By Bob Meadows
What’s on my mind this week is something different than the usual stream of thoughts I list. At some point last basketball season, I was telling a buddy of mine that I was upset the Lakers weren’t in the hunt for the title. He had no sympathy, saying the Lakers win too much already. I was dumbstruck, and responded, “But you’re a Yankee fan. You of all people should understand.” The Yankees win all the time too.
That got me thinking: between these two franchises, which one wins the most, which one is most dominant? The Yankees pitch a shut out from the turn of last century until 1948, since the Lakers didn’t exist. So I decided to take a look at their records since 1949. Here’s how they stack up:
Championships competed in
Most consecutive titles
Yankees—5; Lakers—3 (twice)
Longest stretch without a title
Yankees—18 years; Lakers—18 years
Longest stretch without competing for a title
Yankees—15 years; Lakers—9 years
Decades in which they won a title
Decades in which they competed for a title
Yankees—7 (of 8); Lakers—8 (of 8)
1st Place division finishes
Consecutive first place finishes
League record for all-time single season wins
100 games won in a season
60 games won in a season
Last place finishes
Consecutive losing seasons
Yankees—none; Lakers—Boston Celtics
Yankees—Casey Stengel, Billy Martin; Lakers—Pat Riley, Phil Jackson
Yankees—Mickey Mantle; Lakers—Magic Johnson
Conclusion: No team in any sport has dominated a conference like the Lakers have dominated the NBA’s West. They’ve been in the league 62 years and have won the West 31 times. Incredible. Take the league’s best player away from them (George Mikan) and they keep winning. Take away the NBA’s all-time leading scorer (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and they keep winning. Lose the greatest assist man to ever play the game (Magic Johnson) and they keep winning. Trade away the biggest force in the game (Shaquille O’Neal) and they keep winning. That’s why they beat out the Celtics, who have won 17 NBA titles. But after losing the greatest winner ever (Bill Russell, who notched 11 rings in 13 years) the Celts have only won six more titles, and went two decades without even competing for one.
The Yankees, meanwhile, don’t even have a rival. No one in baseball comes close to their 16 titles since 1949. The St. Louis Cardinals have won 11 World Series, but that’s all time. With Joe DiMaggio winding down his career, but behind powerhouse Mickey Mantle and the wily Yogi Berra, the Yankees didn’t miss a beat. The killed the 50s and owned the American League for the first half of the 1960s. George Steinbrenner’s deep pockets landed them Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson, and they rose to the top again for a time. And since Derek Jeter and Joe Torre teamed up, they have won 5 more championships, including three in a row.
So who’s the best? For these two franchises, it’s about winning titles. They’re tied in that category, but the Lakers have reached the title round far more often—and have had to win far more games to get there.
Winner: The Lakers
© 2012 The Peoples News