you're reading...
Sidebars

Cursed, Spoiled, or Just Rotten? Which Major League Cities Have It the Worst?

The New York Times recently analyzed the cities that host major sports teams to determine the most cursed locales in the country. They looked back to 1965 and found that Cleveland, Atlanta, and Buffalo had, as sports cities go, endured hardship like no others. (Ironic, then, that Cleveland was defeated by Atlanta in the 1995 World Series!)

The Times’ group used the combined number of seasons since a city’s last championship in any major sport. Also, the percentage of seasons since 1965 that have ended with a title. They then described some close calls. Good stuff.

But there’s something a little strange about calling Atlanta a cursed city when the Braves made the playoffs about every season for 15 years during the 1990s. I’d call that pretty fortunate, myself, and so would fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates. From 1990–1992, the Pirates averaged 96 wins a year and lost three straight NLCSes—last two, to those Braves. After 1992, the Pirates failed to even make the playoffs for another 21 years while the Braves scraped by with a mere14 more appearances. There’s cursed and there’s worst.

But this isn’t just baseball, of course, and the Steelers did just fine for themselves during this stretch (two Super Bowl wins in four appearances) and so did the Pens (one Stanley Cup and an appearance in the finals). Whereas the Falcons (one Super Bowl loss) and Hawks (no NBA Finals appearances) didn’t win any championships while the Atlanta Thrashers became the Winnipeg Jets. The second incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets, that is.

But here’s the thing. Just how cursed—or spoiled—is a given city? It’s a surprisingly simple and surprisingly complicated question to answer. But in a nutshell, all we have to do is think of it this way. If there’s about 120 teams in the four leagues and championships are evenly distributed, then a city with one team in each major sports league would expect to win four championships every thirty years. If they win three, they are mildly unfortunate. If they win five, they are mildly fortunate. If they win zero, they might be cursed. If they win ten, they can go **** themselves. That’s just how we sports fans roll.

But also, a sports town’s identity goes back well beyond LBJ’s administration. The supposed Bambinoid curse went back to 1920, while multiple curse permutations infest Wrigley Field. On the flip side, prior to the NHL’s 1967–1968 season, Toronto’s Maple Leafs had won 13 NHL championships. Since then, well, let’s not go there. There’s some history for that town to be proud of, and you don’t have to be more than 100 years old to have witnessed it—unlike a Cubs fan.

So this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to take every major league entrant for every major league city, including the major leagues that folded up shop quickly, all the way back to whatever beginning I can reasonably determine, and I’m going to analyze it in a few different ways to see what the curses and boons really look like. In part two of this article, we’ll take a look at how cities have fared at different times, but for now let’s look at the whole sweep of history. The end of this piece has a few methodological notes so that you can play along at home.

Now let’s play our game.

The Grand Champeens

Let’s start with the champions. The following table shows the active major sports cities in the US and Canada with:

