Sports

Four Corners: What's the greatest dynasty?

Joe Cortez, Features copy editor: New York Yankees

Full disclosure: I am a Yankees fan. I love 'em. You may hate 'em. And that's the point. You either love 'em because they win, or hate 'em because they win.

Either way, they win.

From their first pennant in 1921 to their last in 2003 (83 seasons), the Yankees have won 39 American League flags and 26 world titles. That's an average of about one pennant every other year and a world title once every three years ... over eight decades. Only the Roman Empire had a longer streak of uninterrupted excellence.

But not even the Romans could boast lineups that included the likes of Babe, Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle (that's, like, a baseball Mount Rushmore, right there), Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey, Phil Rizzuto ... should I go on?

But, if you're looking to narrow it down a bit, the Bronx Bombers' greatest era of dominance may have coincided with the careers of DiMaggio (1936-51) and Berra (1946-63 ... manager of the team in '64).

In the 29 seasons that either Joltin' Joe or Yogi were in the Yankees dugout, the Yankees won 22 pennants and 16 world titles.

Eddie Brown, Sports copy editor: San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers of the '80s and '90s are without a doubt the most impressive dynasty in sports.

From 1981 to 1998, the 49ers went 207-72-1, a winning percentage of .742.

They were 5-0 in Super Bowls, which in my eyes doesn't get as much love as it should. There's something to be said for making the championship and never losing.

During that time, they went to nine out of 14 NFC title games, won 13 division titles and had 17 out of 18 seasons where they won more than 10 games, including 16 straight.

In today's parity-driven NFL, those numbers will never again be reached.

The 49ers beat some of the greatest teams in the history of the game: Tom Landry's Cowboys, Don Shula's Dolphins, Mike Ditka's Bears, Joe Gibbs' Redskins, Bill Parcells' Giants and Dallas' triplets of the '90s.

The teams already have produced four Hall of Famers: coach Bill Walsh (1993), safety Ronnie Lott (2000), and quarterbacks Joe Montana (2000) and Steve Young (2005), with Jerry Rice and Charles Haley coming soon.

Also, Walsh's handling of the draft, and Carmen Policy's pioneering how to handle the salary cap, set the standard.

Brian Clark, Weekend edtior: Oakland Athletics

Some would scoff at the notion of using the "D" word to describe the 1970s Oakland A's teams that won three straight World Series (1972-74) and five consecutive division titles.

Many would laugh at the notion of it being the greatest dynasty.

To be sure, there have been other baseball teams to have threepeated, even fourpeated. And, true, having three Hall of Famers -- Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers -- is nice, but there have been teams with more.

But here's what made the A's the best.

Simply, the dynasty was cut short by free agency, which led to the fire sale following the 1976 season, in which they barely missed a sixth straight division title amid turmoil.

As Jackson would later say, had it not been for free agency, that A's team would have won endless titles.

To win three straight titles, the A's had to beat Baltimore twice, Detroit, Cincinnati, the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Those teams had Hall of Famers in arguably the most talent-ladened decade of all-time.

The A's had to play the best, and simply, were the best, even if they didn't get another decade to show it.

Bryan Justman, Assitant Librarian: Montreal Canadians

To anyone who has followed the sport of hockey since before the Gary Bettman era, determining the greatest sports dynasty is an open-and-shut case.

It's the Montreal Canadiens from 1952 to 1980.

Sixteen of the club's 24 Stanley Cups came during those 29 years. They won five straight Cups from 1956-60 -- a feat not since repeated -- and four straight from 1976-79. In the 1960s, the Canadiens won four Cups in five years. Only once did more than two seasons pass without the Canadiens raising the Cup.

Among the staggering feats achieved is that of the 1976-77 team. It lost only eight regular-season games during an 80-game schedule, while setting an NHL record of 132 points.

Thirty-six players from those teams were eventually inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame including Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Jean Beliveau, Henri Richard, Jacques Plante, Yvan Cournoyer, Larry Robinson and Ken Dryden.

It may sound like the Canadiens are the Yankees of hockey, but it's clear the Yankees are the Canadiens of baseball.

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