By Dave Wischnowsky –
(CBS) They don’t call this place the Windy City because we win.
But, come to think of it, maybe they should.
That’s because even though Chicago historically has been as synonymous with sports futility as any city in America – or maybe that’s just the Cubs – the loser label that long ago was slapped upon this Midwestern metropolis doesn’t really apply today.
In fact, right now, we’re actually living in a Golden Age of Chicago Sports that not only stacks up with other eras from this city’s past, but can hold its own with just about every other “Titletown” too.
Last Friday morning while I watched the Blackhawks’ joyous championship parade and rally unfold on TV, I found myself reflecting on how I’ve now borne witness to 10 Chicago sports titles since I was born back in May of 1976. During those 37 years, the Bulls have provided six of the championships, while the Blackhawks have added a pair to go along with one each from both the White Sox and the Bears.
It’s not a Perfect 10 without the Cubs included. But Chicago’s total does cover all four of the major sports, which is no small feat.
And for a city so famous for championship droughts, 10 titles since 1980 isn’t only a good number –it’s a great one. After all, this current four-decade window (1980-2019) that we’re living in already has seen as many Chicago championships as both 1930-1969 and 1910-1949 (also 10 each) – and there are still more than six years remaining until 2020.
For those scoring at home, here are the championships by decade that Chicago has enjoyed since 1900:
1900-09: White Sox (1906); Cubs (1907, 1908) – 3 total
1910-19: White Sox (1917) – 1 total
1920-29: Bears (1921) – 1 total
1930-39: Bears (1932, 1933); Blackhawks (1934, 1938) – 4 total
1940-49: Bears (1940, 1941, 1943, 1946) – 4 total
1950-59: None – 0 total
1960-69: Blackhawks (1961); Bears (1963) – 2 total
1970-79: None – 0 total
1980-89: Bears (1985) – 1 total
1990-99: Bulls (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998) – 6 total
2000-09: White Sox (2005) – 1 total
2010-13: Blackhawks (2010, 2013) – 2 total
Any way you cut the past 113 years up into four-decade slices, there isn’t another 40-year era that’s better than this one has been so far. And this era will end up as Chicago’s best of all-time, if the city’s teams can manage to add one more title before the end of 2019.
On top of that, for all of its legendary championship woes, Chicago actually has the third most total titles of any city in America with 31, trailing only Boston (34) and New York City (47).
Here in Chicago, our teams over the years have captured nine World Series, six NBA championships, 11 NFL championships or Super Bowls and five Stanley Cups.
In Boston, the teams have won eight World Series, 17 NBA championships, three Super Bowls and six Stanley Cups. New York, meanwhile, has 34 World Series championships to go along with two NBA titles, seven NFL championships or Super Bowls and four Stanley Cups. Detroit with 22 titles (four MLB, three NBA, four NFL, 11 NHL) and Los Angeles with 19 (five MLB, 11 NBA, 2 NFL, 1 NHL) round out the Top 5.
Both the Big Apple and Beantown, of course, have ridden the gaudy championship totals of their historically dominant teams – the Yankees and the Celtics – to the top of the rankings, while Chicago has actually enjoyed the greatest title balance among the four major sports.
If the Cubs can start carrying their weight, Chicago might actually be recognized as the greatest championship city in America. Of course, that’s one big if.
But, in the meantime, at least we have the Blackhawks.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com. Follow him on Twitter @wischlist and read more of his CBS Chicago blog entries here.