opinion about signing Cesc Fabregas is still the same. What sounded as an odd argument once, is a belief for a decent sector of Barcelona fans now. It’s not right to pay the amount of cash needed to get Cesc back home, he found a new home for himself once, and he can find another home if he wanted. But the guy is most likely a Barcelona player next season. When he wears the Barcelona shirt, he is our kid again, and will get all the support required.

For fifty millions of cash you can buy Silva who can do everything Cesc does and more, and you will still have enough money to make an agreement with a hairdresser to take care of Iniesta’s hair for the rest of his career. It’s smarter to invest that amount of money on Silva and Iniesta’s hair than on Cesc, no offense.

But the guy is coming. If we succeeded to keep either Jonathan Dos Santos or Thiago Alcantara, fine! Hope they will still feel motivated enough to challenge for a future in the club. I think JDS will be the victim of signing Cesc as he plays almost an identical role, while Thiago has some other features that makes him a different kind of players than Cesc.

If Yaya stayed, then that’s all the changes to expect in the midfield. We will have an impossible challenge to find playing time for everyone anyway. So we won’t add more complications. If Yaya decided to leave, we will give it a second try to get Mascherano, who is closer to Barcelona than some may think. If I am reading Pep well (who does?), it seems he wants more agility and stamina in the holding midfield department than strength. With Busquets improving on weekly bases, a pure defensive midfielder who can create an extremely different option for Pep is reasonable. When you want a more dynamic midfield you get a Busquets. When you want a more static defensive midfielder covering behind the offense troops as a vacuum cleaner you use the alternative Holding midfielder (Yaya or Mascherano). Yaya -in the right mood and form- is better than Mascherano when it come to playmaking contribution. Busquets is better than them both. As a pure defensive midfielder, Mascherano heads the list. Added to the rumor that Mascherano is yet to renew his contract with Liverpool, it means that he will be more attainable next summer than he was last summer. But that will only happen if Yaya left. Buying Cesc means no more installments in the midfield if no one left.

Offense:

First of all we need to sort out what we have. At the moment, we have Messi, Ibra, and Henry added to Pedro, Jeffren and Bojan with Iniesta being used when needed. I am not sure what the future plans of Henry are, but I will welcome keeping him. There are doubts if Henry can prove being useful for the club next season, which is valid. Yet, for a player who is already in your squad, the most important question is: how to benefit from his presence the longest period possible? As a key player and for the contract conditions he has now, it is not a very profitable situation for the club (If we are only evaluating next seasons’ costs Vs benefits, which is unfair as the contract worth must be evaluated by comparing the cost vs. the players’ contribution throughout the contract duration).

If Henry wants to stay till his contract run out, then he is more than welcomed. If he wants to move somewhere else, then I hope the club will release him for free so he can negotiate with any team he wants seeking his own interest. That’s the least we can do.

Yet, if he is willing to consider a new contract, I believe it’s for the best of the team to extend Henry contract for two additional years (Yea!!) while decreasing his annual earnings, and making it clear that he will be used more as a game changer than a key starter during his new contract duration. There is no better player Barcelona can sign as a game changer than Henry. I labeled him as the new Larsson once, and I am still hopeful that this wishful thinking will come true.

I have only two options to select from, if we decided to sign a new player: Silva, and Villa. All the other options are far behind.

If Henry leaves, then we need to sign a new player without any question:

1) If we sign Silva, the offense line will look like this:

Silva-Ibra-Messi as starters and Pedro- Bojan -Jeffren as backups. Not a bad structure, yet there is a huge defect in it, we’ll only have one striker -Ibra- to count on as an offense reference (9), considering that Bojan is still not ready for a key role. Imagine Ibra getting injured for few games, we will definitely be in a big trouble.

2) If we sign Villa, the offense line will look like this:

Villa-Ibra-Messi as starters and Pedro- Bojan -Jeffren as backups. That’s my favorite structure. Villa is a goal scoring forward who will be converted to a flank forward role (Henry), which will guarantee more goal scoring qualities than getting a pure wing. He is more compatible to Ibra and Messi style of play than any other option and he fits perfectly our tactical structure that is a mix of 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 diamond. Even for the youth, it’s better that the first team sign a 28 years old player than a 22 years old wing. Keeping in mind that so far we don’t really have a young striker whom we can put our bet on for the future (in the following 5 years), while on the flanks we have lot of Pedros and Jeffrens. Even Bojan is at the moment closer to a flanked forward/second striker than a nine.

If Henry stays:

It means having Pedro-Ibra-Messi as starters and Bojan-Henry-Jeffren as backups. Not a bad structure but we can improve it much more:

New signing- Ibra-Messi with Pedro-Henry-Jeffren/Bojan as back up. Meaning, we need to decide if we will keep Bojan or Jeffren. Keeping them both is so unpractical as they will eat each others’ playing time or the better will dominate the less qualified. At least a loan decision should be made in this case.

Even with Henry staying, I still favor Villa over Silva, especially if we signed Cesc. Silva is a great talent that any team would like to sign, but I can’t find anything Silva can do that Iniesta cant. Something we can’t say about Villa.

I won’t be the last time we make a virtual shopping tour, but this is how my transfers’ wish list looks so far.

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Manchecter United V Everton Preview (Monday Night)

United officially start their Premier league campaign on Monday night against Everton. After last season’s dramatic final day title loss to City, United must want to get a good start this time around.

United performed well in most of their pre-season games. Their only loss came against Barcelona in a curtailed penalty shootout. Most of the players looked in good touch. The defense looked weak however, and we leaked in a lot of silly goals throughout pre-season.

The good news is that most of the Squad is fit and available for the first match of the season. Darren Fletcher still remains absent with a stomach condition. He did play in the midweek testimonial but looked really thin. He will have to do a lot of fitness and strength training before he can step back up on the pitch.

With the signing of Robin Van Persie almost done, United arguably have one of the most potent strike forces in the premier league. What needs to be seen is how well he partners with Rooney up front.

Everton are always a tough opponent, especially at home. We need to be careful not to attack too much as we could get hit on the break. We need to keep a patient build up and try to break them down with our wing play. Steven Pienaar is big threat down the left wing and needs to be kept in check. They way he ran the show at Old Trafford last season really amazes me. Whoever of Rafael or Valencia starts at right back will have to do a good job.

Anderson looks set to start in midfield along with Cleverly or Carrick. Nani and Young should start on the wings with Welbeck and Rooney in attack. Kagawa looked really bright in the pre-season matches however I think he will start on the bench and come on later. United now have good strength and depth in their squad. Many fans are calling for a new signing in center midfield. I think Sir Alex is content with the midfield and might give a few chances to the youngsters throughout the course of the season

Really hoping to see a good game and a good result to start of the premier league season with.

Probable starting line up:

De Gea, Valencia, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Anderson, Young, Welbeck, Rooney

My Prediction:

United to just nick this one with their superior attacking line up. Everton 1-2 Man Utd

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