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Sports Then and Now



Ten Sports Dynasties That Might Have Been 25

Posted on December 07, 2011 by Jena Ellis

Despite having many of the top stars in Major League Baseballs, the Brooklyn Dodgers won only one World Series title.

Now that the 2011-12 NBA season will happen, sports prognosticators will return to projecting how many championships the Miami Heat will win. Forget about the disappointment of last season — this team has more than enough talent to bring home at least a few Larry O’Brien Trophies, right? That’s what people were saying about the Lakers in the ’60s, Mets in the ’80s, and Mariners in the ’90s (different trophies for the latter two, of course), yet they wound up with just two championships between them when all was said and done. The following would-be dynasties failed to meet expectations for a multitude of reasons — including injuries, team chemistry problems, free agency, drugs, and even a strike — leaving fans wondering what might have been had things gone a little differently.

1940s and ’50s Brooklyn Dodgers
Even if the Dodgers had won multiple World Series titles during this era, the franchise would’ve been more remembered for its role in integrating baseball by signing and promoting Jackie Robinson. More than just an inspiring figure in the Civil Rights Movement, Robinson was an ideal second baseman with tremendous speed, excellent contact ability, and exemplary defense. He played alongside Hall of Famers Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Pee Wee Reese, Don Drysdale, and Sandy Koufax, one of the most talent-rich rosters in baseball history. From 1947 to 1956, the team won six NL pennants and the 1955 World Series, a resume worthy of NL dynasty status, but not MLB dynasty status.

1960s and ’70s Los Angeles Lakers
Before the Buffalo Bills, there were the Lakers. Sure, they had already won four of the first 10 NBA championships, but, with seven Finals losses in nine seasons during the 1960s and ’70s, they were the original poster child for second best. The primary culprit for their failures was the Celtics, who reeled off a remarkable 11 championships in 13 seasons. The Lakers also faced a 76ers team with perhaps the most dominant player off all time, Wilt Chamberlain, and a hungry Knicks team led by Willis Reid and Walt Frazier. When management figured out the mere presence of Jerry West and Elgin Baylor wasn’t enough, it added an older but still effective Chamberlain. The team finally got over the hump in 1973, after Baylor retired and Gail Goodrich had been added to the roster. Read the rest of this entry →

Ken Griffey, Jr.: Baseball’s Player of the 1990s 10

Posted on July 11, 2010 by Carl Desberg

The sweetest swing.

Ken Griffey Jr. called it quits earlier this season. A sad end to a stellar career.

Rather than focus on the last decade of Junior’s tenure, lets rewind to the 90s when Griff was the cleanest star in the game.

Griffey burst onto the scene as a 19 year old in 1989 after being drafted #1 in the 1987 entry player draft out of high school. He immediately made an impact with the Mariners. The proclaimed “Kid” with his backwards hat and ear to ear smile would change baseball we knew it.

His “have fun” mentality worked for him. He enjoyed what he did. That made him better.

The numbers speak for themselves. In his first eleven Major League seasons (89-99) with the M’s Giff batted .297 with 398 HRs, 1152 RBIs, 1752 hits, and 167 stolen bases.

Junior also saw his trophy case fill up with ten Gold Gloves awards (1990-99), seven Silver Slugger awards (1991,1993-1994,1996-1999), a 1997 AL MVP award, a 1993 All Star Game MVP award (at 23 years old), and a three time HR Derby champion (1994, 1998, 1999).

His defense was spectacular. The Kid had a knack for making highlight reel catches whether it was diving in or jumping against the wall to rob a homer. He was the best fielder in the game.

Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Tony Oliva: Hall of Fame Worthy
      April 21, 2019 | 5:18 pm
      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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