Repeat in Baseball? Not Likely: Check Out the Odds and Which League Repeats Most

Mark ProbstCorrespondent IApril 2, 2011

Repeat in Baseball? Not Likely: Check Out the Odds and Which League Repeats Most

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    SAN FRANCISCO - NOVEMBER 03:  San Francisco Giants fans pack into the Civic Center Plaza during the Giants' victory parade on November 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Thousands of Giants fans lined the streets of San Francisco to watch the San Franc
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    As the Giants begin their quest for a repeat title, they will have their work cut out for them. 

    Over the last 30 years, Major League Baseball has seen the least amount of repeat champions out of the big four (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB). 

    The league has only three repeats since 1980, and that includes a three-peat by the New York Yankees (a three-peat counts as two repeats) from 1998-2000. 

    The other team to repeat during this period was the Toronto Blue Jays, who went back to back in 1992-1993. 

    It’s even more dramatic when you realize that Major League Baseball did not have a repeat champion the entire decade of the '80s, or the 2000s.

    Honorable Mentions

    1. The Oakland Athletics went to three World Series in a row (88-90), winning just one.

    2. The Atlanta Braves repeated as World Series losers (91-92), including losing two more in the '90s for a total of four (96, 99).  Thankfully for Bobby Cox’s legacy, they did win one in 95. 

    3. The New York Yankees won four out of five World Series (96-00), including the three-peat mentioned earlier. They would've made it four in a row if it weren’t for that amazing World Series victory by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. 

NFL: Second Hardest to Repeat

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    Joe Montana throwing to Rice in their repeat title in 1990.
    Joe Montana throwing to Rice in their repeat title in 1990.George Rose/Getty Images

    The NFL is the second-hardest league to repeat in since 1980, as only four teams have done it. 

    The San Francisco 49ers were the first and only team to accomplish the feat in the '80s ('88-89). 

    The Dallas Cowboys were one of two teams to repeat in the '90s ('92, '93) followed by the Denver Broncos later in the decade (97, 98). 

    The New England Patriots were the only team to repeat in the 2000s ('02, '03), and the NFL hasn’t had a Super Bowl winner in the title game the following year since. 

    Honorable Mentions

     1.   The San Francisco 49ers went to the Super Bowl four times in the '80s, winning all four ('81, '84, '88, '89).

     2.  The Denver Broncos went to the Super Bowl three times in the '80s, losing all three ('86, '87, '89).

     3.  The Buffalo Bills went to the Super Bowl four times in a row in the '90s ('90-'93) and lost them all.

     4.  The Dallas Cowboys went to the Super Bowl three out of four years ('92-'95), winning all three times.

     5.  The New England Patriots went to the Super Bowl three out of four years ('01-'04), winning all three times.

NHL: Still Only 4 Franchises, but with More Frequency

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    Wayne Gretzky as an Edmonton Oiler, holds the Cup
    Wayne Gretzky as an Edmonton Oiler, holds the CupMike Powell/Getty Images

    The NHL has seen the second-highest total of repeats since 1980 with seven, which includes a four-peat from the New York Islanders ('80-'83) to kick off the 1980s. 

    After losing to the Islanders in '83, the Edmonton Oilers followed with their own pair of repeats in the decade, including 84-85 and 87-88. 

    The nineties featured two repeat champions: first the Pittsburgh Penguins ('91, '92), then the Detroit Red Wings ('97, '98). 

    Since 1998, the NHL hasn’t had a repeat champion, the longest current drought of the big four.

    Honorable Mentions

    1. Between 1984-1990, the Edmonton Oilers went to five NHL Finals and won them all.

    2. Between 1995-2002, the Detroit Red Wings went to four NHL Finals, winning two and losing two.

NBA: It's Just Repeat, After Repeat, After Repeat

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    Young Student with the Master
    Young Student with the MasterJed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    The NBA is not only the easiest league to repeat in over the past 30 years—with 10 repeat champions—repeats really have been the status quo for the league since the mid '80s. 

    After trading championships with the Boston Celtics for the first part of the '80s, the Los Angeles Lakers were the first team to repeat in the decade ('87, '88) followed by the Detroit Pistons ('89, '90).

    The nineties were littered with repeats, as the Chicago Bulls started the decade with their first of two three-peats ('91-'93, '96-'98), with the Houston Rockets sneaking a repeat in between ('94-'95). 

    After the San Antonio Spurs won in '98, the Los Angeles Lakers were right back at, it winning the next three. 

    Skip ahead to present day, and the Lakers are back-to-back champions, as Kobe Bryant looks for his second three-peat championship to match Michael Jordan’s total.

    Honorable Mentions

    1. In the 1980s, the Lakers or the Celtics won eight out of 10 championships. Three of the times they went head to head ('84, '85, '87). 

    2. The Lakers were in the finals eight out of 10 times in the '80s. They won five.

    3. From 1999-2007, the San Antonio Spurs were in four out of nine NBA Finals; they won all four.