  • how many titles they’ve won
  • titles by sport (baseball/basketball/football/hockey)
  • how many team-seasons have been played in that city
  • the percentage of those team-seasons that resulted in a title
  • the expected number of titles based on an even distribution of titles among all teams (rounded down)
  • how many more/fewer championships the city has taken home versus expectation.
CITY        TITLES          SEASONS CHAMP% EXP. +/-
=====================================================
NEW YORK      70 (40/10/9/11) 887    8%    62   + 8
BOSTON        52 (23/17/5/7)  434   12%    30   +22
CHICAGO       36 (12/7/11/6)  573    6%    39   - 3
MONTREAL      33 (0/0/6/27)   217   15%    20   +13
PHILADELPHIA  30 (10/12/6/2)  449    7%    30     0
DETROIT       24 (5/3/5/11)   365    7%    24     0
TORONTO       22 (2/0/6/14)   233    9%    20   + 2
LOS ANGELES   21 (5/11/3/2)   272    8%    13   + 8
CLEVELAND     19 (2/6/11/0)   297    6%    18   + 1
EDMONTON      18 (0/0/13/5)   108   17%     9   + 9
PITTSBURGH    17 (7/1/6/3)    279    6%    16   + 1
BALTIMORE     15 (6/2/7/0)    169    9%    10   + 5
MILWAUKEE     15 (1/1/13/0)   220    7%    11   + 4
ST. LOUIS     15 (13/1/1/0)   311    5%    18   - 3
OTTAWA        10 (0/0/5/5)     95   11%     9   + 1
WINNIPEG      10 (0/0/7/3)     89   11%     8   + 2
OAKLAND        9 (4/3/2/0)    147    6%     6   + 3
DALLAS         8 (0/1/6/1)    164    5%     6   + 2
MINNEAPOLIS    8 (2/6/0/0)    201    4%     9   - 1
SAN FRANCISCO  8 (3/0/5/0)    135    6%     6   + 2
CALGARY        7 (0/0/6/1)    102    7%     8   - 1
HAMILTON       7 (0/0/7/0)     66   11%     7     0
MIAMI          7 (2/3/2/0)    124    6%     4   + 3
VANCOUVER      7 (0/0/6/1)    128    5%    11   - 4
WASHINGTON     7 (1/1/5/0)    278    3%    16   - 9
CINCINNATI     6 (6/0/0/0)    213    3%    13   - 7
HOUSTON        6 (0/2/2/2)    157    4%     6     0
INDIANAPOLIS   6 (1/4/1/0)    106    6%     5   + 1
SAN ANTONIO    5 (0/5/0/0)     45   11%     2   + 3
DENVER         4 (0/0/2/2)    156    3%     7   - 3
REGINA         4 (0/0/4/0)     65    6%     7   - 3
SEATTLE        3 (0/1/1/1)    128    2%     5   - 2
ANAHEIM        2 (1/0/0/1)     71    3%     2     0
BUFFALO        2 (0/0/2/0)    136    1%     7   - 5
COLUMBUS       2 (0/0/2/0)     29    7%     1   + 1
KANSAS CITY    2 (1/0/1/0)    135    1%     5   - 3
TAMPA BAY      2 (0/0/1/1)     81    2%     2     0
ATLANTA        1 (1/0/0/0)    164    1%     6   - 5
NEW ORLEANS    1 (0/0/1/0)     70    1%     2   - 1
PHOENIX        1 (1/0/0/0)    115    1%     4   - 3
PORTLAND       1 (0/1/0/0)     51    2%     2   - 1
RALEIGH        1 (0/0/0/1)     17    6%     0   + 1
SALT LAKE CITY 1 (0/1/0/0)     42    2%     1     0
SAN DIEGO      1 (0/0/1/0)    117    1%     5   - 4
CHARLOTTE      0 (0/0/0/0)     45    0%     1   - 1
JACKSONVILLE   0 (0/0/0/0)      0    0%     0     0
MEMPHIS        0 (0/0/0/0)      0    0%     1   - 1
NASHVILLE      0 (0/0/0/0)     32    0%     1   - 1
OKLAHOMA CITY  0 (0/0/0/0)      7    0%     0     0
ORLANDO        0 (0/0/0/0)     27    0%     0     0
SACRAMENTO     0 (0/0/0/0)      0    0%     1   - 1
SAN JOSE       0 (0/0/0/0)      0    0%     0     0

Cursed? The Times had a good read on it. In its long professional history, Cleveland’s been OK, it’s more recent times that have hit them hard. But Washington, Cincy, Buffalo, San Diego, Vancouver—man, what’s a city go to do anyway?!

Spoiled? Yeah, Boston, that’s you. And Montreal, you are not excused from this discussion. On a smaller scale, give San Antonio some props for being +3 in just 45 seasons. A special defunct-city shout-out goes to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. As members of the old ABL, they won five championships in 14 years, four more than expected. That’s a pretty nifty trick.

It’s interesting to see how, in terms of championships, the Yankees have not disproportionately affected things as much as we might have expected. The long-time crappiness of the Jets, Knicks, and Nets creates a lot of drag.

