Chicago entitled to gloat with most major-sports championships since 1990

SHARE Chicago entitled to gloat with most major-sports championships since 1990

Hey, sports fans, want to call Chicago ‘‘The City of Champions’’?

Go ahead.

And march forward with truth, justice and integrity on your side.

For here’s a fact: Since 1990, Chicago has won more championships in the four major American pro sports — football, baseball, basketball and hockey — than any other city.

The Blackhawks’ 2-0 win Monday over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the United Center for the Stanley Cup was the cherry on top, the petal that made the victory flower bigger than anyone else’s in the last quarter-century.

Chicago has won 10 major crowns — six for the Bulls, one for the White Sox and now three for the Hawks — since 1990, which moves our town ahead of New York and Boston, each with nine.

Yeah, go ahead, Boston, whine about how your four Patriots NFL titles led by Spyin’ Bill Belichick and Deflatin’ Tom Brady, plus those three World Series crowns for the Red Sox — not to mention one Celtics NBA win and one Bruins NHL win — are better than Chi-Town.

And, New York, you’ll whine, too.

Yes, you have three Giants titles, five Yankees, one Rangers. Nice. But, waaah!

Oh, dear, I almost forgot Los Angeles. They have nine titles, too.

And we’re being generous and giving that vast nowhere-land the turf down in Orange County, all the way to Disneyland and whatever’s visible from Magic Mountain. Hell, we’ll throw in San Diego. Give ’em SoCal west to the Arizona border and south to Tijuana.

Ducks, Angels, Kings (2), Lakers (5). All winners at some time in the last 25 years. But that doesn’t equal Chicago.

The Hawks’ three Cups in six years is a thrilling event for Chicago, taking a sport that was in the niche area and making it something big and bold. In many ways, the success is even better for the NHL itself because to have a dynasty in the Original Six city that is the farthest west of the group, huge, American and crazy about sports is the best marketing it could ask for.

How much did Chicago love that Game 6 victory?

Try a 41.0 household TV rating, the highest ever for a Hawks game. According to the Nielsen company, the game produced a 5.6 metered-market rating, the third-biggest TV audience for a Stanley Cup Final ever. The only two bigger — and just slightly — were one Final game each from the Hawks’ march to the 2010 and 2013 Cups.

Remember when a Hawks player could walk anywhere in this city and not be recognized as anything other than a normal human?

Now, beard or no beard, guys such as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford will be mobbed anywhere. I’m guessing Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad and Andrew ‘‘Scarface’’ Shaw can’t blend in, either.

The point is, Chicagoans need to realize we live in the land of, if not plenty, then an awful lot.

Who, in any other place, will ever know the thrill of a Michael Jordan-led six-pack of crowns as we did? The Sox brought grand relief to half the city’s fans when they broke an 88-year drought and won the World Series in 2005.

(Yes, the Cubs are marching into their 107th year of an un-fruited quest, but the Cubs, as everyone knows, are different.)

Yes, we’d like to see a new Bears steamroller, one to help us forget how long ago the Super Bowl XX champs roamed the earth.

But we have great fulfillment, sports-wise, here in Chicago, the best around. Can you imagine listening to sports-talk radio in a city such as, say, Oakland, Milwaukee, Buffalo or — genuflect and say a quick prayer here — Cleveland?

Those places have won nothing in 25 years. And though the Cavaliers made the NBA Finals, they were doomed to lose to the Warriors. In fact, Cleveland seems doomed to never win anything in any sport, ever.

I am not gloating. I have family in Cleveland. And even fine places such as Houston, Cincinnati, Washington and Seattle have won only one title in 25 years.

So call Chicago ‘‘Hockeytown’’ for a spell if you like, with apologies to Detroit.

But, above all, enjoy the feeling of sporting success, however fleeting it may seem. Because these are good times and have been for a while.

The stats don’t lie.

Follow me on Twitter @ricktelander.


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