Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sports/Decade Countdown: #3

We continue now with our #3 city/decade on our list of the top 10 cities and decades of the past 110 years. For an overview/explanation of the rankings, and the system used to get them, click here.

The list so far:
#10: Boston, 1970s
#9: Boston, 1980s
#8: Detroit, 1940s
#7: Detroit, 1950s
#6: Boston, 2000s
#5: New York, 1920s
#4: Boston, 1960s

When I started this assignment, there were a few cities and decades that jumped to mind as some of the best all-time. Some of them I was right (and are in the top-3), but some of them I'd completely forgotten about. Number 3 on our list is one of those...though to be fair, it was before I was born. This entry more than any benefited from trying to control for number of teams, which might already be spoiling who got the 3rd slot. Star power, titles, playoff appearances, this city had it all. Hit the jump to find out who...

3) Pittsburgh, 1970s (Score: 295.37)—3 MVPs/6 Titles/6 Finals/20 Playoffs/54.7 W% 

Pittsburgh’s a small town, at least certainly compared so some of the major metropolitan areas on both coasts. They don’t have many sports teams, known for most of their history as a tough town of blue-collar workers. So how could they end up this high on the list, going against powerhouse cities like Los Angeles and New York? Simple: when you have 30 total seasons played between 3 teams, and they make it to the playoffs 2/3 of the time, you are talking about three teams who had it going on for ten years each.  Some people might complain that the 'Burgh is too high up BECAUSE they lack a fourth team, but I disagree. The existing Pittsburgh teams were too good, too dominant to automatically detract points from them. The Pirates won 2 World Series behind the bat of Willie Stargell, and Terry Bradshaw (above) led the Steelers to 4 Super victories of their own. Stargell was so good during the 70s, he finished in the top-10 of the MVP voting 8 out of the 10 years, finally winning it at the age of 39 in 1979. Each Pittsburgh team made the playoffs at least 6 times, though a few bad years by the Penguins pulled their overall winning percentage under .500. At the end of the day though, this was a small town who won more titles than even New York or Los Angeles won in numerous other decades with twice as many teams playing, and that’s a very impressive decade indeed.

The Countdown Continues Here: #2

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