A key thing to note here is that the percentage of championships a city wins doesn’t always correlate to how many they were expected to win. This is because throughout history, many leagues have been comprised of just four, six, or eight teams. Today’s thirty-team leagues are a relatively new phenomenon. That what makes Boston’s decade of dominance in the 2000s special, and why they dwarf everyone else on this list in terms of their plus-minus versus expected championships. They’ve won three World Series, four Super Bowls, an NBA Championship, and a Stanley Cup against the largest total number of league competitors in history.

But as we said above, championships are not, in fact, our only measures of how much fortune a city has enjoyed. Let’s look now at how often each city’s teams made the finals.

Passing or Failing the Finals?

While not winning a title is clearly suboptimal, making the finals in the first place ain’t something to blow off. The quality of a city’s players nor its sporting experience shouldn’t only be judged on championships. Here’s the same table as above only listing out how often teams made the finals. Seasons in which a team won the championship are removed from all calculations, except where the league had no finals.


CITY         FINALS           SEASONS  FINALS%  EXP.  +/-
===========================================================
NEW YORK       76 (35/17/14/10)  887      9%    114   +28
BOSTON         28 (5/4/6/13)     434      7%     54   +11
PHILADELPHIA   27 (8/9/4/6)      449      6%     55   - 5
CHICAGO        26 (11/1/6/8)     573      5%     69   -16
LOS ANGELES    25 (4/15/5/1)     272     10%     29   +16
DETROIT        23 (7/2/1/13)     365      7%     48   - 1
MONTREAL       21 (0/0/11/10)    217     11%     40   +13
ST. LOUIS      19 (12/3/1/3)     311      6%     35   - 2
HAMILTON       13 (0/0/12/1)      66     22%     15   + 5
CLEVELAND      12 (4/3/5/0)      297      4%     30   - 1
EDMONTON       12 (0/0/8/4)      108     13%     18   +12
TORONTO        11 (0/0/3/8)      233      5%     41   - 8
WASHINGTON     11 (2/3/5/1)      278      4%     30   -12
VANCOUVER      10 (0/0/4/6)      128      8%     22   - 5
BALTIMORE       9 (3/3/3/0)      169      6%     18   + 3
CALGARY         9 (0/0/6/3)      102     10%     17   - 1
WINNIPEG        9 (0/0/7/2)       89     11%     16   + 3
MINNEAPOLIS     8 (1/1/4/2)      201      4%     19   - 3
BUFFALO         7 (0/0/5/2)      136      5%     12   - 3
DALLAS          7 (2/1/3/1)      164      4%     14   + 1
DENVER          7 (1/1/5/0)      156      5%     16   - 5
REGINA          7 (0/0/7/0)       65     11%     13   - 2
SAN FRANCISCO   7 (3/2/2/0)      135      6%     15     0
CINCINNATI      6 (4/0/2/0)      213      3%     22   -11
MIAMI           6 (0/2/3/1)      124      5%     11   + 2
MILWAUKEE       6 (2/1/3/0)      220      3%     20   - 2
SAN DIEGO       6 (2/0/4/0)      117      5%     11   - 4
SEATTLE         6 (0/2/2/2)      128      5%     11   - 2
ATLANTA         5 (4/0/1/0)      164      3%     14   - 8
HOUSTON         5 (1/2/1/1)      157      3%     15   - 4
OAKLAND         5 (2/0/3/0)      147      4%     13   + 1
PITTSBURGH      5 (2/0/2/1)      279      2%     31   -11
INDIANAPOLIS    4 (0/3/1/0)      106      4%     11   - 2
OTTAWA          4 (0/0/2/2)       95      5%     18   - 5
PHOENIX         4 (0/2/2/0)      115      4%     11   - 6
KANSAS CITY     3 (2/0/1/0)      135      2%     10   - 5
PORTLAND        3 (0/2/0/1)       51      6%      5   - 1
SALT LAKE CITY  3 (0/3/0/0)       42      7%      3   + 1
ORLANDO         2 (0/2/0/0)       27      7%      1   + 1
TAMPA BAY       2 (1/0/0/1)       81      3%      6   - 2
ANAHEIM         1 (0/0/0/1)       71      1%      6   - 3
CHARLOTTE       1 (0/0/1/0)       45      2%      3   - 2
NASHVILLE       1 (0/0/1/0)       32      3%      3   - 2
NEW ORLEANS     1 (0/1/0/0)       70      1%      5   - 3
OKLAHOMA CITY   1 (0/1/0/0)        7     14%      0   + 1
RALEIGH         1 (0/0/0/1)       17      6%      2     0
SAN ANTONIO     1 (0/1/0/0)       45      3%      4   + 2
COLUMBUS        0 (0/0/0/0)       29      0%      2   - 2
JACKSONVILLE    0 (0/0/0/0)       22      0%      1   - 1
MEMPHIS         0 (0/0/0/0)       24      0%      2   - 2
SACRAMENTO      0 (0/0/0/0)       32      0%      2   - 2
SAN JOSE        0 (0/0/0/0)       23      0%      2   - 2

