The city of Boston is no stranger to championships.
Since 2000, the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics have combined to win 12 titles. On Wednesday night in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final, not only can the Bruins balloon that number to 13, they can help Boston accomplish something that hasn’t been done in almost 86 years.
It all started in October when the Red Sox ousted the Dodgers in five games to win the World Series. The Patriots then followed it up with a 13-3 win over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII in February. A Bruins’ victory in Game 7 can give the city of Boston the trifecta: three titles in eight months.
Teams from the same city winning that much in such a short amount of time isn’t common. In fact, it’s exceptionally rare.
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The only other city in North American sports history to pull off a championship feat in that time period was Detroit in 1935-36 when the Red Wings, Tigers and Lions (yes, even the lowly Lions) all managed to win a title during their respective seasons.
The 1935 World Series featured the Tigers in their fifth appearance and Chicago Cubs in their 10th. The teams split the first two games in Detroit at Tiger Stadium (known then as Navin Field). The series then shifted to Chicago where the Tigers took a 3-1 series lead after picking up victories in Games 4 and 5 at Wrigley Field.
Chicago staved off elimination in Game 5 with a 3-1 win, but fell in Game 6 when Detroit’s Goose Goslin’s RBI single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Tigers the 4-3 victory and the city of Detroit the first of three titles it would see in the next six months.
Next came the NFL championship (long before the first Super Bowl) on December 15, 1935, when the Lions met the defending champion New York Giants. Detroit smothered New York 26-7 thanks in part to Dutch Clark, Buddy Parker and Ernie Caddell who combined to rush for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
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While the Patriots had six-time champ Tom Brady under center in their most recent Super Bowl victory, in 1935, Ace Gutowsky and Glen Presnell combined for two completions on five passing attempts for 52 yards an one touchdown for the Lions.
Detroit’s final championship came four months later during the 1936 Stanley Cup Final, when the Red Wings met the Toronto Maple Leafs. Led by legendary coach Jack Adams, the Wings opened a 2-0 series lead, including a 9-4 victory over the Leafs in Game 2. Back then, the Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-five format, so Toronto was on the brink of elimination heading into Game 3.
The Maple Leafs managed to stay alive with a 4-3 overtime win in Game 3, but the Red Wings’ 3-2 victory Game 4 gave Detroit its third title in just six months.
With the advent of the NBA in 1946, it became possible for cities to win four championships in each of the four major sports leagues in 12 months, but such a sweep has yet to happen.
While Boston’s third championship is still up for grabs, win or lose, it has already joined an exclusive club of cities or metropolitan areas to win multiple championships within a 12-month time frame.
|1927||New York City||Giants (football), Yankees|
|1933||New York City||Rangers, Giants (baseball)|
|1935||Detroit||Tigers, Lions, Red Wings|
|1938||New York City||Giants (football), Yankees|
|1952||Detroit||Lions, Red Wings|
|1956||New York City||Giants (football), Yankees|
|1969||New York City||Jets, Mets|
|1986||New York City||Giants, Mets|
|1988||Los Angeles||Lakers, Dodgers|
|1989||San Francisco Bay Area||49ers, Athletics|
|2000||Greater New York Area||Devils, Yankees|
|2002||Greater Los Angeles Area||Lakers, Angels|
|2004||Boston||Red Sox, Patriots|
|2007||Boston||Red Sox, Celtics|
|2018||Boston||Red Sox, Patriots|
Unfortunately for Boston, with the Celtics falling to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference semifinals last month, the possibility of a fourth title in eight months vanished.
However, had the Celtics not lost and made it to the Finals, we would have truly reached rarified air with Boston in four championships. There’s always next year.
Related slideshow: Scenes from the Stanley Cup Final (Provided by imagn)