Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sports/Decade Countdown: #8

We continue now with our #8 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.

So far:
#10: Boston, 1970s
#9: Boston, 1980s

Okay, I promise this one won't be Boston--though I can't promise we haven't seen the last of Beantown. No, this time we're going a little old school. One of the most interesting things about doing this research was getting to compare cities with different teams in different eras, and some of the interesting questions they posed. For instance, was winning and NFL championship in the '40s and 50s as exciting as winning the Super Bowl in the 21st century? It's impossible to deny that the Super Bowl now has become a spectacle far beyond what it was in the pre-Super Bowl era, but that's how the times were. I can't start weighing current championships more because Christina Aguilera butchers the national anthem and it gets 10 million views on YouTube. Anyways, to get off my high horse, here's #8...

8) Detroit, 1940s (Score: 239.54)—4 MVPs/3 Titles/9 Finals/14 Playoffs/54.0 W%
Hank Greenberg hit .319 in 12 seasons with the Tigers
This is where the formulas start to take effect. On paper, this decade looks no better than the previous two, with fewer playoff appearances and a lower winning percentage. Remember, however, that this was Detroit of the 1940s, with all three existing teams (Lions, Red Wings, and Tigers) winning titles, something neither Boston team above was able to do. In addition, those Tigers of the 1940s are among the most underrated baseball dynasties of all time, with Hank Greenberg (right) and Hal Hewhouser both winning MVPs. Greenberg in particular put up some ridiculous statistics, including 40 HR/183 RBI in 1937, and 58/146 the year later. But, this was Detroit of the 40s we're talking about, and unfortunately Hammerin' Hank was only able to contribute one great year--his MVP campaign in 1940, before he left to fight in World War II. Greenberg did hit .277 with  44 homers and 127 RBI, both best in the AL, at the age of 35, and then retired after one season with Pittsburgh in 1947.

The Countdown Continues Here: #7

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