This chart gives a little clearer sense, when combined with the previous, about why some places are truly cursed. Cincinnati and Washington aren’t just unlucky in terms of winning titles, they are suffering through eons-long finals droughts. They are old American cities that have failed to produce top-quality teams except in very short microbursts.

Then there’s New York, which, perhaps, has incentive to win at all costs and go all-in as often as possible, as our next table shows…. A few other towns have about the same rate of finals return as New York without as many seasons.

Post-Season Traumatic Stress

There’s also the small but not meaningless question of the playoffs.


CITY        PLAYOFFS          SEASONS  PLAYOFF% EXP.  +/-
============================================================
NEW YORK      188 (13/62/28/85)  887     21%    253   +77
BOSTON        104 (9/31/13/51)   434     24%    130   +39
CHICAGO       102 (10/34/14/44)  573     18%    135   +20
PHILADELPHIA   97 (7/42/18/30)   449     22%    106   +43
LOS ANGELES    91 (10/32/23/26)  272     33%    109   +27
MONTREAL       86 (1/0/27/58)    217     40%    118   +21
DETROIT        83 (5/29/12/37)   365     23%    122   + 8
TORONTO        81 (3/7/25/46)    233     35%    133   -19
MINNEAPOLIS    71 (8/15/23/25)   201     35%     81   + 6
ATLANTA        62 (13/31/11/7)   164     38%     65   - 1
DENVER         62 (2/33/15/12)   156     40%     69   + 1
ST. LOUIS      62 (8/12/6/36)    311     20%     66   +29
DALLAS         61 (4/23/23/11)   164     37%     63   +13
PITTSBURGH     58 (9/1/20/28)    279     21%     63   +15
WASHINGTON     58 (2/21/11/24)   278     21%     73   - 1
VANCOUVER      55 (0/0/27/28)    128     43%     77   - 8
HOUSTON        52 (8/25/16/3)    157     33%     56   + 8
INDIANAPOLIS   51 (0/34/15/2)    106     48%     53   + 9
CALGARY        49 (0/0/29/20)    102     48%     65     0
EDMONTON       49 (0/0/30/19)    108     45%     69   +10
OTTAWA         49 (0/0/27/22)     95     52%     57   + 5
CLEVELAND      46 (6/21/15/4)    297     15%     63   +12
MILWAUKEE      45 (3/26/16/0)    220     20%     55   + 8
PHOENIX        44 (4/27/3/10)    115     38%     54   - 8
BUFFALO        42 (0/3/12/27)    136     31%     50   - 4
WINNIPEG       41 (0/0/28/13)     89     46%     58   + 2
SEATTLE        38 (4/19/11/4)    128     30%     51   - 7
OAKLAND        37 (12/12/11/2)   147     25%     56   - 5
MIAMI          36 (0/16/17/3)    124     29%     51   - 2
SAN ANTONIO    33 (0/32/1/0)      45     73%     26   +17
REGINA         30 (0/0/27/3)      65     46%     41   - 3
BALTIMORE      29 (6/9/14/0)     169     17%     37   +13
HAMILTON       28 (0/0/28/0)      66     42%     47   + 1
PORTLAND       28 (0/28/0/0)      51     55%     26   + 4
SAN FRANCISCO  27 (5/3/19/0)     135     20%     33   + 9
CINCINNATI     26 (6/7/11/2)     213     12%     40   - 3
SALT LAKE CITY 26 (0/26/0/0)      42     62%     25   + 3
KANSAS CITY    24 (5/5/14/0)     135     18%     35   - 7
SAN DIEGO      21 (3/3/12/3)     117     18%     37   -14
TAMPA BAY      20 (3/0/11/6)      81     25%     32   - 8
ANAHEIM        18 (9/0/0/9)       71     25%     22     0
SAN JOSE       17 (0/0/0/17)      23     74%     13   + 4
NEW ORLEANS    16 (0/7/9/0)       70     23%     30   -12
CHARLOTTE      14 (0/9/5/0)       45     31%     21   - 7
NASHVILLE      13 (0/0/5/8)       32     41%     14   - 1
ORLANDO        12 (0/12/0/0)      27     44%     14   - 2
MEMPHIS        11 (0/10/1/0)      24     46%     13   - 2
SACRAMENTO     10 (0/10/0/0)      32     31%     18   - 8
JACKSONVILLE    6 (0/0/6/0)       22     27%      8   - 2
OKLAHOMA CITY   4 (0/4/0/0)        7     57%      3   + 1
RALEIGH         3 (0/0/0/3)       17     18%      9   - 4
COLUMBUS        2 (0/0/0/2)       29      7%      7   - 1

