Jan 20, 2021 - Sports

The most dominant sports teams of the past 20 presidencies

Logos: SportsLogos.Net; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration is today. To commemorate the pending transfer of power, we reviewed the best teams of the past 20 administrations (1901–present).

Theodore Roosevelt → The Pirates won the NL twice, played in the inaugural 1903 World Series and dominated the decade (.650 win percentage).

  • Runners-up: Cubs; Ottawa Hockey Club

William Howard Taft → The Philadelphia Athletics (now in Oakland) won consecutive World Series behind legendary manager Connie Mack and a slew of Hall of Famers led by Frank "Home Run" Baker.

  • Runners-up: Harvard football; Penn State football
Black and white picture of President Woodrow Wilson about to throw a baseball
President Woodrow Wilson throwing out the first ball on Opening Day, 1916. Photo: Underwood Archives/Getty Images

Woodrow Wilson → The Red Sox won three World Series and nurtured the career of a young Babe Ruth.

  • Runners-up: Pittsburgh football; Georgia Tech football

Warren G. Harding → The New York Giants won consecutive World Series and were on their way to two more appearances, which counted toward the next term after Harding died in office.

  • Runners-up: Ottawa Hockey Club; Canton Bulldogs

Calvin Coolidge → The beginning of the Yankees' dynasty. They won their first three World Series under Coolidge and fielded arguably the greatest team ever.

  • Runners-up: Alabama football; Illinois football

Herbert Hoover → Curly Lambeau and the Packers were named NFL champion three straight years, going 34-5-2 just before the Championship Game era began.

  • Runners-up: Athletics; Canadiens; Notre Dame football

Franklin D. Roosevelt → The Bears won the inaugural NFL Championship game in 1933 — their first of four wins (and seven appearances) during FDR's term.

  • Runners-up: Red Wings; Yankees; Packers; Minnesota football

Harry S. Truman → The Yankees are our first two-term champ, winning five more World Series behind Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle.

  • Runners-up: Maple Leafs; Lakers; Browns; Notre Dame football; Kentucky men's basketball

Dwight Eisenhower → The Canadiens won more Stanley Cups during Eisenhower's presidency (six) than all but four other teams have won, period.

  • Runners-up: Yankees; Celtics

John F. Kennedy → The Celtics' run of dominance began pre-JFK, but they won all three NBA titles contested during his brief presidency.

  • Runners-up: Yankees; Packers; Maple Leafs; Cincinnati men's basketball
Black and white picture of Bill Russell, Red Auerbach and Tommy Heinsohn being held up by a crowd and celebrating with their arms up
Bill Russell (R), Red Auerbach and Tommy Heinsohn celebrating their 1964 NBA title. Photo: Bettmann Archives/Getty Images

Lyndon B. Johnson → The Celtics are our second and final two-term champ, winning four more titles during Johnson's presidency and becoming the only pro sports team to win eight in a row.

  • Runners-up: UCLA men's basketball; Canadiens

Richard Nixon → UCLA men's basketball won five titles in six years behind a duo of generational superstars and the greatest college coach ever.

  • Runners-up: Athletics; Knicks; Dolphins

Gerald Ford → The Reds won two of the three World Series during Ford's term, as the "Big Red Machine" was in full effect.

  • Runners-up: Steelers; Flyers

Jimmy Carter → The Steelers won back-to-back Super Bowls for the second time in a half decade behind Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann.

  • Runners-up: Canadiens; Yankees; Alabama football

Ronald Reagan → The "Showtime" Lakers won four titles behind the unstoppable trio of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.

  • Runners-up: Islanders; Oilers; Celtics; 49ers

George H.W. Bush → Duke men's basketball played in three title games (winning two) and four Final Fours in four years. And who can forget The Shot?

  • Runners-up: Pistons; Bulls; Cowboys; Penguins

Bill Clinton → Michael Jordan and the Bulls owned the 90's, and four of their six rings came with Clinton in office.

  • Runners-up: Yankees; Broncos; Nebraska football; FSU football

George W. Bush → The Patriots won their first three Super Bowls and six division titles under Bush, as Tom Brady announced himself to the world.

  • Runners-up: Lakers; UConn women's basketball; Spurs; Red Sox
Picture of Barack Obama surrounded by members of the Alabama football team while holding a football jersey that says "Obama" on the back with the number 15
Barack Obama with the Alabama football team at the White House in 2013. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Barack Obama → Alabama won four national championships, spanning both the BCS and CFP eras, and dominated college football in a way few thought possible.

  • Runners-up: San Francisco Giants; Heat; Blackhawks; Kentucky men's basketball

Donald Trump → The USWNT won its record-extending fourth World Cup and captivated the nation, all while fighting tirelessly for gender equity across sports.

  • Runners-up: Warriors; Clemson; Alabama; Patriots; Dodgers

Looking ahead ... Which team will take the crown during the Biden-Harris years? Our top three candidates:

  1. Chiefs
  2. Alabama
  3. Lakers
Go deeper