So here again, it’s New York. Boston , Philly, LA, and Montreal actually accrue extra post-season appearances at about the same rate as the Big Apple. It makes me wonder whether the biggest population centers have a little extra reason to go for it. Perhaps with a wider fan base to draw from, especially in these particularly affluent towns, they can reap more financial reward from high payrolls than a place like, oh, Kansas City, San Diego, or Tampa. For once, Washington has actually gotten to the dance about an average number of times.

History’s Spoiled and Rotten

So in the end, after all these tables, what the verdict? To finish, I’ll create a junk stat. Let’s make every title above or below expectation worth 10/-10, every finals appearance worth 3/-3, and every playoff appearance 1/-1.

When you add it all up, here’s your ten most spoiled and rotten cities in sum and per every ten years:

SPOILED

Raw Totals

  1. Boston: 292 points—+22 titles, +11 finals, +39 post-seasons
  2. New York: 241 points—+8 titles, +28 finals, + 77 post-seasons
  3. Montreal: 190 points—+13 titles, +13 finals, + 21 post-seasons
  4. Los Angeles: 155 points—+8 titles, +16 finals, +27 post-seasons
  5. Edmonton: 136 points—+9 titles, +12 finals, +10 post-seasons
  6. Baltimore: 72 points—+5 titles, +3 finals, +13 post-seasons
  7. San Antonio: 53 points—+3 titles, +2 finals, +17 post-seasons
  8. Milwaukee 42 points—+4 titles, -2 finals, +8 post-seasons
  9. Dallas: 36 points—+2 titles, +1 finals, +13 post-seasons
  10. Miami: 34 points—+3 titles, +2 finals, -2 post-seasons

Per Ten Years (minimum 10 seasons played)

  1. Edmonton: +9 titles, +12 finals, +10 post-seasons in 108 seasons
  2. San Antonio: +3 titles, +2 finals, +17 post-seasons in 45 seasons
  3. Montreal: +13 titles, +13 finals, + 21 post-seasons in 217 seasons
  4. Boston: +22 titles, +11 finals, +39 post-seasons in 434 seasons
  5. Los Angeles: +8 titles, +16 finals, +27 post-seasons in 272 seasons
  6. Baltimore: +5 titles, +3 finals, +13 post-seasons in 169 seasons
  7. Raleigh: + 1 title, 0 finals, -4 post-seasons in 17 seasons
  8. Winnipeg: + 2 titles, +3 finals, +2 post-seasons in 89 seasons
  9. Miami: +3 titles, +2 finals, -2 post-seasons in 124 seasons
  10. New York: +8 titles, +28 finals, + 77 post-seasons in 887 seasons

ROTTEN

Raw Totals

  1. Washington: -127 points — -9 titles, -12 finals, -1 post-seasons
  2. Cincinnati: -106 points — -7 titles, -11 finals, -3 post-seasons
  3. Atlanta: -75 points — -5 titles, – 8 finals, -1 post-seasons
  4. San Diego: -66 points — -4 titles, -4 finals, -14 post-seasons
  5. Buffalo: -63 points — -5 titles, -3 finals, -4 post-seasons
  6. Vancouver: -63 points — -4 titles, -5 finals, -8 post-seasons
  7. Chicago: -58 points — -3 titles, -16 finals, +20 post-seasons
  8. Phoenix: -56 points — -3 titles, -6 finals, -8 post-seasons
  9. Kansas City: – 52 points — -3 titles, -5 finals, -7 post-seasons
  10. Denver: -44 points — -3 titles, -5 finals, -1 post-seasons

Per Ten Years (minimum 10 seasons)

  1. Sacramento: -1 titles, -2 finals, -8 post-seasons in 32 seasons
  2. Memphis: -1 titles, -1 finals, -2 post-seasons in 24 seasons
  3. Regina: -3 titles, -2 finals, -3 post-seasons in 65 seasons
  4. San Diego: -4 titles, -4 finals, -14 post-seasons in 117 seasons
  5. Nashville: -1 titles, -2 finals, -1 post-seasons in 32 seasons
  6. Charlotte: -1 titles, -2 finals, -7 post-seasons in 45 seasons
  7. Cincinnati: -7 titles, -11 finals, -3 post-seasons in 213 seasons
  8. Vancouver: -4 titles, -5 finals, -8 post-seasons in 128 seasons
  9. Phoenix: -3 titles, -6 finals, -8 post-seasons in 115 seasons
  10. Buffalo: -5 titles, -3 finals, -4 post-seasons in 136 seasons

Go Padres!

NOTES

LEAGUES: The following leagues made the cut based on my inexpert reading of the history of each professional sport. And you’ll see that I included one group of leagues to give our friends north of the border a little more representation: The CFL is the second most popular major sporting league in Canada.

BASEBALL

  • American League (1901 – present)
  • National League (1876 – present)
  • National Association (1871 – 1875)
  • American Association (1882 – 1891)
  • Union Association (1884)
  • Players League (1890)
  • Federal League (1914 – 1915)

BASKETBALL

  • National Basketball Association (1949-1950 – present)
  • American Basketball League I (1925-1926 – 1930-1931)
  • American Basketball League II (1933-1934 –1952-1953)
  • National Basketball League (1937-1938 – 1948-1949)
  • Basketball Association of America (1946-1947 – 1948-1949)
  • American Basketball Association (1967-1968 – 1975-1976)

FOOTBALL

  • National Football League (1922 – present)
  • American Professional Football Association (1920 – 1921)
  • American Football League I (1926)
  • American Football League II (1936 – 1937)
  • American Football League III (1940 – 1941)
  • All-American Football Conference (1946 – 1949)
  • American Football League IV (1960 –1969)
  • United States Football League (1983 – 1985)
  • Canadian Football League (1958 – present) and the prior four seasons of its immediate antecedents the Interprovincial Rugby Football Union, the Western Interprovincial Football Union, and the Ontario Rugby Football Union

HOCKEY

  • National Hockey League (1917-1918 – present)
  • National Hockey Association (1910 – 1916-1917)
  • Pacific Coast Hockey Association (1912 – 1923-1924)
  • Western Canada Hockey League (1921-1922 – 1925-1926)
  • World Hockey Association (1972-1973 – 1978-1979)

CITIES: Unlike the NY Times study, I’m including suburbs within their, uh, urb. The New Jersey Devils will count toward New York City. I’m going with roughly any town or city within about 60 miles counting toward a city. And the place where the team’s arena is counts more than their team name. The Angels are in Anaheim, and the Carolina Hurricanes are in Raleigh. Also, teams only get one city. Here is every city that makes the cut, though I won’t talk about most of them at all.

Altoona, PA
Anaheim, CA
Atlanta, GA
Baltimore, MD
Birmingham, AL
Boston, MA
Bridgeport, CT
Buffalo, NY (includes Tonawanda)
Calgary, AB
Canton, OH
Carbondale, IL
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL (includes Hammond, IN)
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH (includes Akron)
Cobalt, ON
Columbus, OH
Dallas, TX (includes Arlington)
Dayton, OH
Decatur, IL
Denver, CO
Detroit, MI
Duluth, MN
Edmonton, AB
Elmira, NY
Evansville, IN
Flint, MI
Fort Wayne, IN
Greensboro, NC
Haileybury, ON
Hamilton, ON
Harrisburg, PA
Hartford, CT
Houston, TX
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL
Kanakakee, IL
Kansas City, MO
Keokuk, IA
Kingston, NJ
Kitchener-Waterloo, ON
Lancaster, PA
Larue, OH
Las Vegas, NV
London, ON
Los Angeles, CA
Louisville, KY
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
Milwaukee, WI (includes Green Bay, Kenosha, Racine)
Minneapolis, MN (includes St. Paul)
Montreal, QC
Muncie, IN
Nashville, TN
New Haven, CT
New Orleans, LA
New Westminster, BC
New York, NY (includes Brooklyn, Yonkers, New Jersey Devils and Generals, Newark Pepper and Tornadoes)
Norfolk, VA
Oakland, CA
Oklahoma City, OK
Orlando, FL
Oshkosh, WI
Ottawa, ON
Pawtucket, RI
Philadelphia, PA (includes Frankford)
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, OR
Portsmouth, OH
Pottsville, PA
Providence, RI
Quebec City, QC
Raleigh, NC
Regina, SK
Renfrew, ON
Richmond, VA
Rochester, NY
Rockford, IL
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
San Jose, CA
Sarnia, ON
Saskatoon, SK
Schenectady, NY
Scranton, PA (includes Wilkes-Barre)
Seattle, WA
Sheboygan, WI
Shreveport, LA
Spokane, WA
St. Louis, MO
Syracuse, NY
Tampa, FL
Toledo, OH
Toronto, ON
Tri-Cities, IL
Troy, NY
Tulsa, OK
Utica, NY
Vancouver, BC
Victoria, BC
Warren, PA
Washington, DC
Waterloo, IA
Wilmington, DE
Winnipeg, MB
Worcester, MA
Youngstown, OH

CONDITIONS: I looked for three conditions—Won the championship; played in the finals; made the playoffs. As applicable. In MLB for generations there were no playoffs, just the World Series. So no one gets credit for the playoffs then. You know, I get that the NFL mentality seeps into other sports where only the big game counts. But I think it’s BS. Making the playoffs is a big deal, especially to cities that don’t do it very often. Furthermore, the importance of making the finals (whether it’s called the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Finals, or whatever) feels diminished by this same attitude, as if it’s merely the end of any old playoff run. Fans and people across the country do remember Super Bowl winners’ opponents. In fact, I almost never hear someone say, “I remember when the Patriots won Super Bowl XXIX,” but I do hear them say “I remember when the Patriots beat the Eagles.”

MEASUREMENTS: We mixed and matched a little, but the basic gist is this. Each team gets assigned a probability for winning the championship, making the finals, and making the playoffs. If they win the championship, for instance, then I subtract that probability from 1.0 to get a score. If they fail to win the championship, then I subtract that probability from zero. The assumption is that if championships were evenly distributed over time, everyone would eventually net out at zero. Same goes for the other two conditions. These are the “expected” results.

—Eric

Advertisements

Discussion

3 thoughts on “Cursed, Spoiled, or Just Rotten? Which Major League Cities Have It the Worst?

  1. Now that was entirely fascinating.
    The stat that jumps out at me most is Philly and Detroit being dead on in championships. What are the odds?
    Nice job, man. Looking forward to part 2.
    v

    Posted by verdun2 | July 27, 2015, 7:49 am
  2. I was looking forward to Part II as well, but sadly it’s not going to happen. The data are getting away from me and are strangely difficult to corral at a more granular level. Sorry, gang!

    Posted by eric | July 27, 2015, 9:55 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Sifting Through the Great Managers | the Hall of Miller and Eric - September 23, 2015

Tell us what you think!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Institutional History

%d bloggers like this: